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Brand Wars - A Laminate Flooring Showdown

This is an outdated article. For the most up-to-date version of this invaluable information, read Brand Wars II: A Laminate Flooring Showdown.

Introduction

*Please be sure to read our FINAL COMMENTS at the end of this article. They are vital to your flooring future.*

Selecting a floor today couldn't be more confusing. Which laminate should you choose? Which brand should you buy? This article describes some of the fundamentals about laminate flooring, including general price comparisons and product-to-product technical differences.

We know that as a shopper, you must progress through Steve's Stages Of Floor Shopping and during these stages you may very well lose your mind. Choosing the right type of laminate floor can be confusing. Even more frustrating is the fact that when you ask a sales person which brand of flooring you should choose, you have to brace yourself for the answer. Maybe you get the truth. Maybe you get an opinion that you can rely on. Or, maybe you don't even get an answer.

In light of these facts (and requests from customers) we decided that iFLOOR.com needed to provide an article that would help decipher some of the differences between laminate brands and guide you in the best direction for your needs.

Why even write such an article?

Our decision to tackle the chore of providing information about laminate flooring was partially based on the demands of our customers. More than 50,000 flooring shoppers have read the article PERGO® VS. THE WORLD that was written a couple of years ago. Its message was not to be oversold by people who didn't understand the true facts about laminate floors. The article also provided a realistic way to determine if laminate floors were really right for your needs.

People should buy floors based on realistic performance expectations as well as true sales information. As you establish your expectations for your new flooring, remember: this is a floor and it will be walked on and put under a lot of living. This fact in itself leads to changes in appearance from the time when the flooring was brand new. Don't let a warranty talk you out of reality. You know the old saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is." Common sense should not take a back seat to promises made by salespeople or unbelievable warranties.

Anyway, to make a long story short, after reading the first article many people have e-mailed us and after much praise and adjuration they asked - "OK we've decided on laminate flooring, but which one should we choose?" As good fortune would have it, we have finally decided to answer this virtual plethora of requests. Unfortunately for you, the reader, we am not talented writers. However, we are good at throwing words on a screen for you to read and decide for yourself where the facts lead.

All laminates are really not created equal.

One really simple concept to understand is that laminate floors are made differently and those differences lead to a clear line of comparison between laminate flooring makers. However, if you were to take the CEO of each flooring brand and ask them a simple question like, "Is your flooring truly the BEST laminate flooring?", it is likely that each one would reply in the predictable, yet not mathematically possible, answer of "yes." I'll bet that if we hooked them to a polygraph we might get some real answers. Until then, this is the kind of thinking that will continuously be passed down to sales organizations and sales forces in the retail stores where consumers shop.

Because each store cannot possibly carry all brands of flooring, store owners must make decisions about what brand to carry. They base this decision on a number of things including prices, relationships with suppliers, their own beliefs and consumer demands. Since the decision cannot be 100% impartial, there is always a question of which factors receive the most weight and whether it is truly based on what they believe will be in the customer's best interests.

In summary, you can expect to receive conflicting information depending on who you ask. We should point out the obvious fact that our opinion is also based on our own experiences and the experiences of our customers. However, we have a single interest in providing honest and trustworthy information, and since we put our name on it, we can at least guarantee that we truly believe what we aretelling you. (We try to be unbiased - but you'll have to be the judge.)

Brands are like stars in the sky.

There are now so many different brands and manufacturers that it has really become a challenge to get to the bottom-line. Also, We think that it is important for consumers to realize that one manufacturer makes many different brands. The purpose of this is to be able to market different products through different channels. For instance, Perstorp Industries makes several brands. Their best known is, of course, Pergo® Original. Perstorp also makes Tundra, Pergo® Living, Pergo® Family, Pergo® Select, Pergo® Preferred and a whole lot more.

In some cases, there are differences between these floors and in other cases, they are identical. And with all of the sub-brands from one manufacturer, it is easy to see how asking a flooring professional if they like Pergo® will not necessarily get you the answer you expect. You might be interested in Pergo® Family and a salesperson might be referring to another brand. Clearly, no progress is being made in addressing your flooring needs and the situation is only becoming confused.

Another reason why many manufacturers use sub-brand strategy is to help understand the price difference on some of the products. For instance, Wilsonart makes three sub-brands: Wilsonart Welcome Home, Wilsonart Classic and Wilsonart Pro-FX. Each of these has a different price point.

Wilsonart Welcome Home is designed for lower-priced projects. It has a limited color line and is made differently than other Wilsonart floors. Welcome Home is targeted for homebuilders and people who want to keep their flooring budget at the minimum. Welcome Home is a low-pressure laminate floor that does not have the same resistance to denting and other surface problems due to a thinner wear layer of aluminum oxide.

Wilsonart Classic is designed for most residential jobs and has a full and beautiful color line. It comes in both tiles and planks so you can have many different looks from this fine floor. Wilsonart Classic is a high-pressure laminate on the top and bottom of the floor with a good solid layer of aluminum oxide, which makes this a great flooring. On top of that, the core of Wilsonart Classic is HDF or High Density Fiberboard.

Wilsonart Pro-FX has a plastic core and is apparently causing some manufacturing difficulty. If and when it is released, we expect the prime application to be for commercial areas or homes with really high traffic.

For the next few years, we are really excited to see some of the new flooring introductions. Mannington has developed the new iCORE for their laminate flooring. It combines a 100% plastic I-BEAM core with a click together installation technique. We have said for sometime that Mannington is one of the most innovative companies and this new flooring is a prime example. Although it sounds like they copied the name iFLOOR when they came up with iCORE, doesn't it? :)

Another great looking product to really reduce the echo effect of laminate floors was presented by WITEX. Although not yet released, the product really has a solid sound deadening formula that we think could really give WITEX an advantage in the US market.

Natural Hardwood vs. Pergo® Wood

Now we know that someone out there is asking - yes all this is well and good, but what is the difference between Pergo® and true hardwood floors? The first part of the answer is not much. The second part of the answer is everything. We know you probably think we are contributing the Stage 3 of the buying process: FRUSTRATION! Nope. Let us clear up this lingering question.

Similar sub-brand programs can be found in virtually all manufacturer programs. While this strategy has positives, it also has negatives. The main purpose for bringing all this up is because if you are aware of the potential confusion, you are less likely to be sucked into the abyss of flooring perplexity without at least asking the right questions.

Tell us the answer already!

To help you make your own choices, we am sharing with you a system we devised for rating each of these floors. Basically, we took 10 categories with a maximum of 5 stars per category. We scored by highest combined score, which would be 50, and the average score. Then we made an item-by-item listing of major brand laminates, as well as a summary chart at the end of the report that is sorted from top score to lowest score.

Below you will find a rating of many popular brands. Basically the study boils down to this: we believe that Mannington, Wilsonart and Formica represent the top choices in laminate flooring today. We think that Pergo® has lost its top rating due to some quality problems. We also think that some of the brands that are trying to ride the wave of laminate flooring's popularity are not among the top choices. For easy installation, we think that Uniclic and Alloc are both fine choices with the edge going to Uniclic.

We believe that taking the time to learn more about flooring will lead to more realistic customer expectations and subsequently, fewer problems with your specific flooring project. As always, we are open to reviews of this study. Flaming e-mails are read just as frequently as the good stuff. If you have an idea for an article, submit it to articles@ifloor.com.

The official rating system

5 Stars in Each Category.

The best overall score is calculated from the total of all categories. The more stars, the better the score. One (1) star is the lowest and five (5) stars is the highest. Total possible stars are fifty (50).

Color and Design

This category is based on the variety of the color line as well as the breadth of the color line. Basically, the more colors and styles a brand offers, the higher the score. Having more than just wood design will also accumulate a higher score. If a brand has colors and styles that are copies of other brands they will have a lower score.

Warranty

This category is scored on how the brand compares to the industry benchmark, which is a 15 year wear, a 15 year fade, a 15 year stain, and a 15 year moisture warranty. We are not implying that the warranties are what should determine your decision. We are just giving a comparison to other brands. Typically, the lower-end lines have shorter warranties. Do remember that warranties have a lot of small prints in them. If a brand has simply added warranty coverage to their literature without actually improving their product, we did not score them well.

Ease of Installation

This score is based on how easy a do-it-yourself customer can install the floor. The fewer steps in the installation, the higher the score. A very good floor may be tougher to install, like a square or tile format. Planks are definitely easier. Remember that professional installers are great resources if you need them, but that many floors are within the scope of a good do-it-yourself customer.

Construction Used

How a floor is made is certainly a way to compare the overall quality of a floor. A high score here would be a good solid wear layer made with a high-pressure laminate on the top and bottom of the floor. The core would also be a consistent smooth milled core.

Customer Feedback

This is based on what customers tell us AFTER the floor is installed. The look of the floor, maintenance, warranty, and overall customer expectations are compiled in this category. This is real-life experience that is being scored here. Customers that are providing feedback are a great source of information.

Professional Feedback

This is based on what our professional installers tell us DURING and AFTER the flooring is installed. Our installers want the floors to be consistent and easy to install. This works to their benefit as well as the consumer's because it leads to a better quality installation.

Price

The price is a point of comparison to the industry's average price. The lower the price, the higher the score. This doesn't mean that it is the best deal. Low-end floors will probably cost less and therefore have a higher score. The average price is 3 stars. Below that means more expensive, above that means less expensive. Floors made as tiles are generally higher priced.

Uniqueness

We wanted to reward manufactures for bringing something unique to the industry instead of just copying another's idea. We also factor how comprehensive the accessories program is with the brand. For instance, having laminate covered matching trims is one key to a good score.

Brand Reliability

Many brands of laminate floors are becoming recognizable in the market and we rate how reliable a brand is during a claims process. This is a key because what a warranty says and how a manufacturer handles that warranty can be two different things. The higher the score, the more reliable the after-sale service you can expect. One thing that can lower the score a bit is if the brand is new to the market. We have no real way to assess a new company's ability to handle complaints. Just in case you are curious, floors do get complaints, so this again is an important category.

One reason that a certain brand may not be rated is because it is not released or is being discontinued. Another reason is that we do not feel they are one of the top brands and therefore, did not apply extra time in rating that brand. Based on customer requests, we will continue to add more brands to this study in the future.

Pergo® Living
Color and Design 1
Warranty ★ ★ 2
Ease of Installation ★ ★ 2
Construction Used 1
Customer Feedback ★ ★ 2
Professional Feedback ★ ★ 2
Price ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Uniqueness 1
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total18
Pergo® Living fills a low priced niche that Pergo® Original can't meet. It has a very short color line and some of the colors do not have matching trims or moldings. For the price, this is a good floor that is great for rental homes or floors that need to be completed on a budget. That is, of course, if you can find a color that you like.

Lately, Pergo has hit a bad patch. They have been producing floors that are not nearly as high quality as they were in the past years. There is a higher claims ratio on Pergo products than most other brands.

For the most part, we admit that Pergo lags behind in some degree. Claims take a long time and often frustrate the customer. However, most claims are usually blamed on installation error. Some claims are denied that should be approved are denied. Overall, because of the quality problems that Pergo faces, we recommend Wilsonart or Formica at this time.

Pergo® Original
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ 3
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ 3
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Price ★ ★ ★ 3
Uniqueness 1
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total28
Pergo™ Original is what got the whole laminate flooring industry rolling here in the USA. Pergo has now become the name synonymous to laminate flooring. Like saying Kleenex for tissue, people say Pergo when they mean laminate flooring. Though Pergo has had some tough times keeping the production quality up, there seems to be a marked increase in quality in the recent years. we think that Pergo is finally getting their US plant on track and the huge sales volume created by Home Depot and others are finally becoming manageable. We do not feel that there has been much innovation on this product over the past couple of years and therefore the Uniqueness rating remains at 1 star. Also because of past claims history we have to hold to the 2 stars for Brand Reliability. But as we have generally stated in the past, Pergo has been reasonable at taking care of claims in the long run.
Pergo® Select
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ 3
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Price ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ 3
Brand Reliability ★ ★ ★ 3
Total37
Pergo® Select today is a totally re-engineered version of the product released a few years ago. Not only did the design team come to the table with better colors and patterns, the engineering team also showed talent by producing a High Density Code (HDF) with a high pressure laminate face. This product is so different than its predecessor we are halfway surprised that Pergo did not rename it. We practically ignored it for the first few months it was out because we were so unimpressed with the first model. But this floor is completely new and offers both planks and tiles. Pergo® Select also offers a bit thicker core, which to me only complicates the installation. However, we guess is that the men in the audience will find that the thicker floor feels better and is easier to associate with a true hardwood floor. One benefit of a bit thicker floor is that it will probably sound more solid than a standard laminate floor when installed.

A new feature that Pergo® Select offers is both a plank look as well as a tile look. We cannot stress this enough: THEY REALLY DID A NICE JOB IN TERMS OF DESIGN. The patterns are very striking and work well when mixed together. As if the 29 new designs were not enough, Pergo added several elements that make the floor more living friendly.

The first is the New Lustergard Plus that is designed to protect the very subtle gloss level of the floor. We think that one criticism in the past about laminate floors has been that some of the floors look dull and flat. The very moderate luster level provides a better and truer visual than other laminate floors.

According to Pergo, its tests indicate that Pergo® Select is better than all other major brands when it comes to scuff resistance, dent resistance and wear resistance. Time will tell how well these attributes perform in real life settings.

Because this is a very new product we remained neutral about customer and professional feedback giving only three stars based on our initial feedback. Early reports are coming back positive, but time tells the full story. Honestly, this floor surprised usand exceeded our expectations. We are very happy to see that Pergo has their head back in the game and is being innovative again instead of just riding their early success. This review covers both Pergo Select planks and the tiles. We think that if you are considering laminates, this floor deserves your full attention. It has an aggressive price position considering that this is a higher-level product than 90% of the other floors that are out there. Consider Pergo™ Select as a prime target during your search for laminate floors. Matching trims are made for all except wall base.

Pergo® Preferred
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ 3
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Ease of Installation ★ ★ 2
Construction Used ★ ★ 2
Customer Feedback ★ ★ 2
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Price ★ ★ 2
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ 3
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total26
Pergo® Preferred is another HOME DEPOT exclusive item that is meant to copy Pergo® Select. However, it is knocking off the old version of Pergo® Select and honestly does not hold a candle to the new Pergo Select. This floor is not on our Christmas card list if you know what we mean. We do not like it. We do not think it should be a top contender for people that are considering a floor.

Formica Planks
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ 3
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ 3
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Price ★ ★ ★ 3
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ 3
Brand Reliability ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Total36
Formica waited a while before they actually launched their flooring brand. Many industry analysts were skeptical that Formica could make a successful product because they were so late in the market. But, instead of rushing to market with a product that is not fully tested, Formica took their time and introduced a comprehensive flooring system with a great assortment of flooring plank colors. Formica also has laminate on the back of the board as well as the laminate patterned top surface.

Formica CERAMIX
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Ease of Installation ★ ★ 2
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Price ★ ★ 2
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Brand Reliability ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Total37
Formica made Ceramix and created a natural flooring niche. It features a very unique size and the colors are quite popular. This product must be installed carefully as it is a bit harder to install than the planks. Formica waited a while before they actually launched their flooring brand. Many industry analysts were skeptical that Formica could make a successful product because they were so late to the market. We must say that it was worth the wait. Instead of rushing to market with a product that is not fully tested, Formica took their time and introduced a comprehensive flooring system. They have a great assortment of flooring plank colors. Formica also has laminate on the back of the board as well as the laminate patterned top surface. The core used in Formica Planks is probably the most resistant to water of any of the floors in this study. We certainly would recommend Formica as a top quality flooring choice.

Wilsonart Welcome Home
Color and Design 1
Warranty ★ ★ ★ 3
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Construction Used ★ ★ 2
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Price ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Uniqueness ★ ★ 2
Brand Reliability ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Total32
As written previously, Wilsonart Welcome Home is for lower-priced projects targeted to homebuilders and people with a budget. Its color line is limited and the product is made differently than other Wilsonart floors. Welcome Home is a low-pressure laminate floor that does not have the same resistance to denting and other surface problems.

Wilsonart Classic Planks
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Price ★ ★ ★ 3
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ 3
Brand Reliability ★ ★ ★ 3
Total38
Wilsonart Classic is designed for most residential jobs and comes in both tiles and planks. Aside from the different looks you can create, Wilsonart Classic also has a full and beautiful color line. Its core is of HDF or High Density Fiberboard.

Wilsonart Classic Tiles
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Price ★ ★ 2
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ 3
Brand Reliability ★ ★ ★ 3
Total36
Another feature of Wilsonart Classic is its high-pressure laminate on the top and bottom of the floor. It also has a good solid layer of aluminum oxide, which makes this a great flooring.

Pickering Planks and Tiles
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Construction Used ★ ★ 2
Customer Feedback ★ ★ 2
Professional Feedback ★ ★ 2
Price ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total32
Pickering has a great selection of planks and tiles. They also offer a lifetime warranty - but as we have always said, be careful of warranties. The floor is generally milled pretty well and I think this is a really solid selection for a mid-priced laminate. One of the best features of Pickering is that the prices of the tiles and planks are the same. This gives you the chance to order flooring tiles at the same cost as planks. This has helped Pickering's rank. Also, our customer feedback has been positive as far as the designs and styles of Pickering are concerned.

Alloc
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ 3
Warranty ★ ★ ★ 3
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Price ★ ★ 2
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total35
Alloc is a fresh choice in laminate flooring. It is a high-pressure laminate flooring that is so easy to install, it literally snaps together. This floor is a floating floor installation that does not need glue or foam. The back of the floor has felt backing so it doesn't require any foam underneath the floor. However, a floor that does not have glue in the joints is more likely to experience water damage than other floors so I don't recommend this in wet areas. The price is a bit higher than the other floors. We can say that if time really is money, then the installation time should more than make up for the higher cost. Alloc claims you can disassemble the floor up to 3 times and reinstall it. So when you move you can take the floor with you! Furthermore, we have had some customer feedbacks that are very positive.

BHK Uniclic
Color and Design ★ ★ 2
Warranty ★ ★ ★ 3
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Price ★ ★ 2
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total35
BHK Uniclic is a great new flooring with a click together system. This floor does not require any glue - but does require foam. It is really easy to install and we must say that the joints seem to click together tighter than Alloc. And once they are clicked, they really don't move. This is a pretty good floor and we would say again, that we recommend this as a great choice for easy installation laminate. The edges have wax on them to help resist water. But like Alloc, we also don't think this is the best flooring for a wet area.

Mannington Laminate Floor
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ 3
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Price ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Brand Reliability ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Total37
Mannington has really knocked themselves out with this floor. The patterns and styles are so cool that the floor has a life of its own. Mannington has matched price with style and that is a rare combination. This flooring had been easy to install - a staff member installed this in their kitchen and dining room. They used the beige travertine look with their red oak cabinets - although they have since discontinued that look. We really think this is a solid floor and an excellent choice.

Bruce Traffic Zone
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ 3
Warranty ★ ★ ★ 3
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ 3
Construction Used ★ ★ 2
Customer Feedback ★ ★ 2
Professional Feedback ★ ★ 2
Price ★ ★ 2
Uniqueness 1
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total21
Traffic Zone is a brand of laminate floor from the world's largest hardwood manufacturer, Bruce. Honestly, the product is okay and overall, we would rate it as average. Basically, it's just trying to ride the laminate wave and though they tried to have small flooring insets as a point of distinction, they really don't bring anything new to the industry.

Bruce Carnival
Color and Design 1
Warranty ★ ★ 2
Ease of Installation ★ ★ 2
Construction Used 1
Customer Feedback ★ ★ 2
Professional Feedback ★ ★ 2
Price ★ ★ ★ 3
Uniqueness 1
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total17
This low-priced product is typically found at Home Base or other Home Centers.

Witex Floor and Country Collections
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ 3
Warranty ★ ★ ★ 3
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ 3
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ 3
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Price ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ 3
Brand Reliability ★ ★ ★ 3
Total31
Witex is a power house brand in Europe that is now making the right moves to really make a mark in the US. Witex has created a comprehensive program that covers all aspects of the laminate flooring category. They have less expensive flooring solutions as well as middle of the road products and high-end super tough commercial floors. This review is specifically about the FLOOR and COUNTRY collections. The score has improved since the past years based on some new product introductions and some other unique innovations that may make Witex a power brand here in the USA. Witex has moved from the generic type to a motivating example of how other laminate flooring companies should innovate. Although distribution is still somewhat limited, iFLOOR.com is helping that by offering free samples to residents in the USA. This will really make an impact on distribution nationwide!

Insignia Ceramica Stone & Florentine Marble Kensington Slate
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ 3
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Ease of Installation ★ ★ 2
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ 3
Customer Feedback ★ ★ 2
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Price ★ ★ 2
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total29
Although we really like the idea of the larger-sized planks - a smashing 13-inches wide!, we think that it may be a little tougher for a do-it-yourself installer to handle that big of a piece. Therefore we rate the unique size of the board a perfect 5 stars, but our concern about the ease of installation gets a concerned 2 stars. We would like to see more field experience with the product. The short color line and limited history of the product forces me to be somewhat conservative with the overall ranking, but we do have faith that Mohawk will support Insignia and perhaps supplement this series with additional offerings.

Insignia Centurion

CENTURION was discontinued during this review process therefore our findings are somewhat tardy. We will say however, that due to the core being a bit unwieldy we are glad to see it gone and look forward to Insignia's new entry level flooring option.

Insignia Royal
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ 3
Warranty ★ ★ ★ 3
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ 3
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ 3
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Price ★ ★ ★ 3
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Brand Reliability ★ ★ 2
Total29
To be perfectly honest we personally don't find the wood species and pattern selection to be a really unique offering. We do like the planked effect of the styles. The added width of the board may offer a perfect size combination for cutting down on installation time without having a giant-sized piece of material to sling around the room. We hope that Mohawk will add some cool species and additional colors to this collection soon.

Columbia Laminate
Color and Design ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Warranty ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5
Ease of Installation ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Construction Used ★ ★ ★ 3
Customer Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Professional Feedback ★ ★ ★ 3
Price ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Uniqueness ★ ★ ★ ★ 4
Brand Reliability ★ ★ ★ 3
Total37
Columbia has been producing laminate flooring for the past few years and has a solid distribution system in place. Having a consistent and predictable distribution chain is the second most important requirement when trying to build a national name brand. The first, of course, is the product itself. Columbia offers a number of features like an HDF core with a direct pressure laminate on the surface, which also has a very tough wear surface of aluminum oxide. The amount of wear surface is a bit higher on this floor than most laminates so we expect to see a bit more durability when it comes to long term abrasive wear. The boards are a bit wider than other standard laminates and those 9 1/2" wide planks offer full plank looks, which can be very rich. The color and designs offered both on the wood planks and tiles are some of the most popular colors and styles. This product line is a solid flooring choice. Columbia does have the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, which offers an extra level of brand reliability. We expect to see Columbia become a premier name in laminate flooring soon.

FINAL COMMENTS

Before you start looking at the scorecards we want to thank you. And we may as well thank the power of the Internet. This BRAND WARS article has now been read by more than 30,000 flooring shoppers. We know that it has helped thousands of you to make your decision. (We know because you've e-mailed me and told us that.) We are certain that others use this article as a buying guide. Even if you do not buy your floor from iFLOOR.com we want you to use our editorial content for your benefit without obligation.

We are very happy to make a positive influence on your floor buying experience.

Even more importantly, we are going to be adding a new feature to the article, which will make it even better and we think even more reliable for future shoppers. We are asking each and every one of you that, once you make your purchase - wherever you make it, to rank your product using our 10 STEP system. Your feedback will be integrated into the scoring within each of the brands. Your comments about your floors will also be accessible to future BRAND WARS readers.

Let's make the power of customer feedback work for you and other floor shoppers. We are going to integrate these kinds of customer feedback features throughout the site to make shopping even easier. Be sure to call iFLOOR.com to tell us how we can better serve you. 1-800-454-3941

Brand Name Total Score Average Score
Mannington Laminate 37 3.7
Wilsonart Classic Planks 38 3.8
Wilsonart Classic Tiles 36 3.6
Formica Planks 36 3.6
Formica CERAMIX 37 3.7
Alloc 35 3.5
BHK Uniclic 35 3.5
Pickering Planks & Tiles 32 3.2
Wilsonart Welcome Home 32 3.2
Pergo® Preferred 26 2.6
Pergo® Select 37 3.7
Pergo® Original 25 2.5
Bruce Traffic Zone 21 2.1
Witex 31 3.1
Pergo® Family 18 1.8
Pergo® Living 18 1.8
Bruce Carnival 17 1.7
Insignia Ceramica Stone & Florentine Marble 29 2.9
Insignia Royal 29 2.9
Columbia Laminate 37 3.7

Laminate Flooring Manufacturers

BHK of America - NOT RATED
Steps Laminate Floors - poor distribution

Bruce Laminate Floors - RATED
Traffic Zone Bruce's Laminate Flooring web site

Columbia Flooring - RATED
Columbia Flooring - great choice

Formica Flooring - RATED
Formica Flooring & Ceramix Collection

Mannington Mills - RATED
Mannington Laminate Floors & Historical Collection

Norske Skog Laminate Flooring - RATED
Norske Skog Flooring (USA) - Alloc

Perstorp Flooring - RATED
Pergo® Laminate Floors

Pickering Inc. - RATED
Pickering Laminate Flooring

Quick Step Laminate Floors - RATED
Quick Step Laminate Flooring with the Uniclic System

Tarkett - NOT RATED
RealLife Laminate Floors - not readily available.

Uniboard of Canada - NOT RATED
MultiLook laminate flooring - poor distribution

Wilsonart International - RATED
Wilsonart Laminate Floors

Witex AG - RATED
Witex Laminate Floors

Insignia Dynasty - RATED
Insignia Laminate Floors

Insignia Ceramica Stone & Florentine Marble Kensington Slate - RATED
Insignia Laminate Floors

Insignia Royal - RATED
Insignia Laminate Floors

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