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Laminate Flooring

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Ron in AR

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arkansas
I read a post on the Urgent forum where someone was talking about the difference in laminate flooring (Pergo brand in particular) and hardwood.

I realize that several people reading this forum probably have new laminate flooring in their home so please don't take offense.

I get the feeling that we are going to look back not too many years from now and consider laminate flooring a mistake. I call it the poor man's hardwood. The "floating floor" that so many borrower's brag on at inspection doesn't impress me much. That hollow, popping sound I hear when I walk across it is annoying and to me it looks like a plastic floor. It's a new product and we haven't seen yet what time will do to it.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
 

Pat Butler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
I put it in my home- no offense taken. But I did a lot of research and put in Wilsonart flooring. It's a commercial line and the same stuff used in some (CNN) news studios where they are rolling heavy cameras over it all day as well as in large commercial stores. Mine was just about the same cost as real hardwood and I installed it myself.

A few things I noted when I bought mine. I looked at the stuff they had at the large home centers and found that most of the samples on display were already scratched just from being handled by customers. Pergo was among the worst in this category. You can take a utility knife across my floor and barely make a scratch on it- think of countertop material. Also, my flooring gets glued together like some other brands. The glue pushes up between the joints and obviously seals the crack. I can't imagine how the snap-together flooring (without glue) is even feasible because the cracks inevitably get filled with dirt and it looks terrible.

Most of the flooring in this category is really dimensionally stable unlike real wood. Once it gets installed properly, there's really no chance of warpage. I chose a high quality liner for underneath my floor but opted not to get the heavily padded stuff. I think it feels cheap when the floor bounces up and down. Some people opt for to buy baseboard moulding and base show that is produced by the same company that makes the flooring material. It usually ends up looking a little too bulky and industrial at that point. I installed regular tall moulding and baseshoe that got painted high gloss white.

I think that the cheap stuff can look terrible and that a lot of it will create problems in the future. But the high end stuff seems pretty good- mine is about 8 years old now and looks brand new.
 

Mike Seward

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
The laminate flooring that is attached directly to the slab is not so bad, but I don't like the laminate flooring that has that hollo sound.
Mike Seward
 

Lee SW IL

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
I installed a laminate floor in my kitchen, dining and living room (600 + Sq Ft) area approx six months ago. We love it. We have kids, 3, 5 & 8 and a golden retriever, no signs of wear. It was really easy to install.

My mother has this in her foyer at her tax office. Which gets abused, with snow and salt in the winter, still looks good. Thats been there approx 4 years now. It was the older glue together type.

In my opinion, the hardwood looks classy, rich. But in reality it needs to be babied, as it is very easily dented, scratched. Hardwood is typically not a good choice for flooring in the kitchen.

I would suggest you research the floor with local flooring dealers, not the box stores.
 

Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
I would suggest you research the floor with local flooring dealers, not the box stores.

Good Point. I had a neighbor who installed pergo floors. He was trained at the facility and is one of those contractors who drives you crazy with his (slow) speed, but when he is done, be it with flooring or woodwork, the owners are always happy with his quality. He had installed many real wood floors, but when he built his new house, he installed pergo flooring in much of it. I think having someone who is good at it do the installation (and this can mean some homeowners, just not me :rolleyes: ) makes all the difference.
 

Chris McGuire

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2003
After my 4-year-old son emptied the fish tank onto the carpet in our living room, we were looking for new flooring. I have three sons, 8, 6, 4 and since concrete is not an attractive indoor flooring, we had to find something durable. We decided on the laminate. I installed it myself, without the loss of any fingers. It looks great and is holding up well. The only concern is that living our here in the country with lots of dust, mud and dirt, it is a pain to keep up. However, I would much rather have to sweep up 3 times a day than have new carpet destroyed in less than a year. It may be a poor mans hardwood floor, but I don't have to do anything with it. It I want something else later; it makes a great sub floor.

It all comes down to, what are your needs?
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
When we remodeled our kitchen last year, I had laminated natural maple wood installed. I went down the line with every company that sold flooring, reading warranties, etc, etc. Pergo and others I decided wouldn't work since they only had a 15 to 20 year guarantee. Finally found a brand that had a life time guarantee, as long as I own this house, the floor is guaranteed! And since I am only 67 and I plan to own this house at least 30 more years--the 15-20 year guarantee wasn't for long enough! We have a concrete floor, so I had the heavy duty pad installed, I now can walk or stand in my kitchen for more than five minutes without my knees hurting and giving out. My daughter has 3 dogs and 3 cats in her house in the country, has had the Pergo floor for eight years and it is doing fine. That is why (and the pad) I decided to go with laminated wood. I had my cabinets refaced and new doors made of pondarosa pine, which had an oil based pickling stain rubbed into until it disappeared, then five coats of water based polyurethane varnish make for dance floors put on the wood. Absolutely beautifully--all the patterns in the wood stand out. For baseboards, I did the same thing to finger joint paint grade pine 3" baseboards which have a different piece of wood (just like the floor and cabinets) every 6 to 12", although I used seven coats of varnish on them. The pine with that treatment and the natural maple are almost the same color. In late afternoon when the sun is shining into the room, I call my kitchen a "Sioux Bee" honey kitchen, it is the same color. The poor carpenter keep going he had never seen a kitchen like mine, he had never worked on a project like this, etc. But he did a wonderful job, and when people walk into my kitchen--they come to a complete stop and go Wow!!! And with all those coats of varnish, dirt doesn't stick to it--sure easy to keep clean.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
I think part of it has to do with humidity. Pergo here in humid Florida can end up looking pretty bad pretty quick. I'm sure the installation would have a big impact on it too. I still consider it similar to any other higher grade vinyl floor covering. It certainly ain't wood!
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
It all depends on the quality of the wood laminate. Some versions are essentially sawdust board with a wood veneer. Others are wet-resistant plywood with a hard laminate surface. I installed a laminate floor in the entry over some UGLY tile. It was snap-together and took an afternoon but that was because I had to cut to make jogs around doorways, etc. The surface is ceramic over the wood laminate and I had to use a ceramic saw to cut the wood, it was so hard. Dogs just skitter across it, no scratches. It'll probably outlive the rest of the house.

However, I would be very cautious about using it in wet areas. Some of that stuff will swell big-time if the dishwasher goes on the fritz.

Roger
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
The flooring installer went through three very, very expensive heavy duty saw blades in the six hours it took to install the flooring because of the density of the boards. My kitchen is 13' x 25' in size and the boards had a very detailed tongue and groove system so that is floating, stop a half inch from the wall so there would be room to expand and shrink as the climte changes. He commented on he tyically could use one saw blade for several days on several projects when installing other brands of boards.
 
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