Tag Archives: laminate

Flooring For the Living Room is Changing

It was once the case that wall-to-wall carpet was the automatic choice for living room flooring, but that is no longer the case. In fact, it’s becoming more common to see most other types of floors in a living room, as consumers have grown tired of having to maintain carpet or keeping it looking new. Continue reading Flooring For the Living Room is Changing

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Brand name floors – cost more, but are they worth it?

The idea of buying brand name flooring has often been discussed here on this blog and elsewhere as well.

The real question at the heart of that idea remains: Is buying the brand name worth the extra money?  

In the flooring market there are some industry brand names, but most end users especially consumers are not aware of brand names. Very few consumers without being prompted can name one or more brand names of flooring. When asked about a name like Armstrong, Mohawk or Pergo some people will have an awareness of those names, but not really have a strong brand image for each one.

Apparel, fragrances even plumbing fixtures and windows have well known brand names and flooring as an industry is in stark contrast to that.

The manufactures of flooring say that because consumers don’t buy flooring very often it is hard to justify the branding expense. (Although stainmaster is a brand that would prove otherwise, it is only a licensed name not a manufacturer.) Whatever the reasons are can be discussed by experts elsewhere the only question poised today is: is it worth extra money to pay for brand name flooring.

Rather than putting together a 20 page case study let’s just cut to the chase: No it is not worth it.

If you as a consumer, builder or end user of whatever type are not familiar with the brand name then they are all equal to begin with. Now you should compare features and benefits AND price. The big brands of the world would have you believe they have superior features and benefits to newer products in the market and that justifies their higher prices. Most often that is not the case based on case studies over the past 10 years.

It is now very common to find flooring with similar or superior specifications available below the comparable prices of industry leading brand names. As always, you have to trust who you buy from so just because someone says it is as good or better than a leading brand name doesn’t mean it is, but if you trust your supplier then you have every reason to trust that you are getting a better value.

Laminate Malaise

Laminate flooring is getting boring. Laminate was introduced to North America around 1996 when Color Tile teamed up with Pergo and started a wave of flooring changes that is now measured in billions of dollars per year in the United States alone. Other countries on every continent are making laminate flooring a giant part of their market with it’s high styling, easy installation and decent maintenance requirements. But, how does that old song go about the thrill is gone? Laminate is no longer a niche item. Although people still refer to the laminate flooring category itself as Pergo much like Kleenex has defined the tissue paper category it has become a large diverse market made up of hundreds of manufacturers. So why is it suggested that laminate is now suffering from a category wide malaise? Basically since 2007 the global markets have been very difficult for flooring in general and marketing budget and research and development budgets are the first thing to get trimmed when times are tough. There has been very little innovation or breakthrough styling in the laminate category in the past several years. There have been modest improvements in embossing in register (EIR) which is a floor geek way of saying that the pattern that is pressing into the floor follows the pattern of the hardwood paper below the surface. Said differently: it looks cool. But EIR is still limited and is not for everyone. There have been attempts to make random lengths, super long lengths (8 feet) and other half hearted efforts that are not really true innovation. Laminate still has a ton of options, but if you are looking for something totally new and unique you will find laminate is more or less the same as it was over the past 3-4 years a nothing noteworthy is on the horizon. It has become more of a meat and potato item rather than a sexy innovator. The good news is that the world loves a good plate of meat and potatoes.

Vinyl Flooring – A Revolution?

Vinyl flooring was one of the most common floors used in Europe and North America during the 1950’s-2000. Alot of people may recall the term “no-wax” vinyl flooring which is what virtually all of today’s vinyl floors are made as. The reason the term “no-wax” was a marketing tool is because from the late 1800’s-1940’s linoleum was the most widely available resilient flooring option for most. Linoleum is cool in it’s own way, but requires waxing and or polishing on a regular basis. It is also easier to stain.

With advancements in PVC technology vinyl became a viable option that was much easier maintenance than linoleum.

Overtime the vinyl because more and more realistic and very durable. However, when Pergo was introduced in 1996 that was the “death” of vinyl flooring of the past. Pergo and other laminate flooring introductions later became dominate in the market especially for kitchens and larger areas. Laminate floors were so much easier to install and had the look of high end hardwood and yet had the easy maintenance like vinyl.

From 2000-2008 vinyl was a shrinking market. However starting in roughly 2009 a new category of vinyl flooring emerged to finally give laminate floors like Pergo a run for the money. This new generation of flooring has a more realistic look and is combined with easy installation.

In 2011 there is the most important emergence of vinyl flooring in the last 50 years. The newest generation of solid vinyl plank floors that have the look of wood, yet the click installation of laminate is truly a game changer. This product done correctly has the ability to revolutionize not just the vinyl market but also laminate.

Just as laminate beat vinyl with a knock out punch this could be the revenge of vinyl against laminate.

Although there are LOTS of positives to this product there are an equal about of potential GOTCHAS.

Some of the points of differentiation to be wary of including the quality of the product itself, the recycled content (Because it could be toxic – THIS IS NOT A POSITIVE ATTRIBUTE IN MOST CASES), the thickness as it related to the click joint integrity, the finish surface durability, scratch resistance, color changing, ease of maintenance and so much more.

As always it pays to be informed. In the near future a BRAND WARS: VINYL FLOORING article will be published showing the differences between click vinyl floors to join the series of BRAND WARS articles that have been read my millions looking at laminate and hardwood flooring.

Laminate Flooring DIY installation Video HOW TO

If you have thought about Laminate Flooring for your home, but were trying to decide between professional installation and a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) installation here is a nice High Definition video (HD) that shows you enough information to help you make your decision.

If you watch the video and say that seems easy – you probably do the floor yourself and save the installation costs. There are good reasons professionals get paid for their work, but if you are diligent and can follow instructions very closely you may have what it takes to be a DIY’er.

If on the other hand you watch the video and your eyes glaze over or your are otherwise intimiated by the thought of doing all that work or having to use a tape measure, your best bet is to hire a professional. Maybe the guys at Flooring Installer can point you in the right direction?

Check out the video now: