Shaw Laminate Flooring | 2020 Flooring Reviews

shaw laminate flooring review

Shaw Floors is one of the leading flooring manufacturers in the industry, recognized both in the USA and globally. Whilst originally specializing in carpet, over the decades they have expanded into all types of flooring, including laminate. Shaw laminate flooring is made in the US.

Shaw’s laminate is priced in the middle-to-top price bracket for laminate flooring, offering an impressive range of styles and colors, from classic looks to more contemporary aesthetics.

Read on for more analysis, Shaw laminate flooring reviews from consumers and the Home Flooring Pros verdict.

FLOORING OPTIONS, SPECS AND STYLES

At the time of writing there were at least three Shaw Floors laminate collections listed on their websiteShaw Laminate Collection, Long Board, Mixed Width, and Repel. Let’s look into these in more detail.

In our opinion, the Long Board and Mixed Width laminate collections are better described as micro-collections.

Currently Long Board only comes in one design – an oak visual called Matterhorn – with two color options, light and medium brown. The planks in this micro-collection are 8” wide and 78.75” long.

Meanwhile, the Mixed Width collection offers just two generic wood designs – Manor Ridge, available in 4 colors and Castle Ridge, available in 5 colors. The particularity with this collection is that the planks are available in different widths (3.58″, 5″ and 6.24″) so you can mix them up for a more authentic hardwood look.

SHAW REPEL LAMINATE

By far the most interesting laminate collection from Shaw Floors is the Shaw Floors Repel collection, as these boards have an extra top layer of water repellent agent that gives a certain amount of waterproofing.

The Repel laminate planks come in a range of sizes depending on the design, from around 5.43” to 7.40” wide and 50” to 72.64” long. With 10 Repel designs, each having at least 4 different color ways, there is a lot of choice in this collection.

The rest of the standard Shaw Laminate Collection are a mixed bag of styles and sizes – from extra thin planks at 3.64” wide to extra wide ones at 7.60” wide! Shaw Floors really have tried to ensure there is a laminate floor to suit everyone!

HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT SHAW LAMINATE FOR ME?

One of the most frustrating things we’ve found in doing our research, is that the Shaw Floors website doesn’t seem to always list all the Shaw laminates that are actually being retailed in stores at the moment.

In fact, depending on how you search their website, you can get quite different results! Of course searching for flooring online is never ideal, it’s always best to go to a store to see what the floor actually looks like and get a sample to take home and consider!

With that in mind, here’s what you can look for in terms of the specs online and in store to help make your decision.

PLANK THICKNESS AND CONSTRUCTION

Shaw laminates are available in different thickness – 8mm (5/16”), 9.5mm (3/8”) or 12mm (15/32”). We highly recommend you choose the thickest plank floor, that is the 12mm, as it will have a more rigid and therefore more durable structure.

Regardless of the thickness, all Shaw laminate planks are constructed in several layers: first a top wear layer using transparent aluminum oxide, followed by a high resolution photographic layer.

These two layers are adhered onto the structural middle layer of compressed wood fiber – Shaw calls their version the OptiCore® coreboard – which is coated in a base layer for protection (Shaw uses melamine for stability and moisture resistance).

BEVEL OR MICRO BEVEL

The long edges of Shaw laminate planks will either have a bevel or a micro-bevel. When two planks are laid together the bevel creates a small groove, which gives a finish that looks more like authentic solid wood flooring.

A micro-bevel edge is not quite as deep or perceptible – the planks will almost look completely butted up to each other, giving a near seamless feel between each row of planks.

If you’re looking for a floor that looks more like a real hardwood floor, then choose a laminate with a bevel edge.

ARE SHAW LAMINATE FLOORS WATERPROOF?

The short answer is no, not completely!

As discussed, Shaw does have a laminate collection called Repel which has an added top layer that gives extra water resistance against spills and splashes.

However, no laminate flooring is completely waterproof and, even with the Repel collection, we advise that you clean up spills quickly to avoid liquid seeping through and damaging the planks.

PROS & CONS

The advantages of Shaw Floors laminates are:

  • respected brand, with generally good reviews for their laminates
  • priced competitively, with several options retailing at under $3 per square foot
  • large range of styles, colors and finishes
  • easy to install, can be achieved as a DIY project
  • can be installed on all levels of your house
  • the Repel collection has water resistance, but is not completely waterproof

The disadvantages of Shaw Floors laminates are:

  • no integrated underlayment, so you have to buy underlayment separately
  • customers have not had positive experiences with water resistance or pet accidents
  • is not the best option for bathrooms
  • whilst the designs look quite authentic, no laminate can ever fully replicate the feel and structural stability of real wood.

INSTALLATION

All Shaw Floors laminate flooring should be installed as a floating floor. Depending on which one you buy, it will be installed using of Shaw’s two locking systems – either the VersaLock AG and LocNPlace.

If you are keen to go down the DIY route, there are detailed videos on their website that will help you understand how those systems work.

WHERE CAN YOU INSTALL SHAW FLOORS LAMINATE?

Most of the designs of Shaw laminates can be installed below, on or above grade; but you should double check with your retailer that the plank you like can be installed in the room you want.

You can install the Repel collection in rooms that get more humidity, such as bathrooms, but be careful to clean up wet floors quickly. Even with its water repelling technology, it is never a good idea to let water puddle for a long time on laminate floors.

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE THE SUBFLOOR?

Shaw Floors laminates can be installed over concrete or wood subfloors. As with all laminate floors, the standard subfloor preparation requirements are needed. Namely, that the subfloor is flat, clean and dry.

Shaw Floors give detailed instructions regarding how to check for moisture levels in your subfloor, this is highly recommended before you purchase, as too much moisture will cause your laminate flooring to warp over time.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO DO BEFORE INSTALLATION?

It is usual to allow laminate flooring some time (usually 48-72 hours) to acclimate before installation. This means laying your unopened boxes of planks in the room you plan to install in, and ensuring that the ambient temperature and moisture stays consistent right up until the end of the installation.

However, Shaw Floors gives conflicting information regarding acclimation time, suggesting that you could install some of their laminate planks right away if your room is climate controlled.

Our advice: go ahead and factor in that 48-72 hours acclimation time, that way you will be covered either way.

DO I NEED UNDERLAYMENT?

Almost certainly. From our research most of the Shaw Floors laminates do not have an integrated underlayment layer, so you will need to install underlayment to your subfloor first before laying your laminate planks.

CAN I USE SHAW FLOORS LAMINATE WITH RADIANT HEATING?

Shaw Floors state that all their laminate floors can installed over radiant heating systems, provided the system is designed for use with laminates and meets their detailed guidelines.

When installing laminates with radiant heating is it very important to follow all the instructions regarding how long you need to climate control the room and acclimate the planks prior to installation. In some cases, this means factoring an extra week to the project schedule.

CLEANING, CARE AND MAINTENANCE

Shaw Floors laminates are relatively easy to keep clean. The primary way to clean is by sweeping or using a vacuum cleaner to pick up dirt and dust. Note that vacuum cleaner heads should be specifically compatible with hard flooring surfaces.

Follow up vacuuming with a damp mop. Note that you should never use a dripping wet mop on any laminate flooring; and also all spills should be blotted up as soon as possible.

Naturally, Shaw recommend their in-house cleaning solution – Shaw Hard Surface Cleaner – but any pH neutral floor cleaner will work, the key is to NOT let your mop get too wet!

Tougher stains or spills such as oil, paint, ink or tar can be removed with acetone/ nail polish remover, followed by a damp mop with your chosen floor cleaner.

DAMAGE PROTECTION

There are several commons sense ways to protect your Shaw Laminate floor from general damage, such as scratches and dents.

First, be sure to use area rugs and doormats in high traffic areas. Next consider adding felt tabs to the ends of movable furniture such as chairs, and don’t roll or push heavy furniture along the flooring.

Note that Shaw laminates do have a decent wear layer on the top, but they are not totally scratch proof.  They may not be the best option if you have pets or a busy household.

PRICES AND COMPARISONS

Shaw laminate flooring generally retails between $2.50 – $3.50 per square foot. There is a small selection available to be purchased online at Wayfair, but in order to see a fuller range we recommend you contact a Shaw Floors dealer.

You can find out where your local dealer is here.

PRICE COMPARISON

Shaw Floors laminates is in the top mid range price bracket for laminate flooring. Here’s a look at how Shaw’s flooring cost compares to other brands:

BRAND PRICE PER SQ FOOT
TrafficMaster Laminate $0.75 – $1.50
Pergo Portfolio $0.83 – $2.58
LifeProof Laminate $2.00 – $2.50
Home Decorators Collection $1.55 – $2.65
Lambton $1.75 – $2.65
Mohawk RevWood $1.90 – $3.50
Montserrat $1.99 – $2.45
Pergo XP $1.99 – $2.99
Quick-Step $2.50 – $5.00
Islander $2.45 – $2.60
Shaw Floors $2.50 – $3.50
Pergo TimberCraft $2.50 – $2.99
NatureTek $2.50 – $5.00
Pergo Outlast+ $2.65 – $2.79
Mannington $3.50 – $3.99
ECOfusion Flooring $4.40 – $6.15

CONSUMER REVIEWS

Positive consumer reviews for Shaw laminate flooring greatly outweigh the negative reviews. Customers were pleased with the overall aesthetic, finding the wood designs realistic and the planks easy to install.

However, customers with pets were not impressed with how the flooring coped with “pet accidents” and some customers do not appreciate that spills that puddle for a long time would result in damage.

They are gorgeous. It was an easy DIY project. Just be sure to have all the tools before you start! – Nicole

We’re haven’t finished installing it, but we already love it. It looks pretty realistic with plenty of variety in the pattern.” – LF

“We love that the floor looks luxurious and cleans so easily. We have installed in our newly remodeled kitchen and the floor definitely adds to the overall look.” – Nancy

“Our living room flooring looks great, you really can’t tell it’s not hardwood. There were no smelly emissions from the material. I couldn’t be more pleased.” – Joyce

“I am very unhappy. It had only been installed for a week when some water was spilled on the floor and left for a few hours. Now there are bubbles at the seam where the water was.” – Tammy

“Attractive flooring, and easy to install but it has been badly damaged by pet messes. Very disappointed.” – Marc

Home Flooring Pros Verdict

Shaw Floors is a respected brand and they offer a decent, if limited, range of laminate floors.

Shaw’s laminate flooring leans towards the higher prices for laminate, so we suggest that you go to a store to view the product or at the very least purchase a sample to be sure you love your selection. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of underlayment too.

We like the quality for Shaw laminate but probably wouldn’t start our online search with them.

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