Do you remember the first time you heard the buzz about laminate flooring? Laminate was a fresh idea, an attractive and more cost-efficient alternative to hardwood flooring. It seemed like a gift from above, especially to those who wanted the look of hardwood but could not afford the materials that come with install. For some background, laminate flooring was invented in 1977 by the Swedish company Perstorp, who has been around since 1923, and sold their flooring under the brand name Pergo. The laminate trend lived on for years, but after leading in sales for a long time, those who had utilized laminate as flooring material soon found that the once “sought-after” material was going to cost more dollars and probably a little bit of their sanity in the long run due to failures associated with non-resistance to water. For instance, if liquid were left on the surface, it would eventually cause damage by absorption, which lead to the composition of the floor breaking down. In most cases, this caused swelling, bubbling and discoloration.
Most of the Pergo Laminate, as well as other branded laminates that were used had the issues mentioned above. Why? Well, there was a trend in producing large volume quantities of this laminate flooring due to the demand and the need to sell as much as possible and quickly. How could you turn down attractive flooring that resembles hardwood for ninety-nine cents a square foot? Seems too good to be true, because it is and quite frankly, you do get what you pay for. After the many failures of laminate flooring, an alternative hit the market. Vinyl Flooring, which amazed many people by its waterproof abilities as well as how simple it was to DIY (do it yourself). Upon the invention of vinyl flooring, it soon began to dominate the flooring industry with its waterproof design, good looks, installation friendliness and the durability it provides to this day among the many other features.
Vinyl Flooring can last a decade or more in the right environment, nevertheless, there were some challenges with vinyl products. The most common concerns were visible high spots caused by the floor underneath not being flat or high spots due to the flooring (typically wood) beneath swelling. There were problems with adhesive failure, which would not ruin the actual flooring, but if there was impeding water anywhere, it could trap underneath and cause rot, mold, swelling or warping depending on the base below. If the vinyl is exposed to too much sunlight/heat, it can melt or discolor and distort the product permanently since the heat penetrates the multiple layers of the vinyl floor. The flooring can also buckle or gap due to over movement since this material is bendable. These are unfortunate scenarios; however, any damaged pieces can be easily replaced with another piece of vinyl.
As time marches on, flooring companies are sharper and technologically savvy. In order to stay ahead, they have made some major improvements on laminate products to be far more durable than any hardwood, vinyl flooring and engineered hardwood as well as protect their messaging as laminate has bad connotations. Finally, there are some alternatives to previous laminate, hardwood and luxury vinyl floors.
Diagram above created by myself, Molly Seaman
If you are deciding to go towards the Laminate route, I recommend considering Laminate AC (Abrasion Coefficient) Ratings and inquiring that into your search for what is right for you in your space. This rating is specifically designed to indicate durability of the material. It is a scale of 1-6 from 1 being very light foot traffic to 6 being heavy commercial traffic. According to an article by carpet captain here, testing for this rating is performed by unbiased third parties who complete a variety of tests and scenarios that represent everyday wear. The tests include but are not limited to rubbing sandpaper back and forth, moving furniture legs and chair wheels (office chairs, wheelchairs), exposure to heat/burns, moisture, impact resistance tests and even staining. When this test is done, it has very strict protocols. A 1-5 grade is given for each test and the final 1-6 score is based on the lowest score given during each trial. For example, if a certain laminate is undergoing this test and receives a 4 on all tests but scores a 2 on moving furniture, then this laminate would be rated as an AC2. Just because a specific flooring has a higher score doesn’t necessarily mean you should go for it. I have included a chart below that outlines each rating (1-6) to see which AC rating is suitable for you.
Chart above created by myself, Molly Seaman
To begin the list of high-quality laminate that Floorzz offers, and a personal favorite, Mohawk has formed a laminate, wood-based product called “Revwood”. It is a Revolutionary Wood, hence the “RevWood”. Mohawk themselves came up with a way to create a laminate flooring that is composed of higher density fiber board, which gives you a great quality floor that provides more protection against water damage issues. RevWood has an AC rating of AC4 which makes it perfect for heavy traffic homes and is suitable for commercial environments. This brand also features WetProtect, which offers complete waterproof protection with watertight joints, sealing and even waterproof quarter round (more information provided below). Here are some notable features of the RevWood:
- The wear layer is completely waterproof through the following mechanisms:
- GenuEdge, Mohawks coined term, which is a rolled bevel that wraps the protective coating over the edge of each plank and is backed by a lifetime waterproof warranty.,
- HydroSeal, another coined term by Mohawk, is a protective coating that repels moisture, making it easy to wipe away spills and splashes and their watertight seal,
- Uniclic another coined term from Mohawk, is a click-lock mechanism that creates a watertight seal between each plank, trapping all the moisture on the surface.
- Scratch resistant
- Fire retardant
- Stick and Stain proof
- No refinishing or replacing
- Cheaper than hardwood
- Lifetime warranties to protect you if anything was to happen to the flooring. This product is the only one that provides lifetime surface and subfloor warranty. See below for details on each warranty tier:
- RevWood Select
- RevWood Plus
View Floorzz’ Mohawk RevWood CollectionHERE!
Also check out Mohawk’s Official site for more information HERE!
Next on the list is Atroguard, which was specifically developed to combine the natural wood element and rigidity of Laminate flooring while enjoying waterproof features of vinyl products. This comes in the top 3 because it has the highest durability of any laminate floors and has a very beautiful look with deep synchronized texture for a true hardwood look. AtroGuard has a 60% more stable core than regular laminate floors. Typical issues that you see what lower density laminate material are solved with AtroGuard, such as shrinking, expanding with temperature variations, scratching, and wobbly telegraphing of the subfloor.
AtroGuard is constructed by several layers of materials being bonded together under high pressure and heat with no harmful glues or toxic chemicals utilized in the bonding process, which ensures safe floors for your family and pets. The diagram above presents a good idea of what the layers of laminate floors consist of. AtroGuard’s wear layer is rated at AC4 (high resistant commercial rating). This product ensures no worries for high foot traffic, kids and pets scratching up the floors.
AtroGuard provides the following features:
- 100% natural wood-fiber core. This is not like any regular laminate flooring,
- Has a 2-pass power sealing process and the extra tight lock clicking system which protects against humidity.
- AtroGuard can be wet, and steam mopped. It can be installed in kitchens, bathrooms and basements.
- This product can be installed in over 4,000 square feet without any transition moldings between rooms and open spaces.
- AtroGuard comes with a highly scratch resistant and wear rating, which is perfect for commercial use.
- The core is high density based and provides a more stable core than any standard laminate floor.
- AtroGuard does come with standard residential warranty as well as commercial warranty.
View Floorzz AtroGuard CollectionHERE!
Also check out Atroguard’s Official site for more informationHERE!
The Boutique Collection by Audacity is the final show casing of the new and improved laminate floors we have available. The Boutique Collection is a fine flooring, which look beautiful and resemble a true hardwood floor. This floor also stands up to spills and keeps spills (moisture) out long enough to be able to clean it. This wear layer is rated at AC4, can be installed over large areas (up to 4,000 sq. ft.) with no transitions in between rooms and areas. and is included with a sound absorbent pad underneath to add comfort and control sound. Here are some additional notable features of this laminate collection:
- Comes with an edge sealer to accomplish the waterproof wear layer
- Has an ultra-stable core at high density with a tight lock system
- This tight lock system keeps water from seeping into the floor and damaging it making spills and splashes easy to clean up
- The wear resistance on this collection is rated at AC4
- Ratings to this magnitude prove to be highly beneficial as this collection of laminate flooring has longevity and is a lot more durable than previous laminates
- The Boutique Collection comes with a lifetime residential warranty and a 15-year limited commercial warranty
View our Audacity CollectionHERE!
Also check out Audacity’s official website for more informationHERE!
Our team at Floorzz sells and guarantees the highest quality flooring on the market. Our entire laminate collection is provided HERE. This collection includes all the products listed above with prices ranging from $2.49/SFT to $3.69/SFT for the highest quality floors for your home space or commercial space compared to vinyl flooring which can reach up to $8/SFT or more for high quality vinyl. Please note that even though these products do have a high-resistance ratings, there is no floor covering that is completely resistant to damage. When it comes to natural disasters such as flooding, the only flooring option that would be safe is porcelain tile or glass tile which is why Porcelain is normally seen used in showers and bathrooms and glass tile is typically seen in pools because it is not porous at all but is a lot more fragile so therefore, both still have the potential to take on some form of damage. Anyone will run the posed risks with any flooring option chosen so it is highly recommended to go for the option that is going to best suit your environment.
By Molly Seaman | August 13, 2021 | 6 min read