This is the fourth in a series of 12 articles that features the valuable information usually disseminated at Kahala Pacific Floors’ monthly Great Flooring 101 seminars. Due to suspension of its very popular seminars due to COVID-19, company president Shirley Pai Hilton (pictured at right) has developed a new hourlong webinar version of Great Flooring 101 and has also agreed to feature the information in Hawaii Renovation.

Thus far, we have talked about various forms of wood flooring available in today’s market. We’ve also learned about the characteristics of wood (such as cellular structure, color and hardness) and bamboo. This week, we tell you all you need to know about laminate flooring.


It was invented in Sweden in 1977 by Perstorp Corp. and introduced to the world as Pergo laminate flooring. Wildly popular for giving homeowners a floor that looked like wood but did not contain any wood, it was relatively low in cost and very easy to install. Introduced to the U.S. market in 1994, its success spawned many copycats, and everyone experienced a lot of sales and profit during the next 20 years.

A layered product made of pressboard, a printed paper image and a clear laminating film, these elements are hot-pressed together. They are cut into planks with a click-system edge for linking the boards together on your floor without the use of glue.

The quality of the press-board material and the thickness of the laminating film would be the varying factors that determined quality and price. In general, the walk-on quality is not good, having a resonance with a hollow or clickety sound. Also, depending on the quality of the pressboard, laminate floors can expand like crazy if exposed to too much moisture.


While laminate had its day in the sun, sales of laminate started to drop dramatically about three or four years ago with the rise in popularity of luxury vinyl flooring. With luxury vinyl, you are once again getting just a printed image of wood, but the big advantage is that luxury vinyl is waterproof. A lot of folks have decided that if they are not getting the real thing anyway, why not get something that is waterproof? It is fair to say that vinyl flooring has pretty much eliminated the market for laminate flooring.

Now, we are taking the time in this article to talk about laminate as it is the predecessor of the current favorite, luxury vinyl flooring, which will be extensively discussed in our next article.

Want to learn more? Please watch for our next article and also sign up for one of our upcoming Great Flooring 101 webinars happening on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. or Saturday, Dec. 12, at 10 a.m. Registration is required, so sign up by calling 847-7711 or emailing See you online!

CONTACT 847-7711