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How to choose good quality laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is now one of the most popular flooring products used in both residential and commercial buildings. Over the last five years laminate flooring has largely replaced ceramic tile installations in residential housing, being preferred for the entry, hallways, kitchen, dining and living areas. Some of the latest laminate flooring embodies all the character, charm and warmth of actual timber boards, but at a fraction of the cost.

But how do you choose a good quality laminate floor product?

When it comes to laminate flooring, it’s all about the AC rating. You should find the AC rating on all packs of laminate floor that you buy. So what is the AC rating and how can it help you to decide what laminate floor to buy?

Over the years, the popularity and array of laminate flooring led to the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) developing a set of standards for grading laminate floor. This system is known as the Abrasion Rating System.

The Abrasion Rating System encompasses a series of tests that include impact resistance, burn resistance, stain resistance, swelling under moisture, and also includes a Tabor Abrasion test.

From this test, the results are collated, and the laminate floor is given an AC rating (which means abrasion class rating), with the higher the number often associated with better quality laminate floor.

  • AC1 – laminate flooring is designed for residential areas with light traffic. Great for bedrooms.
  • AC2 – laminate flooring can withstand more traffic than AC1. Suitable for living rooms and dining rooms.
  • AC3 – laminate flooring can withstand any type of heavy residential traffic, such as hallways and may also be used in a professional setting with light traffic.
  • AC4 – laminate flooring is designed for commercial applications with moderately intense traffic. Ideal for small shops and offices.
  • AC5 – laminate flooring is designed for high-traffic commercial areas like department stores, shopping centres and office buildings. It has a tough finish that can withstand the most abuse.

You do not have to spend a lot of money to get laminate flooring with an AC3 or AC4 rating, As an example the Airlay Rustic Range, which comes in both 8mm and 12mm thickness, has an AC4 rating with a supply only cost of $19.90 per square metre. This board has a lot of real timber character and bevilled edges which enhance the individual plank look.

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