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Laminate flooring...is it bad?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I would love to put hard woods in our home (we have carpet now) but it will cost us nearly 1/2 salary!!! So I noticed that laminate is a much cheaper alternative but......at what cost? Are they horrible to have? Do they off gas to much? Tell me the nitty gritty if you know it....I cant find anything but sales pages.

post #2 of 36
They are way slicker than hardwood -- my son practically kills himself every time we visit the inlaws. But they are also way tough -- no matter what he throws it never makes a dent. I don't know about the environmental concerns although I've been in 2 houses the day after installation & never felt or smelled a thing (and I'm pretty sensitive).
post #3 of 36
Have you checked out marmoleum? It is like conventional lino but with supposedly all natural products, low off gassing, texture, and veg dyes. The company mission statement is very pro-environmental as well. They have a huge amount of color & pattern choices.

I don't have any btdt experience on this but we have decided we will be using it in our home that is currently under construction. I don't have the exact web add b/c I usually just google it.
post #4 of 36
It is in the kitchen of the house we bought. Yes, it's tough as nails. It's definately slick, like mentioned above. I have fallen on it, too. Also, it's cold. I guess it's much denser than wood, because, temperature-wise, it feels more like sitting on concrete than pine or oak. Our living/dining room is old longleaf pine and it feels so warm and cozy on your feet or butt.

I don't know how it's made or how toxic it is. I do know it's made from wood/paper chunks that are all glued together and then coated with the image of wood-grain. It also is a floating floor (not nailed to the subfloor) and it sits atop a layer of foam.

It's definitely not "green" but I don't know how bad it is.
post #5 of 36
I think if you like natural textures you will be disappointed. It feels synthetic. It is hard, hard, hard with no spring. We have laminate in our kitchen which is terribly practical. There are scratches and dents, but from major, dropping-a-bowling-ball-type accidents. It washes nicely, and the joints are very small, so you can sweep it easily. I do find that our floor is getting worn. I don't know how old it is as we bought the house with the floor already installed. I don't think I would put another one it, but I am not sure what I would replace it with. Ceramic tiles are durable, but if you drop something hard, they may crack. Also, the grout looks dirty over time. I think I would choose hardwood or linoleum/marmoleum.
post #6 of 36
If you LOVE hardwood you will not be happy with laminate. It does not feel or look the same as hardwood. IMO, I think its going to be on its way "out" soon. Have you looked into local contractors for putting in a wood floor? Do you have wood underneath the carpet?

If you are in a cold climate, keep the carpet. It keeps the heat in the house. Its cold to step on a hardwood floor! We have hardwoods under our carpet, and I am not planning on pulling up the carpet until its destroyed.
post #7 of 36
We just installed wood laminate in our house. Walkways in the house are tiled and the living areas are all wood laminate. I am a big fan off hardwood floors, there is nothing like them. For me, i would choose wood laminate over carpet anyway. I don't like carpets for many reasons, mostly because of sanitation of it. If you have the money but you want to do something good for your family, choose some bamboo or cork flooring. Those are natural materials and you can find some good deals on them. Typically bamboo cost alot but you can get it a warehouse for pretty cheap. Also if you can, install it yourself! We saved $7K doing it ourselves. I have pics if you want to see the wood laminate.
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
I would love to see your pics!! I am checking out the marmoleum as we speak. I LOVE hardwoods, I think there is nothing better. I hoped we had woon underneath the carpet but the whole subfloor was replaced just before we bought the house so they went to the trash. GRrrr.......anyway I know that I want to get rid of the carpet, I hate the dirtiness of it (in general as ours is pretty new and clean).
post #9 of 36
We desparately wanted Marmoleum in our kitchen (ahhh, Henna), but it was too expensive (versus something not environmentally friendly, of course). If you do purchase it, you should ensure the installer is experienced. Apparently they should heat (or something to that effect) the seam, versus just sealing it.

If you get the Forbo, let me know what you chose. Their selection is amazing. Just amazing.
post #10 of 36
If go with laminate flooring get a good quailty one. I think its called proffesinal grade or something like that. the stuff at Costco isnt the high quailty stuff.

Home depot had bamboo half off the other day. That brought the price down to $23 a square FOOT. *Gulp*
post #11 of 36
Thread Starter 
I checked out the Forbo and I am loving the walnut and maple. There isnt a retailer anywhere near me. I dont think driving to CA is going to be cost effective either (from idaho). lol. I will have to check out some other retailers that I found online. I am also going to check out cork and see what that looks like. I havent ever seen it on a floor.
post #12 of 36
Marmoleum makes a click together flooring, but it's pretty much nearing the price of hardwood. We have hardwood in some rooms and click together cork in the others. The cork is nice because if you drop something on it, it doesn't dent. It's warmer and softer than hardwood. Our new home that we're building will have hardwood in the living, kitchen, dining (as they are pretty much connected) and cork on the 2nd floor which has a hallway and 3 bedrooms.

Once you've had hardwood you'll never be able to go with the wood-look laminate, as it looks plasticy compared to hardwood (even the good stuff ). A guy I work with has the tile-look laminate flooring and he really likes it. I'd like it more if they made it look like a unique product rather than trying to make it look like wood or tile.
post #13 of 36
Home Depot / Lowe's / Menard's etc. charge an arm and a leg for specialty stuff, like bamboo, granite, marmoleum etc. It can be found MUCH MUCH cheaper at flooring specialists, liquidators, online, etc.

Please don't judge whether or not you can afford, for example, bamboo, just by pricing it at one of the Big Box home builder places.

On another note, definitions.

What is in most mainstream kitchens today is NOT linoleum. It is rolled vinyl flooring.

Actual linoleum is a brand name, like Kleenex, is made with linseed oil and is basically identical to Marmoleum.
post #14 of 36

Once you've had hardwood you'll never be able to go with the wood-look laminate, as it looks plasticy compared to hardwood (even the good stuff ). QUOTE]

If you couldn't afford to put in hardwood floors you would. I would much rather have wood laminate than icky carpet. My MIL's house has solid wood floors and she installs wood laminate in all of her rental properties. Her newest "flip" she is installing cork flooring in planks. Yes laminate can look really cheap but mostly it is if you buy cheap stuff. I think wilsonart makes the nicest looking laminate. We had it in our house in hawaii and it is smooth and it doesnt look like plastic. Its really nice stuff.

In our house that we bought here(AZ), we have installed Mohawk Instalock, it is a glueless flooring. It is seamless, pretty easy to install and smooth. Here are the pics..I have more of the dining area and all the other rooms but my i havent uploaded them yet.


As for granite..alot of the stuff they sell at home depot is pretty thin, and you dont get to choose your own slabs. We went through alot of slabs before we found the variation in color we liked.
post #15 of 36
Originally Posted by SAHMinHawaii
If you couldn't afford to put in hardwood floors you would. I would much rather have wood laminate than icky carpet.
Yes if my choice was between carpet or laminate, I'd choose laminate. But, it depends where your priority is. For example, we couldn't afford everything we wanted in our new home. We gave up other areas so we could have hardwood. We can easily add new countertop at any time, once we can afford what we really want, but installing new flooring is more difficult (sometime a new subfloor is needed, you have to have all your furniture out of all rooms getting new flooring, etc.). I suppose if this is not a new house we are talking about, and there isn't other areas to cut costs, a person is wanting to rid themselves of carpet, and they can't afford hardwood, laminate might be an option. I'd definitely opt for cork over laminate though. To get a really nice laminate (which still does not look like real hardwood) you are getting close to the price of cork and cork is cheaper to install because you don't need underlay. Cork also has great insulating properties (laminate does not) and soundproofing qualities (laminate can be loud if you go with cheap underlay, especially on the 2nd floor).

This is just my opinion though. I know lots of people who like laminate. It's just not for me. I wouldn't even buy a house with carpet, and I wouldn't even put in laminate. On the other hand, DH wanted to save the money and go with a higher quality laminate in our new home. He thought it looked good enough (although even he agrees not as nice as hardwood). I am happy I won that battle.
post #16 of 36
Well this house is an investment property and we would lose money if we put in hardwood flooring. It wasn't worth the cost of hardwood to turn around and sell it. In 3 yrs, we will be building on some land in texas and you better believe we will not cut corners on anything. We just moved from hawaii to arizona, and we bought this house. We were going to build, but we didnt have the time to wait for that. This house is nice but there was alot of remodeling to do. The bathrooms really needed to be redone so we spent money on that and then the kitchen countertops had really awful formica. We also had to do all new appliances, water faucets, etc.. So in the end we didnt "have" to do the flooring but it increased the value of the house even more. I don't "love" laminate flooring but i dont hate it. I wouldn't choose a house based on the flooring that could be redone if needed. The cost of our laminate flooring was almost cheaper than doing carpet. We got a awesome deal from our local flooring company. My dh just moved the furniture as needed and he didnt have to clear the rooms. I think it turned out nice..even if it is laminate.
post #17 of 36
When we were getting ideas for our house, the man who worked in the flooring store showed us the wood laminate hes said he's getting in his house. It's cut to look chiseled, more like real wood. I don't know how different it would look installed, but it was interesting if you want a rough-hewn-type look more cheaply.

I'm sorry you couldn't get the Forbo. I like your choices. It's awesome-looking, isn't it? We looked and looked at vinyl and it al looks the blasted same! The Forbo has funky, fun, sophisticated...

About cork: Aren't you supposed to avoid using it in areas with high humidity and wetness (kitchens, baths)? Or am I misremembering?
post #18 of 36
We got cork for our bathroom that has to be glued down and it was only 1.75 a sq. ft. The glue was $36 for 200 sq. ft. Most of the bamboo I have seen runs $3-5 a sq. ft. $23 is ridiculous for bamboo- maybe it was the price per case. All of it will cost less if you install it yourself.
post #19 of 36
Thread Starter 
I have only priced hardwoods at home depot and lowes thinking that it would be cheaper there. I found some flooring stores that I am going to check out on Monday, I just figured they would be more expensive since they are smaller. Thanks for the idea! That way I will also be able to see all my options. i wanted slate tiles in the kitchen but after adding on the glue and what not they seemed to much from home depot. Maybe the floor store will be better.
post #20 of 36
Thread Starter 
SAHMinHawaii- I love you pics. Your floor looks really great and you paint (I know nothing to do with the topic) is wonderful. I love the colors you chose and everything complements each other really well. Thanks for sharing,
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