Laminate flooring, much like any flooring really, is measured in millimeters (mm) to determine its thickness. Differences in thickness between various brands and makes of laminate flooring can range anywhere between 5 and 15 mm. Whilst this might seem trivial, a few extra millimeters can make all the difference to the longevity and quality of the installation. At Karma Flooring we recommend an optimal thickness of 12 mm.
Understanding the composition of laminate flooring
Laminate flooring is made up of bonded materials. It begins with a layer of a moisture resistant material. Then comes a fibreboard layer. It’s topped by what you see on the surface – a resin-coated photographic image of natural timber.
Density makes a difference in the quality of the product also. A thicker product comes with a thicker fibre core. Many contractors work with 8 mm laminate flooring, which is made using a medium density fibre (MDF) in the centre. At Karma Flooring we prefer a 12 mm product, with a high-density fibre (HDF) core. The denser core makes the flooring stronger, more durable and less susceptible to warping.
When you’re choosing laminate flooring, don’t get distracted by colours. Instead understand the differences about the materials used for the inner core. There are many products of differing qualities on the market. You might get offered something cheaper (8 mm) product because it’s the easiest way a contractor can cut costs. However, it won’t always save you money in the long term.
Why thicker is better
Unfortunately customers aren’t always informed about the repercussions of choosing a thinner, inferior laminate floor product. The edges of 8 mm MDF laminate flooring products are thinner than the 12 mm product. That makes them vulnerable to damage and chipping before, and during installation.
Then there’s the question of longevity. We know our customers are looking for a product that can cope with a busy household of kids, pets and the other demands we as families put on our flooring. That’s why Karma Flooring’s 12-15 mm range of laminate flooring also has an AC5 scratch rating, the highest grade on offer, and is finished with a hard resin-coated protective layer. It also has wax edges to prevent any moisture reaching the inner core.
So, it’s not just the thickness to consider when you fit a laminate floor. There are these other features that come with our 12 mm product that thinner products may not offer.
How the system fits together is important
The other advantage with a thicker product is that a 12 mm HDF core improves the efficiency of the click-in system used to install laminate flooring. That’s because it’s thicker and more substantial. The more integrity the click-in system has, the less susceptible the laminate flooring is to shifting or lifting. The 8 mm MDF floorboards on the market don’t fit as flush, namely because they have beveled edges, they tend to separate from the click-in system and lift or move over time.
While the 8 mm system may look fine initially, once you start to get some traffic through the home, problems can arise. We regularly get calls from homeowners who take ownership of properties in units and townhouses where the developer has gone for a thinner, cheaper flooring option. After a year or so, we’re usually called upon to replace the flooring with our 12 mm product. Separation, distortion, warping, lifting and bending of the thinner flooring becomes more evident over time.
At Karma Flooring we use the UNILIN V-Groove single click system. Our products carry the L2C label so we can guarantee consistency in the locking system. It’s great for customers to have this peace of mind, and it’s why we’re happy to offer up to a 25-year warranty on our 12 mm HDF laminate flooring.
What makes a great looking product?
A robust and durable product’s essential, but the thickness of the flooring also affects the look and feel of it. A 12 mm HDR laminate floor is closer to the feel of a hardwood floor than thin laminate.
If you live in an apartment, reducing sound migration and creating softer footfalls is also a significant consideration. With laminate flooring, those few extra millimeters can make all the difference to the noise reduction and sound quality in your home. The thicker base material gives the flooring better impact resistance so if you drop items like cutlery it’ll have little effect. The thickness of your laminate flooring will also impact on the acoustics of your home. In the case of flat dwellers, it’ll affect the noise you expose your neighbours to.
Make sure your measurements work
Whether you use the 8mm or 12mm product you need to calculate the additional height the underlay will add to the overall thickness of the flooring. The extra depth has implications where the flooring transitions to another material in a home, or when you’re integrating the floors with trim work, doors and other features in a room.
At Karma Flooring we use a 3 mm underlay, which brings the height of the installation to about 15 mm. If you use 8 mm laminate flooring, it will most likely be installed with a cheap foam underlay about a millimeter thick.
To summarise, avoid thinner laminate floors and don’t be seduced by cheap stuff. The thicker your laminate floor, the longer it’ll last. Plus you’ll have the benefit of a better-looking floor that’s able to absorb sound more efficiently. While you can get thicker than 12 mm flooring, we believe that a 12 mm installation offers the perfect balance of quality with affordability
Ready to transform your floors?
If you’re looking to save up to 50% on retail prices, Karma Flooring can help. We’re a direct importer of all flooring types and we’re based in Bayswater, Melbourne. You save because you can buy directly from our factory, but we’ll never offer you anything other than the best quality, service, and of course price.
Our showroom has displays of our vast range of quality flooring. Pop in and check out what we have to offer. Alternatively, give us a call, and we’ll help you find the perfect laminate flooring for your budget and home.