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Sep 18
2012

Pucker-up, Pergo!


Posted by C. Mason Hearn in repairs, maintenance, floors

Hi Mason,

My husband and I installed a cheap laminate hardwood. Everyone says you shouldn't apply polyurethane to laminate. I tested two planks, and they seem to be fine. My goal is to seal the edges/seams with the poly and to add more high gloss sheen. When moisture sits on a seam and is not cleaned up right away, the edge will pucker. Thanks for your advice.

 

Kit:

 I’m on a pun-roll, so I have to say this.  “Should the edges pucker-up when wet, that would be just swell!”  But seriously…

 Laminate flooring (known by such brand names as Pergo, and many others) is essentially a photograph rendering or pattern laminated to a medium-density or high-density fiberboard, and protected with a hard “wear layer” of clear melamine or resins.  The joints between planks snap tight together, but perhaps not tight enough to completely prevent water penetration.  The fiberboard core may swell when exposed to water or excessive moisture and for that reason, there are significant limitations to the product when installed in “water exposure” areas.  Water left on laminate flooring may irreparably damage your floor.

 I do not know of any regularly-available products that will adhere well in the long term to the wear layer of a laminate floor.  Even though your test samples with polyurethane may seem to bond, I can pretty much guarantee that such a finish applied to your laminate floor will separate, scratch and scuff-off in fairly short order when foot traffic is applied.  Keep in mind that the wear layer of your floor is engineered specifically for things NOT to stick to it (like stains).

 If you flooring was not already installed, I would say to 1) consider the best, highest-density core product available for potential moisture areas and 2) glue the edges upon installation and seal the perimeter to the extent recommended by the manufacturer.

 At this point, I suggest that you and other home occupants practice extreme care with water around the floor, including perhaps protection with area rugs, and wiping-up any spills that may occur, immediately.

 Mason






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