Laminate flooring sucks

I state this now: I will never use laminate flooring again. Ever. I don’t care how inexpensive and near-indestructable it is — the stuff simply is not well-designed and is far too cumbersome for one person to install alone. The need for a second person is ridiculous and if nothing else points out the usability of the product.

I’m ranting because I’m on night #2 trying to get this stuff into the basement while Alex and the wee one are out of town. I’m pulling long nights, spending virtually every moment downstairs wrestling with a Tarkett laminate we purchased a couple of weekends ago.

I’m trying to do this mostly as a surprise for Alex — finish off as much of the basement as I can, so that when she comes home the upstairs is fully liveable, and the main room of the downstairs is finally useable. It won’t be complete, but it’ll at least be a start. And we can start to live in this house, rather than merely exist.

The instructions printed on the insert with each box make it sound simple. This stuff is the “clickable” type, which means there are special hooked grooves that interlock. The idea is that once the stuff is down, it doesn’t separate and you don’t get the gaps common with ordinary tongue-and-groove types.

It’s a complete and utter myth. This stuff is actually worse than tongue-and-groove. Especially if you’re one person. When you lay down the first row, it’s easy — lay end-to-end, and they magically interlock. Done. The problems begin with the second row. According to instructions, you lay down the row end-to-end, and then slide the entire row into the previous one, completing the effect. In principle, it makes sense.

But it never works. Once you get one section of the row in place, another part pops back out. The interlock is tenuous. And you can’t tap it into place with a hammer. Although the floor is durable, the grooves are flimsy as hell, and are prone to breakage. I’ve got gaps everywhere. They’re not just unsightly, they’re highly annoying. I can already foresee cuts forming.

And no, I don’t have any friends I can call on. I’m doing this installation until well into the morning, and I can’t ask friends to stay up that late to help me. It’s simply just not acceptable.

That’s my rant. Next time, I’ll use engineered hardwood. Or the real thing. But I’m sure as hell never using laminate again. I wish the floor had been regular concrete…

121 thoughts on “Laminate flooring sucks

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  1. I was having the same problem with laminate it just wouldn’t lockdown . little did I know I was doing it backwards. I started with the groove towards the wall and it made it almost impossible to lay. I flip it around with the tongue towards the wall and now it’s a breeze.

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  2. Well you didn’t install it properly … Small pieces not installed to manufacturer specs is your fault. They also make a glue for laminate….

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  3. I screwed up the 12 x 18 living room as some clicked and stayed together while others separated after a few rows were installed.I got out the glue and went that route but even with bricks laid all over the place holding it down I still had big gaps.I proceeded to get out the wood filler and loaded up 1″ gaps.After drying I got out the stain that somewhat matched the laminate and stained the wood filler.Job finished doesn’t look too bad but with the coasters on my coffee table I have to be careful as some of the boards are not flush and I imagine in a while things will get worse.I have 2 more rooms of material left and I’m hoping that I learned some.We shall see.I told my wife I’d be done in a day,try 3.

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  4. All of you get what you pay for . If your pay less than $1.75 a foot that is your 1st problem it is cheap garbage. 2nd don’t quit your day job. It is not that complicated. I does take half of brain and some common sense.

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  5. I have installed Tarkett brand in the past, had problems as mentioned in previous posts. Completed a 244 sq ft room with much frustration. Something was not quite right. After a slow re-read of the instructions and having someone else read the instructions I realized I installed it backwards. Took it all up, installed “properly” and had minimal issues, floor looks good and after a year still solid and no problems. – That said you do get what you pay for, I have since had a much larger area done in Pergo Max, professional install that took the contractors 20 hours. Floor is still new so time will tell, but it looks amazing.

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  6. Survived installing Pergo Haley Oak in a hallway with six doors. It was a rubic’s cube type challenge. Like many on this blog, we had a lot of shifting going on. We had 8 extra boxes of Pergo destined to be used in another room and stacked it at the end of the hall. This kept everything from shifting. We also took the stair-step approach.

    One of the biggest challenges was working around the door frames. Lots of undercutting and special cuts to make the pergo hide underneath the molding while trying to keep a space for expansion. Challenging!

    As painful as it is to read all of these posts, it’s reaffirming to know that there are others out there who have walked the same path.

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  7. Well Geoff, I am experiencing the exact same problems as you, this Tarkett T lock is the pits, I have struggled for three days now and am going to take the unopened boxes back and see what else is available. I am a plumber and have laid and relaid laminates lots of times but this stuff has me beat

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  8. I fitted 3 rooms with click together laminate s, no problem, I got kaindl and gaps kept appearing after every 2 rows , on closer inspection the boards have a bow in them if you put the narrow side up to a straight edge , there’s a gap of at least 1mm, these couldn’t work?, waiting on a rep to call

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  9. Wow! My experience was just the opposite of most of these reviews. I purchased Bruce laminate from Home Depot for about $1.75/ft2. I laid almost 400 ft2 in an entry, hall, kitchen and combination mud/laundry room. This was in a 100 year-old farmhouse, so the floors were far from level – to say the least. This was also rental property, so you can imagine how the floors were treated. Anyway, I had very little trouble installing the product and after 7 years the stuff still looks very good. The renters overflowed the washing machine at least once, had dogs in the house and probably never cleaned the floor, but the stuff looks great. No warping, delamination, discoloration or chipping.

    I am fairly handy, but this was the first laminate flooring I had ever laid. Was I just lucky? Am I that skilled? I believe the answer is simply to carefully follow the directions, take your time and possess at least some basic carpentry skills. Laminate flooring has a bad name because it was marketed to an unsuspecting public as an easy installation that “anyone could do.” In short, the problem is not so much with the product, but with the salesmen who push it on naïve customers.

    For those of you who are considering laminate flooring, don’t let this website put you off. But be aware that the installation will not be as easy as the salesman pushing the product wants you to believe. Go into the job with some reasonable expectations and a fair amount of common sense and things will go well.

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