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?


  1. Oh my gosh - Dexter looks like a sweetie. I had pergo floors installed a while back and I was not that crazy about laminate flooring but it was in 2002 not that long after they came on the market - and I am sure they are better now. Good luck with your choice. And love love love the flagstone flooring.

  2. I love laminate. I would take it over hardwood for its durability and easy care. I slide furniture around on mine with no problem.

  3. We have laminate and hardwood in our house and they are both good looking. We had the Pergo in our last house and I would pick it again and again. It's an excellent product.

  4. Okay, I love people who actually do a consumer test themselves! That's the only way to do it! You want to make sure that the laminate you choose is the right one! Good Job! Laughing at how you tried to destroy the samples in store at Costco! I can just imagine the look on someones face as they saw you keying the sample! LOL

  5. I loved our laminate flooring. Don't mop too often, but sweeping with a 'waxcloth' (like Swiffers or something) will keep it nice and shiny. I personally love the laminate with a groove in between the planks and the ones with a little texture on them, it looks more natural than the shiny straight planks. But it holds up very well. Even in our kitchen it stayed nice!
    We have had the cheap kinds in the bedrooms and very expensive stuff in the livingroom and kitchen. I personally wouldn't take the expensive stuff anymore. It just doesn't make a lot of difference when you keep it up normally. But that is just my opinion.....

    Have fun picking out stuff!!


  6. We have Pergo in the boys' rooms. We found a style that blended well with the real hardwood in the rest of the upstairs. They have performed boy abuse on their flooring, and there's not a scratch! We are very please and would pick it again and again like Pondside said.
    Tina @ Life is Good

  7. Oh, here's the d I forgot on "please" in my comment. Please insert.

  8. I h ad mine installed along time ago ... they have withstood puppy training ... and water and they are relatively easy to care for ... i still wish for hardwood, but this is easy ... and for puppy mistakes, get "Natures Miracle", it works on everything ... for both stains and odors

  9. Well, we installed ours at least 8 years ago. It may be that it was a new type of product. The salesman dropped paint cans on it to demonstrate it's durability. The quart can didn't damage, but the gallon did. We installed it and since then we've had several dents (breaks) in the surface from something hard and heavy being dropped. Ours is in our kitchen. I wouldn't put it in a kitchen again. There's too much risk of dropping a can or pan on it. I don't think I'd trust it in the bathroom or laundry room either. Another thing I don't like is that every droplet of water, puppy prints etc. show on it. Someday, I hope to move it to a bedroom and install something else in the kitchen.

  10. This could be a whole science project all on it's own! Thanks for taking the time to do that, we want to get laminate flooring in Edmonton and this has helped my decision become a little easier.

  11. Your dog definitely looks excited to do some flooring with you guys! I love the grain and style of this wood. Where can I find more ideas on hardwood flooring that you guys considered?

  12. I know it has been a few years so I'm wondering how this has held up? Did you pick a laminate with a moisture resistant core or just a normal laminate for these experiments. I'm trying to decide now which product to get. Thanks!

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