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Picking a floor..what I learned

Posted by bugbite (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 19, 11 at 17:40

I also posted this in kitchens.
I am speaking about engineered or click flooring.
1. Get 3 - 4 free samples at HD or buy and return them to Lowe's. Lowe's says they are OK with it. Doesn't have to be the ones you want.
Do these tests to learn about flooring.
2. Scratch test: Scratch each piece with equal pressure with a spoon. Try 3-4 different pressures. Some that I tested are rock hard; some scratch VERY easy.
3.Dent test: Tap very hard with the bottom of the spoon. Some make a very small dent; some are very soft. It doesn't really have much to do with the micro thin top wood layer as it does with the underlying wood. And you don't know what wood that is.
4. Water test: Put an inch of water in a container. Lay the sample on it's side (not flat). Soak over night. Hard to believe but some were NOT affected. Some expanded. Some top layers rippled. The laminate and cork CORE balloned out so bad it was crazy. Important; let dry and see if wood and core shrinks back down to the normal size.
4. Staining: Wet a cup on the bottom and set it on the flat top of the sample. Also smear a little mustard, etc and see how it stands up. Pet problems causing staining? Try to replicate.
5. Repair test: With enough force you can scratch any wood. Do that and see how difficult it is to repair; how bad it shows.
6. Smear, smudge test: Believe it or not there are many complaints about floors that are impossible to clean. If you know a good way to test that, please post.
Now you are an expert. :-) At least you have a greater chance of avoiding a major flooring headache, lawsuit, etc. Now you can go shopping for real.
You have decreased you chance of getting a bad floor by a huge factor. Think all floors are good? Look up complaints about popular brands. You will never buy wood flooring based on brand and beauty again. Testing is fun and easy and pays off.
One person's personal experience,

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Picking a floor..what I learned

Two things here that I must question before I can really comment. 1) you mention laminate and then you mention wood or engineered. What are you really testing? 2) If your choices are limited to HD or Lowes.....are you saying that you are only going to purchase from Box Stores?

RE: Picking a floor..what I learned

Good point. When I did my tests I did not test solid wood because many say it can not be put on my concrete (one exception). I tested most every option I could find that looks like wood (except the poreclain that looks like wood). I also did not test Aqua Step which is a waterproof laminate (not in the US, yet) but I am getting samples. I wanted to learn about my options before I proceeded.
Regarding the box stores: I can get free samples at box stores to test. Where YOU buy is up to you. I have had mixed experiences at independents. One is the best I ever encountered from a service standpoint, the best. I prefer to buy my poreclain from her when I do buy. Another was also excellent. Three shops I visited had the absolute worst, nastiest people I encountered. And they wonder why no one was in their stores. Every flooring experience I had with the box stores has been good. How good? I wanted to get a certain size of product. The STORE MANAGER of a HD was actually making calls on my behalf to try to secure what I wanted.
I can order one carton of floor to lay it out and return it if I don't like the look. Believe me I give the carton back in PERFECT shape. Could I do that with an independent. Don't know, I would not have the nerve to try it.
Frankly, I feel that the independents are better off without me. I do a tremendous amount of research (my career was research), when I walk in a store I sound like a smart alec.
Example, I walked into a chain (not box store). I promised myself I would keep my mouth shut for my wifes sake. When I kept flipping the tile over to see if I could determine where it was made, she asked if I wanted it made in the US. I told her it depends on which plant it is made in. If it is made in "x" plant then ....
She walked away.
So I probably am the type of person who is better off in a box store and the independents are better off not having to put up with me. In a box store I can be alone, in my own world or get help, my choice.

RE: Picking a floor..what I learned

Ok, so I don't always follow my advice. 5 days ago I ordered one case of a top name flooring (which is no longer in business). It was heavily discounted online by a major box store. I checked the inventory level daily and the stock was dropping fast, so I ordered 9 more cases (yes, without testing). Yesterday the first case came. Beautiful. Hard, scratch resistant. Great! But when I laid it down the click part was horrible. I tested different clicking flooring before; all were great. Not this stuff. It stuck up slightly which means that when you walk on it it is springy. I called the great customer service at the Box store to try to catch the other 9 cases to be delivered today. We caught it in time, thank goodness. So I will carefully box up this beutiful, gorgeous poorly made product and return it to my local store.
I have another carton of another flooring product coming that I did test; keeping my fingers crossed.

RE: Picking a floor..what I learned

Do you remember which ones passed the water test?

RE: Picking a floor..what I learned

"Do you remember which ones passed the water test?"
In Europe where laminate is more well regarded than here, and used very commonly in kitchens and baths, there are several brands that are exceptionally waterproof, eg dumafloor. I have yet to see a brand sold here.

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