The North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) recently hosted the 2004 ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Flooring Conference in Key West, Fla. Attendees discussed updated standards and improved testing methods for laminate flooring. Representatives from eight European countries attended, along with several NALFA representatives.

"NALFA is very pleased to be taking a more active role in the international standards dialogue," said Bill Dearing, president of NALFA. "This meeting provided us with an excellent opportunity to learn what our international counterparts are doing and allowed us to share our latest standards and testing methods with producers around the world."

At the ISO conference, NALFA representatives John Snow and Dennis Bradway presented its new FL-01-2003 ANSI-approved norm for laminate flooring, which provides a three-tiered standard of usage for residential, light commercial and commercial installations. The technical committee discussed how this new standard might provide the framework for a consolidated ISO/ANSI document. A suggested framework will be presented at the next meeting.

Presentations on locking strength, impact strength and thickness swelling were discussed, and it was recommended that these new standards move forward in the ISO approval process while NALFA representative John Snow of Wilsonart presented a study on a new method of measuring abrasion resistance, which is expected to change all existing methods used for laminate flooring.

There was additional dialogue on locking strength in varying international climate conditions with different static loads.

The ISO membership, which includes NALFA, which represents North American laminate flooring interests to the international group, voted to fully support the Environmental Declarations of Building Products, a project analyzing sustainability in building construction.