Shaw laminate flooring review

Shaw Laminate Flooring Review

By Fortino Rosas / December 23, 2017 / 32 Comments

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    Durability is something usually attributed only to superheroes and larger than life architectural wonders. I would soon learn that Shaw’s laminate flooring thinks it deserves a place among the greats, too.

    With over 35 different laminate styles and hundreds of color choices, Shaw has mastered the art of giving customers the look they’ve been dreaming of.

    Shaw says their products have two distinct advantages over their competitors. (1) Simple to install, and (2) are easy to maintain. Will Shaw’s laminate live up to the hype and be a good fit for the Hulk’s lab or the bottom of the Great Pyramid?

    Let’s talk laminate:

    Shaw Laminate’s Advantages

    Shaw manufactures their flooring in the USA, which brings the company pride by helping out the national economy. In addition to that, Shaw says that their products are different in two special ways.

    The locking technologies for some of their laminate products and a high gloss finish called OptiGuard are uniquely Shaw. You won’t be able to find these options when heading over to another laminate competitor.

    1) Locking Technologies

    Glue, they’re totally over you. You can install most Shaw laminate products by simply snapping your shiny new floor into place on top of your subflooring.

    Through the locking systems (also made in the USA), Shaw says that their floors are moisture resistant and can be taken apart and put back together again if you decide to change something after installation.

    Shaw has two different versions of their locking technologies, which are the VersaLock AG and LocNPlace. They both work in similar ways, making it easy for the installer to click them into place and finish the job without the normal stresses that comes along with installing a new flooring.

    2) OptiGuard

    This high-gloss finish is, as promised, made in the USA like all of their other products. OptiGuard is placed over your installed laminate to dramatically bring out the natural wood look of your laminate and to keep it from scratching.

    This sealant is pliable, so any scratches made will not be shown in the laminate itself. This makes this product the perfect finish for rooms that will be high-traffic.

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    Shaw’s website boasts that you can install your laminate flooring nearly anywhere in your home. From creating an accent wall, to installing it over radiant heat flooring.

    Though the locking system described earlier made installation sound like a literal snap, the installation details on the website show there’s quite a bit more effort involved.

    What to Expect

    Shaw gives a detailed account of what the process of installing your flooring will look like.

    You’ll first need to acclimate your flooring to the environment. Then, the beginning steps involve removing baseboards and other existing flooring. Shaw also warns your home will be out of commission for a while during installation.

    This portion of the site accurately describes what the flooring installation process will realistically look like. I appreciate this frankness as a designer.

    Educating clients that installation takes time and that your home will be out of commission for a while is something most companies stray away from. Shaw states up front.

    Where to Install

    Shaw describes the durability and versatility of their laminate on-site. Their statements bring to light new details on what their laminate can truly do.

    They say you can even install their laminate in bathrooms and kitchens. Of course, as long as you consult a contractor to walk you through the process of protecting the floor.

    Their site mentions UV protection, which will protect your floors from fading over time in the sunlight.

    Water resistance is also mentioned here. However, be aware water resistant floors and water-proof floors are two very different things. They don’t make that distinction clear, so be weary.

    Other Considerations

    Shaw mentions on-site that you can lay down your laminate directly on any flooring besides carpet.

    In another portion, it says you may need to rip up your flooring before laying your laminate down.

    In yet another section, Shaw says that you’ll need a barrier between your sub-flooring and laminate to protect your new floors.

    As a designer, I would recommend that you contact a contractor to see exactly what you need to do before you install your new floors. Shaw’s website is not clear on exactly what you need to do before installing. So, in order to avoid any confusion and wasted materials, get professional advice.

    This murkiness in instruction makes installation significantly more difficult than the snap and lock method described as a Shaw laminate advantage. When a promise as simple as that is made, there are bound to be caveats to make the process more confusing.

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    Caring for your Shaw Laminate

    When reading about what not to do to your newly installed laminate floors, I was floored myself. Not to be dramatic, but it seems like anything short of tip toeing in socks across your floor can potentially ruin it.

    Here are some direct quotes from Shaw’s “How to Clean Laminate Floors” guide:

    “Keep your pets nails trimmed to prevent them from scratching your floor.”

    “Do not wash or wet mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent or any other liquid cleaning product. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty.”

    “A humidifier is recommended to prevent excess shrinkage due to low humidity levels.”

    “An air conditioner, dehumidifier, or periodically turning on your heating will help to maintain humidity during summer months.”

    “Use floor protectors and wide-load bearing leg bases/rollers to minimize the chance of indentations and scratches from heavy objects. As a rule, the heavier the object, the wider the floor protector.”

    Laminate floors do require special care, however, this list makes me a bit weary on how much durability this floor actually has. As a designer, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such an exhaustive and extensive set of rules on how to care for any type of flooring.

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    To Buy or Not to Buy?

    Shaw’s homepage should bold the“Caring for your Laminate” section, according to what reviewers online say.

    Based on reviews here, here, and here, as a designer, I would not recommend Shaw’s cheaper laminate flooring option at all. People seem to be avoiding Shaw’s inexpensive laminate, offered at Costco and similar big box stores, like the plague.

    If you do anything against Shaw’s policies, your floors will no longer be under warranty. If you install your floors improperly, your warranty will be good as gone, too.

    Shaw does offer a higher end version of their laminate, which is sold on Wayfair and similar sites. This version is a bit more expensive, has a higher wear layer, and is the only way to go when ordering from Shaw.

    I would recommend the higher end version of Shaw’s laminate flooring for areas of your home that will experience minimal wear, tear, and moisture. As far as kitchens and bathrooms are concerned, I believe a vinyl alternative would be better than Shaw’s laminate of any grade.

    Have you purchased Shaw laminate before? Comment below saying what you bought and what you would like others to know about it.

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    About Fortino Rosas

    Chief Floor Critic, 32 years of experience in flooring installation and sales

    Fortino Rosas is an independent flooring contractor with 32 years of experience in residential and commercial flooring installation and sales. He joined the Floor Critics team to share his expertise with our readers. Fortino has acquired vast knowledge and skills in the areas of product selection, space planning, and installation. He has installed flooring in residential, government, and commercial office projects in the Midwest. Visit Website.

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    32 thoughts on “Shaw Laminate Flooring Review”

    1. Had Shaw Floorte pro series 5 vinyl laminate installed Friday, oct 30, 2020. It is now Sunday, Nov 1, 2020 and since installer left Friday, have already discovered several pieces starting to delaminate. Purchased product at Rite Rug in Centerville Ohio. Am totally sick to discover this problem. Hope the vendor will stand behind his product when I go tomorrow, Monday, Nov 2, 2020 to discuss their remedy, which should definitely be replace or refund! I already informed them of problem and they said they made a service report, for whatever that’s worth!

      1. Good luck with that. Rite Rug sent out the Shaw Factory Rep who focused on one small atrea the builder should have addressed and claimed it was water damaged despite the fact the builders design center specifically told us this was water resistant and was a good fit for a kitchen are as well as pet friendly. All lies. The warranty was denied. Then the builder sent out an ‘respected industry consultant”. He disagreed with eth Shaw rep and said it was another issue. The builder has basically washed their hands of this and NOBOBY can still tell me WHY my floor delaminates and buckles. I am looking at replacing a floor only 3 years old that the builder claims it has normal wear.
        At this point, I dont think i can trust any Vinyl Laminate flooring. Too bad too because the floor gets rave reviews from all of our guests.

        People, carefully pick the products you buy and who installs them.
        I thought Shaw was an industry leader.Yeah , right!

    2. I purchased and installed Shaw Versalock Vinyl Plank flooring on a clean and flat concrete slab and high end underlayment and I do not recommend it, EVER. First, it is a two person job. In order to keep the planks in place, two people have to hold and “lock” the planks as the tongue and groove is very weak and the “lock” is not aggressive and comes apart VERY EASILY. Once placed, the planks along the long edge come apart very easily. The tongues are very cheap and bend/damage very easily. In order to close the gaps that form and worsen over time, you have to dismantle the floor and repeat the entire pain in the arse process of installation with all of the problems described above.

      1. I had Shaw VersaLock style 0064u installed and after 8 years it still looks great? We use the cleaner they recommended and it has a glossy look. The installer removed the carpet and put down a thin mat and clear water barrier so all these negative reviews make me wonder if it was poorly installed? We have 2 dogs it’s so slippery we put down walking mats for them.

    3. Just had Shaws vision works tuscan brown installed in my downstairs, I do not recommend this at all. There seems to be a film on it that doesn’t come off not even when you use the recommend cleaner and mop by Shaw. Pretty sure the floor is defective but the company that installed the flooring refuse to return our call. Not sure what to do as we had a company install it.

      1. So after having to wait 4 months and National Floors Direct who installed my shaw vision works floors sent a gentleman who works at Mohawk flooring out to look at my floors decided to replace them. The installers came yesterday 9/29/2020 with the same floor but they ordered a new batch. Guess what same problem as the one already installed. National Floors direct refuse to replace with a different type of floor because obviously there is a defect in the vision works products. After dealing with National floors direct and shaw vision works tuscan brown laminate I do not recommend either. I’m out of luck having a nice looking floor and list my money as well. Hope this will help someone who is thinking of using this company or buying thus floor.

    4. I am thinking about putting Shaw laminate from Sam’s Club in my home. and is pricey, after reading the above comments I am a bit worried. Maybe Carpet is still the best. What is the best laminate to put in your home that wears well and looks good?

    5. William Waterman

      Shaw flooring junk spilt and broke on edges after to years no children in our home contacted the company they would not do anything for us looks terrible do not buy this flooring William waterman potosi Wis

      1. I agree! Mine that was installed looks terrible. Shaw sent out inspector but when I asked for a copy of the report, I was told by Shaw that it was against the law for them to share it with me. It’s in my home and I paid for it but I can’t see what the inspector said about it? I call BS. I was told by installer that it was a water issue because of how it was cleaned. I have a dog that drips water out of her water bowl and that area of the floor has no issues. Inspector said my flooring had problems with over 50% of it. Buyer beware.

    6. We had Shaw laminate flooring installed through Costco 2+ years ago. We have a small farm and get lots of dirt tracked on the floor. Also, we do not remove our shoes everytime we come in the house. We have 8 grand kids in and out frequently. Our floors look beautiful, no scratches or chips. They do not have a high gloss finish. Very easy to care for. I think they are Antique or Savannah Hickory.

    7. I have been looking for flooring, and it came to my attention that Home Depot trafficmaster is made by shaw flooring. I have taken tons of samples from many, many manufacturers and the wear layer on the 70 cent/sq ft Traffic master is actually pretty tough. I have been using the dig my key into it test. It is listed as an AC 3. Select surfaces at Sam’s Club is listed as an AC4 and it scratches easier than the ac 3 Shaw traffic master. Alas, the locking mechanism is very flimsy on the traffic master but what do you expect for 69 cents a square foot? The floor and decor Aquaguard seems to have the heaviest wear layer out of any I have seen, including Pergo’s, but it is more expensive. The newer vinyl stuff still looks a bit fake at laminate-comparable pricing.

    8. We purchased Shaw’s “Repel” laminate for our open concept design new home. We are retired so it’s just the two of us and one little 12 pound dog named Fred.

      It hasn’t been a month and there are many scratches and two BB sized chips! The slightest little thing that is dragged across the floor scratches it! I’m not talking a table, I’m talking an empty tote or an empty plastic kitchen sized trash can. We moved our sofa, placed a folded moving blanket under each side and slowly pushed it to the other side of the room. You guessed it, there are not scratches but what I’d call rub marks across the floor. In a year’s time this floor will be trashed!

      At least as we grow old we’ll be doing less furniture arranging. Oh no, what will walkers do to it??

      RUN, don’t walk away from Shaw Repel laminate flooring!

      1. We too purchased Repel flooring for our new build at 54.00 per yard (6.00 sq ft). We have lived in our new home less than four months, chipping (check), warping (check), lamination starting to bubble (check), end to end pieces, chipping (check). We did our foyer, home office, great room, hallway and laundry! Cost a small fortune, I am too say the least very disappointed. Shaw is a great brand, I am confident they will stand behind their product. In the meantime, might consider taking Repel off your list.

      2. Hey Bob, can i have the details of your flooring? Color, style, thickness? I wanted to get Shaw Repel Laminate 12mm for my house, but your review scares me.

        Thanks for the help.

        1. Do NOT purchase from this company my husband and I purchased Shaw Flooring 9mm plank flooring to be put down in our brand new house and we had these bubbles start to come up, so we called and they sent a inspection guy out and they ruled it a defect, they offered 750$ or to replace the floor, duh..I mean it is a brand new house 750 ain’t got a thing on 1500 sq ft messed up flooring! Also, we paid for labor for the floor to be put down and they are not wanting to pay!! Be aware!

    9. We installed Shaw 18 mo

      We installed Shaw Flooring throughout the entire downstairs area. Looks great but has started to separate in a number of spots. Spacing looks awful. Big mistake, sorry we chose Shaw. Do Not Recommend.

    10. Mine was installed a month ago and I found 2 holes in it, and had to buy a laminate repair kit. I’m really very sad about this. I live here by myself. I haven’t dropped anything on the floor. I guess I will constantly need to repair it. First I thought it was dirt. It’s Brentwood Brushwood. I love the color. Now I’m worried.

    11. We had our living room, dining room and hallway done in Shaw laminate. We paid over 3k to a local installer. 7 months in we saw a spot where two pieces looked like they were smashing together. Then we started inspecting the whole floor. The entire floor is doing it. It’s horrible. Shaw hired an “inspector.” Said it was humidity in our house. We hired an inspector and he said it was installation issues. The installers hired an inspector and said his “best guess” is humidity. Out inspector took several readings, took pictures of the thing he used to get readings. Checked each plank. Did a through inspection. Said it’s installaTion issues.

      So now Shaw has wiped their hands of it saying humidity issues not covered. The installer is saying our certified tech doesn’t know WHAT he’s talking about. Shaw actually gave us the web site for certified Techs to choose from, and we’re stuck with 3k worth of ugly flooring that everyone is saying is not their problem. Big finger pointing game. BTW. Humidity in our house was fine and within normal levels for this floor. We’re so upset over this and do not know what to do. I know I’d NEVER buy SHAW again.

      1. Where did you purchase your flooring?

        It does sound like installation, if there was not ample spacing left around walls to allow for expansion. you can go online and find installation instructions for your product to see if expansion space should have been left between rooms for the amount of footage.

    12. Found this a bit too late. I have Shaw flooring over my entire main level. It’s horrible and nothing but depressing. Not sure how they get away with selling such a terrible product.

    13. You say “Shaw does offer a higher end version of their laminate,” how do i know which of their products are high end? I don’t think price is a good indicator, since a contractor includes installation into their price. I’m in the beginning stages of having Shaw thru Costco installed and I’m suddenly scared of what I’m getting myself into.

      1. I wanted to know if you ended up having it installed? All I read are horror reviews and I’m now in the early stage of the process. I have not signed any paperwork yet. Please share your story. Thank you!

    14. I have to be more careful with my Shaw Laminate floor than with my China.

      This floor LOOKS amazing but is terrible. My husband and I have no kids, no pets, we mostly walk around without shoes and in the month we’ve had this floor we have already had like 5 or six scratches and they show.

      Also when we bought this we were told it would hide some dirt. Not true you can see every spec of dust. I have to clean it at least once a day and nobody got time for that!!

      Im love the look but I am disappointed. It is definitely not as durable as they said it would be.

    15. Just had Shaw engineered floors installed by the builder of my new home. The odor is overwhelming. It’s absolutely the smell of the wood and now it is all over my house! Does anyone else have this problem and what can I do about this? The builder says it is a “new home” smell- not so. What can I do? I have asthma and am worried that the odor will remain. If anyone has any suggestions it would be greatly appreciated.

    16. I have shaw trailing road laminate in all my bedrooms and hallway. It’s easy to clean and looks like real wood. Shaw laminate has many colors and textures to choose from.

      Hardwood flooring is boring and gets ugly with age, scratches, dents. Try waking on it with heels you’ll get tiny holes that you can’t fix. Sanding is also very expensive.

      If you have an accident on a Shaw floor you only have to replace the planks that got damaged. About water – wood is just as susceptible to water damage. So if I was considering wood, I’d go Shaw laminate. They now have repel laminate that you can even damp mop. About the care: you have to tell the consumer what not to do when caring for laminate, or any other flooring for that matter.

      Thanks Shaw for a beautiful floor.

    17. I bought the Resilient floor in 2016 (180 sq ft) for my Sunroom / Laundry room. It was almost impossible to install ( I’m a general contractor ) the planks do not slide together and does not except taping. The very slim edges have started to crack and split. I need to return it to Lowes for some other type of laminate. Do you have any return Ideas as I tossed the original slip.

      1. Getting ready to do my kitchen with Shaw laminated flooring. What I don’t understand is that 11 years ago I had the hallway and 1 bedroom done with a Shaw cherry laminated and it still looks beautiful. My problem is I can’t find the same color or anything close.

    18. I have Shaw river dale laminate on my entire main level except bathrooms. I have decided to now put into my 2 bedrooms. I absolutely LOVE it, we have a dog that will run, skid quite a bit across the floor to stop and not a scratch has occurred in 2 years. It’s gorgeous, people think it’s real wood at first. Highly recommend over vinyl ANY Day. I have spilled a lot in my kitchen and it’s a simple wipe up. This particular laminate has a 30 year warranty, love love it.

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