Today’s laminate is a far cry from the originals of more than a decade ago.
Once an economical mimic of wood, stone, tile and even resilient vinyl decors, laminate has become its own unique flooring fashion, thanks to inspired manufacturers who continue to push the design envelope.
It is now possible to replicate wood, stone and tile to the exact color and texture of your choice and to select from special effects which make laminate rather trendy in today’s “luxe” circles. Even the hand-scraped and distressed look, beveled edges and antique finishes, so hot in hardwoods and exotics, have found their way to fashionable laminate floors.
Next, look very closely at the surface texture. Fashion laminate is presented with what is called embossed-in-register textured finishes, a very precise way of creating an accurate surface texture directly above and matching the laminate image beneath -- be it wood, stone or tile. The technique allows for a stippled tile or stone or coarse-to-fine-grained wood you can feel as well as see.
In the early days, laminate flooring featured basically shiny or matte finishes. Nowadays, you can have those (much improved with extended durability warranties) plus anything in between, even the hot new hand-rubbed look from Europe, the sleek matte oiled finish.