Laminate Flooring - Which is best? Sam's Club, Costsco or something else?

Is there any consensus on these forums as to whether one brand of laminate flooring is better than another? Specifially I am loking at Sams Club and Costco. Everything says that you can't beat their prices. Do any of you have personal testmony to share. Are they still the best value in laminate flooring? Is the quality of both brands very good?
Also, is it really hard to see the joints between "planks" or have they really improved the products to look like real wood.
Thanks.
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David Jensen
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Something else will win every time.
Check out the engineered wood floors at www.mannington.com and see a local dealer for other brands and selection. It saving $25 all that important over getting something you REALLY want and will live with for many more years?
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David Jensen wrote:

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we've bought two laminate floors from Lumber Liquidators so far and have been very pleased with them (the brand they sell is "Dream Home" which I've been unable to find any info on, but like the results so far). I tend to like the flooring with a very slight amount of texture to it rather than a glossy surface, it tends to hide the fact that it's synthetic better. Regardless of what floor you buy, look at the tongue & groove system it has and see if it has a good, solid locking profile that won't easily pull apart, especially on the ends of the planks. Get a plastic tapping block and a pull-bar for the installation. I've bought with the underlayment attached and separate and don't really have a preference for or against either, though the separate underlayment might be better as a vapor barrier if you need one. Just be sure to compare prices accordingly if it has/doesn't have underlayment attached to it. If you're doing the installation a table saw (for ripping) and a chop saw (for cross & angle cuts) are very helpful, be sure to have carbide blades and plan on changing the blades when you're done (the aluminum oxide coating on the surface will eat up even a carbide blade after a while). Enjoy your floor.
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I put Costco down in 2 rooms in my house...in general I wish I would have gone the extra money and gotten real wood, but that is no comment on quality of Costco's particular brand, just personal preferance, to me it just is not the same.. no matter what brand you buy.
ONE IMPORTANT TIP If you do go with the Costco talk to the folks at the store.. as twice a year they issue a coupon worth 5 bucks per box... which, if memory serves.. takes the cost of a box from 25 bucks down to 20 bucks so it is a significant savings, and well worth waiting a month or two for... , and you can buy as many as you want on one coupon. I bought over a thousand dollars of flooring on one coupon. The workers at Costco should be able to tell you when the next coupon will come out... if you are buying a lot it can easilly save you hundreds of dollars.
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Laminate floors I've seen lately are visually indistinguishible from teh real thing unless you get down on the floor. Their thermal coefficient and feel is different, so bare feet will tell tell you from warmth and cush, but look wish, good quality flooring looks better than the red oak in my house (without all the imperfections and irregularities and stains LOL).
-- Todd H. http://www.toddh.net /
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"Laminate floors I've seen lately are visually indistinguishible from teh real thing unless you get down on the floor. Their thermal coefficient and feel is different, so bare feet will tell tell you from warmth and cush, but look wish, good quality flooring looks better than the red oak in my house (without all the imperfections and irregularities and stains LOL). "
I've yet to see a laminate floor that is hard to distinguish from real wood without having to get down close to look. Laminates like Pergo are fine and can be good choices for the right cost/benefit, but IMO they never look like real wood.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net says...

crap and the nicer stuff is more expensive than some alternatives. The only advantage of laminates I see is ease of installation (for a DIYer).
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Keith

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I quite agree- IMHO they simply look like cheap fake paneling on the floor. Only way I would even consider a laminate floor is if it had a Real Wood top layer of some thickness, so actual grain was visible. But even then, the faux 'board' lines and regular seams are quite easy to pick up. When I was house-shopping, one owner-'upgraded' house had laminate in the kitchen, and they had laid it like floor tile, with NO staggered seams. Looked like shit, but he was SO proud of it, I had to just bite my lip and get out of there. If I can't afford Real Hardwood, I'd rather have W/W carpet, or even a good grade of sheet vinyl with area rugs. That was a strong selling point on the house I bought- hardwood in the bedrooms, hall, and LR. Needs refinish, but plenty of wood there TO refinish, when I get a round to it in a couple of years.
aem sends...

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You may get a good buy but what about problems down the line. Manufactuer still in business? How will problems be handled? You may save a little now but pay a lot later-hank jaworowski The home Improvement success Club of America http://www.homeimprovementsuccess.com
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"I quite agree- IMHO they simply look like cheap fake paneling on the floor. Only way I would even consider a laminate floor is if it had a Real Wood top layer of some thickness, so actual grain was visible. But even then, the faux 'board' lines and regular seams are quite easy to pick up. When I was house-shopping, one owner-'upgraded' house had laminate in the kitchen, and they had laid it like floor tile, with NO staggered seams. Looked like shit, but he was SO proud of it, I had to just bite my lip and get out of there. "
I believe in the accepted normal definitions, a laminate floor would never have a real wood top layer, though the use of terms can be confusing. There are three basic types of products:
Laminate - A synthethic resin visible top that has an imprint made to resemble real wood over a wood core base that is never seen.
Engineered Hard Wood - A thin real wood veneer top over a wood core base.
Hard Wood - Solid real wood.
Some people do refer to the engineered products as laminates, as that is actually how they are made. But these are way different than the products usually referred to as laminates. A good engineered wood product looks just like real wood, because that's what the top layer is. They come in varying thickness, good ones can be sanded just like solid wood, several times if necessary over time to refinish it. Plus, having an engineered core, this product has better performance with regard to shrinkage, warping, etc.
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Tell ya what. I'll bet you $20 that I can tell the difference by just walking on it, blindfolded :)
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David Jensen wrote:

less than 3 yrs old. the lady before must of used buckets of water. the spacing between the joints were wide and the ends curled. had tile put down. also was noisy when you walked on it. just my opinion. laminate real wood that is sealed would probably be ok but not the plastic type.
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While I think anyone would prefer real wood in most circumstances, sometimes it's just not possible for a variety of reasons, such as what's already in place in the room, budget, etc. In my case, I had two rooms floored with ancient vinyl tile that would be a disaster to try and take up and certainly not worth the effort and cost since I am living in my first "starter" house, which I don't plan to live in long-term. I know everyone likes to bash laminate, but it certainly *does* have its place in the home improvement market.
That being said, I have installed three various brands (one Pergo, one mid-grade Hampton from HD, and another Hampton higher-end model bought from BJ's) and types of laminates in various locations in my house, and the variety I purchased from BJ's Wholesale (just in case this is a local chain, it's a Costco-style warehouse store) is of the highest quality of the three types I've bought. It has the best and most realistic look, too, although the others are also quite attractive. Since I bought it at BJs, the price actually was quite similar to the price per sq ft of the other ones I purchased elsewhere when you consider this one had the premium underlayment pre-attached. This BJs floor was installed a month or so ago, wherase the other two rooms were installed about 1.5 years ago. So far, all floors are in great shape -- no chips, gaps. curling, or anything else other people have reported encountering.
As for noise when walking on the floor -- yes, my kitty's claws do click-click-click when he walks on it, but it is not troublesome. I, for example, wouldn't install it in the high traffic areas of the house, like the kitchen or living room -- there I would go with real wood and/or tile. For bedrooms, I am entirely satisfied with both the durability and appearance..
If you are thinking of the Costco brand, I say go for it -- go out and buy two boxes, take 'em home, unwrap 'em, click a few boards together, turn on some tunes, and jump around on them for a while. Check out if its sturdiness, appearance, and noise suit you. Then go back and buy the rest of what you need.
jdk wrote:

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