Shaw laminate flooring review

Shaw Laminate Flooring Review

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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Ashley Rose Marino

About Ashley Rose Marino

Ashley is the owner and principal of Ashley Marino Designs in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and loves anything and everything home related. When not designing interiors, she’s hopping on an airplane across the country and writing about what she knows best. Visit Website.

7 thoughts on “Shaw Laminate Flooring Review”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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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