In recent years, the hardwood flooring category has ceded market share to the likes of competing hard surface segments such as resilient (namely LVT/SPC/WPC) as well as laminate and ceramic—all of which have made strides in mimicking the wood-look visuals. At the same time, many of these alternative product segments have also excelled in the performance department, thanks to ongoing innovations in waterproof/water-resistant technologies.
However, wood flooring suppliers are looking to take back some of the share they lost by building water-resistant/waterproof attributes in their products. These innovations run the gamut from wood/SPC hybrids to products that feature advanced topical treatments, innovative cores as well as complementary installation systems designed to prevent water from penetrating the top surface of the planks.
Following are some of the latest innovations in waterproof and water-resistant hardwood flooring:
AHF’s expanding array of waterproof hardwood offerings include products like Hydropel (under the Bruce brand) as well as HydroBlok from the Hartco lineup—both of which feature the company’s patent-pending Densified Wood technology. Hydropel and HydroBlok are 100% waterproof engineered hardwood flooring infused with proprietary technology to resist water for up to 36 hours. This is possible due to an ultra-high-density core fiberboard technology paired with a special coating and locking system that helps protect against everyday spills, wet mopping or even pet accidents from absorbing into the wood or leaking between planks into the subfloor. This innovative construction, according to AHF, is denser and more water resistant than typical plywood or high-density fiberboard cores.
GeoWood from Cali aims to offer consumers the best of two worlds: the durability and visual appeal of real hardwood combined with the waterproof qualities of SPC. GeoWood offers three wear layer options—oak, maple or bamboo—bonded to a 100% waterproof limestone composite core. This combination, according to Cali, makes the product exceptionally strong and dimensionally stable. “An SPC hardwood hybrid like GeoWood is as close to a truly waterproof wood floor as you can get,” said Doug Jackson, president. “It’s the happy, innovative middle ground between LVT and real wood, and serves a category of customer who still wants a natural product.”
Mannington dives into the waterproof wood pool with TimberPlus, a top-to-bottom real wood floor. Touting extreme durability, TimberPlus boasts 2x more scratch resistance and 3x more dent-resistant capabilities than typical hardwood. Mannington’s SpillShield Plus technology combined with Välinge’s 5G Dry profile work in conjunction with a moisture-resistant core to keep water from seeping down to the subfloor. The product scores points in the visuals department as well. Featuring European white oak in a long-and-wide format, TimberPlus boasts extra-large hardwood planks measuring 8 inches wide x 7 feet long. What’s more, the products are made with a technique allowing 10x more flooring to be produced from the same amount of lumber as traditional wood floors.
MSI has expanded its signature Everlife brand of waterproof LVT products to include Woodhills Waterproof Wood. The innovative line features authentic, hand-selected, high-end wood flooring that combines artisan craftsmanship with MSI’s proprietary engineering. Woodhills features a genuine, handcrafted wood top wear layer bonded to a rigid stone core. Available in 11 colors, the collection comes in 6 ½-inch-wide x 48-inch-long planks that showcase the rich and natural aesthetic of hand-selected wood flooring. Additional features include MSI’s exclusive DryLuxe technology and a pre-attached pad for increased comfort and noise suppression. The combination of features aims to deliver a luxury hardwood floor with all the benefits of rigid core LVT—durability, visual appeal and ease of installation and maintenance.
To help its retail partners keep up with demand for on-trend, performance-enhanced hardwood flooring, Mohawk is strengthening its portfolio with additions to its UltraWood line. These include new collections in character maple and European white oaks as well as enhancements to UltraWood Plus with CleanProtect. UltraWood floors also feature Mohawk’s patented WetProtect technology, a lifetime surface and subfloor waterproof warranty as well as EasyClean technology. “The consumer enters into the purchase journey wanting hardwood; if you can get hardwood with all the performance benefits, why would they want a plastic floor?” stated Seth Arnold, vice president of hard surface marketing, Mohawk.
Shaw Floors announced the rollout out of new hardwood introductions featuring Repel Splash-Proof Hardwood. New styles include Tactility Oak and Tactility Hickory, both of which are based on an HDF core and come in 6 3/8-inch-widths in random lengths up to nearly 60 inches. Repel Hardwood is backed by a splash-proof limited warranty that protects against moisture due to normal cleaning practices as well as moisture due to everyday household spills. Repel Hardwood also features the durable ScufResist Platinum finish for optimal protection against scuffing and scratching.
“Our new Repel engineered hardwood introductions focus on craftsmanship as well as lasting durability and cleanability,” said Matt Rosato, hard surface channel director for Shaw Floors. “Customers want style and performance and Repel is prepared to give them both with timeless hardwood visuals and industry-leading durability.”
The natural beauty of real hardwood coupled with Wellmade’s high-performance HDPC/SPC rigid core makes waterproof hardwood a reality. The product, which comes available in standard 5 x 48-inch planks as well as wider/longer premium planks measuring 7 x 84 inches, is ideal for areas of the home that are prone to moisture.
Wellmade set a precedent in the emerging hybrid flooring category with its patented HDPC/SPC waterproof hardwood and strand bamboo product lines. Featuring the natural beauty and warmth of real hardwood coupled with the performance virtues of rigid core, HDPC/SPC represents the next generation of engineered flooring with proven durability and waterproof performance. Ideal for areas of the home that are prone to moisture, HDPC/SPC hardwood and strand bamboo features a dense, non-porous surface that repels dirt and topical spills while sealing out moisture from below. Add to that an anti-microbial, mold-resistant IXPE pad and you have flooring that promotes both comfort and cleanliness.
Torlys’ new EverestXP line of hardwood flooring, billed by the company as “The Pinnacle of Hardwood,” was created to offer end users a variety of design possibilities across different wood species in wider, longer and cleaner grade planks. More importantly, products in the EverestXP collection—which are made from 100% natural materials—offer waterproof surface technology for installation in any residential or commercial space. According to the company, this provides consumers and end users with the high performance they have come to expect from today’s engineered hardwood products without sacrificing the beauty of natural wood.
“Water and wood do not normally mix—until now,” said Peter Barretto, president and CEO of Torlys. “Consumers are walking into retail shops asking for a waterproof floor, yet they want natural hardwood. Torlys EverestXP is the answer to what they are asking for. It has the water resistance, dent resistance and is the only hardwood floor currently on the market that offers an AC4 wear layer for extreme wear resistance.”
With several of the latest technologies developed and patented by Välinge Innovation, parent company of Välinge Flooring, the Hardened Wood Floor collection offers outstanding benefits compared to traditional hardwood floors. Game-changing innovations such as the company’s signature Woodura surface technology and the 5G Dry fold-down system not only make the stunning real wood floors waterproof but also three to five times stronger than the average hardwood floor.
Another innovation added to the range is the collection of Brushed Lacquered Hardened Wood Floors in XL and XXL sizes (up to 10 3/4 inches wide x 94 inches long). Created with a combination of the impressive Woodura technology and a new brushing method, the result is durable, water- and impact-resistant real hardwood flooring with modern design and aesthetics.