The salesperson tries to help you and suggests Quick-Step flooring for your project. But you are certain this recommended laminate flooring will never look the same or offer the wide, long boards you love in a real hardwood floor. Tightly clutching the sample of Brazilian cherry hardwood, your heart sinks because you know that solid wood flooring is just too expensive for your budget.
But then you are handed a sample of Quick-Step’s NatureTek and it looks like real wood. Plus, it is available in a seven-and-a-half-inch wide plank that is up to 80 inches long, and it comes in a very realistic Brazilian cherry version. Can this Quick-Step laminate flooring actually meet your high standards and serve as a hardwood replacement that offers a great looking, durable floor on a tight budget?
What is Quick-Step and Who is Mohawk?
In 2005, Quick-Step was a company acquired as a division within Mohawk Industries, a flooring industry giant who sells just about every kind of flooring known to man through numerous subsidiaries. After becoming part of Mohawk, Quick-Step moved much of their production to the United States. Today, they manufacture most of their products in the U.S.
A company called Unilin originally invented Quick-Step’s technology in Belgium. They introduced the first glueless click-and-lock floating floor system in 1997. They marketed it with the patented Uniclic Locking System.
The Uniclic system simplified installation, and DIYers found a floor they could easily install in an average size residential room, taking a day or less to complete. Competitors popped up, and the click together floor is no longer as novel as it once was. But Uniclic is the original and many feel it is still one of the easier systems to install.
Quick-Step has always included a number of different products. They varied depending on the finish/color, price, and other properties. But in 2018, all of Mohawk’s laminate flooring products were reorganized and some were re-engineered.
The downside of this facelift is that the Mohawk Industries product lines are now confusing, including the offerings from the Quick-Step division. To make matters worse, some Mohawk divisions sell products similar to Quick-Step’s under different names. Finding helpful information on the actual product you want and need is hard, and at times it feels like they are trying to be difficult.
But fear not, we did the legwork for you and the pertinent highlights follow to hopefully make it easier to understand the Quick-Step laminate floor choices.
What are the Quick-Step Laminate Floor Options?
If you visit the current U.S. website for Quick-Step, you will find four major categories in the drop-down flooring tab: Wood, Resilient, Carpet, and Studio. Under the wood category, they list NatureTek, NatureTek Plus, and TrueTek. So, you may ask: which one is the laminate flooring?
Great question, since it seems they changed all the product names. Therefore, a quick introduction to the laminate flooring products Quick-Step makes is in order. (For the record and as an added bonus, those who liked the old engineered hardwood line called Q-Wood will find it is now called TrueTek.)
NatureTek is Quick-Step’s line of laminate flooring that they sell through dedicated flooring distributorships. It is available in two versions, NatureTek and NatureTek Plus. NatureTek is water-resistant but cannot be “wet” for long periods.
If you want an upgrade, the NatureTek Plus is a waterproof laminate. So it can take spills, snow that feet track in, and rain. You can clean it with a wet mop or laminate-friendly mop, as well. Further, it comes with a limited lifetime warranty against water and pet damage.
For those who like the big box stores, you can buy Quick-Step Studio as a DIY laminate. Lowe’s carries it. This particular product has not reviewed well, as many felt it was too sensitive when exposed to moisture. For a home office or bedroom, the Studio product may be a good choice, but you may want to skip this product in a kitchen or bathroom.
Which Quick-Step Product is Best?
If you have an extra bedroom that does not get much traffic, the Quick-Step Studio product may suffice. They make it as easy as possible to install. It includes a pre-attached underlayment on each plank. But avoid using it in high-traffic or damp areas, especially kitchens and bathrooms.
The Quick-Step NatureTek line incorporates a water-resistant core, an improved protective wear layer, and tight-fitting joints, making this an interesting product. If it lives up to the durability claims made by Quick-Step, this could be a welcome product in the flooring market.
But Quick-Step also went one step further with NatureTek Plus, engineering a waterproof product that is warrantied against water and pet damage, for life. If you have an area that gets pet abuse or gets wet, the NatureTek Plus product is designed to work where other laminate floors struggle. For those who simply want the ultimate durability in a laminate floor, this may be it.
As for appearance, the NatureTek products mimic wood well. Details like wide planks that are up to 80 inches long add to the realistic look. Competing products are often just narrow planks that are only forty-eight inches long.
Another NatureTek detail is a feature they call GenuEdge, where the texture and color “roll over” the edge for a more realistic wood look. But why does this little detail make the floor look better? Glad you asked.
With many products, a small V forms between boards created by a bevel on the edge of the planks. That adds dimension to the floor. It also masks any small differences in edge alignment between planks.
But with many laminates, the bevel is a different color than the wear surface, making the V even more pronounced. NatureTek solved this problem with the GenuEdge technology.
Will NatureTek Cost Me an Arm or a Leg?
In general, the price is one of the big selling points for laminate flooring when compared to hardwood. So, with all these improvements, is NatureTek still more economical than solid hardwood?
Happily, the answer is an emphatic yes. NatureTek and NatureTek Plus easily fall within the oft-quoted two to eight dollars per square foot installed, which is definitely less than solid hardwood. Also, you should be aware that depending on where you buy the products, you will find the NatureTek Plus does run about $0.50 to $1.00 more than NatureTek.
Keep in mind when shopping for both NatureTek products, you will need to put down an underlayment. This adds about $0.60 per square foot to the materials cost of your laminate floor.
And you will need trim for things like thresholds and covering gaps at the perimeters. Quick-Step offers a quarter round, stair nose, and a versatile five-in-one molding for transitions and thresholds.
They designed these accessories well, and they work well. However, they are pricey. It is $45 – 50 for a seven-foot length of the five-in-one molding.
The Bottom Line
The new NatureTek products look surprisingly like solid hardwood with details like longer, wider boards and the GenuEdge technology. It still incorporates the old Uniclic technology, while embracing these improvements.
And if the new NatureTek line lives up to Quick-Step’s durability claims, these U.S.-made products should make a big impression in the laminate floor market.
In particular, NatureTek Plus is very interesting. A water- and pet-proof laminate that does not need to be babied in the bathroom or kitchen is a welcome addition to flooring options for these spaces. Plus, the cost for NatureTek Plus is competitive with other laminate floors, meaning it costs less than solid hardwood.
Also, it is not an exaggeration to state the NatureTek Plus lifetime warranty that covers water and pet damage is a game changer in laminate flooring. This product is still new to the market, so we have yet to see the actual long-term performance. It will be interesting to see how time bears out, or disproves, this new technology from Quick-Step, and if their bold warranty is over-hyped or real.
If you have installed and lived with a NatureTek or NatureTek Plus floor, or have anything to augment this Quick-Step discussion, please add to the comments below or on our social media. We love to hear about your experiences or anything that might help others learn more about Quick-Step laminate floors.