Even though overall prices within the laminate category have dropped in recent years and more products fall into the low and mid range price points, there is still a market for high end goods.
As such, there are still laminate companies promoting high end products as they recognize it not only separates dealers from the pack, it allows retailers to earn higher profits as the margins on these goods are better.
The following are just a few of the high-end laminate products available:
Recognizing that Armstrong customers are “people who put lifestyle first,” Allen Cubell, vice president of product management, residential, said New England Long Plank and Sapele from Bruce, and Weathered Way and Limestone Tile from Armstrong are examples of this.
Throw in a new edge treatment that “dramatically improves moisture resistance,” along with the Armstrong and/ or Bruce name and consumers feel confident “they’ve made the best choice,” he added.
In terms of the products mentioned, Cubell said laminate offers “value versus real wood. [Plus] tile visuals have always been popular in laminate, and one of Armstrong’s best-selling products. Today’s designs are among the most realistic we have ever done.”
Fred Giuggio, vice president of the Formica Flooring brand, said the company’s high end Quintessa remains one of its most popular lines. So much so Formica has doubled the number of designs in the collection to 10.
The five new designs are Cinnamon Pecan, Meadow Birch, River Birch, Parker Birch and Henley Birch and include all the high end features of the original Quintessa designs, including Formica’s exclusive FormiLock installation system, along with handscraped textures and beveled edges.
“Quintessa is truly top-of-the-line in the Formica Flooringlineup,” he noted, saying the 12mm thick, 6-foot long planks are backed by a lifetime residential warranty.
Restoration takes advantage of “today’s technology in laminate to achieve the beauty of yesterday,” noted Dan Natkin, product manager, hardwood and resilient. “We attribute the success of the collection to its unique, yet versatile, styling as well as to its wider, thicker plank.”
The collection is available in two patterns—Historic Oak and Black Forest Oak, with a total of seven colors. Natkin said the first possesses all the character and depth of a reclaimed wood floor with realistic saw marks and nail holes, “providing a one-of-a-kind feel.”
Black Forest also has a clean-yet-rustic feel, he said, but features a unique surface texture which creates a 3D effect. “It combines the rich grain of oak with the deep, yet subtle, character of wirebrushing for a naturally chic look.”
Eric Erickson, laminate category manager, said Timberline from the Anderson-inspired Textured Expressions “has been one of our most successful products this year.”
Drawing inspiration from Anderson’s hand-hewn hardwoods, the product’s “unique texture—light, overall hand-scraping—looks natural and upscale. It is a pith hickory handscraped visual on a 12mm format so it has a great deal of character.”
Available in five colors—Corduroy Road, Sawmill, River Valley, Reservoir and Lumberjack—the pallet and textures were taken from the trends “we are seeing
in hardwood,” he explained. Timberline uses Shaw’s LocNPlace installation technology, Erickson said, adding the nearly 51⁄2-inch wide planks allow the cross-sawn marks, worm holes and swirling heartwood visuals to stand out.