By Reginald Tucker For those who believe laminate flooring suppliers are no longer investing huge sums in technologies to continue building on the product’s realism, think again. Many companies are utilizing advancements in embossing techniques, screening and digital printing technologies to render not only extremely realistic wood visuals but also the texture and heft of the real thing. Even the experts are challenged to discern between laminate and real wood based on sight alone.
That certainly could be said for collections such as the newly launched Lamdura line from Inhaus. The design-oriented, high-performance offering from the company that brought you innovative products such as Sono Eclipse boasts realistic wood looks but on a laminate flooring platform. “With Lamdura, our team of designers sat down with a blank slate and said, ‘Let’s develop the best laminate we possibly can,’” said Derek Welbourn, CEO.
While some companies utilize in-house capabilities, tools and the know-how to create one-of-a-kind hardwood visuals, others rely on their vendor partners to develop state-of-the-art visuals. “Cutting-edge digital printing technologies enable flooring manufacturers to create unique designs and achieve superior optical quality,” said John Rietveldt, CEO of i4F, which specializes in both digital printing capabilities for many hard surface products, including laminate. “Digital printing continues to play a crucial role in the future of flooring as it enables unlimited design flexibility and can be applied to a wide range of materials.”
Following is a sampling of some laminate collections that tout enhanced visual attributes.
HAVEN from Mannington
Mannington’s popular Restoration laminate collection—regarded for its exceptional realism—gets a new visual: Haven. The product’s subtle yet impactful visual features 20 individual plank designs in a European white oak platform based on the company’s premium hardwood line, Sanctuary. “Haven uses TruDetail technology, a remarkable digital print method that provides genuine natural variation and unmatched attention to detail,” said Cristen Del Bove, director of residential styling.
LAMDURA from Inhaus
Lamdura, which debuts in two collections (Inspirations and Landmark) utilizes the latest embossed-in-register technology, focused both on EIR texture and EIR gloss along with high-definition printing. Inspirations is a modern take on traditional hand-scraped hickory and some classic oak visuals with character, while Landmark is based on a more formal oak presentation, touting authentic looks with less character marks and more focus on color. “For Lamdura, we turned our design team loose to create their favorite designs,” Welbourn stated.
REVWOOD from Mohawk
RevWood continues to evolve as Mohawk builds on the success of the popular line. The latest looks include Bellente and Cypresta—a pair of contemporary, modern oak visuals offered in a 3/8-inch thickness vs. a ½-inch platform. “These looks round out the line and hit today’s trends,” said Adam Ward, senior product director.
BLOOM COLLECTION from Lions Floor
Primarily known for its extensive line of SPC/rigid core offerings, Lions Floor is no slouch when it comes to its laminate offerings. Its Bloom collection—which encompasses 12 SKUs, including a dazzling herringbone pattern—boasts some of the most realistic wood looks available. According to Jerry Guo, president, it’s all about the attention to detail. “The unique embossing technique makes the product practically indistinguishable from natural wood floors,” he said.
ATROGUARD from CFL
CFL’s Atroguard line has been expanded to feature new decors specifically developed to work with multiple design styles. These include wide-plank looks in today’s most in-demand wood species—oak and hickory. The company also plans to introduce feature designs with monochromatic looks. “We are continuously evaluating style and design trends when we introduce new colors,” said Lacy Price, U.S. marketing manager. “It’s all about providing greater versatility for our customers.”