Updated: Sep 17, 2022
Why Laminate Flooring Is Going Bye Bye
Laminate flooring used to be one of the most popular flooring products in the marketplace. Homeowners could find cheap laminate products in virtually every floor covering and DIY product store. However, in today's world, laminate flooring has lost massive market share, and is quickly becoming a product that will soon be hard to find in retail floor covering stores.
Why Laminate Flooring Is Going Bye Bye
What Happened To Laminate Flooring?
Many years ago, laminate flooring was the hottest selling product in the floor covering world. Customers could walk in any floor covering or box DIY store and see pallets and pallets of inexpensive laminate. Laminate flooring was a great, inexpensive and easy to install product. Homeowners were installing laminate in all areas of the home. $1.00 a square foot laminate was the rage of the marketplace.
However, fast forward a few years later, and stores started to see all of the claims being filed from the customers that purchased these types of laminate products. The laminate products being sold were just not made very well. All sorts of problems started to arise.
One of the main problems was the laminate flooring being sold was not waterproof. Customers were installing these products in kitchens, bathrooms and basements, and as soon as any water or moisture hit the floor, the laminate flooring failed.
Another big issue with the old laminate flooring was the inferior click together joints. After just a few months, customers started seeing gaps in the floor, due mainly because of the joints coming apart.
The bottom line: the old laminate flooring was too good to be true. It sold for a very cheap price, but was also made with inferior products, and simply did not hold up under normal day to day use.
When the claims started rolling in, retail floor covering stores started to become scared to sell these products, and simply moved away from stocking cheap laminate flooring. This left a void in the marketplace. Manufacturing companies rushed to find an alternative product to sell.
How Can Customers Tell If Laminate Flooring Has Lost Market Share?
Retail showroom space is the prime real estate of floor covering stores. Stores are in business to make money. Lots of money. Stores are only going to put products in their showroom that will give them the best opportunity to make sales. When laminate flooring was popular, most stores had several pallets of cash and carry laminate sitting right there on the showroom floor. However, in today's world, those pallets have been replaced with other types of flooring samples.
Walk in any floor covering store and ask to see their laminate displays. The sales representative will most likely take that customer to some far back corner wall display, hidden from the main traffic flow. This is how a customer can tell if a product is gaining or losing market share.
If that product is everywhere in the store, it is most likely gaining market share and extremely popular. On the other hand, if that product has only one display in the store, hidden in some remote location, most likely, that product is losing market share and is not selling very well.
It is our belief that is why most retail stores place their laminate flooring displays against that far back wall, out of the main traffic patterns, because it does not sell. Stores will usually have a display or two (because customers ask for it from time to time), but stores recognize the product category is simply no longer selling.
Instead, laminate flooring sales have been replaced by a new product category called, luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring. Vinyl tile & plank flooring has quickly become the fastest growing product category in floor covering, and has proven to be a vastly superior product, as compared to the old laminate flooring products. Some of the benefits of luxury vinyl plank include:
Easy To install
Easy To Clean
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) can take on whatever today’s trends are — from coveted wood looks to even more daring designs. In fact, this category (which includes popular rigid core products) continues to gain ground and its ability to capture whatever look is in demand through the use of advanced technologies is fueling its trajectory. Floor Covering Weekly
Should Customers Avoid Buying Laminate Flooring?
Due to the major claim issues stores and manufacturing companies faced with laminate flooring, the entire product category was forced to regroup, and to start making products with higher end components and materials.
As a result, the laminate products in today's world are simply much, much better. Customers that find a laminate product they like, can be assured that product is not the same type of product that was sold when all of the issues took place.
However, it is our opinion, laminate products are simply an inferior product, as compared to the new product category of luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring. If a customer can get a product that looks like laminate, priced the same, installs the same, but that has superior warranties and durability, why would they purchase laminate? They would not. The retail stores recognize this, and that is why when walking into a flooring store, customers will see rows and rows of luxury vinyl tile & plank flooring displays, and almost no laminate displays of any kind.
Luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring has taken over laminate flooring, and in our opinion, laminate flooring is on its way out the door. In a few years, laminate flooring will be sitting in a flooring showroom next to all of the other products that are still available, but just don't sell.
What Does The Future Hold For Laminate Flooring?
The future is not bright for laminate flooring. More and more floor covering stores are moving away from laminate flooring displays, and instead, bring in more and more luxury vinyl tile and plank displays.
Likewise, more manufacturers are getting out of the laminate flooring business, and instead, spending their budget on the development of vinyl tile & plank flooring. The flooring covering world is changing almost daily. Unfortunately, laminate flooring, in our opinion, is going to eventually fade away.
Currently, laminate flooring is sold, most in the large box stores. The box stores are the main source of laminate flooring sales. However, we think over time, even these sales will cease to happen.
In recent years, buying groups like CCA Global had deemphasized laminate in favor of LVT to where it was barely relevant. Today, however, laminate sales among CCA members doubled in just the last two years. Many observers were caught off guard by laminate’s resurgence, but not all. “The laminate category never died off—it just shifted from independent dealers to home centers.” - Floor Covering News
Laminate flooring is simply not a product category that has any upward trend. For customers that purchase laminate flooring, keep in mind, if more product is needed (to match an existing floor) in a few years, it is a good bet that same product will be next to impossible to find.
Can You Put Laminate Flooring In A Kitchen Or Bathroom?
Sure, you can. However, make sure when buying laminate flooring for areas of the home that could get water spills, that a "newer" laminate flooring is being purchased. Most companies that make laminate flooring are now making the product to handle water spills much better than products of old. It is always a good idea to address these questions with a flooring professional.
It is also important for customers to review the product warranty before making a purchase. Language that is used on a flooring display, or on the back of a sample board are written for marketing purposes. If customers want to know for sure what is covered under a warranty, they should visit the companies website and read the actual warranty.
Laminate flooring was a product category that sold extremely well about 10-15 years ago. However, due to the poor quality of the product, and the huge amount of customer claims, laminate flooring has taken a huge hit in sales. Customers and retail stores have now switched their focus to luxury vinyl tile and plank flooring.
Homeowners can find evidence in this trend, simply by walking into any retail store that sells floor coverings. Stores will have their show floor space covered with rows and rows of vinyl tile and plank displays, while having only one laminate flooring display (that is usually hidden and not in a high foot traffic area.
Laminate flooring is still sold today and is made much better than in years past. Customers that find a laminate flooring product they like, can be assured that retail stores will stand behind the products performance. However, it is our opinion that laminate flooring has seen its day, and most likely will fade into the sunset in a few years.
Likewise, it is our opinion that customers looking for a laminate floor would be better off switching their focus from laminate flooring to luxury vinyl plank flooring. Luxury vinyl plank flooring is made better, it costs the same, and it will perform much, much better than aminate flooring.
Retail stores have incredible designs and colors in luxury vinyl plank flooring, and most customers can find not only a great price, but also products that meet their design expectations.
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