What is the difference between laminate flooring and hardwood flooring?

Both laminate flooring and hardwood flooring can be used to finish homes or provide flooring for offices and businesses. While some people still prefer hardwood, there are several advantages to choosing laminate. Solid hardwood (usually 19-20mm thick) must be installed only above grade to avoid warping and cupping. Laminates, however, are more versatile giving you the look of wood above or below grade. Unlike hardwood, they can be installed over other flooring surfaces, meaning that you can install laminate over old kitchen linoleum or tiles, provided the floor is clean, level and doesn’t have moisture problems.

How do I know which laminate flooring is the right one?

The right laminate flooring will last for many years. First, you should consider where the laminate flooring is going to be installed. Will you be laying in a residential area or is it in an office or other commercial space.

If you require laminate suitable for a residential home – then the AC4 rated laminate is perfectly suitable for most people. However, it’s also possible to install the more durable AC5 rated laminate in either a residential or commercial area. You can learn more about these abrasion classes (AC) below.

What is an AC flooring rating and how do I tell what my product is rated?

Abrasion Class (AC flooring rating) indicates how abrasion or wear resistant the surface of the laminate flooring is. The higher the AC rating, the more wear resistant it will be. All Krono Original laminate is rated AC4 or higher.

AC4 – suitable for heavy domestic and medium commercial use

AC5 – suitable for heavy domestic and intensive commercial use

Another advantage of AC5 rated laminate is the laminate is thicker (12mm vs. 8mm or 10mm for AC4 laminate) which means your floor will sound a bit quieter when you walk on it. The 12mm AC5 laminate also feels more solid and less flexible underfoot compared to thinner laminates.

Is laminate flooring suitable for allergy sufferers?

Laminate floors are easy to clean. Dirt and dust can be cleaned away in no time. Even dust mites and deeper dirt doesn’t stand a chance. No wonder that Krono Original laminate flooring is so popular, especially among allergy sufferers and sensitive people.

Krono Original laminate also boasts an anti-bacterial coating.

Our laminate flooring is made of 90% wood. This means that our flooring does not give off harmful emissions. They are chloride and PVC free and do not contain wood preservatives.

Are laminate floors a good choice for a household with pets?

Our laminate floors are highly durable and designed to withstand scratches and scuffs, but as a precaution, it’s a good idea to keep your dog or cat’s nails trimmed and wipe up spills from their water bowl as soon as soon as they happen.

How about laminate floors suitability for wheelchairs?

Generally, laminate flooring is suitable for wheelchairs. However, we recommend the use of soft, rubber wheels. This is also our recommendation for office chairs.

What is recommended for uneven subfloor surfaces?

Subfloor surfaces with differences in the surface of more than three millimetres per running metre must be sanded down or leveled. Unevenness in the subfloor is best determined with a straight edge or a long spirit level.

For underlay solution CLICK HERE

Do I install the laminate under kitchen units?

You must always install laminate flooring around kitchen units. This is because floating floors must be allowed to expand and contract freely. If you place extra heavy kitchen units on your floor you can create a ‘pinch-point’ which means the floor cannot move freely. In that case it will expand against the fixed ‘pinch point’ causing the floor to potentially buckle or lift.

This also applies to very heavy furniture such as a piano. Very heavy piano’s should not be installed on a floating floor. In general most other furniture can be placed on laminate flooring.

Are laminate floors suitable for underfloor heating?

Laminate floors are designed for use underfloor heating systems. Please note the special instructions here regarding the installation of flooring above hot water underfloor heating systems. All Krono Original® laminate floors are also suitable for installation with electric floor heating systems. It is very important that the maximum surface temperature of the heating element does not go above 27°C. This should be monitored and controlled by appropriate heating controls. Furthermore, one should never completely cover a heated floor surface as this causes rapid temperature rise due to heat accumulation.

How about disposing laminate flooring? Can it be recycled or burnt?

Disposing laminate flooring is not a problem at all. Leftover installation materials and other parts or old flooring can be disposed of in your normal household waste collection. Complete floors, which you wish to dispose of, on the other hand, should be taken directly to a local landfill site. Since laminate flooring consists of 90 per cent wood, they can be safely burnt or incinerated just like other wood products. Thanks to new technological processes, laminate flooring is even recyclable. Up to 85 per cent of the mass of laminate flooring can be put back into the manufacturing process in the form of wood chips or fibres.

Where can I find a good laminate flooring installation guide?

The laminate flooring installation guide can be DOWNLOADED HERE

Can I install laminate flooring in a bathroom or kitchen?

Unfortunately laminate floor is not suitable for damp rooms such as a bathroom or sauna but if the laminate flooring installation guide is followed carefully, laminate flooring is suitable for installation in a kitchen.

Is it possible to be gluing laminate flooring down?

Unfortunately gluing laminate flooring is not possible except the boards can be glued on stairs only. Laminate flooring is designed to be installed floating over a thin underlay.

Is carpet suitable as a subfloor base for laminate flooring?

Carpet is not a suitable substrate or subfloor for a laminate flooring installation and must be removed completely before installing your new laminate floor. Carpet that is left underneath the laminate causes a springing movement when the laminate surface is walked over and causes excessive pressure at the edge areas. This will destroy the tongue and groove connection and lead to gaps between flooring joints. The carpeting should also be removed due to hygienic reasons (build-up of mould, mildew and odours). The subfloor must be level, dry, able to carry a load, clean and firm.

Can laminate floor be installed on steps?

Yes, laminate flooring can be installed on steps but with this exceptional installation, the planks should be glued down with regular wood glue. The mouldings and transitions need to be nailed down. You must also ensure this meets your local building code.

Should wall distance be taken into consideration during floor installation?

Laminate flooring elements consist of a predominantly wooden composite base. Wood is a natural construction material. One of the important features considered for the typical “floating” installation of laminate flooring elements is the movement of the wooden composite. This movement is caused by the swelling and shrinking processes of the wood due to fluctuating moisture levels in the atmosphere. Humidity tends to cause the floor to expand, while drier air conditions will cause the floor to shrink overall.

For this reason it is important that the laminate flooring has room to move, in order to avoid subsequent damage. Damage can include: open joints, swelling up or buckling in the joint area with peeling and flaking of the boards, or the floor may start lifting. It’s important that the distance between the laminate and the wall is 9 – 15mm depending on the room size. Larger rooms require more expansion space. This space is covered by skirting boards.

Are there any special tools needed to install laminate flooring?

Each installation method will require different tools. Below is a list of common tools needed for laminate flooring installation:

  • Tapping block (one that fits the product’s tongue)
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Utility Knife or Scissors
  • Table, mitre or circular saw
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Pull bar
  • Spacers

Does it make a difference what direction I choose to install laminate flooring and where I begin?

It’s recommended that you begin your laminate flooring installation on a wall that is as long and straight as possible. You should also consider where the main source of light enters your room. It is recommended that you lay the laminate floor planks so that they run parallel with light coming in from windows and glass doors. This gives a room a nice visual flow.

Alternatively it is common to lay the laminate in the same direction as the longest length of the room. So in a rectangular shaped room you run the laminate in the same direction as the longest wall.

I didn’t get my first row straight. Can I continue?

Do not continue. Getting the first row straight is very important – perhaps the most critical part- to a successful laminate flooring installation. If your first rows are not properly aligned, or the joints are not tightly sealed, the entire installation will be compromised. (The error will magnify as you continue installing.) Along both sides and ends, all planks must be parallel to each other or there will be wedge-shaped gaps between planks. If the residue is caught in the grooves, poor alignment can also result. Remember to make sure all grooves are clean before installation.

Will there be any flooring cutting waste? If so how much?

In an average laminate flooring installation, there will be approximately 7% to 12% of flooring cutting waste for several reasons, typically cuts, planks damaged during installation, or errors.

Can I walk on my laminate floor immediately after installation?

After installing glueless laminate flooring, you can immediately walk across or move furniture back onto your new laminate floors.

How do I replace one plank after flooring damage?

If the plank that needs replacing is close to the edge of the room, simply disassemble the floor to the position of the plank to be replaced and then reinstall the plank(s). There is a more complicated procedure if you need to replace a single hard-to-get-to plank. It’s best to call the company you bought the flooring from and ask to speak to a product specialist for specific instructions.

View our laminate flooring installation page.

What kind of laminate flooring cleaner should I use?

When choosing a laminate flooring cleaner, we recommend that you choose one that is specifically for laminate floors and does not contain any waxes or oil. Oil and wax cannot penetrate the bonded laminate surface and thus they tend to lie on top of the laminate surface in a greasy film. This film causes smears during cleaning and leaves footmarks when walking across the laminate floor.

View our article about maintaining flooring installation.

What is the proper way to clean laminate flooring?

Instructions on laminate flooring care and cleaning can be found in our Blog article: Maintain Your Laminate Floor Now. Learn our tips and tricks

How can I polish my laminate flooring?

We recommend that you do not polish your laminate floors. Please follow the instructions on laminate floor care and cleaning in our Blog article: Maintain Your Laminate Floor Now. Learn our tips and tricks