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I'm looking to install some laminate flooring in my kitchen/dining area. I'm pretty set on >= 10mil flooring but am wondering if some brands hold up better than others to pet abuse. I've got an 80 pound labrador who, while not hard on floors, is still an 80 pound dog.

I'm looking at these floors:

Pergo

Bruce

Dupont

Any thoughts on these particular floors or something else that I should be looking at to ensure my floors stay scratch/blemish free?

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On a side note. The dog may have trouble walking on the new floor, as wood floors can be very slippery. Make sure you put down some throw rugs or something the dog can walk on, which should also help with wear and tear. Larger dogs are also prone to hip problems as they age, if this happens you may find the dog is unable to walk normally on the floor causing pain and discomfort. –  Tester101 Jan 18 '11 at 13:13
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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

At the risk of sounding like an old school hold back, I gotta weigh in on laminate flooring. I have installed thousands of square feet of various wood and laminate flooring. Even though the new laminates tout the hard durable finishes and long warranties, the common weakness of laminate is that it is a picture of wood on some type of paper or synthetic base. When a sharp heavy object tears away the paper thin "wood" picture off the top, the warranty covers that one piece of flooring, not the entire floor or the labor to replace it, which is almost impossible for a single piece in the field of the floor.

The other major concern I have with most laminates is the reaction to water in areas like a kitchen or bathroom. Admittedly, I have not checked out the particular items you linked to, but in general, almost all laminates will swell and bubble at the mere site of water, and the damage is irreversible. Be absolutely sure the product you select will perform as promised if accidentally covered with water from a leaking pipe or an overflowing sink. Ask for a small sample and leave it in a sink of water for half an hour and see it there is a reaction.

I will not supply or install laminates, especially when there are a lot of good real hardwood click lock engineered flooring alternatives out there at the same or lower cost. A good engineered flooring material will have a 1/4" to 3/8" 3 ply plywood backer and a 3/16" real hardwood veneer top, that can be sanded and refinished if necessary. Engineered products are very temperature and humidity stable, feel and sound a lot more solid under foot and can be cared for as you would any real hardwood floor. I recently installed 300 sq ft of a Shaw engineered product, 7 foot long X 7 1/2" wide snap/clink lock panels. Quality was excellent and went down extremely fast. Price was under $4.00 a sq ft.! Not pushing Shaw products, but I was reasonably impressed and I am a tough sell.

The other piece of advise I'd give you is to check some of your local flooring liquidators that sell retail as well as wholesale. You may find a bargain on something of much better quality at a very reasonable price. Even though I drop apx $80,000 a year at Lowe's and maybe $10,000 at Home Depot, I never buy flooring there. I always get better product, better advise and cheaper prices at my local flooring warehouse.

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Thanks for the edit. For some reason, I am unable to make paragraph breaks and indents when typing an answer. What's up with that? –  shirlock homes Jan 18 '11 at 3:00
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+1 for NO LAMINATES IN KITCHEN AND BATH!!!! Yes it looks nice, but it won't last (especially in the bathroom). –  Tester101 Jan 18 '11 at 13:24
    
you need to hit [ENTER] twice to make a paragraph. No indents. That's just how Markdown works. –  Jay Bazuzi Apr 10 '11 at 16:06
    
This is a well-written and well-thought-out answer, but unfortunately, it's answering a different question than the one that was asked. –  Martha Sep 4 '12 at 17:05
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I will echo the "don't buy from big box stores" thing, although I am an amateur.

I suggest NOT spending big if you do use laminate. I got the cheap stuff at Lumber Liquidators (I swear, I'm not an investor! It's the only chain of cheap wood/faux-wood retailers around here).

When I was shopping I did a ton of research. While there were disagreements about various things (durability, fade, brands, quality) I never saw ANYONE recommend laminate for a kitchen or bathroom. If it gets wet to the point where the fiberboard gets at all soaked, you're screwed.

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