EPLF e.V. — Laminate Information — Laminate A-Z

EPLF e.V. - Laminate Information - Laminate A-Z

Laminate A-Z

Castor compatibility

Special usage characteristic of floors. This is tested by rotating loaded soft castors on a test area. The floor is examined for damage after several thousand turns.

Cleaning and care

The sealed surface of a laminate floor allows the floor to be cleaned quickly. Just vacuum and occasionally wipe – job done! When wiping ensure that the rag is wrung out well. This is known as wiping when «slightly damp».


The central layer in a laminate floor. It is made of MDF or HDF. The decorative layer + overlay (top) and stabilising layer (bottom) are pressed onto the core.


Describes the appearance of a laminate floor’s surface. Reproduction involving photographic techniques can produce any motif and print this on the so-called decorative paper. Decors can also be printed on the core directly. The range of decors available spans authentic wood and stone reproductions to individual creative decors.

Digital printing

Digital printing is a process in which the decor image is transferred directly from a computer to a printing machine. It is mainly used for creative decors.

Direct printing

Direct printing describes a process in which the decor is printed directly on the core. The surface is then varnished.


Leftovers from laying the laminate floor etc. can be disposed of along with normal household waste. It is best to take complete, discarded floors to a waste disposal site where they can be easily burnt as laminate flooring consists mainly of wood.


Abbreviation for Direct Pressure Laminate. This is a process in which the decorative layer and stabilising layer are pressed onto the core.

Drum sound / footstep sound

Drum sound is the noise produced in rooms when walking on laminate flooring. A distinction is made between drum sound and footstep sound. Footstep sound is the noise produced in rooms below when the flooring is walked on. Both footstep and drum sound can be reduced or modified using special insulating underlays.

Edge spacing

Distance from wall which must be observed when laying a laminate floor. What is known as an expansion joint ensures that the floor can expand, e.g. if the climate changes. The floor should be at least 8 mm away from the wall. The same spacing should also be observed from heating pipes, door frames, pillars etc.

Emissions class

A term frequently used in product information. E1 means compliance with the formaldehyde limit prescribed by law, i.e. 0.1 ppm (= 0.12 mg/m3 air). The products of brand-name manufacturers are well below this limit.

Euro standard

The Euro standard for laminate flooring EN 13329 systematically lists all the criteria which apply to a high-quality floor and the corresponding test procedures. One important element of the standard is its definition of load classes. These allow consumers to recognise a quality product and to select the right product for their application.

Fire class

Grading of a laminate floor’s flammability into what are known as flammability classes. These must be substantiated by the manufacturer. If the product information states the DIN 4102-B1 fire class, this means «low flammability».

Footstep sound insulation

Underlays such as PE film, PU mats, corrugated cardboard or wool felt considerably reduce the footstep sound on “floating” laminate flooring. They can either be laid directly attached to the floor or loose underneath the floor. Retailers stock a wide range of products designed specially to reduce footstep sound.


Abbreviation for High Density Fibreboard. It is often used as the core in laminate floors. Given its high material density, HDF can withstand particularly high levels of use.


Abbreviation for High Pressure Laminate. This is a process in which the decorative paper and overlay are first pressed with special kraft papers. It is only in the second step that this so-called high pressure laminate is glued to the core.




Indicates how the laminate floor is affected by light. «Class 6 on the blue scale» indicates that the floor retains most of its colour fastness even when exposed to intense sunlight.

Load class

Quality category according to the Euro standard EN 13329, which identifies where a laminate floor can be used. A distinction is made between «domestic» and «commercial» which are split into moderate, normal and heavy use. Symbols are used to state the classes on the product packaging.


Abbreviation for Medium Density Fibreboard. This is often used as the core for laminate floors and is lighter than High Density Fibreboard (HDF).


Name for the topmost layer of a laminate floor (also known as top layer). The overlay consists of melamine resin which gives the floor its good durability. It protects the underlying decorative layer. Laminate floors can however also be varnished, e.g. directly printed floors.

Rate of abrasion / abrasion class

The rate of abrasion is the figure used to state the abrasion resistance of a laminate floor. It is established in what is known as a Taber test and assigned to abrasion classes according to the Euro standard EN 13329. This is an important element of defining load classes, which identify where a laminate floor can be used. The abrasion resistance is one of many factors used to assess quality.


Severely damaged flooring elements can be replaced by a specialist such that they look just like the rest of the floor. Repair kits are available for repairing small areas of damage.

EPLF e.V. - Laminate Information - Laminate A-Z

Resistance to cigarette burns

Indicates how the laminate floor is affected by cigarette burns. Thanks to the pore-free surface and high temperature resistance of the melamine resin-coated overlay, lit or discarded cigarettes cannot result in any visible damage to laminate floors.

Resistance to impact

Indicates how a laminate floor responds to impact, for example if a heavy object is dropped on it. The resistance of a floor to impact is established in a test using a falling ball.

Resistance to scratches

Indicates how the laminate floor is affected by scratches. A floor with good resistance to scratches is considered to be one of high quality. The resistance is found by drawing a diamond point over the test area.

Skirting boards

Skirting boards are where the floor ends and joins the wall. A large number of different products can be bought to match the decors used. Interesting effects can be obtained by using skirting boards of a different colour.

Stabilising layer

Name for the impregnated layer on the underside of the core. This layer helps give the floor its dimensional stability.

Stain resistance

to substances used in everyday life, such as food and drink etc. Stains can be easily removed from the pore-free (= closed) surface at any time.


Laminate floors have a three-layered structure: 1. decorative paper + overlay, 2. core,3. stabilising layer. The decorative layer, overlay and stabilising layer are impregnated with special environmentally-friendly resins. High pressure is applied to press them onto the core.

Swelling behaviour

The joins in a laid laminate floor are sensitive to the effects of moisture. Spilt water should therefore always be mopped up immediately. The edges of the boards can however be treated with a special glue when the flooring is being laid, providing effective protection from dampness. Laminate floors with specially processed cores and edge protection can be used in bathrooms and saunas with no need for concern.

Taber test

Classic process for establishing the abrasion characteristics of a laminate floor. The process involves rotating a test object under two abrading wheels fitted with sandpaper. The speed of rotation, type and replacement of the sandpaper are specified. The number of turns up to a particular point, the IP (= initial point) determines the rate of abrasion. This is assigned to the abrasion classes.

Tongue and groove

Profiles milled into the side of individual boards which allow them to be slid into one another. The tongue and grove join ensures a sturdy floor construction and protects the floor, preventing dampness from penetrating.

Underfloor heating

The manufacturer will state whether the laminate floor can be laid on substrates housing underfloor heating systems using hot water. The low forward resistance has a positive impact on operations.


VOC is the abbreviation for volatile organic compounds. These include for example alkanes/alkenes, aromatic compounds, terpenes, esters, aldehydes, ketones and halogenated hydrocarbons.

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