Laminate floor

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Close-up of a laminate floor with a textured surface and bevel on the long side (V-bevel)

As laminate flooring or colloquially simply " laminate " refers to a floor covering composed mainly by a layered structure made of a wood fiber board, paper and melamine adhesive is.

History and market volume

Laminate materials have been used for building equipment since the 1920s, for example for work surfaces, window sills or wall panels . As a floor covering, high pressure laminate (“HPL” for high pressure laminate for short ) was not developed until 1977 by the Swedish company Perstorp in Trelleborg , which brought the first laminate floors onto the market in 1980. After the rapid establishment of laminate floors in the market, the business was spun off under the “Pergo” brand, and the company still holds numerous patents on laminate surfaces. The adhesive-free connection of laminate boards (click systems) was introduced in 1996, and structured surfaces have been available since 2008. In Europe, around 400 million square meters of laminate flooring were produced by 20 manufacturers in 2010, in Germany the demand this year was more than 80 million square meters.

Construction and manufacture


The following layer structure goes from the top (on which you walk) to the bottom (which is on the floor):

  1. Cover layer (overlay)
    The top layers of a laminate floor , the overlay, have the function of withstanding high stresses on the floor.
    Thin papers are used that have already been impregnated with melamine adhesive and thus enable a view of the decorative paper underneath. In order to increase the abrasion resistance of the laminate, corundum is also mixed into the adhesive of the overlay.
  2. Decorative paper
    The decorative paper is the optically perceived surface.
    The motifs were printed on it before joining with the carrier plate. There is in fact no restriction in the choice of motif. In addition to the well-known printing of various wooden structures, other printing of gravel, geometric shapes or artistic products are possible. The overlay and the decor paper are often supplied as a single layer; if there is less use, only the soaked decor paper is available. As a rule, only one work step is necessary for the manufacturer.
  3. Underlay Laminate
    products of class 33 and higher have an underlay (so-called Kraft paper) between the decorative paper and the carrier plate. This kraft paper is also impregnated with melamine resins. It later ensures increased resistance to impressions, which is a prerequisite for reaching class 33 and higher. Laminate floors in the lower stress classes usually do not use an underlay.
  4. Carrier board
    The carrier board consists of an
    MDF board or an HDF board . The only difference between the two products is the higher compression and the resulting higher density of the HDF board. The wood fiber material makes it possible to cut a profile in the carrier plate in several milling processes, which makes assembly possible even for laypeople. The respective profiles vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Fiberboard can swell when exposed to water. The swelling behavior can be improved in the production process by using appropriate glues and additives.
  5. Backing
    layer Another paper or plastic layer is applied to the underside of the carrier plate.
    The counter-tension layer is there to ensure that the laminate does not deform when it is subjected to bending forces.
  6. (Underlay)
    There are companies that glue an elastic underlay under the paper on the underside of the laminate. This then no longer has to be brought forward separately. The MeisterWerke company from Rüthen brought the first such laminate floor onto the market in 1999 .

The connection of the so-called "impact sound insulation" with the laminate has the advantage that there is no need to lay an additional underlay. The advantage of separate impact sound insulation for generic floor conditions is that it compensates for severe unevenness. Impact sound insulation in the form of mats of 3 mm or more compensates for uneven floors and makes extreme measures such as pouring leveling compounds for floor preparation obsolete. Before installing impact sound insulation that is firmly connected to the laminate, the evenness of the screed should be checked.


The decorative paper and overlay are applied to the cooled and sanded carrier plates . For this work step, lasers are mostly used to align the papers so that there are no deviations in the decor when they are laid later. At the same time, the counter-tension is applied. This is followed by hot pressing, during which the melamine adhesive hardens.
In the following operation, tongue and groove or profiles are milled with several milling heads, which are used to connect the individual laminate parts.

Today adjustable and / or snap-in connections are common, which not only provide a flush flatness at the joints, but also a certain tensile strength against horizontal pulling apart.

Stress classes

The load classes of laminate flooring are regulated in EN 13329. Based on tests and experience, they make it possible to buy laminate flooring for the purpose required in each case, without having to have knowledge of individual strength parameters.

Area class use
Living area 21st moderate stress e.g. B. bedroom, guest room, ...
22nd normal use z. B. living room and dining room, ...
23 heavy use z. B. kitchen, hallway, study, ...
Commercial area 31 moderate stress e.g. B. hotel room, conference room, ...
32 normal use z. B. offices, waiting rooms, ...
33 heavy use z. B. Open-plan offices, department stores, ...
34 very heavy use z. B. Commercial areas with intensive use, ...


In order to preserve the laminate floor, it is particularly important that water or other water-containing liquids are wiped off immediately. When water flows into the joints between the various pieces of laminate flooring, the wood fibers in the base board can expand and create bumps and waves. These dents can no longer be removed because the swelling pressure of the wood has also destroyed the holding structure of the adhesive.

Caring for a laminate floor is easy. The woolly or dusty mice created by the smooth surface can be vacuumed with a vacuum cleaner , and the laminate can be wiped with a slightly damp cloth or mop every now and then.

The removal of heavy soiling can be problematic, as standing water in connection with abrasive cleaning agents can penetrate the joints of the laminate and cause it to swell. In the medium term, the coating will then peel off at the joints and the laminate will be destroyed. For rooms in which a high level of hygiene is required or where there is coarse soiling, a floor that is more water and abrasion resistant should be chosen accordingly.

For house dust allergy sufferers, it can be helpful to lay out a small carpet, especially in winter. As a result, the dust accumulates in the carpet and is not distributed in the room air by the heat circulation. The carpet can then be dusted outside the home.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Industry association Association of EPLF (European Producers of Laminate Flooring)
  2. Pergo patent history Archived copy ( Memento from May 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  3. SN-Fachpresseverlag, BTH Heimtex 07 / 08-2007
  4. Industry association Association of EPLF (European Producers of Laminate Flooring)
  5. Market statistics of the EPLF
  6. What exactly is laminate? Television educates, broadcast with the mouse,, February 14, 2014, accessed July 5, 2018. Video (9:04) - locking mechanism manufacture and function 8: 00–9: 03/9: 04