Laminate flooring is getting boring. Laminate was introduced to North America around 1996 when Color Tile teamed up with Pergo and started a wave of flooring changes that is now measured in billions of dollars per year in the United States alone. Other countries on every continent are making laminate flooring a giant part of their market with it’s high styling, easy installation and decent maintenance requirements. But, how does that old song go about the thrill is gone? Laminate is no longer a niche item. Although people still refer to the laminate flooring category itself as Pergo much like Kleenex has defined the tissue paper category it has become a large diverse market made up of hundreds of manufacturers. So why is it suggested that laminate is now suffering from a category wide malaise? Basically since 2007 the global markets have been very difficult for flooring in general and marketing budget and research and development budgets are the first thing to get trimmed when times are tough. There has been very little innovation or breakthrough styling in the laminate category in the past several years. There have been modest improvements in embossing in register (EIR) which is a floor geek way of saying that the pattern that is pressing into the floor follows the pattern of the hardwood paper below the surface. Said differently: it looks cool. But EIR is still limited and is not for everyone. There have been attempts to make random lengths, super long lengths (8 feet) and other half hearted efforts that are not really true innovation. Laminate still has a ton of options, but if you are looking for something totally new and unique you will find laminate is more or less the same as it was over the past 3-4 years a nothing noteworthy is on the horizon. It has become more of a meat and potato item rather than a sexy innovator. The good news is that the world loves a good plate of meat and potatoes.