By Reginald Tucker Las Vegas—Even before the current shipping woes fueled backlogs in deliveries of many rigid core products, industry observers had already begun gauging a renewed interest in the laminate flooring category—particularly homegrown products. That resurgent popularity, observers say, is due in large measure to ongoing innovations in the form of more realistic visuals and textures, coupled with performance enhancements designed to improve laminates’ resistance to moisture incursion.
Concrete examples of those innovations and enhancements were on full display at Surfaces 2021 earlier this month, as several big names in laminate demonstrated their commitment to the category via the utilization of technology to get retailers excited about laminate again.
Case in point is Mohawk, which continues to build upon the success of its RevWood family of laminate products as well as its Pergo-branded laminate offerings. Within the RevWood offering, for example, the Bellente line was a standout at the show. The product, constructed on a 3⁄8-inch platform, features contemporary, modern oaks that reflect the same trends that are driving real wood sales. “Bellente hits those natural, white-washed looks that are popular with today’s consumer,” said Adam Ward, senior product director of hardwood and laminate. “Plus, the surface texture is great and the GenuEdge bevel draws the consumer’s eyes to the product.”
Mohawk also put the spotlight on its Pergo Elements line, which debuts in two collections: Pergo Originals and Pergo Preferred. Unlike RevWood, all Pergo laminated wood products offer attached pad plus ActiveFresh antimicrobial protection, which is built into the product’s wear layer. Pergo Preferred products also feature GenuEdge technology, which not only provides a more realistic aesthetic but also results in a tighter fit. “Display orders are tracking well for both laminate lines,” Ward said. “We’ve had some really good orders.”
Other suppliers/importers are betting big on laminate products. For instance, Lions Floor—which plays predominantly in the rigid core/SPC category—is also devoting significant investments toward improving the visual and performance aspects of the category. “While we are focused mainly on SPC, we realize there is still a strong market for laminate flooring,” said Jerry Guo, president. “Not only is it a durable product, but it can also mitigate imperfections in the subfloor. It’s a stable material.”
Lions Floor has been working closely with its supplier partners in Asia to come up with ways to improve on the product’s resistance to moisture. The company is confident the resulting product will be a game-changer for the category. “We are working with our supplier on a 6-foot-long laminate product that, after being submerged in water for 90 hours, will not absorb any moisture in the core itself,” Guo told FCNews. “We see a big market opening up for this type of technology.”
More importantly, he said he expects this new innovation will translate into a product that will offer retailers higher margins. “Traditionally, laminates provided very low margins for retailers,” he said. “But we believe there’s still big profits to be made in this category. And as we bring in these waterproof laminate flooring features—along with realistic color and design—it will create a window for laminate to shine.”