The Evolution of Laminate

When many people think of laminate flooring, they might think of it as a cheap, fake alternative to hardwood floors. Why is that though? Why does the general public assume that laminate is not suitable for their home?

These days, modern laminate flooring is the exact opposite of “cheap”. Not only is it durable, waterproof, and reliable, but many options are also uncanny to real wood. Technology has truly changed the look and feel of laminate over the last 20 years.

To really appreciate its current appeal, let’s step back and experience the evolution of laminate.

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is made of multiple layers, starting with a dense fiberboard core that holds the plank together. A backing layer is typically attached to resist moisture, a top image is printed to give the look of real wood, and finally, a wear layer tops the planks for scratch and fade resistance.

Laminate also utilizes the click-lock system, which allows the planks to float on the subfloor. This eliminates the need for glue, nails, staples, and other adhesive materials, making it a cost-effective option for many families.

The Beginning of Laminate

While laminate materials have been around for over 100 years, laminate flooring stepped into the consumer market in the early 1970s. In the early days, laminate was far lower quality than today. The unrealistic designs and delicate nature of the product didn’t sit well with homeowners. Ultimately this led to the stereotype that laminate flooring was poor quality, which some people still believe to be true.

By the 1980’s a Scandinavian company known as Perstorp AB Holdings developed the first modern laminate flooring product known simply as Pergo, a name you might be familiar with today. Finding success in Europe first, it eventually made its way over to American markets in the 1990s. Keep in mind that laminate textures and styles were still very much an imitation of wood, and considered a cheaper alternative.

Advances in Technology

As the years progressed, advances in technology gave laminate flooring an almost uncanny resemblance to real wood. Adding grooves, beveling, and distressing makes the product look more natural while embossing and adding texture gives it the feel of wood grain.

On a construction level, laminate has also improved its fiberboard core, which gives it stronger stability. Using the efficient click-lock system, laminate can be installed for a much lower material and labor cost than wood. All this to say, laminate has never been more advanced than it is today. The average consumer would have a hard time differentiating between current laminate options and hardwood options.

Why Choose Laminate?

Some people still prefer the elegance of real wood and some people need the durability of vinyl. Laminate is really the perfect mix of both. It can withstand heavy traffic and mild water intrusion like vinyl, but features a more real wood look and feel due to its fiberwood core.

Flack’s Flooring and Rugs has a variety of laminate flooring options. We carry brands well-known brands like Mohawk, Engineered Floors, and Mannington, as well as more exclusive brands like Karastan and Beckham Brothers.

If you are interested in learning more about laminate, its benefits, and how it looks in the home, stop by Flack’s! We have several options laid out in our room-sized vignettes. You can also make an appointment with one of our flooring specialists to get a personalized, in-store experience.

Flack’s Flooring and Rugs is open Monday – Friday from 9 AM – 5 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM – 3 PM