Living With Laminate Floors?

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I received good feedback to my "Living With Tile Floors" thread, so I thought I would get some feedback on Laminate floors. We are also considering using a laminate floor in our dining, entry, hall, and perhaps the kitchen. Naturally, all will be fairly high traffic areas.
I'm interested in hearing from people who have laminate floors in their own homes, preferably something that was installed in the last couple of years.
I've heard there are issues with "smudges", sensitivity to water sitting on the floor, "hollow" sounds as you walk on them, and that they are easily scratched. What are your real world experiences? Are newer products any better than the older ones?
I like the appearance of the laminate floor samples I have seen at the home centers, and the ease of installation would be a real advantage. But, some of the concerns I have read worry me.
Thanks,
Anthony
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By laminate, do you mean the fake stuff or engineered wood? I have and like both. The WilsonArt is about 5 or 6 years old and look perfect. No wear marks, no scratches, no problems. This is a very high traffic area.
The Mannington engineered wood is only 6 month sold. Still looks good. Looks more real than the Wilson Art, but only time will tell the real story.
YES! I'd do it again. Ed
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The fake stuff. "Laminate" not "Laminated".
Anthony
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I've had laminate in the family room/dining room for about 9 mos. It's been great with young kids and a dog. A couple of things we didn't expect: If you have any furniture that doesn't go up against a wall, it will move when you use it. Our ottoman and chair that are placed at an angle are always having to be reset. The dog likes to sit on the back of the couch looking out the window, and frequently has a hard time getting up to the couch. The flor is slippery enough that he can't get a good footing to jump. A rug would solve that. The floor is slippery enough that you can expect the kids to go sliding, especially if they like to run in the house. If you have a dog, you will never be surprised when he enters the room, the clickity clickity of every step is equally annoying and endearing to hear. If you have a playful dog, it's fun to throw something from another room for them to retrieve, then see them skid as they try to get the item while sliding past it. Also, when they spin tires trying to get going fast after a toy thrown from the laminate room. :) Put the plastic sliding disks under any heavy furniture and leave them there, you'll really appreciate it later, my 500 lb entertainment center can now be moved with just a slight push. We use a broom then use swiffer pads, not the mop. Occasionally smudges don't come up with the swiffer, I just use a wet wash cloth and rub hard there. If installing it yourself, make sure you don't overlap the padding, it will make it more noisy in that spot. Our planks have seperated at their ends in a few spots, should be easy enough to fix with a pull bar and hammer. FWIW, we used Shaw Prevail in Alpine Maple, looks really great, purchased online at floorshop.com.
--
Melissa



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Dumb question on my part..... but do they make any Pergo type flooring with just a bit of "texture" to it to prevent all this slipping and sliding?
John
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Some of the Mannington floors have a grain but whether they reduce slipping I don't know. Other brands have some patterns with heavy grain too.

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Rubber-backed coasters. Or a chuck of cut-up mouse-pad.
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My Wilsonart laminate floors are not very slippery at all. Now that I'm looking at them, they do have a bit of texture on the surface. It's not obvious as I've never noticed it before. And it does not make them any more difficult to clean.
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We had Mannington laminate put in my parents house. They love it. The new click stuff is much more water resistent than the old glued stuff which depended on the skill of the installer. The only negative is I find it slightly slipperier (if there is such a word) when I wear socks (as opposed to shoes) than on the factory finished hardwood floors in my house. It has to be installed right with a vapor/sound barrier. I like the sound it makes when you walk on it. Read warranties. They vary by brand and definitely go glueless.

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HerHusband wrote:

Yes, I also installed laminate flooring in my house, about 500 square feet of it. I have had trouble cleaning it with a damp mop--it leaves streaks. You certainly can't use the Swiffer mop on it. I understand there is other ways of cleaning it, but it's all a pain in my opinion.
My wife wanted the wide plank design of cherry, but I wish we had got the narrow stripw within the wide planks. The edges and seams are more noticeable with the wide plank look. After a few months of installation, some of the end-to-end connections have separated a bit. I will have to pull the shoe moulding off to pull the planks back together. I suppose the wood has contracted or something. Maybe my installation was sloppy at that point, I don't know.
Since you are building your own house and have put a lot of effort and time into it, you might consider just going the whole way and installing real wood floors. There really is a difference in the looks and you will appreciate it more. If I had the money and more time (I had a little baby in the house), I would have gone that way.
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wrote:

We put down al-lock in the kitchen and dining room couple of years ago. It has been fine. I vaccuum it like the rest of the house and use the special cleaner on a cloth to get anything that is a spot. It is a bad idea to let water set on it, but that's kind of stupid to let water set on any floor, it is a hazard at the very least. It hasn't scratched and looks the same way it did when it was put down over two years ago.
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Laminate is never the same as wood, but the stuff is very practical and tough as nails. We have two large does that hate to have their nails trimmed---they haven't put a scratch in our formica laminate. Very easy to clean. Also have had water sit on it from shoes in the entraceway without a dent.
Installation varies. We have Formica---awful install, not a do-it-yourself job. The locking mechanism is too precise. Others are better. With the tile-style we have, you can see some lines and gaps---but only if you look very, very hard. Numerous folks, including one carpenter, walk in and say "nice tile floor."
Very easy on the feet. Very slippery---out dogs slide all over the place, which isn't bad, cause it's taught them to slow down!
In the end, I say it's super practical and a good compromise for someone who may not be able to afford high-end wood flooring or can't do the install themselves.

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You keep pet deer in the house? Wow, you sure do need a tough floor. Ed
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And good for rental property too maybe? Where its likely to be abused?
Also..... can you lay this stuff right down on top of a concrete slab?
John
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I would not use laminate in a rental property. It will be ruined.
It can be used on slabs if you follow the instructions and the slab does not have a moisture problem.

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Why not? I thought it was super tough stuff. No?
Wouldn't it take more abuse than wall to wall carpet?

How does it attach to the slab? Is it glued or nailed somehow?
John
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My brother put a laminate floor through a house at the Jersey shore about five or six years ago. It's rented out from Memorial Day to Labor Day and he and his family use it on weekends the rest of the year. The renters have put holes in the sheetrock but to date there's been absolutely no damage to the laminate floor.
It doesn't attach to the slab at all. Laminate floors are floating floors and are held down by the baseboard trim. The trim is not nailed to the laminate....it's nailed to the walls.
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Well that's what I thought.... that laminate floors were pretty tough. hence the use in rental property question.

Hmm..... I see!
Im gonna help a friend install a laminate floor in his mother in laws house soon. So it will be a good learning experience for me!
John
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If you drop something on the laminate, you will damage it. In a rental I would think people are more likely to drop stuff and be careless.
For example, we were putting up a ceiling fan and the electrician dropped one of the globes for the lights. Incredibly it bounced and did not break but even though we had a cloth on the laminate we got a small hole in the piece. Because it was a click together floor which allows multiple clicks (some click one and that is it) we were able to easily replace the damaged piece. But sheet vinyl would be much cheaper for a rental.
The new stuff clicks together and in my opinion the better versions allow unclicking and reclicking. If necessary, a moisture barrier goes underneath and molding and sometimes silicone around the edges. Read the directions.

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That really depends on the laminate and there are as many manufacturers and degrees of quality as there are prices. We have a laminate floor in one room that's been there six years. Two teenage boys, two dogs, two cats and two adults haven't left a mark on it. We've also had Wilsonart Estate Plus in the kitchen and laundry room for the last year and again, no marks on it. Dishes, glasses, pots and frying pans have been dropped on it as well as canned goods and I think at least one frozen turkey....my kids are good droppers....and the floor is in perfect condition.
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