Wood Laminate Flooring reconsidered

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Mike50, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    I've concluded that I was too quick to judge this product I'd confused it with
    other similar looking products. And I thought I would share from my graphic arts POV why that is.

    Beginning in 1994--Laminates are apparently the fastest growing segment of the flooring industry. And for good reason--the quality available is remarkable and I will explain what I mean by that.

    In the grapic arts field we deal with a number of duplication processes regularly for different applications.

    You work with a spectrum of cheap cardboard advertisements to expensive limited edition prints on acid free papers.
    The methods of Lithography and Seriography(silk screen) can both be reduced to and use a dot matrix to form images-as do photographs.
    If you use a magnifying glass on an inexpensive "poster" or ad you will easily
    see the dot matrix. (lower quality)
    Conversly the dot matrix is not as easily seen on higher quality reproductions.

    The reason why some computer printers can produce professional results is because they use new ink jet (giclee) technology. The ink is blasted out at such speed that the matrix actually can fuse as it hits the paper at very high speed.

    Wood Laminates images are a photograph of wood grain on film which is coated with protective sealant. Higher end brands feature imprinted texture.
    That is not cheap to do.

    I guess what I'm saying is that using this elementary test, I've found (on Dupont samples) the duplication is very good.
    You could say that the higher end products will approach fine art standards
    in the coming years imo.

    The wood grain patterns are now complex--and that is a whole different animal from the old wood paneling many of us are familiar with.

    I could not understand how some companies could justify charging up to 4 dollars per square foot for a laminate--I get it now.

    Even some purists who have only used real wood flooring for years, are now praising laminates.
    Anyway, after examining all these samples--I'm a new convert. (so far)


    http://www.flooring.dupont.com/en/design/designchoices.shtml


    Any experiences/opinions about selection or installation is much appreciated. I plan to install a simple (plastic roll) vapor barrier first.
  2. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Tampa
    We built our house using vinyl on the floors that we knew we would eventually re-do ourselves.
    Our first choice was wood laminate when we redid the kitchen/entry. It was simple cuz it was a floating floor, and went right over the top of the vinyl. It looked awesome. It matched our cabinets perfectly. It gave a rich, warm look to the house.




    WE HATED IT!!!


    We put up with it for less than 2 years and ripped it out and went with ceramic tile.

    The laminate looked great in low light situations. But with bright flourescent kitchen lighting, it always looked like it needed swept.
    When the sun shined thru the kitchen window, it looked horrible. Every spec of dust was magnified, and footprints ..........? Don't even think about walking around in bare feet. You will leave footprints everywhere (from the oils in your skin, I guess) and when then sun hits it, it looked like an episode of Forensic Files.

    Just my 2 cents.......
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I have Pergo in my kitchen in a travertine pattern. It is about 7 years old, and we love it.

    My daughter put Pergo throughout her living room, kitchen and hallway for reasons of dog and 2 children, one of whom we casually refer to as "the terrorist". Maybe not so funny these days, but it is a reference to the trouble she can get into and the damage she can inflict ( at the tender age of 2!). Anyway, that floor is now 5 years old. You know it is not real wood, and some of the comments by pewterpower are accurate. Nonetheless, it still has a like-new appearance, is easy to clean, and has served its purpose given the conditions.

    For me, I don't intend to ever inspect the wood-grain look with a magnifying galss. From my eye-level viewpoint, all is good. I am much more concerned with durability, and the quality of the substrate. These days, most brands are using a moisture-resistant product in the substrate which takes away a lot of the worry of early laminates about getting wet in the joints and around the edges. Also, almost everyone now is snap on rather than glue up, so installation is very easy.
  4. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Tampa
    This is definately gonna be a love it / hate it type thread.
    Like talking to car people about who makes the best exhaust. :lol:
    Make this a poll............ I bet it would be split 50/50. ;)
  5. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    I have been subcontracting through Lows for 10 years putting down hardwood and the prefab floors. I would go with a floor that dose not have the under lament on the planks. If you look in lows there is an Armstrong under lament that is the best (looks like carpet padding with foil on each side).

    You do not need to use any plastic unless you’re on concrete. If you want the best possible install job you should rip out all the old flooring and put down vinyl under lament to get the floor as smooth as possible using a 4 to 6 foot straight edge.
  6. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California

    This is information I want/need. I'm buying the HD Dupont product because
    1.It's the higher end quality I am told. (with the thin foam backing)
    2. It's on sale for about 1.97 sq. ft.-normally much higher.

    I need to make sure I'm understanding you. Are you saying the foam backing is not preferable?? Foil backing-?? Keep in mind I want simplicity of installation.

    And I'm on concrete so I'll be laying down the plastic first.

    thanks,

    Mike50
  7. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California

    Same situation Jimbo. I installed mexican saltillo tile thruout my home. It's great. Im getting rid of carpet and need something that is:
    1.Good for my dogs. Easily cleaned.
    2.Not cold under foot like my tile in winter.

    I looked at the Pergo yesterday at Lowes and like it a lot. The Dupont from HD is equal in quality and features. (from my cursory research) The Pergo I saw is in the 30% higher.

    The manager of this HD is extending the sale price to me for as long as I need it because of the big fire we had a couple weeks ago up here in the Morongo Basin.
    Carpeting was stinky like smoke so my timing was perfect.

    You are right of course Jimbo. Being a graphic artist I tend to focus on looks too much. Thats one reason this site is great for me---people like you that remind me to look beyond that.

    At this rate I'll be tossing around words like substrate (as if I know what the hell I'm talking about) LOL

    hmmmmm....I think my ex wife called me substrate once.:D


    What do you use to clean this laminate anyway...??
    Can you mop it??
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Swiffers.
    You can also certainly mop any of these products with a very slightly damp mop. Mild general purpose floor cleaners are fine.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    I still prefer the real wood alternative. http://www.kahrs.com/templates/KahrsExtranetStandard.aspx?id=12797 is about the thickness of the other laminates, but instead of a picture of the real thing, it IS the real thing...plank cut so it looks natural, as opposed to a rotary cut which doesn't. It is thick enough to refinish maybe once. This was the first foating floor product, the others are all knockoffs of the click together joints. Course, some of the knockoffs are cheaper. Mine is about 3-years old, and still looks brand new. I bought and installed about 500 sq ft for my first floor remodel.
  10. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    The images on laminate are great. Almost too great; they're not random. In a large space, the repeating pattern can look synthetic.

    I like linoleum planks. Harder to put down, but you can cut and place them any which way, giving them a random - real woodish appearance.
  11. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    We ripped out all the carpet and vinyl sheet flooring in our 1800 sqft house and laid ceramic tile everywhere except in my office, where I put down Pergo, mostly for the look. It combines a warm look with a cool and clean floor. I don't mind if the dust shows -- that's just an indicator that somebody needs to clean, unlike the carpet which just hides everything until things start to breed in there.

    Only problem I had putting down the Pergo was snapping the planks together after the first row. Directions and plank construction imply you've got to bend the plank in 2 directions at once to accomodate the 2 planes (end-joint and side-joint). There must be a trick to it I don't know yet. I just used my biggest hammer; looks OK.
  12. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Well...guys and girls here is what I just bought from HD this morning. The Laminate Gods were on my side today and I scored the last inventory of this light Maple I really wanted--and one last open box of 3 planks for free.

    This is at least as good as Pergo quality with a 30 year warranty--it's beautiful stuff--the photo doesn't do it justice.
    At 36.49 per box (or 1.99 sq. ft.) I am one happy dood. A new but identical quality design
    on same shelf is 70 dollars and change.

    http://www.flooring.dupont.com/en/design/instock.shtml
    http://www.flooring.dupont.com/en/design/131-441_l.jpg

    And as it turns out a 2-3 day flooring project will be more like 2 weeks-because I have to primer & paint walls first.
  13. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Real purty. My job estimates are always off by a factor of 4 or so. Be sure to post pic of the finished floor.
  14. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Tampa
    Good deal! I'm sure you will be happy with your choice. No doubt it looks fabulous.
    My old floor now sits comfortably in my attic. :D I can't really walk on it, but it sure makes storing stuff easier.
  15. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    OK-that does it-I'm sending my pitbulls over to pay you a visit.
    :D

    seriously though I hear you PP. Tile is the way to go, no doubt about it AFAIAC. It's just not doable in this particular room.
    I have so much saltillo tile in this house you would swear you were in a mexican restaurant. lol

    BTW-if you hate it so much why don't you give it to charity. chrissake LOL
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2006
  16. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Tampa
    :) I was being sincere!!! Honest!!! :p
  17. Gouranga

    Gouranga Software Engineer

    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    Gaston County, NC
    When I moved into my house we had the same extremely tired carpet all over the house. I pulled up the stuff in the hallway and replaced it with the laminate flooring from Depot (not the most expensive stuff they had but midgrade). It was probably about 3 years ago. I even bought the installation video since I had not idea what the heck I was doing.
    To clearify, the hallway does not have a high level of natural light. Anyway, 3 years later I have 3 kids 4, 2, and 6 months (all girls). We have 2 cats and a nice big black lab. All of us trounce on that floor pretty good. It has taken wet kids, bathroom "accidents", matchbox cars, walkers, strollers, shopping carts, and an extemely large array of destructive kids toys. It still looks as good as it did 3 years ago.
    i did spend the money on the real good "at the time" underlayment which was this green rubbery foam like stuff. I also took the time ot fill in the gap along the sides (under the quarter round) with am extremely flexible silicon caulk to keep the various multitude of liquid material kids get on a floor from having an easy shot under the floor. I am guessing in 7-10 years I will replace the floor and go with real hardwood at that time but all in all, I would have to say I am pretty happy with what this stuff has put up with.
  18. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Thank you for that Gouranga. Now That is quite an endorsement. I was told to do the silicon "perimeter barrier" yesterday. Makes good sense.
    Now They even make matching tinted silicone for repairs FWIW.
    But I was told I would never need to repair this stuff.
    This product has the green underlayment you refer to.

    As I said my timing is perfect because of residual smoke odor after our big fires up here. If you ever wondered what your carpeting smells like after a fire---imagine this: It's stinks like having 2 wet horses in your living room. So all my carpeting is in the trash can now.

    This is my first time using a synthetic covering of any kind so I did so reluctantly because I've always had natural products. (wood-ceramic tile)
    And this forum has been invaluable in making the decision. Otherwise I'm at the mercy of Big box employee advice. Which in the case of "slowes" is commission sales motivated I just found out.
  19. Gouranga

    Gouranga Software Engineer

    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    Gaston County, NC
    Yeah I used some of the colored silicon caulking. Only in the areas where it would be visible. about 95% of the spots in the hallway where it would show are under quarter round so I used the other stuff there since it seemed to be physically better stuff AND it cost a LOT less than the color match stuff that they sold for the flooring. My quarter round is real wood stuff I just stained there was no way i was paying as much as they wanted for the stuff that came with the flooring when I could match the color just as good with some stain.
  20. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Southern California
    Regular silicone-gotcha.

    Funny you should mention that because I was doing the math on how much of that qurter round I'd need. And it's around 100 dollars for their quarter round rods! which is ridiculous for that. :eek: Im going to do the same thing.
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