Our Laminate Floors 2 years later

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A little over two years ago we ripped out all of our downstairs carpet/vinyl floor and replaced it with a floating laminate floor (You can read about the install here).  While we still love the look of the floor- if we could do it over again we’d go with hardwood flooring, hands down.  While I don’t think going with laminate was a HUGE mistake it’s just not the material we wish we’d gone with.
Here’s an explanation…
The decision to rip up the downstairs carpet was an easy one.  When we decided to pull the trigger on replacing the carpets we originally had our minds set on hardwood.  However, when we started looking around, talking to sales people, and doing research we were persuaded into laminate.  The main reason being that this house will eventually be a rental.  Laminate flooring is considered by many to be more economical (cheaper) and more durable (very scratch/dent resistant), which are both ideal attributes for rentals.
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Don’t get me wrong, we still absolutely LOVE the look.  But we’ve found the laminate flooring to be frustrating, here’s why:

DENTS & SCRATCHES: When it does get dented, scratched, nicked, etc. there is no real fixing it;  i.e. no sanding/refinishing, it’s just there…forever…   I could live with these, they do have markers, puddy and wax stuff to fill gaps in.  But in my opinion it’s just not the same as being able to sand and refinish it.

 

Laminate Floor Dents and scratches

  • WATER DAMAGE:      It does NOT do well with spills (We knew this going in).  If you’re quick(we we’ll define quick as wiping something up within 4 hours) about wiping spills up it’s fine.  We did install the floor throughout the downstairs including the kitchen.  We glued seams in the kitchen and entry doorways in an effort to help keep spills from damaging the boards.  Ironically, (maybe not ironically since we glued the boards) the kitchen and doorways look spectacular and have had zero water issues.  However, we happen to have a particularly messy 2.5 year old who has a tendancy  to leave leaky sippy cups around the house.  When said spills go unnoticed we end up with bubbles/warps 🙁   In the kitchen I am always actively looking for spills because they happen all the time. Unfortunately, I’m not always looking for spills in other parts of the house where I wouldn’t expect them and those seem to be the places we find warp bubbles.  I find the warp bubbles to be the biggest problem with the laminate floors.  The dents can be colored in, there isn’t a whole lot to be done with the bubbled floor.
Water Warping in Laminate

I found these bubbles in my pantry area after a leaky sippy cup was left over night

 

Laminate Water Damage

These bubbles were found under a rubber play mat.. I have no idea what the liquid was or how long it had been there… your guess is as good as mine.

 

 

  • IT SHOWS EVERYTHING: This last issue is not a deal breaker for us, and I’ll explain why.  I thought it was still worth mentioning for anybody thinking about getting dark floors. IT SHOWS EVERYTHING!!!   Again, we were warned of this. However, we thought to ourselves “It’ll be fine! We can totally keep up with it, no problem”.  At the time BH wasn’t mobile, so keeping up with the general mess of the house still seemed manageable.  He’s now 2.5, and the general mess of life seems in no way manageable.  Seriously, I could sweep/mop the floor 3x a day and it would still look dirty.  I swear I’m not a clean freak!  The floors seriously show dirt/dust like nobodies business!  We don’t even have a dog folks, and we don’t wear shoes in the house!  Nonetheless, would this stop me from getting dark floors again??  Absolutely not.  Why?  Because of The Neato XV-21 Pet & Allergy Automatic Vacuum Cleaner (<–This is an affiliate link to Amazon).  JG got it as a mom day gift for me last year.  I seriously scoffed at both the price $300+ and the idea of a robot vacuum.  But a year later, it has been an absolutely life/sanity saver.  If it broke today, I would immediately save up for a new one.  I can’t attest to how it does on thick carpeted areas, but it does great on our laminate floors and area rugs. Despite the price I seriously can’t give this vacuum  enough praise.

Now, are these issues Huge?  Glaring?  Obvious?  Make our floor non-functional?   Nope, not even close.  There are only a handful of dents/scratches/water warps and you’d only notice them if they were pointed out.  The floor is still beautiful, functional, and doesn’t have that hollow laminate sound.  But we still find these issues frustrating.  Mainly because if we’d gone with hardwood, once the floors got dinged, scratched, nicked, and bubbled enough we’d refinish and re-sand the whole thing (or whatever area needed it), versus when the laminate gets dinged, scratched and warped enough our option is more likely to rip it up and get a new floor.  Although I’ve never personally refinished a floor, I do know it can be time consuming and expensive, but I like the idea of it much better than ripping up a floor and starting over.

So, for the foreseeable future the floors will stay until they are beat/used up enough to warrant new floors, and those floors will be solid hardwood, and likely tile in the kitchen.  Who knows how long that’ll be.  Once we move out in about a year there’s no telling when we may have the opportunity to come back to this house, so it could be awhile (which is perfectly fine).  I want to stress (in my opinion), these are still great floors, they’re just not the floors I’d choose if I could have a do-over.

Note:  If you’re thinking about installing dark solid/engineered hardwood I’d recommend reading THIS post from The White Buffalo Styling Co (ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A FURRY FRIEND!!).  She gives a good run down of why dark wood floors didn’t work for them.

What spurred me to write about our laminate floors 2 years later?  We decided to jump into the DIY flooring game again, except upstairs this time!  I wanted to explain why we went with hardwood upstairs and laminate downstairs.

The install has been done for a couple weeks and we are very happy!!  So get excited for a ‘How to Install Wood Floors Tutorial’!  I’m working on it now, which means I should be done with said post in about a year ..kidding..kidding.  I am trying to get better at not taking forever to post/posting in real-time.

Sneak Peek:

Wood Floors To Come

 

We installed  3/4″ x 5″ Handscraped Hickory from Lumber liquidators.  It’s notably lighter in color than our downstairs floor.  When we converted the loft into a 4th bedroom  we lost a lot of natural light.  I was all ready to pick out another dark floor, but JG pointed out that a light floor would probably help things stay bright up there (point JG).  Hence light floors up stairs dark floors downstairs.  Don’t ask me what we’re doing with our stairs.  It’s still up for debate, dark, light, or painted with a carpet runner???  They’re currently carpeted….

So there you have it folks, a rundown of our laminate floor 2 years later, and a brief update on what’s going on upstairs!

Helpful flooring posts:

How to Install Baseboards

How to Install Laminate Floor

How to Install Wood Floors (Coming Soon)

Posts about our upstairs remodel:

Upstairs Remodel Plans

Loft to Fourth Bedroom Conversion using Pocket Doors

 

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