The resurgence of the U.S. laminate flooring category has been well documented. Over the past two years in particular, laminate has sought to recoup market share lost to certain sub-segments of the resilient category (i.e., SPC and WPC) due primarily to supply chain challenges with some popular, imported resilient products. This phenomenon forced specialty retailers and distributors to fill the void with domestically produced laminate flooring.
The question now is will this resurgence continue as supply chain issues surrounding imported SPC/WPC normalize and as domestic production of competing hard surface categories ramp up. The response from laminate suppliers so far is a resounding “yes.”
“Laminate is back and better than ever,” said Isaac Lee, director of product development at Eternity. “The revival of laminate is making a splash and the market is accepting it with open arms. Right now, there’s a big waterproof laminate craze going with so many products coming onto the market.”
Lee is not alone. “We expect the resurgence to continue, and our projections call for the laminate category to grow between 5% and 7%,” said David Sheehan, vice president, residential hard surface, Mannington. However, he’s of the opinion that the laminate category never left in the first place. “Laminate remains popular in the U.S., so talk of a ‘comeback’ is a bit surprising. I describe it more as a ‘renewed interest.’”
Other proponents include Brian Parker, vice president of product management for AHF Products, which expanded its portfolio in 2021 to include laminate flooring. “Laminate is making a resurgence for sure,” he said. “SPC has been the fastest growing category for about seven years, but over the past few years laminate has also been growing quickly. It now has a waterproof performance story to it and there’s special interest in domestic supply.”
Companies like Johnson Hardwood, traditionally a hardwood flooring supplier before throwing its hat into the SPC/LVT ring, is also betting big on laminate. “We’re very excited about our laminate products, which is a new category for Johnson,” said John Ousley, vice president of sales and distribution. “The laminate category has really started to come back to life. It’s unique in that it not only offers clean visuals but also dent resistance and durability.”
Across the board, the investments suppliers are making in the laminate flooring category reflect their faith that those investments will pay big dividends moving forward. Take Mohawk, for example. Over the past two-plus years, the company has poured millions in its laminate plants in support of new technologies and additional capacity at its domestic production facilities.
Then there are firms like CFL, which has supported the U.S. laminate flooring market from the get-go. Not to be outdone, companies like Inhaus—a longtime player in the U.S. laminate arena—is also looking to raise the innovation stakes to support the still-growing category. The company is putting a lot of R&D dollars as well as marketing muscle behind its signature Lamdura offering, the company’s latest laminate innovation touting direct digital printing and high-tech embossing for added texture.
Following is a sampling of some of the latest high-performance laminate flooring products hitting the market today:
AHF Products, which markets more than a dozen flooring brands covering hardwood, LVT and SPC, has extended its offering to cover the resurgent laminate flooring category. Six of the company’s hard surface lines, including Bruce, Hartco, Robbins, Autograph, tmbr and Hearthwood, are now available in a laminate option under the TimberTru banner. All lines are offered in a 10+2 structure (8mm thickness plus a 2mm attached pad in an 8-inch-wide format), giving homeowners what AHF calls “the right amount of material and heft needed for a more solid feel underfoot.”
Cali expands its offering of eco-friendly flooring solutions to include laminate. The new Shorebreak line features ultra-realistic stone visuals made to be stronger, lighter, warmer and easier to install and clean than the real thing. This modernized laminate tile is fortified by an SPC core for 100% waterproof flooring that is safe for families and brings an instant upgrade to any room.
Eternity Sequoia XL
The latest laminate offering from Eternity is Dubbed Sequoia XL, a 6-foot-long plank format touting optimal waterproof performance. Made in Spain, the product features an AC6 rating for wear and dent resistance—the highest rating currently available—and boasts trendy designs, including wood visuals that offer up to 24 variations before a pattern repeat appears. Built on a platform that entails 6-foot planks on a 9.5-inch board, the product features a 3D textured surface. MSRP is $3.99–$4.99 per square foot.
Johnson Hardwood Olde Tavern/Bella Vista
Johnson Hardwood continues to expand its comfort zone—first entering the rigid core arena and now broadening its hard surface offerings with high-performance laminate floors. Olde Tavern is available in realistic, rustic/reclaimed visuals with EIR embossing that mirrors its genuine hardwood offerings, while Bella Vista conveys cleaner, more elegant visuals.
Olde Tavern and Bella Vista are AC4 and AC5 rated, respectively, for wear resistance, and each features WaterShield technology to prevent topical water incursion.
BHW Floors Kingston collection
This isn’t your grandmother’s laminate floor. The new Kingston collection reveals eight high-resolution planks that stand up to everyday accidents. The line features an i4F locking system for easy installation, a tough AC4 wear layer for scratch resistance and 100% waterproof functionality. Brimming at 12mm + 1mm attached IXPE pad thickness, these laminates are designed to last a lifetime.
CFL AtroGuard Q
After breaking ground in the water-resistant laminate flooring category in 2013, CFL plans to take laminate again to the next level with its patent-pending AtroGuard Q, designed to dramatically reduce the noise level typically associated with laminate flooring. According to CFL, AtroGuard Q is up to 6x times quieter than standard laminate and features all the advantages customers have come to expect from a waterproof laminate floor—durability, scratch and dent resistance and visual appeal. “Added value/innovation will be key moving forward to ensure continuous growth for us in the category,” said Barron Frith, president, CFL North America.
Lamdura, a ground-breaking 2022 laminate from Inhaus, has been upgraded for 2023. All tiers within the line each feature new colors, are now water resistant, anti-microbial and embossed in register. Lamdura boasts a high-density, water-resistant core (Aqua Protect), a commercially rated wear layer (abrasion class 5) with a proprietary finishing process that creates a scratch-resistant surface. All Lamdura collections also feature Inhaus’ patented Megaloc 2.0 water-resistant, angle-fold locking system.
Lions Floor Comfort Heights
Lions Floor Comfort Heights collection aims to take home décor to the next level. The large-profile laminate plank resembles the authentic and timeless charm of hardwood. The EIR embossed yet matte finish is a vivid expression of nature. Proven to be water-resistant with a micro painted bevel, waxed joints and AC4-level scratch resistance, Comfort Heights high-density core delivers beauty and durability.
Harmony, part of Mannington’s Restoration collection, is based on Japanese maple species that conveys a peaceful and harmonious environment. Its smooth surface, consistent graining and 8-inch-wide footprint make for a clean, timeless look that coordinates with the restorative home interior trend. More importantly, the collection features 20 individual plank designs in a box—which creates a more realistic visual—and features SpillShield Plus Waterproof technology.
Mohawk RevWood Premier
Mohawk remains committed to building out its popular RevWood portfolio by adding 14 new styles to RevWood’s Plus and Premier tiers. Both RevWood Plus and RevWood Premier feature Mohawk’s proprietary WetProtect technology for the “right kind” of waterproofing, offering maximum scratch protection and All Pet Protection & Warranty. The collection was recently upgraded to feature Mohawk’s proprietary Signature Technology, an innovation based on high-definition scanning and printing capabilities for extremely realistic hardwood visuals.
SLCC’s laminate flooring options feature wavy design patterns and natural-looking knots made from oak for a very modern and contemporary look and feel. Available in 7.5-inch wide boards and herringbones—and backed by a 25-year warranty—this is an affordable, durable and performance-designed flooring ideal for any active family. Realistic EIR textures and real wood grain patterned décors distinguish this laminate from the pack.
Urbanfloor The BLVD
One of the highlights of the 2023 Urbanfloor lineup is TheBLVD—an all-new collection of 7.6-inch-wide, water-resistant laminate. The eye-catching, European-made collection includes 20 trendy new SKUs featuring AC5 scratch-resistance, an antimicrobial surface and realistic in-register embossing.