Google+ House Revivals: Abusing Laminate Flooring or "What I Did This Week"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Abusing Laminate Flooring or "What I Did This Week"

We need to make a decision about flooring for the remodeled wing of the beach house.  The public areas of the house have flagstone flooring, like I talked about here.


Originally, we were going to put carpeting in the remodeled/ guest wing -- it's warm and quiet, and that part of the house won't get a lot of shoe traffic.  But plans change.  My daughter will be moving into the guest wing soon, while her husband is in Afghanistan, and she will be bringing this little guy.

This is Dexter.  He's a little older than this now, but he's still a pretty young pup.  He's a sweet, good boy, but sometimes when he gets really excited, he tinkles just a little.  He'll outgrow it, but I'm not about to put down carpeting just to have it ruined.  So, I'm looking at laminates.  Laminate flooring has improved a lot in the last several years, but I didn't really trust that it would hold up well to abuse, so I performed some experiments.

Golden Select laminate flooring in walnut from Sam's Club

I gathered samples from several different sources including Pergo (from Home Depot), Ikea, and Lumber Liquidators.  I also looked at flooring from Costco and Sam's Club, but was not able to get samples (  I did, however, take my keys out of my purse, then proceeded to jab and scratch at the samples on their display -- it was virtually indestructible).  Using an assortment of tools, I jabbed and scraped at the Pergo, Ikea, and Lumber liquidator samples, as well.  Basically, I could not make a mark with anything but steel on any of the samples. I was impressed!  Next was the water test.

The samples were soaked in water for several hours, with little change.  So, we left them in the water until the next day. 


Pergo Prestige from Home Depot 

St James Collection from Lumber Liquidators

After a day of soaking, the ends that were immersed were starting to swell a little, but we wanted to see the extent of the damage after the flooring dried out.  Here is what we found.

From the surface, the only sample that looked noticeably misshapen was the sample from Lumber Liquidators.  That made sense, since they all swelled at about the same rate, so the sample that was twice as thick, swelled about twice as much.

We also butted the samples against identical pieces that had not been soaked, for comparison. 

Lumber Liquidators
You can see that the damage is much more noticeable on the thicker flooring, than on the thin sample from Ikea. 

And the difference in the Pergo flooring was barely noticeable, as well.


Overall, we were pretty impressed with the new laminates.  The amount of swelling after several hours of soaking was almost imperceptible; after nearly 24 hours, it was definitely more noticeable.  Still, any flooring would be damaged after 24 hours of flooding -- I am most concerned with the occasional spill (or tinkle), humidity changes, and foot traffic, and have convinced myself that laminates will perform very well.

What do you think?  Have you had experience with laminate flooring?