Flooring Issues: Laminate or Wood

I had such high hopes on the new flooring I picked out for our
entry way, front room, and the dining room. Sometimes our best laid 
plans don't work out as planned, do they? 

My original plans were to tear out our existing carpet and hard wood floor, 
and install laminate. Easy right, take the old out and install the new. I had
  my heart set on Pergo XP laminate flooring from Home Depot. Why laminate?
It's durable and with all of the reviews I've read it's one of the best products
out there as far as laminate goes and it looks like real wood. Don't get me
wrong, I love hard wood but I thought this would be a good alternative.

Pergo XP sample: color Highland Hickory

Here's the Pergo installed in the dining room and notice the after.
Pergo gone...

The installers came out to install the laminate and after they ripped
up the carpeting they noticed the difference in the floor heights. The
height of the existing wood  floor was 3/4" compared to .039" laminate
  height, this isn't going to work. Sorry to inform you that you are going
to have 1/2" gap under all of your door jams. What??  Why did the 
measure guy or the sales associate at Home Depot not tell me this could 
be a PROBLEM? Especially with knowing most wood heights are 3/4" thick. 

UGH, this is not how this was suppose to work...

So after much discussion with the installers and Home Depot they ended up 
putting down a brand new sub-floor to get the heights of the floors the same.
Now after this"unforeseen cost" as Home Depot put it of $1135 (we told them 
no way so they brought it down 50% per my request) so $568 later we are 
ready to go. The sub-floor went down and then they installed the laminate in the 
dining room, and it looked great. However when you walked on the laminate, 
the floor moved so much you could even see it move. Now I do realize laminate
 floors are floating floors and they do "give or move" a little bit, but not this much. 
 Fast forward a day and the installers showed up to what they thought was to 
 continue installing the laminate floor. No, this project suddenly came to a complete
halt. I let them know how unhappy I was with all of the movement in the floor and
we had to find another solution. Again, with several more conversations with Home 
Depot we now had 21 boxes of Bruce hard wood acclimating in our front room. 
There was NO installation date, but we had the wood.
calling Home Depot again. They know me by name now. 

Maybe the carpet wasn't so bad after all...

Now I'm missing my carpet a little bit. My hubby took this grainy picture and posted
it on Facebook to share a little frustration. He's not a happy camper. What do you do
though; these things happen all the time. 

Leaving you with a sample of the new wood waiting to be installed.
I will keep you posted. Sorry this post was so long, but it's a big ordeal
and I couldn't explain it in one paragraph. I'm not even telling you all the 
details, I'll spare you those. Fingers crossed the installers return
this week to install the hardwood. 


  1. oh no!! I hate when things happen like that. But I think you will love it once it's done.

    1. Thanks Colleen, I will keep you posted. The installers come tomorrow and I know it's going to look great, staying positive here :)

  2. Oh Sweetie, I know it is stressful when unforseen things like this happen and they usually do when you are doing any type of remodelling, but I think you will like it when it is all done! We're big do-it-yourselfers and we installed an engineered hardwood floor instead of laminate, but have had both and each have their benefits. If you have doglets or kitties, the laminate will work exceptionally well! Good luck and God bless you!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, I really need it! It will all come together I know it will. Waiting for the installers tomorrow :)

  3. I am so sorry for all the trouble, I know how you feel. I can't wait to see finished. Hang in there.

  4. andrea, did the floors go in finally and was it the xp highgland hickory?

  5. andrea, did the floors go in finally and was it the xp highgland hickory?

  6. Hi--Saw your post when I Googled "Pergo Highland Hickory." I'm wondering if you ever figured out what caused your floor to move? We have chosen Highland Hickory after doing all kinds of Consumer Reports type tests on LOTS of different types of flooring from laminate to all-wood. We wanted a durable floor and found the PERGO XP held up the best. I didn't take into consideration any type of movement. We have a level particle board under-layment. Would you suggest we NOT buy the Pergo XP? Our flooring quote is just under $6000. I don't want to buy a floor we are going to hate. =( Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. M

  7. I am not a flooring installer, but have some experience. Wood can shrink / expand with daily climate changes, humidity, temps, etc, including the things you do in your home from showering to setting the thermosats, to watering the lawn. It's the nature of wood. Most hardwood floor makers specify a period of acclimation - I've heard upwards of 3 weeks in some instances where the wood just has to sit in your home or garage. And not even that is a guarantee. Some woods, depending on their actual density and grain have individual proclivities to deal with more or less humid environment, are more subject to gaps occurring than others. That's part of the beauty of natural wood - it's perfectly imperfect.

    My understanding about laminate flooring, particular non-hardwood laminates like Pergo, WAS that they don't have the same acclimation issues, but after hearing about Andrea's issues, I'm planning to contact Pergo before installing mine.

    My guess is that one of a few things happened for Andrea;s floor:
    1) possibly the new sub-floor moved/changed as it acclimated, affecting the Pergo float - in theory, because it floats that should not happen
    2) the click-together edge joint design of the Pergo boards may be not as secure (tight) a fit as it should be by design flaw, or possibly is defective, and under load collectively all those joints allow slight but detectable movement between boards
    3) the Pergo flooring back pad is slipping somehow on the subfloor when it's under load & motion - if the sub-floor installer put down a finely milled plywood with the smoother side up, it may be allowing for minor slippage under load and movement
    4) the subfloor was not properly secured by the HD installers that Andrea was so disappointed with, or the original subfloor beneath the new subfloor, which was previously carpet, has some flex to it because of how it may be secured to joists, or whatever it may be resting on, and because carpet gives much more than a hard floor, that movement is now detectable. If that's the case, Andrea should be glad she did not put down tile because her grout would be cracking and that's a lot harder to undo than a click-together floor.
    5) possibly Andrea used an extra underlayment pad in addition to the backing that comes on Pergo (a selling point of this Pergo), an extra thick pad, under weight, would allow for slight flex in the edge joints between boards.slight amount of extra thickness in pad.

    Andrea, if you are reading this it would be helpful if you could describe the movement more specifically....isolated to one or two spots? notice it on each individual board? in one direction of the board? a full floor float movement, or a downward flex?

    And if you resolved the issue, it sure would be nice to hear what was the cause. regards and happy Thanksgiving, Keith

  8. Laminate flooring is a better option specially if you are living in a location where moisture is a big issue, wooden flooring can get easily damaged if exposed to moisture.

  9. It's a shame that the flooring itself is getting a bad rap for the obviously incorrect installation. If you had softness in the floor it was due to one or two reasons. The first cause being that the installers did not leave an appropriate size expansion gap at all edges where the floor meets a fixed object or wall. The second (and more likely) cause is that the floor is not flat enough. You must have a flatness of no more than 3/16 of an inch within a span of 10ft or 1/8 of an inch within a span of 8ft. In other words, high spots and low spots will cause the symptoms you describe. I have spent the last month flattening the floor of my home that was just built in 2009. As an example, I have one spot that has a 3/8" dip in an 8ft span. That is three times deeper than the maximum allowed and unless you are used to looking for it, it is invisible to the naked eye. A masonry line pulled very tight from one end of the room to the other can be very revealing and a little bit scary.

    That being said, if you're only paying a few hundred dollars for the installation, it won't be a quality job.

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