This wasn't supposed to happen...
You're walking across your laminate kitchen floor to the dishwasher, touch the dishwasher, and--snap! Your finger receives a mild static electricity shock. A familiar-enough feeling on carpeting, but laminate flooring? No way. You must be dreaming.
Can you reduce static on your laminate floors? Should you even buy anti-static laminate?
01 of 05
Why It Happens
Dry air is the main culprit. Dust exacerbates the problem. But why does this happen on laminate flooring in particular?
The short answer is that laminate flooring is not very conductive.
When you're looking at a floor and it looks like wood, it's not. What you're seeing is a picture of wood imprinted on paper, which itself is fused onto fiberboard. So, what you're seeing is a clear layer called melamine resin that is created out of formaldehyde and melamine. Aluminum oxide, an extremely hard substance, is added to this so-called wear layer. In short, you're walking on a kind of plastic which is highly non-conductive, creating the perfect environment for static electricity.
02 of 05
Can You Prevent It?
First, there are the usual static-reducing measures you can take. The most important are to increase the humidity in the affected area. While turning down (or off) forced air heat does the trick, it makes no sense to do this when you need heat. Avoiding synthetic or wool clothing helps, too. Finally, keeping dust off your floor (more on this below) will help to reduce static electricity.
03 of 05
Where It's a Bad Thing
In a kitchen, static is a mere annoyance. Scuffing your feet along a kitchen floor can create charges as high as 25 kV. Charges even as low as 4kV will feel painful when you touch a grounded object.
In other areas, the high charges can have detrimental effects, ruining equipment in
- Residential rooms with computers.
- Home music rooms with microphones, amplifiers, speakers, etc.
- Laboratories with sensitive equipment.
In a kind of vicious cycle, as I noted earlier static can be mitigated by cleaning your floors of dust. Yet static electricity itself acts as a dust magnet. See the problem here?
04 of 05
How Makes Anti-Static Laminate Flooring?
It's possible to buy laminate flooring specified as anti-static; not all laminate is anti-static.
The idea behind this is to integrate carbonic acid salts or carbonic acid esters into that top resin layer. In other words, these are conductive carbon materials that are invisible to the user.
Uniclic, the parent company of Quick-Step, patented a leading anti-static wear layer in 2004. All Quick-Step laminate floor wear layers receive anti-static treatment.
Major laminate manufacturer, Kronotex USA, patented another early anti-static treatment through its Swiss sister company, Kronotec AG in 2001. Among other brands, Kronotex produces Formica-brand flooring.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Cleaners to Reduce Static Electricity
Other than the ability to pick up dust, laminate floor cleaners have no special static reducing additives.
Stateside is a major producer of static-reducing liquid products. Since laminate flooring cannot be coated, you cannot use their static dissipative floor covering products. However, you can use occasional topical solutions such as their Stateside General Purpose solution.