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Thread: Wood Laminate Flooring reconsidered

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Default Wood Laminate Flooring reconsidered

    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/de...nchoices.shtml


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

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    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.......

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    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. #4
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    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. #5

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    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. #6
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    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.

    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. #7
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo
    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.

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo
    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.
    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.


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

  8. #8
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Swiffers.
    You can also certainly mop any of these products with a very slightly damp mop. Mild general purpose floor cleaners are fine.

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I still prefer the real wood alternative. http://www.kahrs.com/templates/Kahrs....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.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10

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    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.
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

  11. #11
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    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. #12
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    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. #13
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    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. #14
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    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. I can't really walk on it, but it sure makes storing stuff easier.

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pewterpower
    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. I can't really walk on it, but it sure makes storing stuff easier.
    OK-that does it-I'm sending my pitbulls over to pay you a visit.


    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 by Mike50; 07-31-2006 at 06:08 PM.

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