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Hi Chris.  My house is built on a slab and I have 2 dogs so hardwood and engineered hardwood are unfortunately not options for me.  That being said, i have some questions about laminate flooring.  1.  How do you install it?   2.  Does the padding quality make a difference? 3.  Which direction does it run?   I have a one floor home and laminate will be in 3 bedrooms, living room, dining room, hallway and foyer. 4.  I am looking at the Quickstep Reclaime Collection in Manor Oak.  What are your thoughts on this product?  I am looking for the most realistic product I can find.  What is your suggestion for the most realistic looking  laminates?  I saw the Manor Oak at Avalon Flooring (a home design center in the NJ/PA/DE area).  They have it for $2.99 a sq. ft. I also saw the product online at Bestlaminate.com for the same price, plus free shipping and free padding (that's why I asked earlier if padding makes a difference)  What are your thoughts about buying online?   OK, i think that's it for right now.  Thanks in advance.

Answer
Robin,
Let me get back to you as soon as I stop driving
See revised answer in about an hour

Ok The youtube section of the internet has some great videos on how to instal LAMINATE. Not trying to steer you away , by any means... just requesting that you view as many as you can handle ... then ask more detailed questions. Every manufacture has the basic instructions as well buried in their website in a PDF format usually found under the INSTALLATION tab.

I will be happy to go step by step with you no matter how confusing it may seem.

#2 Yes the padding makes a difference.  Underlayment runs 2mm 2.5 mm and almost 3mm (2.8)
The least expensive products are adequate from The HoMe Depot and Lowes etc... but there is better and more expensive. Some are very reasonable and truth be told ...you usually get what you pay for. Let me share a trusted website that sells premium underlayment. SCI (sponge cushion Inc.)
http://www.commercial-carpetcushion.com/literature/silent2.html
Just go to the Home Page for contacts and phone #'s

Now all you have to do is call and feel out the product with a customer rep and ask as many questions as you like. They will be happy to steer you to a retailer/ wholesaler in your area. I know you have the free padding available to you however, you should learn as much as possible about the padding with a moisture barrier (over slab applications).  Each increase in sound dampening and thickness will increase the price. Here is one of many articles out there
http://homerenovations.about.com/od/laminateflooring/p/LaminateUnderlayment.htm

Personally I install a premium underlayment and wont bother trying to sell a lesser product. I also prefer to use Laminate products at least 10 mm - 12mm ... the 7 mm is cheap and thin , the 8mm not much better. The goal is to get as close to the real deal as possible within a budget range.

#3 Typically it runs the length...or the long wall way. If you have a long hall and square living room and long dinning area ... run the length down the hall and dinning and let the living room flow with it.
If you are doing bedrooms separated by a carpeted hall...you can turn each 1 to suit your needs. We can do detailed floor diagrams in the future if you like.

#4 Let me go look at it online ...QUICKSTEP is an excellent brand and they have been around for over 20 years ...I have installed Laminate for about 20 years ...they were already a name brand back then.

OK I looked... BEAUTIFUL ...12 mm BAM!! Hand scraped weathered look with texture and micro beveled edges...GOOD STUFF ... I can only see the photograph and the details are fewer than I'd like... but that is my first impression just from looking.
http://www.bestlaminate.com/reclaime-manor-oak-uf1999/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwy7qrBRC4lp7

I have ordered online and never had issues...use a CC so you have recourse just in case. But most companies need you and you're business and overall a word of mouth recommendation is tantamount to their success.

Get back to me ...I might be a bit slow due to odd notifications from ALL EXPERTS...but I will get back to you.

Chris

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Chris

Expertise

20+ years flooring installation ...carpet,wood,tile and vinyl. Residential and commercial. I do not sell the products , just install what ever the shop / customer has purchased. I actually love seeing the finished project completed and it gives me great satisfaction to help others acheive that goal. If I don't know the answer I will say so, and then I will recommend another expert for you. I may even research the subject and answer to the best of my ability ...including links to my sources. I wish you all success Chris

Experience

20 years as an independant contractor

Education/Credentials
H.S. diploma A.S. agriculture Mt San Antonio JR. College

Past/Present Clients
Gene Bonas and Kevin Churnock Inc. Sheward&Son&Sons Century 21 Forte Const. Famous Footwear BOSE Corporation Homebodies General Contractor Perry Floors, Tri Cord Flooring T.J.'S Supplies

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