Laminate wood floors who's got them?

The missus and I are planning to do some home renovations in the next year or so. We’d like to ditch the carpeting and have laminate wood floors put in. We have a concrete slab, BTW.

Any of you Dopers have any experience (good or bad) with them?

My supervisor just had them installed in her house and loves them. She said she pulled up the carpet and managed to save a few bucks on labor.

What else is involved and how much could we do to save on labor?

I have laminate in my living room. I love it! Easy to clean, very durable (I have 4 large dogs and it hasn’t shown a scratch) Much cleaner than carpet. The only drawback was my old dog used to slip and slide on the floor, so I’d put rugs down. He’d make his was across them like going from island to island.

My brother-in-law and I installed mine ourselves. Very easy (and this is the old glue type. I’m sure the glueless is even easier) and inexpensive. I bought mine at Costco when they had a $5 off per box coupon, so I did my 20X 13 livingroom for about $300. All you need is a power saw with a fresh blade and some spacers for around the walls. You can buy some specialty blocks as tappers, but I think a 10" piece of 2X4 would work just as well.

The flooring can chip and when you get on your hands and knees in my floor you can see some very small nicks, but nothing noticable unless you’re looking for them.


We have pulled up all of the carpet in our house and put down Pergo everywhere except the bathrooms. We love it. Two dogs (50+ lbs. each) and a 6 year old can’t touch it. The only times we have managed to damage the floor were by dropping heavy objects (the iron, and a cast-iron skillet). We did also manage to put a few scratches in the family room by repeatedly sliding an old sofa with metal feet across it, but the rest of the furniture (with wood or plastic feet) is no problem.

My only real complaint is that it has become rather loud in the house. You don’t realize how much sound is dampened by wall-to-wall carpet until you don’t have any. But we are starting to put area rugs down in strategic places, which solves the problem, and looks nice to boot.

Installation is not a problem if you have any sort of mechanical aptitude at all. When we started, all they had was the original Pergo which requires separate underlayment and flooring, and must be glued together. Now they have the style with attached underlayment which snaps together. I did our living room (11’ x 14’) in about 4 hours last fall suing the “new” style. We also have a slab foundation; you just need to put a vapor barrier (a thick roll of plastic sheeting) between the floor and the foundation.

I can’t say enough good things about our flooring, and wholeheartedly recommend it. Go for it, and do it yourself. I don’t know how much installation would cost, because we never considered having it done, but there is no reason you can’t do it yourself and save whatever the cost would be.

We have in the living/dining room. My husband did it by himself in one weekend. I love it!

We put one down in the living room about 8-10 years ago, not as good as the ones available now, but still looks good and held up well. More recently we put one down in the dining room, and we are in the middle of installing one in a room that we are re-furbishing as a bedroom for my son. I do the installation myself and am pleased with the results despite the fact that I am no expert. It gets a bit tricky in an old house like ours where the floors are not level nor are the rooms square. I helped a friend install one in a business of his, over a cement floor, use a good moisture barrier and be careful with the seams, it appears to work out ok.

We’ve got it throughout our house and it’d the BEST thing ever!

Invest in a good quality underlay - that’s vital. The thing I love most about this flooring is that even in winter it’s not cold underfoot (that’s probably the underlay at work, insulating us from the cold concrete - but boy, it’s a noticeable improvement over our old carpet floors!), it’s proved impervious to scratches, it’s waterproof, stainproof (we’re dreadful for putting cups/glasses on the floor and then knocking them over - or the cats do) and incredibly low maintenance. Washing the floors is optional, pretty much, as long as you vacuum regularly. Maybe once every few months? It’s nothing like tiles, where you’re cleaning the darned things all the time, and unlike real wood floors it doesn’t require polishing or regular washing to bring up the shine.

I love them; wouldn’t/couldn’t go back to carpet or tiles now. :slight_smile:

Well, it took us about 6 or 8 hours to do our hallways and living room, and it does look nice, but I don’t really care for it instead of carpet. It’s about the same in terms of comfortableness (nice and cold to lay down on, though, but not as cushy.) It is more stain-resistant, and much easier to clean.

We have a decent dent in ours, though, where my brother came tearing down the hallway and broke a table that was holding like a 40 or 50 gallon fish tank, and it hit the ground and the corner hit the wood. No more fish tank. But everything held up to getting all of the water everywhere.
Damn brother killed the fish :frowning:

Mrs. RumMunkey and I have it in the hallway of our new house. It was laid by the previous owner though, not us.

It’s a good floor. We like it. It’s durable, and looks nice. Can’t speak for cost or installation difficulty though.

We were going to get laminate in our hallway, but went for a different product instead. It was recommended to us by the flooring specialist we went to. It’s a type of vinyl flooring, but it is extremely hardwearing and is absolutely indistinguishable (to my eyes) from laminate wood flooring. It is laid in strips in a very similar fashion to wood laminate floors. It is most often used in commercial very hard-wearing high-traffic areas.

It has a number of advantages over laminate:
It’s fractionally warmer underfoot.
It’s quieter… we have a dog and four rugrats so this is useful!
It requires no underlay or other underfloor treatment, with the exception of a self levelling screed which is very easy and quick to apply.
It is easy (for professional fitters anyway) to add a decorative border. We have the whole hallway laid diagonally with a horizontal/vertical edge strip separated by a very thin border of a different colour… hard to achieve this with laminate.
And, as mentioned above, it is fantastically hard wearing. It’s been down two years and looks exactly as when first laid.

I know many people will not like the idea of an ‘artificial’ floor, preferring the look and feel of wood, but trust me, this looks and feels like wood… it just isn’t, and IMHO, it’s better. It was an insurance claim replacement, so I am not exactly sure of the cost, but I think it was comparable to the best laminate floors.


Got 'em.

Hate 'em.

Modern wood flooring with the factory finish is what i should have gone with. I think laminate looks cheap over time.

I should have done wood in the hall and foyer and ceramic in the kitchen, instead of laminate flooring that is quickly becoming the orange formica that future home owners will loathe.

Real wood is timeless, and modern factory applied finishes are incredibly durable.

There was a TV programme on the other night called *20 quickest ways to lose * money on your property. Laminate flooring came in about number 10. The reason given by the contributers on the show was the over-use of the stuff . It is OK to do one room but to cover the whole house in the product is not on. This especially true in the kitchen and bathroom . Laminate and water do not mix and you will find yourself with a warped floor. They also say that a lot of people try to install it themselves , botch the job and end up with a mess. If you can afford it go for real wood and stick to tiles , or even vinyl ,in the wet areas.

Couldn’t agree less. :wink:

You need to choose a laminate for medium use, and also apply a decent underlay. If you lay the floor properly (ie no gaps) then there is nowhere for the water to get in. I laid mine myself and it’s just fine, thanks very much!

Also, I don’t know anyone who decorates for the prospective buyer n-years down the line. Not being clairvoyant anyway, I decorate to my tastes as they are now. Anyway, if anything, the laminate provides a good clean finish that can easily be carpeted over if desired. In other words, it has potential for any buyer that cares to look past the immediate aesthetics.

So, does this flooring require any kind of sealant? If not doesn’t small grains of dirt or liquids ever get stuck in the seams?

Not overly easy to answer, as there are different types. Most now snap together, creating an almost invisible join. As long as the join is tight and level with the next piece, there is no gap for anything to get caught in, apart from perhaps the tiniest pieces of dust/water vapour.

I should have mentioned before, my floor is laid in the kitchen/cat’s dining room and I therefore mop it at least once a week. There is never any residue in between the sections and no warping has occured.

For those of us who don’t know, what’s the difference between laminate and hardwood flooring? Why would I choose one over the other?

I’ve been wondering about the snap-together laminate myself. We have a small room (about 5’ by 12’) that has an unfinished floor. My wife wants to use it as her craft area – so she has the potential for spilling things, including craft paint, among her other crafts.

We had been thinking about a ceramic tile, but she saw the laminate, and everything we could find talks about how durable it is. It would certainly be easier to install.

So, those of you who are familiar with it – how durable is it? How hard is it to clean? Can you get stains off?

Mr. Carmichael’s grandmother has it. Pulled up all her carpet, slapped down area rugs and presto.

Seems to work well for her, she just sweeps every now and then and it always looks nice.

I think anyone with an indoor pet should get it because cat/dog pee will eventually ruin carpeting anyway.

Laminate is made from wood products with an image of a wood grain attached to the surface. While hardwood flooring is actual wood planks.

From what I’ve been reading, laminate is supposed to be more stable and less expensive. It allows you to get the look of expensive wood without paying out the wazoo.

Another laminate DIYer checking in. I used a no-glue floating laminate that I got at Sam’s club. Very reasonable price and they also sold install kits which came with underlay, spacers, and pre-formed blocks for tapping the pieces together. I did our 500 sq. ft. kitchen and a 40’ hallway in about 2 weekends. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most difficult, I would rate the project as a 4. Once you “do the math” it’s pretty easy. You have to measure the room and mentally lay out the boards so that you do not end up with too short a piece an an end or too narrow a piece on a side. This was compounded by the fact that the laminate strips were not really 4’x6". They were more like 3’ 11 5/16" x 5 7/16". Add to that the fact that I had to account for corners around cabinets and it made for some interesting math. Minimum tools required (beyong those mentioned in the install kit): a circular saw and hammer. Tools that made my job go much quicker (and reduced waste): a table saw and a power miter saw.

rjung - Solid wood flooring is exactly that - a solid strip of wood, usually about 4’ long X 3" wide. They can be anywhere from 1" to 2" thick. Wood flooring is much more labor intensive to install. The main advantage is that the floor can be sanded and refinished if necessary. Laminate flooring is made from pressboard with a thin veneer of real wood on top. It is generally 4’ long X 6" wide. It is machined to fit together seamlessly. Some types require glued joints, some do not. It is much easier to install but cannot be refinished. Laminate is very hard wearing, but any stained, warped or damaged boards must be replaced.

HPL stands for high pressure laminate-the same stuff that countertops have been made of for decades. Pergo was the original product on US shores. Not to be outdone or outsold, the US manufacturers whose names you’d normally connect with higher planes such as Formica & Wilsonart got into the floor market. By now, everybody and his brother’s big spotted dog makes a laminate flooring.

Hardwood, OTOH is just that. More demanding in terms of installation particulars, less forgiving of errors. Hardwood can be through-and-through or hardwood veneer. Price varies with quality, manufacturer, and wood species. True tongue and groove 3/4" blind nailed hardwood could be done by a moderately skilled DIY person, but requires special tools which can be rented.

Advertisers say that you can’t tell the difference, but I’d wager Stevie Wonder can discern true hardwood from HPL. Both have their place in the market.