It feels good, but…
Laminated wooden flooring is a paradox that combines benefits and ill-effects.
How nature is being destroyed by human beings is among the major concerns of Green Sense essays. However, this concern is not expressed highlighting negativity, but by suggesting meaningful energy efficient methods, hoping that earthy eco-friendly approaches would partially replace our present harmful modes. In this direction, there are many humanly invented ideas, which appear like a perfect solution to the problem, yet appear like a paradox too.
Laminated wooden flooring is one such paradox, which strangely combines benefits and ill-effects. Wooden particles are pressed under high density using adhesives like melamine, formaldehyde and such others, topped with a photographic image of wooden appearance and topped finally with protective layers of aluminium oxide and such synthetic resins. While we get the unblemished near-perfect wood look, actually there is no hard wood or even a layer of wood in it, yet gets termed as laminated wooden floor, making people believe that it is made of many layers of wood! Also, the chemical and plastic components used in the process of making laminated floor defeats the very purpose of producing a building material naturally. The base material being wooden particles is the only saving grace.
Volatile organic compounds
Laminate floors supposedly emit volatile organic compounds (VOC) today much more in discussion reference paints. Of course, the VOC emission in floor tiles will be in minuscule quantities and slow across the time line, which will get ventilated in an airy room, though completely enclosed air conditioned rooms may suffer by indoor air quality. Despite the apparent artificiality and the environmental concerns, laminate floors have emerged among the materials becoming increasingly popular today, simply because they come with many advantages.
Laminate floors look like wood with an affordable price tag and are easy to install on a layer of foam upon any level surface, where the foam acts like moisture and sound barrier. The top surface appears even, joints neat with clean looking edges and junctions. For light usage as in the case of residences and executive cabins with minimal visitors, this floor type would easily appear new up to five years and generally last for about 10 years. Thereafter there would be telltale signs of age with wear and tear marks, when the protective layer and the photographic image thin down. However, people are known to continue using them.
The laminate boards are scratch resistant, but in case of any damage, cannot be re-polished, partially replaced or repaired at site.
While the high resolution photo image gives better appearance and does not fade in theory, it does get dull if placed against direct Indian summer sunlight.
These floor tiles are strong, termite proof, come in varied interlocking sizes and maintain the room temperature on the surface.
Though moisture resistant, laminated floor is not suited for areas of potential water usage. Vacuum cleaning or mopping with semi-dry cloth is suggested to ensure durability.
Laminate floors are an example of technology-enabled nature look-alike substitute, mimicking nature by an industrialised process and deriving a feel good factor.