Laminate vs. Engineered floor--BEST Brand? BEST Online Source?


Old 04-21-02, 02:45 PM
Brad Franzwa
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Laminate vs. Engineered floor--BEST Brand? BEST Online Source?

We will be purchasing a floating glueless floor for our heavily used kitchen. My local home-improvement store (Menards) carries some inferior products. Is there one source that sells online that is a "super-warehouse" for wood flooring that offers good prices as well as the best quality flooring?
Also, what currently are some of the best brands of engineered glueless, floating flooring? I am looking for a "Consumer Reports" type of review of the best floors. I'm sure someone must test the surface durability of these floors. I only want to do this once, and I agree that "An ounce of prevention..."!!!
Also, will new versions be out soon of this type of floor? Are there resources that talk about upcoming products/trends?

Many, many thanks for your input!
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Old 04-22-02, 06:32 AM
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New products have already been introduced for this year for the most part. The new products may not be at retailers just yet however. New product roll outs start as early as late February and are usually all in the retail outlets by June. New products could be as subtle as color changes or "new" to the brand but not new to the market. This year look for more veneer (real wood) and engineered floors and glueless floors including cork laminate. Buying from the Internet has proven to be both good and not so good. Another leading Internet seller is and they ship from the west coast. Time in a trailer for LTL shipments have been a cause of problems. Many large, reliable local flooring retailers do match prices and offer immediate gratification in the event of a problem either with defect claims or installation. The good local flooring stores aren't going out of business. They are also a source for local certified installers. There are few manufacturers but many "brands" the choice of a reputable, reliable retailer is the best bet.
Old 04-22-02, 08:08 PM
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Shopping for laminate and engineered wood floors

Shop around at local flooring retailers and learn about the different products that are available. The different brands and manufacturers can make you dizzy. There are so many options available today. Don't get caught up in a brand name. Each brand tends to offer a good, better, best line of products. As the quality and warranty increase, so does the price.

Plastic laminate tends to have a picture of wood or stone or tile on plastic over which a protective coating has been applied. Beneath you will find a core of some type of fiber product with a backing of tissue paper or plastic. I have seen some products with a plastic core. Plastic laminates can be glued or glueless installations (meaning planks are either glued together or not). These floors are floated in.

Engineered wood products, sometimes referred to as laminate, have a thin veneer of real wood over 3-5 plys of wood product. The thicker the veneer, the better the product (nothing less than 1/8") is recommended. The better the finish warranty, the better the product. There are products available that give you installation options: glue, staple, nail, or float in.

Depending upon the look you want and the amount of activity in your home will be major factors in helping you make your decision. If you have a house full of kids and dogs and a lot of traffic, then a plastic laminate may serve you better. Consumer complaints about plastic laminates tend to include the clicking sound made when walking on plastic and water damage. While more water resistant than wood, plastic laminate is not waterproof. If moisture is going to be a major issue, then perhaps a tile floor would be a better option. Consumer complaints about engineered wood floors tend to be based on not purchasing a quality product, resulting in loss of finish in a short time and veneer layer too thin to sand and refinish.

Whether you go with plastic laminate or engineered wood floors, the same amount of caution should be taken to protect your floors to keep them looking good. Follow manufacturer's instructions for care and maintenance.

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