Wood Laminate Flooring

Hi.
I'm preparing to rip up my nasty old green carpeting in the house, and need some suggestions.
I've decided to go with wood laminate, as I have two big labrador retrievers who have big sharp nails and like to chase each other around.
I've narrowed it down to either Wilsonart or Mannington since I've heard good things about both. Would it be better to pick a 20 year warantee model over a 15 year? I understand the construction is better on the 20 year ones vs 15.
I am looking at ordering through either fastfloors.com diyflooring.com ifloor.com or internetfloors.com. They all seem to have roughly the same ending price including shipping.
Is there any way that I can save some money, like maybe by using some other brand's underlayment (I was told it didn't matter which brand you use, as long as you use the right type for the subfloor).
Any suggestions overall?
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I've been looking into replacing our kitchen ceramic tile with a laminate. However almost everyone I've talked to say this is a bad idea.
Not only does it not wear too well and look bad when scratched, but if it gets wet it will swell and turn real ugly on you. Water (or dog pee) cannot be allowed to seep into the under layer of composite material.
So I'm going with real wood. Once I get the tile up that is...
On 29 Jun 2003 07:36:58 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@russ.net (Russ) wrote:

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Are the people who have said these things giving advice based on their laminate floors, or are they just perpetuating these things? I have the cheapest laminate flooring you can buy in my kitchen (well, not the cheapest, but close to it - Ikea Tundra with a 15 year warranty) and my dogs (both with long nails when I don't get around to trimming them often enough) have never came close to scratching the floor. I've had the floor for a number of years now and it looks as good today as it did new. As for the water ruining the floor - yeah I'm sure it could if you use the non-glued together flooring *and* let a large amount of liquid sit and eventually seep in.
So it is not true that laminate flooring does "not wear too well" and although I'm sure it would look bad if scratched, it's almost impossible to scratch it. Just last month I dragged a new refrigerator over it, and removed the old one. Not a scratch left behind. But I guess I'm just lucky?
(Russ) wrote:

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http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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wrote:

How does "engineered" flooring hold up? I understand it actually has a real wood face.
js
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That's what I have (ie Kahrs) and it's supurb.
The factory finish is superior to anything that can be applied in the field and small scratches don't even show. (unlike laminates). If these floors ever do need finishing, you have plenty of wood to work with.
My Kahrs kitchen floor is 12 years old and it's endured multiple dogs and cats. It looks in showroom condition.

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On 29 Jun 2003 07:36:58 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@russ.net (Russ) wrote:

I'm far from an expert, but I did replace our living room carpet with laminate a year ago, with pretty good results. Here are my comments.

Basically, all the laminates come with no warranty. Yeah, I know they all say they have 15- or 20-year warranties, but when you read the actual text of the warranty, you find out that it's really no warranty at all.
The only thing they warrant is that it won't wear through some significant surface area to some significant degree Some of the warranties require a wear-through of 2 square inches before the warranty is breached. Ours requires 1 square centimeter, which is a little better, but still pretty damned unlikely.
The warranty also excludes damage from scratches and falling objects, or water.
And what does the warranty get you? A $5 replacement board for the one board that's worn through. Installation is your problem.
No, the best warranty you can get on laminate flooring is to buy an extra box of matching planks and store it.
And forget about using the warranty as a selling point when you sell your home. It applies only to the original purchaser.
Don't get me wrong: I have no regrets about our laminate floor. It's just that the warranties are scams.

I shopped local and found an extraordinary price of about $2/Sq. foot. That was slightly better than the best deal I found on the Internet, and it was patronizing a local store (which also has the advantage that I can go down and scream at him in person if I needed to, but I didn't).

The underlayment is a pretty small proportion of the cost, so a substantial savings there is going to be a small savings overall.
As someone else pointed out, the matching moldings are exorbitantly priced. We went out and bought plain pine trim, and we applied Minwax stain/polyurethane to make it a rich dark and glossy color. We gave up on trying to match the flooring, and found that, as long as our trim was at least as dark as the flooring, it made a nice framing effect.
A pain in the ass, though; it was priming, sanding, then three cycles of staining, steel-wooling, staining, steel-wooling and staining a third time. But the end result was worth it.
We again avoided the matching laminate transition strips where the floor ran up against the adjoining tile, and used a brass strip instead.

I take it this is for a living room or some such, right? I'd be hesitant to put laminate in a kitchen due to reported problems with water, and kitchens are great sites for spills. OTOH, I've never put it in a kitchen so perhaps others who have can comment more (In my research, one person had put laminate at their entryway, and regretted it. He lived in an area with significant winter snowfall, and kids tracking in snow made for substantial warping.)
If you're absolutely sold on using laminate in a kitchen you pretty much must go for the glue-together type. The laminate itself is waterproof, and the glue is waterproof, so if you put it together completely correctly, the result is, in theory, waterproof. But I wouldn;t want to test that. When we redo our kitchen, we'll probably do linoleum again.
The laminate brand we used was Columbia Clic, and I needed to call them for questions on one issue (due to some problems with my subfloor, not their product). The gentleman I spoke to was quite helpful.
I gotta disagree with Davefr and Bob on one point: the Laminate we have seems extremely scratch resistant. Granted, we've only had it a year, but a year later, it still looks new. It has one scratch, where I set down a computer too abruptly (moving furniture out of adjoining rooms prepping for new carpet), and the corner of the case caught the floor, and scratched it as if I'd taken a screwdriver to it. The scratch is barely visible. I just went into the other room to look for it, and it took a long time, even though I knew to within a square yard where it had to be.
I've moved a piano across the floor, with no ill effects.
Good luck!
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wrote:

Kind of like shingle warranties. First you have to prove that it (not the installer, house, etc) failed. If you manage to prove that, they're only liable for the replacement of the failed shingles and none of the labor. Obviously they can't offer to cover and all labor costs, but it would be nice to see a warranty that said "and we'll supply all new shingles for the entire roof and pay you $1000 to cover installation costs".
That would tell me that they actually had some confidence in their product lasting the length of the warranty period. My favorite products are those with a "Lifetime Warranty" that say "warranted for the lifetime of the *product*". LOL.
Bob
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On 29 Jun 2003 07:36:58 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@russ.net (Russ) wrote:

Get the cheapest you can find because whatever you get it will quickly become damaged.
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(Russ) wrote: : : Get the cheapest you can find because whatever you get it will quickly : become damaged.
ANYONE who is capable of *that* should stay with Dirt Floors and have the added benefit that they can bury their trash in-place and rake it over.
I shudder to think of what a slob like that would do to an oak or Southern Yellow Pine floor!
--
Steve
www.ApacheTrail.com/ww/
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: Either train the dogs, clip their fingernails, or use throw rugs. : When laminate flooring gets scratched it looks like crap. : : Wilsonart and Mannington get good feedback. : : To save money, try and minimize use of any specialty moldiings. These : things are outragously priced. (often costing again as much as the : flooring). You need to insure the floor floats w/clearance around the : entire perimeter but that doesn't mean you have to use to : manufacturer's moldings.
It could be wise to reinforce the walls so *they* stand up to the body slams of large dogs that lose it on the turns! (Splat! Thunk!)
Any better-line laminate top layer will out last any dawg and survive tremendous abuse without scratching. The stuff is tough.
Our Pergo Original has easily stood up to over seven years of rough service and "sluffed off" attacks from a thundering heard of cats, cactus needles and sand and stones. (Even if you should manage to do the extremely difficult and scratch the surface layer, a plank can be replaced.)
The engineered wood flooring *can* be sanded down (likely only one time before grinding the veneer away) and refinished in-place. And that's a good feature since the (actually good!) top finish surface can't compare to the laminates such as Wilsonart, Pergo, Monsanto etc. (Good luck on matching the original finish!) Solid woods, naturally, allow far more sanding depth.
I Totally Agree on avoiding the money trap of using the mfr's speciality trim work -- not only is it horridly over-priced but it usually looks crappy. If you have a table saw & a router you can mill your own and get a far better fit and finish :-) I went so far as to totally remove all of the original baseboards when the laminate went down this allowed the required gap for the floating floor to be concealed under the new baseboard without any "build-out".
++> Side Note: Pergo used to sell a 1/4" underlayment material they called "Whisper Walk". It's a sound-deadening material that goes between the plastic vapor barrier sheeting and the actual flooring. It's truly worth while to use it -- all it really was is re-branded Homosote. The Homosote is *much* better at providing a cushion effect (and absorbing sound) than the standard-issue underlayments with the styrofoam "BBs" in it.
--
Steve
www.ApacheTrail.com/ww/
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