Karndean Blog

Korlok v. Laminate

Korlok vs. Laminate: a comparative guide

Karndean Designflooring

We realize that there are many flooring options out there – and researching all of these different options can be tedious. Laminate flooring has been around for decades and is likely a type of flooring that you are familiar with. A newer format of flooring that is growing in popularity is referred to as “rigid core” or “waterproof core” - both terms which describe our Korlok products - and you may be less familiar with this format.

In this post, we take a closer look at our interlocking rigid core product, Korlok, and compare with laminate flooring – explaining the main differences between the two product types.

What is Korlok and how is it different from laminate flooring? 

Korlok is an interlocking rigid core floor, meaning that it is secured in place by a locking mechanism (interlocking) and can be installed over most existing hard floors with minimal subfloor preparation, thanks to a “rigid core” layer, while retaining all the benefits of our luxury vinyl. Laminate flooring is also an interlocking floating floor product that is typically installed through a click-lock or tongue-and-groove format.

The difference is in the construction or composition of the products themselves. Korlok is essentially a luxury vinyl plank combined with a PVC rigid core layer and an acoustic foam backing. Our luxury vinyl has a stability layer, a high definition photographic layer (the design itself), an embossed wear layer that matches the design underneath (so that the touch is true to the design you see), and is finished with our surface protection layer. Laminates have a backing layer, a fiberboard layer (the laminate version of a rigid core), a decorative paper layer (the design), and a wear layer or overlay layer on top. These layers are then fused together at high temperatures.

Korlok Reserve Weathered Oak RCP6532 

Korlok Reserve - Weathered Oak RCP6532

How does it deal with water?

Korlok’s rigid core is made entirely of PVC, making it fully waterproof and suitable for wet areas including bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens. 

The core layer within laminate products is composed of wood fibers, so while it is also rigid for installation over existing hard surface floors, laminate is not an ideal waterproof flooring option. In rooms that are exposed to excess water such as bathrooms, basements prone to flooding or areas that have fluctuations in humidity, the wood particles can absorb the water which causes the floor to swell, crack and warp. 

Which is more comfortable?

All of our luxury vinyl is softer underfoot than laminate or engineered wood. In addition, Korlok features a pre-attached foam backing that helps reduce noise transfer to rooms below. This backing makes Korlok not only quieter, but more comfortable to walk on.

Laminate is often noisy to walk on due to air pockets or gaps that form between the laminate and over the existing floor it was installed over. This hollow underfoot sound can amplify background noise pollution, particularly in multi-story homes. 

Is Korlok or laminate flooring more durable?

Korlok, like all our products, features a surface protection layer called K-Guard+ which gives it a durable and hygienic finish. This layer makes our floors both child and pet friendly while helping to prevent scratches and stains. Underneath this layer is a 20mil wear layer that helps to protect the floor and is rated for both home and commercial applications. Korlok's rigid K-Core has industry-leading performance against indentation. Like all Karndean Designfloors, Korlok comes with a lifetime warranty (15-year commercial warranty), so chances are greater that you'll want to redesign your space and change your floor before actually needing to replace it due to wear. 

In laminate flooring, there is typically just one top protective layer, which (depending on the manufacturer) could come in a wide range of thicknesses. The quality of the top coat is typically reflected in the cost. In addition, the multi-layers of plastic and wood fibers are prone to delamination (where the layers begin to peel back) and chipping. Although generally more durable than real wood, laminates are also susceptible to surface scratching, making it not ideal for high traffic areas or entranceways. 

Korlok Select Washed Velvet Ash RKP8102 

Korlok Select - Washed Velvet Ash RKP8102

How realistic do they look?

At Karndean, we strive to replicate the beauty of the natural world in all our products. Our product development team travels the world to seek out expressive and intriguing forms which influence our unique floor designs. Korlok offers you the beauty of natural hardwood but with all the benefits of luxury vinyl, including low maintenance and durability. We take great care to ensure that our designs are as true to nature as can be, while also feeling true to the touch. You'll find that pattern repeats within our flooring are very minimal, adding to an authentic and natural look.

Laminate flooring also replicates the look of natural wood, but upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that some laminates feature regular pattern repeats. These designs are often chosen out of a factory’s catalog of designs– losing its natural look authenticity. 

Korlok features the best aspect of a laminate floor with its click-lock format and blends it with the resilience of luxury vinyl; ultimately offering a natural looking floor to last a lifetime. Still unsure about Korlok? View the collection and request a sample of your favorite color!

Recently installed Korlok? Be sure to share a photo with us on social media using the #Karndean hashtag.

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