Laminate: Innovations boost water-resistant capabilities
It might be counterintuitive to think that a product like laminate flooring—which is essentially built on a high-density fiberboard core derived from wood byproducts—could resist the ingress of water. However, suppliers continue to demonstrate through innovation, ingenuity and imagination that laminate floors can indeed be redesigned to be more resistant to spills or other domestic accidents (excluding catastrophic flooding).
Whether it’s improvements to the core materials, edging or resins themselves or the product-specific installation systems, there is no doubt that suppliers have stepped up to provide more features and benefits to the end user.
Below is a selection of laminate flooring products available today that utilize waterproof and/or water resistant technologies.
Bruce, an AHF Products brand long associated with hardwood floors, has expanded to include waterproof laminate floors. Collections include: TimberTru, a 12mm product that combines high performance with realistic hardwood visuals; and Basic Wonders, an 8mm line designed to deliver reliable performance but at a value-driven price. Both collections are billed as waterproof, according to the company, providing top-down moisture protection for up to 24 hours.
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While some companies are just wading into the waterproof/waterproof laminate pool, others have been dragging the water for several years now. A good example of this is CFL, which has successfully launched its AtroGuard waterproof laminate line in markets around the world. The product has a natural wood fiber floor that combines the durability of laminate with the stability of LVP.
The Lofts collection from Create offers water-resistant protection, thanks in part to the construction of the core, which is specially formulated to prevent moisture absorption. According to the company, the product is designed to withstand most moisture-related accidents and is backed by a lifetime waterproof warranty. “It’s really waterproof laminate,” said Candince Zhu, owner of Muchsee, parent company of the Create brand. “No special perimeter kit is needed; the waterproof properties are built into the product.”
The Dixie Group
The Dixie Group first entered the hard surface arena with a range of hard core offerings under the TruCor brand and hardwoods under the premium Fabrica label. Now it’s throwing its hat in the suddenly resurgent laminate arena with Tymbr, a premium collection designed to be water resistant for up to 72 hours. The product is backed by a 10-year warranty for residential bathrooms and kitchens and has an AC5 rating for scratch resistance.
Everyone comes into contact with laminate these days, even companies that were once only players in the soft surfaces segment. A good example of this is Engineered Floors, whose Dream Weaver brand for residential floors has expanded to include rigid-core floating floors and now laminate. Dream Weaver’s water-resistant laminate, the Timber Step brand, comes from Kaindl, a well-known European manufacturer. Timber Step will be stocked in Georgia to ensure adequate availability for specialty stores.
Known for its SPC innovations, Eternity Flooring recently took the wraps off its Ecoessent Incore line of eco-friendly composite waterproof laminate. Featuring the company’s tough 12.3mm Aqua Fiber Core, Ecoessent Incore is designed and tested to withstand everyday household spills for up to 72 hours. In addition, Incore is child and pet friendly and mop safe. In addition, Eternity offers 12 SKUs of US-made laminate flooring in addition to 12 SKUs of Austrian-made waterproof laminate flooring called AquaFi.
Inhaus spotlights Lamdura, an ultra-premium laminate made in Germany. The product features a water-resistant, high-density Aqua Protect core and a commercially-rated AC5 wear layer for added durability. As if that weren’t enough, Lamdura also features Inhaus’ patented Megaloc 2.0 water-resistant corner-folded locking system. The line is offered in two initial collections: Inspirations and Landmark.
“With Lamdura, we gave our designers and engineers a clean slate and said, ‘Let’s develop the best possible laminate, with all possible functions and benefits,’” said Derek Welbourn, CEO of Inhaus.
One of the latest waterproof laminate collections comes from a company that originally specialized in hardwood floors before expanding its offerings to include rigid-core products. Johnson Hardwood recently unveiled a high-quality laminate offering based on some of the most popular hardwood visuals. “The feedback has been phenomenal,” said Billy Ko, president. “It offers up to 72 hours of water protection, it has an AC4 wear rating and the visuals are spectacular. It is a high-quality, high-quality floor.”
Aside from its impressive array of SPC/rigid core offerings, Lions Floor is also an emerging player in the resurgent laminate flooring category. New from Lions is the Bloom collection, a 12-SKU range of trendy products, including a striking herringbone pattern. The line also scores points in the performance department.
Every product in the Bloom collection has moisture-resistant waxed edges intended to prevent the ingress of liquids during accidental spills or accidents.
Mannington’s best-selling Restoration Collection may be best known for its ultra-realistic hardwood imagery, but that’s not its only standout feature. The award-winning laminate line also features innovative waterproof technology called SpillShield Plus, which guarantees that the floor will not be damaged by spills and standing moisture for 72 hours.
“Laminate offers many advantages that appeal to the retailer, the installer and the consumer: easy-to-install mechanical locking systems; embossed-in-register design for highly realistic texture; digital printing for sharp and clear images; and exceptional scratch and dent resistance; and waterproof technologies,” said David Sheehan, VP, Residential Hard Surface, Mannington Mills. “Thanks to innovative technologies such as our SpillShield Plus, consumers can now install it in every room in their home.”
Mohawk’s popular line of RevWood products pretty much check all the boxes when it comes to styling, design, value and performance. But his virtues do not end there. The company, which recently won the top prize in the laminate category in FCNews’ annual Award of Excellence competition, demonstrated why it is an industry leader with the enhancement of its range of RevWood offerings. New styles in the collection feature Mohawk’s patented WetProtect technology that allows the product to be installed safely in areas prone to spills or other accidents.
“We continue to innovate RevWood Plus with our brand new WetProtect technology,” said David Moore, senior product director for wood and laminate. “WetProtect offers the right kind of waterproofing with waterproof compounds, Mohawk’s patented waterproof finish, and the industry’s only lifetime warranty for surface and subfloors.”
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