While vinyl flooring is anti-static, laminate floors can give you quite a shock. Carpeting is often the biggest culprit when it comes to static electricity, but laminate is problematic, too. In a kitchen, static is a mere annoyance. In other areas, the high charges can have detrimental effects, potentially interfering with computer equipment, speakers, and other electronics.
Scuffing your feet along a floor lets your feet pick up free electrons, and this can create charges as high as 25 kilovolts (kV). Charges even as low as 4kV can be painful when you touch a grounded object. Static electricity on laminate floors can be reduced by adding humidity to the air and keeping on top of dust.
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Identifying the Culprit
Static electricity builds up when the air is dry. For those who live in climates that are humid in the summer and dry in the winter, you might notice an increase in static electricity shocks during those dry, chilly months. People who live in dry climates in the desert might experience the shocks year-round.
The best way to reduce static electricity from building up on your laminate floors is to increase the humidity in your home, or at least within the room(s) with laminate flooring. Do this by setting up a humidifier and turning off the furnace when it's not needed. If you have a wood-burning stove, keep a pan or kettle of water simmering on top of the stove when the fire's going (free humidity!).
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Reducing the Shock
While static electricity is not caused by dust, it is made worse by a buildup of dust. So one way to reduce static is to dust or lightly mop laminate floors frequently. You can also use an electrostatic cloth when you're cleaning the floors, as the dust is attracted to the charge of the rag rather than being attracted to the static electricity on the flooring. You can also purchase anti-static spray and anti-static cleaner, both of which eliminate static charges instantly.
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Keeping Yourself Comfortable
Certain materials used for clothing increases the risk of getting a shock. Synthetic fibers and wool are conductive materials, which means you're more likely to get a shock after shuffling over a laminate floor in wool or synthetic socks than with cotton socks. There are also special anti-static shoes, though this might not be the most comfortable option in your own home.
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Switching to ESD Vinyl
If your space is truly a static-sensitive environment, such as a home recording studio, your best bet may be to replace the laminate flooring with electrostatic dissipative, or ESD, flooring. This is a vinyl flooring product, not laminate. Laminate is not available in anti-static forms. ESD vinyl flooring comes in a variety of types and styles, including easy-to-install interlocking tiles.
Some ESD products incorporate copper grounding strips or foils and anit-static polish or surface treatments; others are all-in-one tiles that simply snap in place over a suitable subfloor surface, without the need for a separate foil layer or special adhesives.