Quick-Step laminate flooring, made by a Belgian company, Unilin, was the first flooring to use an engineering design that has now been copied by all major manufacturers: the click-and-lock system. This DIY-friendly system has made installing laminate flooring more practical for homeowners seeking to do the work themselves.
There are a number of different click-and-lock systems available, but all use a design that can best be described as a modified tongue-and-groove. Instead of a straight tongue fitting directly into the groove on an adjoining plank, the pieces must be angled and tapped so that a shaped tongue fits into a matching groove in the adjoining piece. The planks fit together in a tight lock that can only be separated if the boards are angled back in the reverse direction. The flooring layer "floats" on the underlayment, with no adhesives or gluing necessary. It is a remarkably easy system to install. Click-and-lock flooring was first used for laminate planks but is now also found in engineered wood flooring and luxury vinyl tiles and planks.
Unilin's Click-and-Lock Flooring
Glueless laminate flooring using a click and lock system is said to have been invented in 1996 by Välinge Aluminium under the names Alloc and Foboloc, but a similar system was developed simultaneously by the Unilin company of Belgium, released in 1997 under the brand name Quick Step. The system developed by Unilin is known as Uniclic. Nearly all glueless laminate flooring products sold today are manufactured under license to one of these two companies.
Today, Unilin makes click-and-lock under three divisions: the original Quick-Step, Balterio, and Pergo—perhaps the best-known of all click-and-lock flooring brands. Unilin is heavily involved in the manufacture of all the materials that make up laminate flooring: MDF, chipboard, melamine, and so on.
Advantages of Quick-Step Flooring
Quick-Step flooring comes from the same company that makes Pergo, the world's best-known brand of laminate flooring, and the company also licenses its manufacturing process to many other major manufacturers. It should come as no surprise, then, that Quick-Step flooring is really no different than other types of click-and-lock laminate flooring. Other than the historical distinction of being the first brand, Quick-Step isn't much different from other laminate flooring sold under top-tier brand names. Quick-Step flooring is said to have a few advantages, though these are not necessarily unique to this brand.
- Several of Quick-Step's product lines include extra-long, extra-side planks, some up to 90 inches and 9 inches in width, rather than the standard 48-inch planks. The advantage here is that installation can use fewer seams, especially the end-plank seams, which sometimes do not grip as tightly as side-plank seams. Seams, in general, are not favorable in any type of flooring and can be particularly tricky with laminate flooring. The longer, wider planks of some Quick-Step product lines means fewer seams.
- Also, laminate flooring can build up static electricity—an uncomfortable shock on those winter mornings. Quick-Step has an anti-static treatment that claims to control the static. Or, you can make use of other measures that reduce laminate flooring static.
- Most Quick-Step products are manufactured in the United States, with a few products produced in Belgium. No products are made in China.
The Quick-Step Warranty
Most laminate flooring comes with a manufacturer's warranty. Like most flooring, the warranty on Quick-Step laminate flooring covers just the materials, not the labor, and it is prorated according to the age of the flooring installation. In other words, a brand-new floor that fails due to manufacturing flaws will pay back nearly the full purchase price of the flooring, with the refund amount scaling down progressively over time. This type of warranty is quite common with flooring and other heavy-wear building materials, such as roofing and siding. The Unilin warranty states:
Uniclic® and Unilink® warranty periods are both pro rata 33 years for flooring and 25 years for accessories. A pro rata warranty is one that provides for a refund or credit that decreases according to a set formula as the warranty period progresses.
Quick-Step's warranty is consistent with that of all other major premium brands of click-and-lock laminate flooring. As with any product, in order for the warranty to be honored, the flooring installation must follow the manufacturer's guidelines and instructions.