Tim Chavey

Flooring Specialist

Laminate

If you're having your floor inspected, the industry standard is that he/she be a NALFA Inspector. North America Laminate Association was formed by the United States and Canadian manufacturers and importers of laminate flooring in 1997. NALFA is the only trade association dedicated to the laminate industry. NALFA's primary purpose is to create voluntary product performance standards for laminate flooring. You should insist that the actual inspector evaluating your concern is the NALFA, (photo ID), Inspector and not sent out by a brokerage company who offers a local inspector with limited knowledge. NALFA is the litmus test others emulate.

Laminate

Laminate 101

Although there are many types of laminate flooring they are somewhat equal in construction. The top clear coat is referred to as an Overlay. Beneath this Overlay is the Decor, (a paper with a desired photograph). These two layers are combined onto a fiberboard core and lastly a backer material, (the underside), is applied and the materials above pressed together to form a desired result. Often the pressure from the top plate, embosses the texture into the surface to form a more desired appearance. Some variations, (after milling a tongue and grove) could be adding an underlayment or a foil, (a protective edge treatment retarding moisture from the edge). Once done the materials are packaged and sent out. Most laminate floors today utilize a locking mechanism which makes the floor ideal for a DIY consumer.


Installation complaints are commonly, but not
limited to those seen below.

  • Expansion Gap – Minimum ¼" between flooring and any vertical surface
  • Transitions – Transitions required when floor exceeds manufacturer's width/length?
  • Staggering of head joints – Minimum stagger 8" 12"?
  • Width of product on final row – 2 inches 3 inches?
  • Sealant use – Required in wet areas? Is the floor approved in baths/kitchens?
  • Subfloor flatness – Was a1/8" in six foot flatness maintained, 1/16" in three foot?
  • Slope – Is it allowed?
  • Subfloor moisture – Calcium Chloride Test required, moisture meter only?
  • Relative humidity - 35 to 65% - 45 to 65%, were you told that it would affect warranty?
  • Acclimation – Was it acclimated, how long? Is acclimation required?
  • Room temperature – Must be maintained before, during and after, (forever)
  • Underlayment requirements – OK to use other brands?
  • Maintenance – Improper maintenance, usage, unattainable expectations?


As a certified NALFA Inspector, Pergo certified installer and inspector and numerous other laminate certifications I am able to determine what has caused the condition reported. Get an expert, find out what really happened.

DO NOT ALLOW A BROKER'S inspector to inspect your floor. It's like having your house painted on the internet; you have no options after it is done.