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Home » Shaw Laminate Flooring Review: An Honest Review (2020)

Shaw Laminate Flooring Review: An Honest Review (2020)

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The laminate flooring market has continued to grow in recent times as more people become aware of their numerous benefits. These products are affordable, but they are also durable and eco-friendly. Shaw laminate flooring is one of the most popular names in the niche today, but how good are the products?

Shaw laminate flooring offers a range of products across different price points. There are more than 35 laminate styles and hundreds of colors to choose from, making it easy to find the best product for a project. However, some users had bad experiences with the cheapest Shaw laminate products.

Pros of Shaw Laminate Flooring

First let’s start, what I love about Shaw Laminate Flooring.

Excellent Reputation

Shaw Industries, the makers of Shaw laminate flooring, is based in the US. They have an excellent reputation, thanks to years of selling quality products that are trusted around the country. 

The company makes more than $6 billion in sales every year and employs over 20,000 people. They have been committed to the flooring business for decades, with lots of different flooring products to their name—including carpets.

The Locking Technology

With Shaw laminate flooring, you don’t have to use glue during the installation of your floor. You can complete the installation by simply fixing the new floor directly on your subflooring. The locking technology means it will stay in place.

Additionally, it also means that the floor will have a higher level of moisture resistance and can be easily dismantled if you need to carry out minor repairs or change something in the overall layout after the installation.

The company’s locking technology is offered in two types, the VersaLock AG and LocNPlace.

The function is is generally the same with both types of locking. Installers love the products because they can lock them into place on the floor, without the attendant processes you’d ordinarily expect when it comes to installing new flooring.

The Optiguard Technology

Shaw’s Optiguard technology is basically a high-gloss finish placed over the installed laminate floor to enhance the look of the laminate and provide it with some protection against scratching.

This sealant technology is very pliable, which means that most scratches and dents won’t get to the laminate plank. The Optiguard technology makes the products a perfect solution for rooms that get a lot of traffic and for homes with pets and children.

Wide Range of Options

Shaw Industries understands that budgets, wants, and needs will vary from one household to another. That’s why they have provided customers with a wide range of options to choose from. 

Shaw laminate flooring offers different laminate styles covering hundreds of looks, colors, and textures. Are you looking for a laminate flooring option for a contemporary, modern, traditional or rustic décor theme? You’re sure to find a solution with Shaw’s wide range of options.

Other themes you can expect to find are light, browns, grays, darks, smooth, wire-brushed, textured, and hand-scraped. The brand also makes these products in pet and kid-friendly variants, so you don’t have to pass up on an excellent product because you’ve got some adorable kids. The products are designed to be hard-wearing, and they don’t contain any allergens.

Budget-Friendly Products

Laminate flooring products are very affordable, and those offered by Shaw Industries are no different. You can find excellent options that cost between $3.00 and $7.00 per square foot. While this is on par or slightly cheaper when compared to other laminate floor manufacturers, this is a bargain compared to what you’d expect to pay on average for flooring options like porcelain tile.

The brand’s locking technology also means that you’ll not only save money at the point of purchase but also during the installation. You won’t spend as much money hiring an installer to work with the products compared to working with some others in the market.

Even better, you can complete the installation on your own with just a little bit of DIY, helping you save on the entire installation cost.

Impressive Durability

With Shaw laminate flooring, you’ll get a highly durable product that will fit in nicely in a home that receives a lot of foot traffic. It’s highly resistant to scratches and dents, making a good flooring option for even the heaviest traffic area in your home.

According to specifications, Shaw laminate products are designed to withstand up to 1,200 pounds (544 kgs) of pressure per square inch. To highlight the company’s belief in the durability of the products, they offer warranties ranging from 10-50 years.

With this, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ve got a product that will stand the test of time, from a manufacturer that’s willing to back their claims with a lengthy warranty.

Eco-Friendly Flooring

If an eco-friendly laminate flooring option is what you’re looking for, Shaw laminate flooring is one of the best in the market. The products are made from an aggregate of post-consumer wood products as well as sawdust and wood chips. They don’t harvest fresh wood to make these laminate boards.

With no natural resources being used, the company doesn’t have any reasons to ship materials around the world, so they don’t contribute to the global carbon footprint in that regard. The products are designed to simplify reuse; this means you can take your laminate flooring to another room if you’d like to shake things up with your décor without damaging it.

Exquisite Appearance

Shaw laminate products aren’t one of the many options available that give off a “fake” look. It has the traditional wood appearance because a wood-grain image is applied on top of the composite. The result is the elegant appearance of natural wood grain across your flooring without paying anything near the cost of traditional hardwood flooring.

Easy Maintenance

Maintaining and caring for your Shaw laminate flooring after it’s been installed is straightforward as it doesn’t absorb spills or stains quickly. A damp cleaning cloth is usually enough to clean off the floor. For deeper stains, you can use any simple home cleaning agent.

The company also provides cleaning instructions that are generally easy to follow, mostly highlighting the need to avoid leaving the floor wet for a long time.

TIP: Have wax or chewing gum on the floor? Use a flat but blunt object like your credit card to get it off the floor. If it has adhered too tightly to the floor, get some ice and place it over the area to make the gum or wax “frozen” enough to come off quickly.

You can use nail polish on a clean piece of cloth to wipe off stains like paint, oil, lipstick, tar, ink, marker lines, and more.

Water-Repelling Properties

Shaw laminate flooring is designed to withstand accidental water spills and splashes relatively well. In general, the build of the flooring planks allows for water to stay on the surface long enough to allow you to get your mop or rags for clean up. The locking technology we’ve talked about above also helps in this regard. 

NOTE: However, just like other laminate flooring products, you can’t leave the water on the surface indefinitely. The products are only designed to give you enough time to complete the cleaning process.

Easy Installation

Shaw has a tutorial designed to explain the installation process for their customers, and with the locking technology, most people can complete this installation on their own. If you hire a professional, the tutorial will serve as a reference point to make an already easy job even simpler.

The brand’s LocNPlace technology is similar to the well-known Valinge locking system, which most installers are comfortable with. There isn’t a curing time with these products, so you can start walking across the floors right after installation.

Cons of Shaw Laminate Flooring

I do see some cons Shaw Laminate flooring has to point out.

Skewed Towards Wood

If you’re looking for a stone or tile appearance with your Shaw laminate flooring, you’ll have to consider other brands. The company emphasizes wood appearance, so the bulk of the products reflect this.

Short Commercial Warranty

Getting a commercial warranty on Shaw laminate products lasting more than five years is rare. This is a big downside for businesses using the product as other manufacturers in the industry offer warranties for as long as 15 years.

Lower Quality, Entry-Level Products

A recurring theme from many Shaw laminate flooring customers is the fact that they expressed unhappiness at the longevity and durability of the cheapest products from the company.

This may sound like a no-brainer, but the brand markets these products, highlighting almost the same features as the costlier options.

Shaw Laminate Flooring Products

The brand’s laminate flooring products are divided into four main categories:

  • The Mixed Width Laminate Flooring
  • The Repel Laminate Flooring
  • The Standard Laminate Flooring
  • The Long Board Laminate Flooring

Below is a look at some of the popular products in each category.

The Mixed Width Laminate Flooring

Products in this category come with planks of different dimensions, hence the name. The mixed dimensions give your floor a unique appeal after installation. The products come with a five-year warranty, but they are not produced in the US like others; they are made in China.

The most popular products under the Shaw Mixed Width Laminate line are Manor and Castle Ridge. The Manor Ridge line comes in four colors ranging from cool to warm, while the Castle Ridge line comes in different shades of brown.

Both products are elegant-looking laminates that will fit in most classic and traditional home decors. However, the rich wood look means they won’t look out of place in a rustic or contemporary home.

The Repel Laminate Flooring

The most popular products under the Shaw Repel Laminate category are:

  • Anthem Plus: If you want flooring with a proper hardwood appearance, this product should be high on your list. It has a genuine appearance, and its embossed surface closely resembles real wood. There are more than 12 colors to choose from, and the wood grain is bold. The color options are split into medium-dark, medium-light, cool, and neutral. This is a decent choice if your décor is a country, rustic, or traditional style.
  • Pinnacle Port: These products come in six different colors, and they are set apart by the infused character in the wood design with images such as stains, heavy grains, and built-in knots. The colors are split between warm, neutral, and cool. The difference between the vanilla Pinnacle Port and the Plus Variant is that the latter is a little narrower but longer by an inch. These products will fit in rustic or casual interior décor.  
  • Cades Cove: It comes in five different colors and is made for homes with modern décor. However, it also works quite nicely with a traditional and country décor as well. It might clash with your cherry or red oak furniture — or indeed any other warm wood tones. The color selection is mostly divided into neutral and cool. 
  • Carriage House: This product line is the one to go for if you’re looking for a laminate line with the darkest or warmest colors. The rust appearance means it will fit nicely in cabins, man-caves, and homes featuring a traditional décor.

The Standard Laminate Flooring

These are a collection of Shaw laminate flooring lines that don’t quite fall into any of the other categories. Some of the best options among them are:

  • Dawson Ridge/Ellenburg: These are 8mm laminates backed by a 25-year warranty. They look great and also come in a wide range of colors and styles to choose from. Most of them come with the classic warm wood floor images, which are embossed to make the wood look as authentic as possible.
  • Piedmont: This product is known for the narrower planks and smooth surface. The rich oak graining gives it an attractive, contemporary look. It’s another one backed by a 25-year warranty for homeowners and a five-year warranty for commercial owners, and it is one of the most affordable laminate lines from this brand.
  • Trestle Ridge: If you’re looking for laminate flooring with a rich, dark tone, the Shaw Trestle Ridge is an option you should consider. Its look is classic-traditional, and it comes in four colors or Hickory ranging from dark to rusty brown.

The Long Board Laminate Flooring

Products in Shawn’s Long board laminate flooring line are known for their supersized planks. They are up to 79-inch (200-cm) long and 8-inch (20-cm) wide. The products are made in Germany. Like other Shaw Laminate Products, they come with a five-year residential warranty and a 30-year commercial warranty.

The two main products in this category are:

  • The Mt. Everest: This is a hickory collection. The Classic Hickory model is gray-brown, while the Natural Hickory option is a tad rosy and pale. Other interesting colors include the Rich Hickory and the ruddy Historic Hickory. This product has the classic appearance of real hardwood floors. It’s a good fit if you live in a home with traditional décor, as well as modern and contemporary homes. It will look out of place in homes with rustic décor.
  • Shaw Matterhorn Laminate: This comes in three oak colors. The Tavern Brown looks like an aged wooden floor, while you may also love the medium-charcoal shade of the Mystic Gray Oak model. Lace Beige Oak is a neutral brown option. In the Tavern Brown, you have the best option to go with for a rustic, traditional, or casual décor, while the Mystic Gray and Beige Oak are great if you’re going for a contemporary look.

Installing Shaw Laminate Flooring

The company boasts that their laminate can go in any part of the home, from your walkways to the living room with heating. This is largely true. However, the installation process is not as easy as they make it sound with the talk of their locking technology.

If it’s your first time installing a laminate floor, it may take you some time to get it right. Either way, installing Shaw laminate floors is generally a more straightforward option than other flooring options you may be considering.

Don’t expect to complete the flooring process in as little as half an hour. That’s unrealistic even for the smallest room in your house. Keep in mind these few tips for a seamless installation process:

  • bring in the flooring and then give it a few days to get used to your environment to avoid warping.
  • You’ll need to get rid of existing flooring and baseboards.
  • For installations in your kitchen and bathroom, you may also need additional work to properly protect the floor.
NOTE: For floors that are exposed to the sun, you may need UV protection as well. The products are marketed as water-resistant, but it’s easy to misconstrue this as being waterproof; they don’t mean the same thing. 

Should you rip up your old floor before installing your laminate flooring?

One confusing aspect of the installation process is whether to rip up your old floor before the installation or to move forward with installing your Shaw laminate floors over your existing floors.

On some product pages, the company claims that the laminates can go on any existing floors apart from carpet, but on other pages, it says you have to tear up the old flooring before you lay the laminate.

I would remove any carpet or flooring which is not glued down. So don't put floating floor like laminate above existing floating floors.

Should you install a vapor barrier underneath your laminate flooring?

You will find a lot of times instances, where the company provides information related to using a barrier between your sub-flooring and the laminate to ensure adequate protection. This information is, at times, very ambiguous, so the best thing to do is to speak to a professional to see what works best for your situation.

They’ll know the best approach to take, considering your existing floor and the Shaw products you’ve chosen to go with.

Maintenance for Shaw Laminate Flooring

If you already know most of the standard recommendations for maintaining a laminate floor, you won’t have any issues when it comes to keeping your Shaw laminate in excellent shape. Here are some of the more important tips you should keep in mind:

  • Keep your pet nails short to make sure they don’t end up scratching the floor.
  • Don’t clean the floor with a soaking wet mop or oil-soap cleaning products because it could lead to warping, swelling, delamination, and more. In any of these situations, the company won’t honor your warranty.
  • Protect the floor from dents and scratches from heavy furniture or other heavy pieces by covering the legs and bases with felt pads, glides, etc.
  • Use a humidifier in times of low humidity to prevent excess shrinkage. You can also use an air conditioner or a central heater—depending on the weather—to maintain humidity.

Some people might look at the recommendations above and wonder if Shaw floor products are anywhere near as durable as marketed. However, the situation is the same regardless of where you look on the laminate flooring aisle.

Your focus should be on seeing how well the floor performs even after deploying these universal care approaches. In that regard, you won’t find many that are better than Shaw laminate flooring.

Is Shaw Laminate Flooring Right for You?

The product is one of the best in the industry if you’re specifically in need of laminate flooring and know what to expect in terms of maintenance or care. If you want flooring where there’s less emphasis on protection from water and scratches, you should consider other floor types.

However, even after you’ve chosen to go with Shaw’s laminate product, you should probably avoid the cheaper options. Discussions online suggest that the cheapest options sold at some of the club stores and other home improvement stores are often not good enough.

NOTE: Company takes its maintenance recommendations seriously. If you ignore one of the tips, you could void your warranty. You’ll also lose the warranty if you don’t ensure the proper installation of the product in the first place.

If you have a bit of space in your budget for the higher-end Shaw laminate floor products and have them installed properly, you’ll enjoy your flooring for a long time. These products come with a higher wear layer, which allows them to take a bit more pounding.

Still, these products won’t do well in kitchens and bathrooms. You should consider vinyl for floors in these parts of your home.

Other Important Tips to Keep in Mind

Here are some important tips that you need to keep in mind:

  • When ordering your Shaw laminate floors, you should make sure it gets to you two days ahead of your desired installation date. The flooring has to acclimate to the environment first before it goes on your floor.
  • You should increase your budget a bit to buy 5%-10% more flooring than you think you need for a project. Regardless of how well you plan the installation, there’s always a chance that corners, closets, and curves will take a bit more laminate than you originally had in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where is Shaw laminate flooring manufactured?

While a few Shaw flooring products are made in the US and Germany, the vast majority of them are manufactured in China.

Can you use a steam mop on Shaw laminate flooring?

A spray or steam mop likely won’t damage higher-end Shaw laminate floors, but it’s best to stick to the company’s recommendations of only using dust mops, vacuum cleans with soft rollers, and brooms. You may use a spray mop if you’re spot cleaning.

Is it okay to use Shaw laminate flooring from different years?

This could work in some cases, as long as the difference between the years isn’t too wide. If you use any of their products made later than 2007, it’s possible that it won’t have the company’s latest technologies.

Are Shaw laminate products safe?

A: Shaw laminate flooring products have the GreenGuard certification, which means that they are certified against volatile organic compounds and won’t harm the air quality in your space. This means that the floors don’t contain harmful chemicals that will diffuse into your home while it’s in use. It also means that you can safely dispose of any of these materials without harming the environment. More in my post here.

What rooms are the best fit for Shaw laminate flooring?

As long as you can keep moisture and humidity levels in check, you can install Shaw laminate flooring in virtually any part of your home. However, it’s best to install them only in living areas.

Can you install Shaw laminate flooring alone?

If you’re experienced in DIY or have worked on floor installations before, you can handle the installation of your laminate flooring alone—especially if you’re only installing it in a single room. If you don’t have any previous experience, you’ll need the help of a professional. You’ll also need some help if you’re working on multiple rooms.

Wrapping Things Up

Buying Shaw laminate flooring products is generally a good decision, especially if you’re buying the higher-end models. The company has a great reputation, and they offer a generous warranty spanning up to 35 years for residential installations. You also have a plethora of options to choose from, so you’ll always find a perfect product for your interior décor dreams.

However, you need to take care of your flooring in line with the company’s recommendations to ensure the longevity of your installation and also to avoid losing the warranty coverage.