Summary: In the 15 years since the North American Laminate Flooring Association was founded, laminate floors have undergone major advances. Innovative design, technology and more make laminate flooring one of the most popular choices for homeowners today.
WASHINGTON, DC – Kitchen renovation choices are always expanding, from cabinet and counter surfaces to appliance finishes and lighting fixtures. But to find a product that is always advancing in design and technology to be more and more attractive to consumers, you need only look down. Innovative product designs and long-term durability have made laminate flooring one of the most popular and affordable options for homeowners today.
But laminate flooring is not just for the kitchen anymore. Advances in design and realism have made it a popular choice for any room in the house – from the family room to the living room to the dining room.
We asked Bill Dearing, president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA), what he considers the most significant advancements in laminate flooring. Here’s what he had to say:
1. Realism in Design – When it comes to design options, there is no limit with laminate floors. Do you want a high-end hardwood look or a contemporary stone look? While many laminate floors simulate the authentic look of wood or stone, the possibilities for new styles and colors are limitless. Advances in design – such as realistic beveling, or grooves, and distressed looks like saw marks and nail holes – have taken laminate flooring’s realism to a new level.
2. Advances in Technology – Laminate flooring is comprised of a hybrid of materials fused together through a unique lamination process. Today’s laminate flooring manufacturers have the technology to realistically mimic everything from wood to marble to stone. Vast improvements have been made to the fiberboard core, which offers impact resistance, stability and long-lasting durability, and to the underlayment, which absorbs minor imperfections in the sub-floor and reduces noise when walking on the floor. New embossing techniques, superior scratch protection, and other advances make laminate flooring a smart choice.
3. Better Locking Systems – Installation has never been easier. Laminate flooring is easy to install because it requires no glue or fasteners to the subfloor. Instead, it uses a lock and click installation method and “floats” above the subfloor, allowing it to expand and contract with the natural temperature and humidity changes in your home.
4. Environmentally Friendly – Laminate flooring has become inherently eco-friendly. It’s made with natural resources like wood chip fiberboard, and it does not involve the harvesting of rare or endangered trees. It’s free of air-damaging chemicals, and it requires no special glues or adhesives during installation that could damage air quality.
5. Product Certification – NALFA has developed a certification seal assurance that is testament to each product’s quality. NALFA-certified flooring has passed 10 rigorous performance tests that include everything from how well it resists water, light and stains to whether it can be damaged when a large object is dropped. NALFA uses independent, third-party testing laboratories to assure that NALFA-certified laminate floors meet demanding performance standards.
“In the 15 years since NALFA was founded, the improvement in laminate flooring has been phenomenal,” Dearing concludes. “Laminate floors come in any look you want. You’re not limited by nature. The sky’s the limit.”