After all, laminate flooring is almost too good to be true. Imagine someone coming up to you and saying: "You can install brand-new flooring in your (kitchen, living room, family room) in a weekend. The floor will look exactly like (wood, tile, stone). The floor will be cost-effective, and require no special tools to install - in fact, you can do it yourself!"
As with other "too good to be true" deals, laminate flooring has its negatives, one of which is the hard-to-avoid "fake" feel about it.
What is RealTouch Embossed Texture?The main feature of RealTouch is what DuPont, in its sales-type language, calls Embossed-In-Register. Described as a "...technology that applies wood and ceramic textures to laminate floors," it does a fairly good job of mimicking the raised pattern found in real-life wood and stone.
I have distinct memories, in the early days of laminate flooring, of slipping on its Formica-like surface while wearing socks. RealTouch's embossed pattern helps to reduce--but not eliminate--the problem of slipping. If you have a three year-old running around in socks, he or she will still slip. Sorry about that. Come to think of it, they will slip on any surface, though.
Embossing Too ShallowAll of this sounds good in theory, and it certainly is a vast improvement over non-embossed laminate flooring, but when you see it in person you may be a bit disappointed. Due to manufacturing limitations inherent in any type of laminate flooring, DuPont's RealTouch embossing does not extend as deeply as you think it should. Granted, real wood does not have very deep grooving and contours, but stone most certainly does. So RealTouch does a pretty good job of mimicking real wood, but feels nothing like real stone.
(Buy Direct - DuPont RealTouch Cherry, Oak, Walnut, or Beech)
Other RealTouch FeaturesThe embossing is the main reason you might buy DuPont RealTouch, but DuPont also has:
- JointGuard: Nothing special here. JointGuard is nothing more than a glueless locking system that snaps pieces into place - found in many other brands of laminate flooring.
- Comfort Underlayment: Once again, a non-issue. Comfort Underlayment is a pre-attached underlayment that "reduces noise and eliminates one step of the installation process..." according to the manufacturer website. Putting down underlayment is not a difficult step, and many varieties of RealTouch do not offer this feature. And apparently, Canadians are out of luck for receiving this feature, for some reason.
- InterPlank Design: wood grain continues uninterrupted across planks.