Mohawk Laminate Flooring is the chameleon of the flooring world. Chameleons? You remember them – those small, slow-moving lizards with the highly developed ability to blend into their surrounding by changing color.
In the realm of residential flooring, where material, color, texture and style options abound, laminates (sometimes called Engineered Flooring) are the true chameleons, with the capability of looking like anything and everything they are not. And Mohawk, with 34 different laminate product lines – that offer more than 200 style options – may very well be the king chameleon.
You want teak plank hardwood in the living room? A Mohawk laminate can do that. Medium-width nutmeg chestnut in the kitchen? Mohawk can do that, too. Weathered grey elm in the bedroom? Stonewood porcelain tiles in the hall? Wide-board vintage driftwood oak in the family room? Mohawk, Mohawk, Mohawk.
It’s all about the design layer, the visible layer of the laminate flooring sandwich, on which virtually any photographic representation can be applied. That chameleon-like capacity for visual versatility provides Mohawk laminate flooring customers with a veritable forest of options.
- What is the Laminate Sandwich?
- Mohawk’s Advantages
- Reviews & Customer Satisfaction
- To Buy or Not to Buy?
The Laminate Sandwich
Before dwelling on the design layer, it’s important to understand the rest of the laminate sandwich. The bottom backing layer, also known as the balancing layer, provides a stable support surface for the rest of the plank. It’s a bread slice.
Atop the backing layer sits the meat of the sandwich, called the core. Made of particle board or, more typically, high-density fiberboard, the core contains the routed tongue-and-groove edges that allow each plank to connect to its neighbors.
The design layer is applied above the core, providing the image of the actual wood grain, ceramic tile, or stone pattern. Digitally enhanced embossing technology allows Mohawk and other manufacturers to create remarkable reproductions of their natural wood and stone counterparts.
The transparent top layer of the sandwich provides protection against wear, fading, staining, and scratching. This layer may include melamine resin or aluminum oxide for extra durability and moisture protection.
The layers are then laminated, or pressed together using intense pressure and heat into laminate sheets. Finally, the sheets are sliced into individual planks, and the tongue-and-groove edges are cut.
One additional layer should be noted, the underlayment. The underlayment is typically a separate layer acting as the plate for the sandwich – providing a smooth and even layer on which the laminate flooring system “floats.”
Mohawk has taken the basics of the laminate sandwich and added some technological toppings and relishes that improve its look, durability, and ease of installation.
In an effort to make each plank look as realistic as possible, Mohawk developed GenuEdge™ Technology. GenuEdge rolls the embossed design layer image over the edge of the plank, creating a more realistic three-dimensional appearance of the woodgrain.
Uniclic™ Locking System
Its Uniclic™ Locking System is an advance on the traditional glued tongue-and-groove system that laminates have typically utilized. The Uniclic technology allows the boards to physically click together, speeding up installation and eliminating the mess inherent in glue application.
Mohawk’s ScratchGuard™ process provides increased defense against scratches and abrasion by infusing aluminum crystals in the top layer of the laminate.
Environmentally, Mohawk has been a leader in reducing its impact. The company utilizes fast growing southern pine in its U.S. facilities for the manufacture of the laminate cores.
Additionally, Mohawk relies on a majority of pre-consumer recycled content for the production of its laminates, keeping hundreds of millions of pounds of materials out of landfills each year.
And regarding environmental health, Mohawk Laminates are Floorscore Certified. The Floorscore certification system was developed by the independent Resilient Floor Covering Institute to test for volatile organic compounds emissions and to certify for healthy indoor air quality.
Reviews & Consumer Satisfaction
As one of the largest and most reputable flooring companies in the world, there is a degree of comfort choosing Mohawk. Its products are readily available in retail stores and online. Typically, salespeople and flooring contractors are knowledgeable about the company’s lines and technologies.
It is fair to say that there is consumer agreement that Mohawk has produced some of the most beautiful and aesthetically appealing laminate floors on the market. And with its chameleon-like quantity of styles, colors and wood species designs, Mohawk is a no-brainer for someone looking for a large palette from which to choose, or for an interior designer wanna-be looking for something unusual.
The Uniclic System is another plus. It makes Mohawk’s products straightforward to install for the do-it-yourselfer, and less time-consuming for a professional installer. A money-saver all around.
And speaking of money, Mohawk products are priced moderately within the laminate flooring continuum; not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. Laminates typically cost between $1 and $5 per square foot, with Mohawk’s products generally in the $1.50 to $4 range depending on style, thickness and quality. In general, you get what you pay for with laminates, so a mid-range price means a mid-range quality product.
Regarding quality, consumers always have the last word, though. And the reviews are somewhat mixed.
Beyond the previously mentioned graphic component, when discussing quality, the focus is on the feel of the product, as well as how well the flooring holds up to the impacts of general use, including foot traffic, dents and dings from dropped items, scratches from moving furniture or pet claws, as well as the effects from water spills and fading from sunlight and age.
The feel of the product is directly correlated to its thickness, with a direct impact on sound dampening, and to the floor’s flex: the thicker the product, the greater the sound absorption and the more solid the floor feels underfoot. Most laminates are between 6mm and 15mm thick, and again, Mohawk straddles the middle ground, with 22 of its product lines at 7mm or 8mm, and its 12 premium lines at 12mm.
As for Mohawk’s durability, the assessment is more nuanced.
All of its products have received the NALFA Certification Seal. NALFA (North American Laminate Flooring Association) is an industry organization that, utilizing independent labs, puts laminate flooring through ten rigorous performance tests specific to the impacts of water, light, stains, and physical damage.
A deeper dig is provided by understanding the Abrasion Class certification system. The AC rating is the standard for gauging how well a laminate will perform in a residential or commercial setting. Each flooring product is tested and provided a moderate, general or heavy use rating. Most Mohawk lines receive ratings suitable for heavy residential traffic or general commercial traffic.
Regardless of the certifications, a quick search of the internet reveals a number of consumer complaints specific to Mohawk laminate’s ability to withstand normal wear and tear, including instances of the top layer peeling and bubbling, scratches and denting appearing with little cause, and even the color fading prematurely. Whether isolated instances or symptoms of a larger epidemic of consumer dissatisfaction is difficult to assess.
Mohawk does provide a lifetime warranty covering defects in material workmanship related to joint integrity, staining, fading and excessive wear during normal use, but some consumers complain that the company resists making good on the warranty, faulting instead improper installation, damage by excessive water puddling, or other non-material workmanship causes rather than owning up to a flawed product.
Assuming laminate hardwood is your flooring option of choice, whether Mohawk should be your laminate flooring brand of choice is dependent on your priorities.
Clearly, with its enormous selection of styles and color options, Mohawk provides a greater likelihood than many other companies of finding the unique color or grain pattern that you envision for your living room. And its embossing technology and GenuEdge wood-grain technique result in a virtual reality that is universally acclaimed.
For ease of assembly, its Uniclic System is certainly a positive consideration as well, especially if you intend to do the installation yourself, though many other brands are now utilizing similar systems.
If cost is your guiding star, Mohawk’s middle of the road pricing suggests a decent value for a decent product.
As for quality, there are some unanswered questions in this regard from dissatisfied customers, but considering the number of units this large company sells on an annual basis, there are likely many times more Mohawk customers who are quietly happy with their floors.