Updated: May 4, 2021
Why Did The Local Flooring Stores Stop Selling Laminate Flooring?
They didn't. If you look hard enough, you will find a few displays in the back corner of most stores.
Luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring has taken over the majority of the sales in this product category. Laminate flooring is not longer the hot selling product that it once was.
20 years ago, cash & carry laminate flooring used to be the most popular hard surface floor in most stores. $0.99 s square foot products were being sold left and right. It was a great DIY weekend cheap project.
Most floor covering stores, would have pallets of laminate flooring sitting in their showroom. Stores could not keep it in stock. The product had a click together installation method, neutral colors and required no special tools for installation.
But then, a few years later, after the sales rush, something unexpected happened....claims. The manufacturers and stores were overwhelmed with laminate claims. Everything from delamination to water problems to the clicking system coming apart. The bottom line: most of the laminate products were just pure junk.
The local flooring stores didn't stop selling laminate flooring, they simply went from having it as a cash and carry item, to an item that became a special order product.
The industry had to make an adjustment. The manufacturer's worked extremely hard to improve the quality of laminate products, and the retail stores changed their approach on selling it.
This left a void in the marketplace. Even though laminate flooring was still available, many customers were afraid to purchase it. About this time, luxury vinyl tile & plank flooring was introduced as the product to capture this flooring market share.
What Made Luxury Vinyl Tile & Plank Flooring Better?
Luxury vinyl tile and plank is the fastest growing product category in most every floor covering store. Contrary to store laminate displays, luxury vinyl tile and plank displays are growing by leaps and bounds. Go in to any floor covering store and check-out their selling real estate. Probably 50% of their hard surface area will be dedicated to LVT (luxury vinyl tile). It has taken over the marketplace. So why is LVT such a better product? For one, most of the products in day's marketplace are waterproof. These products are great for basements, kitchens and bathrooms. The color, design and patterns of LVT are extremely vibrant and unique. Customers are falling in love with the look. And quite simply, LVT is just made much, much better than the old laminate flooring.
Luxury vinyl tile & plank flooring comes with a pre-finished factory finish, which makes this product extremely durable and scratch resistant. Customers love the idea they can put vinyl tile or plank in high traffic areas, and not worry about the cleaning and maintenance.
Another benefit of luxury vinyl tile & plank is the durability of the product. Homeowners are installing vinyl tile in their homes and having it last for several years.
What About Laminate Flooring - Is It Still Being Sold?
Competition is a wonderful thing. With the incredible success of luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring, in order to stay in business, laminate manufacturers needed to improve. They could no longer sell junky, cheap, click together products and expect to stay in business.
Many of the laminate products in today's marketplace have the same characteristics as luxury vinyl plank. Laminate products are now somewhat waterproof, scratch resistant, pet friendly and have beautiful patterns and styles. While the popularity of laminate has not caught up with luxury vinyl plank flooring, laminate is now a very durable product, performing 1000% better than in years past.
Manufacturer's have developed brands of laminate flooring that were just not available 20 years ago. Gone are the days of the old $0.99 a square foot cash and carry laminate product. Today's products are much better made, much more durable, and come with colors and styles that would work in any size home.
If you visit a retail floor covering store, the vast majority of their hard surface products will be luxury vinyl tile and plank. However, most stores will have laminate displays, as a customer you just have to ask to see them. The box stores seem to carry more laminate products than anyone. You can find a wealth of laminate options in these type of store locations.
Best Brands Of Laminate Flooring
Pergo - Pergo invented laminated flooring many years ago, and still leads the industry in designs, colors and technology. Pergo does an excellent job of offering high quality products that are extremely durable.
The Pergo product construction is set up as follows:
TRANSPARENT, WEAR-RESISTANT OVERLAY A variety of textures that closely imitate real wood along with a ScratchGuard Advanced and PermaMaxTM wear layer for superior scratch and scuff resistance.
DESIGN LAYER Real visuals and patterns of natural wood, stone and ceramic.
PREMIUM HDF CORE BOARD Patented click-joints for snap-together installation and a core of high-density fiber board that gives stability, dent-resistance and is made of recycled materials.
BALANCING LAYER Balance layer for stability — prevents bowing or collapsing. - Pergo
Credit: Why Pergo Outlast
Shaw Repel - A Shaw Floors innovation, Repel is a waterproof laminate floor that comes in an array stunning colors and designs.
REPEL gives consumers more time to discover and clean spills.Featuring high-definition printing and realistic textures, REPEL Laminate comes in a variety of visuals that add depth to the look of the floor. This collection is durable and easy to maintain, while being water-, scratch-, stain-, fade-, and dent-resistant. - Shaw Floors
Credit: Shaw Repel
Laminate Flooring Warranties
Always check with the product manufacturer for warranty information. Each product will have there own warranty brochure. In fact, many manufacturer's will have different warranties for different products.
Plus, it is extremely important to follow all cleaning and maintenance warranties, as some warranties will be voided if the wrong cleaning chemicals are used on the floor. If you have questions about a laminate floor, make sure to ask your local flooring professional. As an example, here is what it says in the Pergo Warranty:
DO NOT use detergents, abrasive cleaners, soaps, waxes or polishes. Use correct hard surface vacuum tools. DO NOT use rotating beater bars, floor scrubbers, steamers, jet mops, buffers or similar products - Pergo
Laminate Flooring - Frequently Asked Questions
How many years will laminate flooring last? As with any floor covering product, the more aggressive a homeowner is with care and maintenance, the longer the floor will last. In general terms, a laminate floor should last 15 years or longer.
Can you mop your laminate floor with water? Always follow the cleaning instructions as set forth in the manufacturing warranty information. for the most part, cleaning a laminate floor with water is not recommended. Using a dust mop is the preferred cleaning method.
Is laminate flooring waterproof? Not really. Many laminate floors can withstand water better than they used too, but they are not waterproof. A few products have come out with waterproof warranties, but don't assume every laminate product is waterproof. If you have standing water on a laminate floor, there is a good chance it will get ruined.
Do laminate floors scratch easily? Laminate floors come with a pre-finished factory finish layer that makes this product scratch resistant. Scratch resistant is a rather ambiguous industry term that does not mean much. All floor covering products will scratch. Its just that some products don't scratch "as easily" as other products do. Laminate flooring is a product that has proven to be durable and somewhat harder to scratch.
Can I still buy a cheap laminate floor for DIY installation? Sure you can. Box stores are probably the place to go for cheap and inexpensive laminate flooring. However, buyer beware. The cheaper product you get, the more risk you will be taking. If you find a product that is just at a price to good to be true, do your research. You don't want to be 1o feet short in material, only to find out the product you picked was a drop and no additional material exists.
Are laminate floors good if I have pets? That really depends on the pet. If you have a cat or small dog, chances are, laminate flooring will be just fine. On the other hand, if you have a 100 pound dog, that plays fetch in the house, a laminate floor is probably not the best choice of flooring.
Can you install laminate floors over other floors? Yes and no. It really depends on what you are trying to go over, as well as the other floors you have in the home. If you have questions about installation, it is always best to get a professional installer involved with your project.
Should I put felt pads under my table and chair legs? Absolutely! Felt pads do a great job of protecting your floor from scratching. Always use felt pads on any table, chair or furniture legs.
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