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The AC, or abrasion class, is a rating that goes from 1 to 5, and represents the amount of traffic assembled planks can take. Planks with an AC 1 rating are for very low traffic areas, such as kids' bedrooms. Those marked with an AC 3 rating, are suitable for living rooms or moderately heavy traffic areas in the house. AC 4-rated planks are the most commonly sold in South Africa, and can withstand moderate to heavy foot traffic. AC 5 planks are installed in areas where there is a continuous, prolonged press of heavy traffic.
The choice between glueless and conventional can be a tricky one. While traditionalists will support planks that have to be glued together, our recommendation is to opt for glueless - not only because it's easier to install and less messy, but because it can be repaired and even uninstalled with the minimum amount of fuss. This will save you a lot of trouble and effort when the missus decides it's time to remodel.
Installations can at times experience what is known in the industry as 'peaking'. It happens when two or more planks push together from different directions, lifting each other off their supporting surface. Left unattended, peaking can damage planks, the walls and even cause accidents related to uneven floors.
Luckily it's easily solved: lift up the moulding using a hammer or flat tip screwdriver without damaging the underlying planks, and adjust the spacers by shaving a few millimetres off. Alternatively, adjust the size of the relevant planks closest to the wall.
Since laminate floors are made from wood, they are affected by water. Professional installers throughout South Africa recommend following the instructions that came with the product to install a water barrier - even if you live in a dry area. The reason for this is that concrete and other materials store moisture which can later transfer to the planks, causing them to soften, rot and ultimately break.
More tips like these are freely available if you need to install, repair or maintain a laminate floor. Simply get in touch for an expert opinion from some of South Africa's foremost industry professionals.