Laminate flooring has come a long way since its introduction in America more than a decade ago. Where once laminate was expected to simulate the appearance of wood, now the product is manufactured to look like wood, stone and ceramic, and to replicate a wide range of textures for traditional, contemporary and exotic tastes alike.

The technology has also changed. With registered embossing and digital re-imaging, laminates can achieve realistic grout lines in tile patterns, flowing veins in marble look-a-likes, and smooth grains and tones in wood. Gluing a floor together plank by plank has also changed, as more and more companies have entered the glueless installation arena.

As technology develops further in the manufacture of these floors, laminates will continue to become more realistic to suit customers' tastes and needs. To that end, NFT presents our annual look at laminate floor fashions for the coming year.

Laminate has indeed come a long way. With the selection of companies and their products on display here, you’ll see for yourself just how far this flooring category, and industry, has come.

Abet Laminati's Parqcolor Gold premium laminate flooring.
Abet Laminatihas introduced Parqcolor Gold, a premium laminate flooring line with the warm, subtle look of wood. Parqcolor Gold features superior performance for installations in shops, hotels, salons, and office environments, according to Abet. Available in 45 colors of various wood species, and manufactured in 7 1/2-by-47-inch planks, Parqcolor Gold is resistant to intense impact, heat, bacteria, and ultraviolet rays, the company says.

Parqcolor Fiber, another Abet offering, features a textured surface made from thousands of randomly placed small fibers derived from recycled fiber similar to burlap. Parqwood, a wood-veneer laminate floor from Abet, is manufactured with advanced protective overlays and textured surfaces.

Alloc Commercial flooring graces the London Heathrow International Airport facility in England.
Alloc'snew Alloc Commercial flooring is a high-pressure laminate flooring product dedicated to commercial applications. Along with its high-pressure surface, Alloc Commercial features an Aqua-resist HDF core and an HPL backing with sound-absorbent underlayment. Alloc Commercial offers a patented locking mechanism that allows for glueless installations, as aluminum joints allow for built-in alignment accuracy. The floor is available in 12 designs and carries a 10-year warranty for joint integrity, stain resistance, fade resistance, and wear.

Armstrong Laminate Floors' Nature's Gallery collection in Primrose Oak.
Armstrong Laminate Floorscombined natural graining and depth of dimension in the company's wood- and stone-look Nature's Gallery collection. The laminate floors in Nature's Gallery offer graining or ticking to create realistic detail. Variations in the gloss level correspond to the natural variations found in stone or wood, and a change in scale gives the floor a spacious feel in 12-inch planks.

In addition to warm oaks and textured stone patterns, Armstrong also offers styles in cherry and slate, as well as a laminate with the look of Mexican Saltillo tile. These floors -- Frederick Cherry, Slate, and Fum?espectively -- were introduced nationwide at retail last spring. All floors in Nature's Gallery feature the glueless ArmaLock Installation system.

BHK of America's Moderna Lifestyle Glueless Laminate Flooring.
BHK of Americahas expanded its Moderna Lifestyle Glueless Laminate Flooring line with the addition of seven new colors: Beech Royal, Beech Fineline, Meerbau, Walnut, Golden Alder, Cherry, and Country House Birch. Moderna Lifestyle offers the warmth of wood with the easy maintenance of laminate, according to BHK. All Moderna Glueless Flooring Systems feature tight seams and strong joints via a glueless "click" installation. More than 65 colors and patterns are available in the Moderna product line, which also comes with extensive product warranties and lifetime limited warranties.

Bruce Laminate Floors' Traffic Zone Plank in Olive.
Bruce Laminate Floors'Traffic Zone Plank flooring offers a variety of patterns that reproduce the looks of natural wood, marble, granite, and stone. Traffic Zone Plank floors encompass seven collections comprising traditional looks -- such as Oak, Maple, Cherry, Pine, and Beech -- and more adventurous exotics such as Tosca Apple, Olive, Juniper, Shaker Pine, and Mountain Oak. Specialty planks include Caribbean Slate, Marble and stained looks in Pearl, Indigo, Forest, and Cranberry.

Traffic Zone Plank floors are manufactured with the CrystalGuard surface layer for durability. Bruce says the floors, which are backed by a 25-year warranty, can be installed in any room -- including bathrooms -- due to their moisture-resistant Magnum HDF core.

Congoleum's Evermore laminate flooring.
Congoleum'sEvermore laminate flooring, which is styled to realistically imitate natural wood grains and colors, is available in more than 20 selections. Evermore is engineered for long-lasting durability and ease of installation. The product is constructed by fusing multiple layers under high pressure and heat in a three-step process. The backing layers provide a moisture barrier and add dimensional stability, the high-density fiberboard core increases structural integrity, and the surface layers provide a high-luster finish as well as additional indent and gouge resistance, Congoleum says.

Evermore is covered by a 20-year warranty against wear, stains and fading. The company also offers a line of moulding and transition pieces in seven wood types and 30 colorations to further enhance the floor's natural image.

Formica Flooring's Wood Reserve Collection in Traditional Cherry.
Formica Flooringoffers a variety of laminate flooring collections, including the Ceramix Collection, the Wood Reserve Collection and the Stone Classix Collection. The Ceramix Collection is available in 10 dimensional tiles styled to capture the warm look and textured grout lines associated with real ceramic tile. The line is available in 12-by-48-inch planks that feature 12-by-12-inch tile visuals.

The Wood Reserve Collection, available in 8-by-48-inch planks, features Formica's registered embossed technology to create textures and patterns that capture the look of natural wood grains such as Cognac Cherry, Golden Oak, Mocha Maple, and Traditional Cherry. The Stone Classix Collection encompasses four patterns that feature authentic textures and grout lines associated with handcrafted marble, stone and slate flooring. Stone Classix is available in 12-by-48-inch planks and features a random block pattern. All Formica laminate flooring is covered by a 20-year warranty against wear, stains, fading, and water damage.

Mannington's Exotic Collection in Natural Australian Cypress.
Manningtonmanufactures a wide selection of laminate flooring, including the NatureForm Tile Collection and the Historic, Exotic and Traditional collections. The NatureForm collection incorporates NatureForm embossing to create realistic slate and stone patterns in laminate tile. Textures and gloss levels distinguish tile from grout lines. Selections include Austrian Slate, Burmese Slate, Jerusalem Stone, Peruvian Stone, and Sedona Stone. The line is backed with Mannington's 20-year warranty.

The Historic, Exotic and Traditional collections feature a range of planks styled to replicate rare wood patterns, exotic grains and traditional favorites. The Historic Collection evokes the look of rare woods from ages past, such as Honey Knotty Heart Pine, Natural Historic Chestnut and Antique Barn Oak. The Exotic Collection includes Natural Norwegian Birch, Sable and Natural Exotic Cypress. The Traditional Collection features Gunstock Oak, Natural Yew and Rose Ash among its many selections. Flooring in these collections is backed by a 15-year warranty.

Mohawk Paramount.
Paramount, fromMohawk,is a 12-millimeter-thick laminate line with a foot traffic sound that mimics hardwood, the company says. Paramount features the GuardianShield finish and Mohawk's DuraLoc Plus glueless horizontal-locking installation system that was designed to virtually eliminate seams. Sound Inhibitor underlayment is attached to planks in this laminate line. Paramount also features WaterGuard 6, a high-density fiberboard substrate designed to allow no more than 6 percent moisture absorption. Paramount is available in Oak, Maple, Hickory, Rustic Pine, Brazilian Cherry, Beech, Ash, and Walnut.

Pergo's Accolade glueless laminate flooring.
Pergo'snew Accolade glueless click-in laminate flooring line is precision milled to ensure the tightest possible fit and ease of assembly, the company says. Aside from quick installation capabilities, Accolade offers LusterGard Plus scratch barrier and 12 high-volume designs. The flooring, which is manufactured with Pergo’s DuraCore, carries an AC3 rating for wear resistance and features built-in edge sealant. Accolade comes with a 25-Year Triple-Plus Warranty. The product is also warranted against water damage from damp mopping and everyday spills.

Shaw Hard Surfaces' Natural Splendor laminate plank.
Shaw Hard Surfaceshas introduced more than two-dozen stone and wood-grain colorations to its VersaLock laminate product line with its Natural Splendor, Natural Treasures and Natural Treasures Plus collections. Natural Splendor, available in 12-by-48-inch plank format, offers distinctive tile patterns with the look and feel of natural stone in 14 SKUs. Coordinating mouldings are available for each color.

Natural Treasures and Natural Treasures Plus are composed of 15 SKUs of traditional, rustic and exotic wood-grain designs. The intricate wood designs are enhanced with an embossed surface that adds dimension and character, Shaw says. Natural Treasures Plus comes with Silent Step Plus attached underlayment for sound absorption. All of the flooring options feature the VersaLock glueless installation system.

Wilsonart DuoLink.
Wilsonart Flooringoffers expanded plank design choices with its DuoLink glueless laminate floor collection. Designs include Dunkerton Maple, Manchester Maple, Ellerslie Oak, Berwick Oak, Chadwick Oak and Glemont Cherry. The laminate flooring line features Tap-N-Lock technology and carries a 15-year warranty against wear, fading, staining and water damage.

Witex USA's Laura Ashley Laminate in Cherry Decor.
Witex USAwill soon launch their exclusive collection of Laura Ashley flooring in North America. Laminate offerings will be a key component of the introduction. Through Laura Ashley's licensee, USFloors, Witex recently secured the rights to manufacture and market hard-surface flooring products under the Laura Ashley brand name. Laminate flooring, both wood and tile decors, will feature glueless installation and registered embossed surface textures. In addition, each decor will be available with pre-applied sound deadening backing. A full line of accessories, installation materials, specialty underlayments, mouldings, and floor care kits also will be available.