New EPLF Technical Bulletin: “Underlay Materials”

EPLF, the Association of European Producers of Laminate Flooring, provides active and practical guidance in the often-confusing maze of different standards. For this reason, EPLF has produced a new technical bulletin: “Underlay Materials under Laminate Floor Coverings –Test Standards and Performance Indicators”.  It explains the test methods of the new technical specification for underlay materials CEN/TS16354 and provides instructions and assistance with selecting the right underlay for laminate flooring for different forms of use.

What do you need to be aware of when laying laminate on heated or cooled floors? What properties must an underlay display to withstand various loads such as heavy furniture, office chairs with castors or impact from objects? What is the minimum reduction in footstep sound that an underlay should offer?

The EPLF technical bulletin provides producers, suppliers, planners, tradespersons, the trade and potential end users with the information they need. It aims to make the “Laminate flooring system“ – i.e. the combination of flooring and underlay – even safer, better and more comfortable.

Dr. Theo Smet, Chairman of the EPLF’s Technical Committee, hopes that the data sheet proves popular: “European manufacturers of laminate flooring supply high-quality products. Because laminate flooring is usually laid to be floating, the underlay materials form an important part of the flooring system and often provide sufficient grounds for complaint if the flooring is laid incorrectly. But that can be avoided. The right underlay optimizes the entire laminate flooring system and extends its service life. This results in even more satisfied customers who enjoy their laminate flooring for even longer.” As a rule, the entire flooring system, i.e. the combination of laminate floor covering and underlay, needs to meet the user’s requirements, whether it is fitted at home or in commercial areas. The structural characteristics of the building and the existing under floor construction play just as important a role as how the flooring is used or the acoustic requirements.

The technical bulletin shows the common symbols used, explains what the technical abbreviations mean and lists the key technical data with which the performance and strength of an underlay can be assessed. This provides clear criteria for selecting the right underlay materials for floating laminate floors. Specific recommendations are provided on the basis of minimum values and values for more stringent requirements. “The more .., the more …” guidelines are highlighted in color and provide practical help for the assessment. The technical bulletin, prepared through the selection of suitable test methods, is a good source of reference for the requirements for the underlay materials and a valuable guide for the industry.