It might be counterintuitive to think a product like laminate flooring—which is essentially built on a high-density fiberboard core derived from wood by-products—could be resistant to water incursion. However, suppliers continue to demonstrate through innovation, ingenuity and imagination that laminate flooring can indeed be re-engineered to better withstand spills or other household accidents (catastrophic floods excluded).
Whether it’s improvements to the core materials, edges or resins themselves or the product-specific installation systems, there’s no doubt suppliers have stepped up to deliver more features and benefits for the end user.
Following is a sampling of laminate flooring products available today that tout waterproof and/or water-resistant technologies.
Bruce, an AHF Products brand long associated with hardwood flooring, has been expanded to include waterproof laminate flooring. Collections include: TimberTru, a 12mm offering that combines high performance with realistic hardwood visuals; and Basic Wonders, an 8mm line designed to provide 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.
While some companies are just now wading into the waterproof/water-resistant laminate flooring pool, others have been towing the waters for several years now. Case in point is CFL, which has been successfully marketing its AtroGuard waterproof laminate line in markets across the globe. The product boasts a natural wood fiber floor that combines the durability of laminate with the stability of LVP.
The Lofts collection from Create boasts 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 engineered to withstand most any moisture-related accidents and is backed by a lifetime waterproof warranty. “It’s a truly waterproof laminate,” said Candince Zhu, owner of Muchsee, parent company of the Create brand. “No special perimeter sealant is needed; the waterproof attributes are built into the product.”
The Dixie Group
The Dixie Group first entered the hard surface arena with a line of rigid core offerings under the TruCor brand and hardwood under the high-end Fabrica label. Now it’s throwing its hat into the suddenly resurgent laminate arena with Tymbr, a high-performance collection designed to be water-resistant up to 72 hours. The product is backed by a 10- year residential bath and kitchen warranty and features an AC5 rating for scratch resistance.
Everybody’s getting into the act with laminate these days—even companies that were at one time only players in the soft surface segment. Case in point is Engineered Floors, whose Dream Weaver residential flooring brand has been expanded to include floating rigid core flooring and now, laminate. Branded Timber Step, Dream Weaver’s water- resistant laminate is sourced from Kaindl, a well-known European manufacturer. Timber Step will be warehoused in Georgia to ensure ample availability for specialty retailers.
Eternity Flooring, known for its innovations in SPC, recently took the wraps off its Ecoessent Incore line of eco-friendly composite waterproof laminate. Featuring the company’s beefy, 12.3mm Aqua Fiber Core, Ecoessent Incore is engineered and tested to withstand everyday household spills for up to 72 hours. What’s more, Incore is child-and pet-friendly and wet-mop safe. In addition, Eternity offers 12 SKUs of U.S.-made laminate flooring in addition to 12 SKUs of Austrian- made waterproof laminate flooring called AquaFi.
Inhaus is putting the spotlight on Lamdura, an ultra-premium laminate made in Germany. The product boasts a high-density, water-resistant Aqua Protect core topped with a commercially rated AC5 wear layer for added durability. If that wasn’t enough, Lamdura also features Inhaus’ patented Megaloc 2.0 water-resistant, angle-fold locking sys- tem. The line is offered in two initial collections: Inspirations and Landmark.
“With Lamdura, we gave our designers and engineers a blank slate and said, ‘Let’s develop the best laminate we possibly can, with all the features and benefits possible,’” said Derek Welbourn, CEO of Inhaus.
One of the latest waterproof laminate collections actually comes from a company that originally specialized in hardwood flooring before it expanded its offering to include rigid core products. Johnson Hardwood recently unveiled a high-performance laminate offering based on some of its most popular hardwood visuals. “The feedback has been phenomenal,” said Billy Ko, president. “It provides up to 72 hours of protection against water, it has an AC4 wear rating and the visuals are spectacular. It’s a high-quality, high-performance floor.”
Aside from its impressive lineup of SPC/rigid core offerings, Lions Floor is also a rising player in the resurgent laminate flooring category. New from Lions comes the Bloom collection, a 12-SKU offering of trendy products, including an eye-catching herringbone pattern. The line also scores points in the performance department.
Each product in the Bloom collection boasts moisture-resistant waxed edges that aim to prevent the penetration of liquids during accidental spills or mishaps.
Mannington’s top-selling Restorations collection might be best known for its ultra-realistic hardwood visuals, but that’s not the only outstanding feature. The award-winning laminate line also boasts innovative waterproof technology called SpillShield Plus, which guarantees the floor will not be damaged from spills and standing moisture for 72 hours.
“Laminate presents quite a few advantages that are appealing to the retail salesperson, the installer and the consumer: easy-to-install mechanical locking systems; embossed-in- register design for an extremely realistic texture; digital printing for crisp and clear visuals; and extraordinary scratch and dent resistance; and waterproof technologies,” said David Sheehan, VP, residential hard surface, Mannington Mills. “Thanks to innovative technologies like our SpillShield Plus, consumers can now install it in any room in the house.”
Mohawk’s popular line of RevWood products check virtually all the boxes when it comes to styling, design, value and performance. But its virtues don’t end there. The company, which recently took home top prize in the laminate category in FCNews’ annual Award of Excellence competition, showed why it’s an industry leader with the enhancement of its family of RevWood offerings. New styles in the collection feature Mohawk’s patented WetProtect technology that enables the product to be safely installed in areas prone to spills or other accidents.
“We are further innovating RevWood Plus with our brand-new WetProtect technology,” said David Moore, senior product director, wood and laminate. “WetProtect offers the right kind of waterproof with water-tight joints, Mohawk’s proprietary waterproof finish and the industry’s only lifetime surface and subfloor warranty.”