The answer is both yes and no. Laminate flooring that’s 8mm with a medium density fibre (MDF) core is used by a lot of big retail stores and builders that work on big-volume projects. It’s essentially a mass-market product and is popular.
What are the pitfalls?
A lot of customers come to us looking for similar flooring they’ve seen in a shop or office. It looks great on the surface and they want the same look in their home. The problem is beneath the pretty colour on the top layer you’ve got a low-density fill that’s not really up to the job. It’s a cheap product dressed up to look better than it is.
MDF flooring can’t compare to high density fibre (HDF) products. You’ll find 8mm MDF flooring has thin edging. The problem with this is that the boards use a click system to join together. The bevelled edges of 8mm boards tend to lift over time. They’re not as stable as HDF floors, and the movement caused by traffic on the boards takes its toll. The flooring always looks great when it’s first installed, but we see plenty of clients who regret using it because they eventually discover it’s an inferior product to HDF floors.
There are lots of other applications for MDF – it’s often used for kitchen cabinetry – but you want something hardier for flooring. I’ll explain why in a little bit more detail. HDF board has about 800 kilograms per cubic metre of pressure built into it. It’s a lot lower with MDF. This impacts on the durability but also its acoustic features. It doesn’t absorb sounds as effectively and can be noisier to walk on. Most apartments have requirements for decibel ratings with flooring, and MDF doesn’t meet the rating.
What to watch out for
If you’re renovating, make sure you know what the decibel conditions your body corporate attaches to the flooring. At Karma Flooring we can also advise you about the building codes of Australia, so you meet those regulations too. The tremendous acoustic capabilities of HDF floors are a plus, but what’s more important is the superior quality it offers you.
Don’t be tempted to cut costs by using 8mm MDF floors. You can usually buy them pretty cheaply from a clearance centre, but it’s not going to give you the longevity and durability you want. You want to get it right the first time. We’ve seen builds where 8mm MDF was used, and it starts to lift within six to 12 months. It’s really not worth the risk. Go with the old adage; cheap isn’t always the best. This certainly relates to flooring.
When to use 8mm
There are a couple of situations where using 8mm laminate is appropriate, however. For example, if an old resident is living in a home, they need an even floor, with no lips or differences in heights from one room to another. You can’t risk them tripping and falling. A 12mm product may be too high to give that even flow from one room to another. It’s best to source HDF 8mm laminate if you can source it, if you have an 8mm height for your project.
We also see in kitchens that 8mm sometimes works with particular styles of cabinetry. If you have a waterfall bench, one that’s not squared off at the end, you may need to use 8mm boards because there’s not a lot of room to move under the bench.
What you choose in the end depends on the jigsaw of the renovation or the build. But even if you need to use an 8mm product, we’d still recommend you choose one that’s got an HDF core, rather than an MDF one.
Let us help you choose the right flooring
We’re a direct laminate flooring supplier and offer the latest colours and trends available in laminate flooring.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the choices out there. At Karma Flooring you can be confident that we only stock premium quality flooring at our Bayswater, Epping, Carrum Downs and Traralgon showrooms. Our staff are trained to give you the advice you need to choose the product that sticks to your budget and suits your lifestyle and needs.
Come on in for a chat!