Shaw Laminate Flooring – Overview

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Shaw Floors has a long history beginning with its birth in 1946. In those days it was called the Star Dye Company and its only product was brightly-colored scatter rugs. Like many businesses in the postwar U.S., Star Dye rode a wave of consumer spending and experienced explosive growth because of it. America was tired of wartime rationing and suddenly had an avid appetite for bright, cheerful home items. Star Dye sold those items and grew.

In 1958 Star Dye expanded into the field of carpet finishing and became the Star Finishing Company. In the late 1960’s the company was acquired by the Philadelphia Carpet Company and moved into carpet manufacturing. Since then it has continued to grow, making the Fortune 500 in 1985. Today Shaw totals more than $4 billion in sales annually and employs about 25,000 people.

Shaw considers itself to be an innovator in the field, and this is no empty boast. It has pioneered a method of laying down laminate flooring that does not require glue and allows the floor to be used immediately afterward. Using Shaw’s patented system, the flooring panels are locked in place on all four sides without any adhesive. This makes installation quick and easy and leaves no mess afterward. The panels stay in place reliably during use, but can be removed and reassembled if necessary.

Shaw’s laminate flooring is durable, attractive and stain-resistant. It is made in four layers using Shaw’s own patented products. The first layer is the balancing or stabilizing layer, which serves as a moisture barrier and provides the structural strength of the panel. The second layer is called the core, and for this Shaw uses their own OptiCore fiberboard. This is made from wood fibers saturated and held together with resin to give additional strength and water resistance. On top of this is the pattern layer which is actually a photographic reproduction of wood grain, tile or stone. This reproduction is extremely detailed, and when applied to the panel it gives a very realistic imitation of the real thing. On top of the pattern layer is a coating of melamine, a durable resin that can stand up to many years of hard use. Shaw’s wear layer is made of their Luminiere coating, which is extremely hard and bright, topped with a further protective layer, Shaw’s ScufResist.

Laminate flooring provides several advantages over other kinds of flooring. While it presents the appearance of wood or stone, it is generally much cheaper than those materials. This also means it’s better for the environment, since it provides a safe and durable alternative to the natural substances. Shaw’s glueless installation method also helps the environment by using fewer chemical products and producing less waste than installing with glue does. The extreme hardness of the wear layer means that the panels probably won’t chip or crack, and therefore won’t need to be replaced for many years. All of this means that less material is used and less mess is produced, resulting in less environmental impact.

Shaw’s laminates come in a wide variety of realistic wood patterns. These have wood grain and the impression of board lines. All sorts of wood types and colors are represented, ranging from their Polynesia pattern with its blond, fine-grained look to Rustic Expressions Pine Cafe with darker color and larger grain. These really look like hardwood floors, and with the variety to be found here, you can probably find a color and grain pattern that will match your home’s decor.

Besides laminate flooring, Shaw also carries many other flooring products, including rugs, tile, stone, hardwood and carpet.

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Rob Woods

Rob served as BuildDirect's marketing manager from 2000 to 2010. In addition to heading up his own marketing company these days, he remains to be a handy guy around the house to this day.