I've been waiting and waiting to show you my new laminate flooring upstairs. The install started weeks ago, but after the first day we noticed a plastic crackling sound every single time we stepped on the floor. You could also see the floor indent when it was stepped on. Not good. After numerous phone calls and an inspection by the manufacturer (who blamed everything and everyone other than the cheap floor, long story) we ended up getting a full refund.
That was great, but it also meant we were living on wood sub floors with the entire upstairs in chaos. A few days later, we drove to a floor and tile superstore where we found a nicer and less expensive floor than the original one. The best part is that it was in stock and it could be installed in three days! Initially, we only bought one box and a roll of underlayment so we could make sure it didn't sound like rice crispy treats when we walked on it. It looked great and didn't make any noise, so we went ahead with it.
We finally got our floor installed yesterday! The installers showed up at 9am and were done by 5pm. I'm sure it helped to have the carpet already taken up and there were three people working on it, but that was so fast!
It looks and sounds great, too. I've heard a lot of laminate floors make a hollow noise. Since ours is installed over a wood sub floor instead of a concrete one that could be part of the reason we don't have that problem, but I really think the underlayment makes a huge difference. We chose a more expensive one the installer recommended. It's marketed as "whisper quiet", a moisture barrier, and an insulator. Sounds good to me!
I'm not sold on the underlayment that comes attached to some laminate flooring. The snap, crackle, pop floor we initially installed had a very thin and cheap underlayment glued on the back. One of the salespeople we explained our problem to is convinced the attached underlayment is what caused that noise. She said she would recommend taking it off and putting down a better underlayment. I didn't realize how thin attached underlayment is until I saw the new one we unrolled. There is a huge difference. However, I think the best thing to do is buy a box of flooring and lay it out with a roll of underlayment underneath (unless you use the attached pad). That way you can make sure it doesn't crackle and that you actually like the floor. It's hard to pick flooring from one small sample. I knew the first floor we chose had a high gloss finish, but it literally looked like it was glowing it was so shiny. It wasn't terrible, but I didn't love it. My new floor also has a high gloss finish, but it's not nearly as shiny. Since we bought one box first, there were no surprises when it was laid.
Oh, and Mario likes the floor, too. :)
Now, I can finally paint or stain our stairs.
I really wanted to paint them black and white, but I'm considering staining a sample just to see what it would look like.
Of course, we now have to install new baseboards upstairs and finish our master bedroom first. I'm determined not to start any new projects until I finish my current one(s). It's in writing now. I have to do it. ;)