We get calls every week from folks all around the Louisville area asking if we will install "click lock" or laminate floors. The major brand names you might have heard of are Pergo or Shaw Laminate. Most people think laminate is cheaper and more durable than solid wood floors. That's just not true, though it may appear to be on it's face. The short answer to this question about installing laminate? Nope. We don't do it. Now let us tell you why you deserve better and how you CAN have better for less than you think.
1. Pergo/Laminate can't be repaired.
If you have solid hardwood floors that are damaged, individual boards can be removed and replaced at minimal cost and effort. If you have a couple of laminate boards that are damaged? Game over. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. You are going to need to remove the entire floor and start over. As you can imagine, this isn't cheap -- especially for a modern home with a open floor plan.
2. Pergo can't be refinished
While laminate floors are pretty durable, once they are dull or scratched, there's nothing to be done but replace them. A true hardwood floor could be screened or refinished and given new life. Not to get all Captain Planet on you, but the amount of environmental waste in replacing a floor every 5-10 years is sobering. A solid hardwood floor can last for hundreds of years with far less overall impact to our planet.
3. It's actually not that cheap
While those 98 cents per square foot deals are enticing, those materials are of very low quality. They are difficult to install without breaking the groove or chipping the edge of the board. Your subfloor must be perfectly level and the expensive underlayment is never part of the advertised price. Looking at big box stores, an average laminate product cost including the underlayment and labor to even out your subfloor is around $7/sq ft. Maybe you get a deal on labor but that's only because they're taking you to the cleaner's on the materials. Even with a subsidized installation cost, at that point you're still mere change per square foot away from REAL solid wood floors. Ask any realtor or home appraiser and they'll agree: laminate does not equal hardwood and the couple hundred dollars extra for the real thing is an investment that will come back to you when it's time to sell. (That's not even including the money you're going to have to spend for repairs!)
4. Water isn't a friend of hardwood, but it's DEFINITELY not a friend of laminate
Laminate boards will curl, peel, buckle, or split away from the other boards when exposed to moisture. That sippy cup your kid lost, the puppy accident you didn't find right away, the melted snow from your boots sitting by the door, or the unexpected leak from your fridge's water line? Your floor is done. Not only is it unattractive, but the illusion of wood that you wanted? That's done too. And there's no way to repair it (do we sound like a broken record at this point?) We'll also note that these floors are much more susceptible to humidity changes, and in Kentucky with our sticky summers, this is a serious drawback.
5. If you love the environment, laminate isn't a "green" product
The manufacturing process for laminate involves combining formaldehyde and plastic. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and the off-gassing is probably not great for your health or indoor air quality. Furthermore, the resources used in this manufacturing process are not renewable. Plastics involve use of fossil fuels, not to mention the wasted energy and carbon emissions that are a natural result of this process. Sustainably forested wood floors are far kinder to the earth and we would love to show you the low-VOC finish options that are better for your lungs.
If you're considering laminate, you should at least get a quote on what real wood floors will cost for the same space. We think you'l be pleasantly surprised. Call us today for your complimentary consultation!