Thread DetailsLast Edited by slomer May 29, 2012 at 06:16 PM
This post is to let anyone else looking for laminate flooring know what I found after a ton of looking. The stuff is called Select Surface and my local Sam's club sells it for less than $1.60 a square foot not including taxes.
To be clear, this is not a super duper lower than normal for this item sales price but it is by far the best price I could find on laminate I would consider as worthwhile. It is even cheaper than the thin non backed crap they had at the Habitat for humanity renovation centers on the south side. Something similar from lumber liquidators would be twice the price or more and even during their recent huge April sale they couldn't touch this price. The cheapest Pergo 10mm at lowes is $2.74 a square foot and although I think it may have a nicer lock system it seems lower quality overall than the Select Surface which is thicker and $1.14 a foot cheaper.
This stuff is:
- microbevel edged
(the boards have a slight indent where they go together like real wood and it prevents things sliding across the floor from chipping edges easily)
- single plank
(single plank was important to me as the ones with multiple planks per board look bad)
- 12mm thick boards
(Thick boards lock stronger, sound better, and have less bend so cover floor imperfections better without extra annoying noises.)
- Prebacked with foam underlayment
(Boards total 14.3mm with the backing. With prebacked boards you don't have to buy or lay foam underlayment which saves another .20 to .60 per foot and also makes the job easier for us DIY types)
- AC3 rating
(AC is the hardness of the surface and it goes 1 to 5. AC3 is the highest residential surface toughness. AC4 and AC5 are for high traffic commercial areas)
- has a lifetime warranty
(This normally speaks well of the quality of the board as most offer between 15 and 25 years even for the good stuff. I wouldn't bet on this warranty too much though since I have no idea if the company will be around to honor it!)
- hand scraped finish.
(The boards are not flat mirrorlike surfaces. They have texture and look more like wood. This is also important to prevent dogs, children, and adults in socks from falling all over the place!)
- Nice wood texture and color.
(This is obviously subjective but I like this color a lot. Canyon Oak was the name. It is pretty dark brown with some red in it and not yellow like some products. It also has some texture along with the printed wood grain to make it look more like wood and less like a picture of wood.)
- Wide planks
(the wider planks mean less cutting to do, less planks to lay down, and personally I like the visual more than thinner planks. It also means fewer joints so a stronger floating floor overall.)
Different clubs seem to carry different colors (or none) but the one I got is called Canyon Oak and can be seen here . The obviously photoshopped pictures on the sams site don't give it justice and it is actually a very attractive color. They had one other color but it was not very attractive to me.
Anyways.. I have no ties to Sam's, the product, or the company but after a heck of a lot of looking and research I thought this stuff was a crazy good deal that was worth sharing. The icing on the cake is that the item is covered by Sam's 100% satisfaction return policy. So unlike most flooring stores I can return any boxes with defective or damaged boards in them and I can return any leftovers I may have (minus a box or two kept for possible repairs in the future maybe). They will give me a full refund with no restocking fee. Heck, even if I lose the receipt they will give me full store credit.
I now have a full room, 2 closets, and a hallway done. This stuff is a bit of a pain for the first few rows but it comes together pretty fast after you get going. I bought a laminate cutter but it was obviously designed for thin stuff and not this 14.3mm flooring. It is really hard to get through the thicker boards with it so I am using a table saw for almost all of the cuts. I am trying to go through 3 small rooms, a hall, and 4 closets in the area without any transition strips at the doors so it is taking a bit longer to get right. There are a couple of places I have to cut thinner strips which the manufacturer normally wouldn't like. I just use some wood glue to ensure the thin pieces are secured well to the last thick boards and figure they will mostly be under the baseboard when I put it back on anyway. Overall it is working and looking really good. I took some quick pics with my phone but the lens was dirty from the sawdust or something so the pics are not great. I have attached them anyway but I will get better ones up eventually.
I found a blog post of someone else who used the same exact stuff, took decent pictures, and doesn't have ugly yellow lightbulbs in the room right now Someone's blog post with decent pics . To be clear, I am not associated with the blog and it says she had it professionally sintalled which is kind of sad since they used quarter round instead of trimming or removing her baseboards. It also looks like they used caulking or something to transition to tile which is a bad idea. Even so, that is the flooring.