Some hard surface suppliers sought to cash on in the suddenly resurgent laminate flooring category as a result of difficulty in sourcing rigid core products from overseas—a consequence of the pandemic. Companies like Eternity Flooring, however, have long been proponents of the category as evidenced by its hefty investment in not only R&D but also through its strategic partnerships with key suppliers around the globe.
Heading into 2023, Eternity Flooring is doubling down on that commitment to the category by rolling out an impressive array of multi-tiered, high-performance laminate flooring products designed to fill voids in the market while giving retailers more opportunities to earn higher margins.
The latest offering is a new laminate line that Eternity Flooring said raises the stakes in waterproof performance. “Right now there’s a big waterproof laminate craze going, with so many products coming onto the market,” said Isaac Lee, marketing and product development manager at Eternity. “But we believe we have something that has the least amount of swell rate compared to other waterproof laminate floors on the market.”
Dubbed Sequoia XL, the 6-foot-long planks tout optimal waterproof performance with an AC6 rating for wear and dent resistance—the highest rating currently available. Made in Spain, the products also boast trendy designs, including wood visuals that offer up to 24 variations before you see a pattern repeat. Built on a platform that entails 6-foot planks on a 9 ½-inch board, the product features a 3D textured surface.
“It really, truly feels like hardwood,” Lee explained. “It’s not like some of the other embossed-in-register products that you see in some laminates out there. These are some of the best-looking, trendy designs offering visuals that are exclusive to Eternity.”
Retailers like George Keroglyan, president/owner of Carpet Market, North Hollywood, Calif., concurred. “This product, which I understand is made in Spain, is an awesome product,” he said. “I really like the long boards. Plus, it has a ‘real’ AC6 rating.”
Another head-turner is a product called Hyperion XXL (short for extra-long and wide) waterproof laminate flooring. “At almost 8-feet long x 9¼ inches wide, this is the longest laminate planks you’ll see in the market,” Lee stated. “When you stand next to it, it’s huge!”
And good looking, too, apparently. Like the Seqouia XL line, the 12 visuals in Hyperion XXL are exclusive to Eternity. “The designs are very trendy with minimal knots,” Lee explained. “The designs reflect more of the coastal and European looks you’re seeing in the market right now.”
Eternity also offers its workhorse Ecoessent, premium Aqua-Resilience waterproof laminate that comes in a 2-, 4- and 6-foot random length planks. It sports an overall thickness of 12mm, which includes a 2mm attached pad. Initially launched at Surfaces in 2020, the popular line has been expanded to include more designs, colors and plank options. Eternity also offers a new line of Made in the USA waterproof performance laminate that was unveiled in 2022. That line, positioned as an entry-level offering, consists of 12 trendy colors. It’s also Greenguard certified for environmental compliance. “Both are doing very well in the market right now,” Lee said.
Carpet Market’s Keroglyan can attest. He has sold the product for scores of residential applications as well as high-traffic, high-abuse commercial jobs like jump clubs. “We’ve had good reviews in terms of customer feedback,” he told FCNews. “It’s top quality and it looks really nice when it’s installed.”
From the entry-level Made in the USA laminate line to the top-end Hyperion XXL offering, Eternity offers retailers a lineup that’s based on a good-better-best platform. For instance, the American-made laminate sells between $2.99–$3.99 per square foot, while Hyperion XXL and Ecoessent will fall somewhere between $3.50 and $4.50. Sequoia—the product from Spain—has a suggested retail price range of $3.99–$4.99 per square foot.
“These are designed to help retailers stay competitive in their markets while still providing opportunities to make a profit,” said Doron Gol, president and CEO, Eternity.
More importantly, according to Eternity executives, these high-quality, waterproof laminate offerings serve as a countermeasure to some competitive rigid core products that have not performed to the consumer’s expectations. Retailers and distributors alike have reported increased callbacks with some sub-par SPC products (see story on page 26.)
“We can see already here in Los Angeles, there’s a lot of retailers who are throwing out SPC,” Gol explained. “They don’t want SPC in the showroom because of the claims. People are fed up with SPC.”
Aside from the claims associated with some SPC products, there are other shortcomings inherent with the product. As Lee explained: “It’s not because of defects or anything like that—it’s because it’s a very unforgiving product. That means the prep work—leveling, moisture tests, etc., has to be done properly. Then the installation has to be perfect. Obviously, the installers should always follow the industry standards, but many don’t—and that’s where it bites everyone in the butt.”
It’s in this aspect that laminate has the advantage, according to Lee. “Laminate was always more of a forgiving product because it’s thicker, easier to install and has a thicker click system. The only thing that was missing back in the day was the waterproof aspect. Now that it’s waterproof, it’s a no-brainer.”