Thanks to realistic looks and an attractive price point, laminate flooring products exploded onto the scene a few years ago and continue to experience double-digit growth. Now glueless laminate versions -- available from most manufacturers across several price levels -- are adding to that sales boost. Glueless laminate products are installed via locking mechanisms similar to tongue and groove. But rather than just fitting together, the planks snap solidly in place. The result is faster installation -- up to 50% quicker for some lines -- and little to no cleanup.
While popular among DIYers, some pros are still skeptical about the products' ability to stay down. To help quell these misgivings, says Mike Hoelscher, owner of Hoelscher flooring in Temple, Texas, contractors should choose products whose warranties also cover the locking mechanism. Wilsonart, for example, offers a 15-year warranty on its DuoLink glueless laminate. Armstrong guarantees that its ArmaLock flooring will not unlock during the life of the warranty.
"Once the product is in, it's not moving," assures Chip Braulick, vice president of marketing at Tarkett, referring to the company's QuickLock laminates. "It's a very secure mechanism that locks it in place."
Remodelers should keep in mind that for bathroom installations, a small amount of glue will still be needed to ensure the seams are moisture resistant.
Many glueless laminates carry a higher price tag -- some as much as 20% to 30% more -- but some lines are about the same price as glued products. Bruce Hardwood Floors. One of the top five hardwoods for relative hardness, Merbau hardwood flooring offers a tropical appearance. The seven-ply engineered product measures 3/8 inch thick by 3 1/2 inches wide and features micro-beveled edges, square ends, tongue and groove installation, and a Dura-Luster Plus finish. (800) 722-4647. www.bruce.com.
BHK. Glueless laminate flooring tiles measure 15 1/2 inches square and come in six ceramic-like patterns. The tiles complement the company's glueless laminate flooring, a tongue and groove system that clicks together to form tight seams and strong joints with sealed edges for greater moisture resistance. (800) 663-4176. www.bhkuniclic.com.
Wilsonart. DuoLink laminate flooring features a dual tongue and groove glueless system that does not require angled installation. The flooring, which features a high-density fiberboard core with moisture-sealed edges, comes in eight woodgrain plank styles, including walnut, beech, and cherry. (800) 710-8846. www.wilsonart.com.
American Florim. Kassel Stone combines rustic tiles with silver or bronze metallic-look accent pieces. The line includes stone-look field tiles in four sizes: 3-by-12-inch bullnose, 6-by-6-inch relief decos, 6-by-6-inch metallic glaze decos, and 2-by-12-inch metallic glaze listelli. (877) 356-7462. www.americanflorim.com.
Crossville. Offering the look of tumbled marble, Manor Stone porcelain tile comes in 6-, 12-, and 18-inch squares and eight colors, including rose garden, gold, and mist. Borders and trim also are available. (931) 484-2110. www.crossville-ceramics.com.
Armstrong. With 3-D surface embossing and irregular gloss levels, Nature's Gallery laminate flooring mimics the looks of wood and stone. The flooring's ArmaLock locking system allows for installation without glue. Seven stone designs and three wood designs are available. (800) 233-3823. www.armstrong.com.
Mannington. Available in hickory and oak, American Rustics engineered wood flooring offers a distressed appearance that complements rustic furniture. Both styles come in 5-inch-wide planks with micro-bevel edges and a scratch-resistant finish. (800) 252-4202. www.mannington.com.
Domco. Trends sheet vinyl flooring offers the texture and look of ceramic and stone and offers improved backing with enhanced resistance to bottom-up staining and water damage. A dense foam interlayer offers better resistance to indentations, says the maker. The product's Tritonite wearlayer protects against scuffs and scratches. (800) 227-4662. www.domco.com.
Tarkett. Quick Lock glueless laminate flooring features a milled tongue and groove construction that incorporates a flat-lay locking system for 50% faster installation. The high-density fiberboard core is reinforced with a high resin content for moisture resistance. The planks are available in 12 patterns. (800) 367-8275. www.tarkettusa.com.
Robbins. Bradley Strip hardwood flooring features a True Square edge profile and a no-wax polyurethane finish. The 1/2-inch-thick flooring measures 2 1/4 inches wide and comes in random lengths. Six colors are available, including ginger, topaz, and mink. (800) 733-3309. www.robbins.com.
Pergo. Designed to add a decorative touch to the company's Pergo Select laminate flooring, Select Accents accessory pieces include inlays, borders, and small tile pieces. The 26 accent pieces come in five shapes and 14 colors and are precut and pre-milled. (800) 337-3746. www.pergo.com.
Ironrock Capital. The Meredith Collection of handcrafted and painted ceramic tile includes flooring and wall tiles with a range of glaze and design options. This flooring design features 8-inch Parallelogram tiles in biscuit and 8-inch Hexagon tiles in sandstone. (800) 325-3945. www.meredithtile.com.
Congoleum. Made from tempered glass and a polymer composite backing, Obsidian flooring is durable, stain-resistant, and easy to maintain, according to the firm. Designs layered under the glass refract light and reflect the surroundings. Twenty colors are available. (609) 584-3000. www.congoleum.com.
Kentucky Wood Floors. Cambridge II flooring features a 3/4-by-12-inch design incorporated into ash squares encased in ash pickets. In addition to ash, a range of accent wood choices and species can be combined. (800) 235-5235. www.kentuckywood.com.
Daltile. Tajah rustic glazed ceramic tile offers the colors and veining of traditional multi-colored Indian slate in ivory, beige, red, or green. The style is available in 18-inch-square and 12-inch-square tiles. (800) 988-8453. www.daltile.com.