January 1, 2018
I have worked with Shaw's luxury vinyl plank (LVP) wood-looking floors for quite some time, so I'll give you an overview of it from my first-hand experience.
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I've worked extensively with each store for over ten years, so I'm very familiar with how each works.
Look, I realize there is always a way to get stuff "cheaper," but these are legitimate operations with real people, not some unknown guy from Craigslist offering you "too good to be true" prices.
Shaw is the second-largest flooring company on the planet, so there's no issue regarding how legit the company is. It has dealers, reps, and retail displays all over the country and is one of the most recognized flooring brands out there.
Their LVP line comes in various styles, colors, and looks.
However, the way Shaw has set up their collections is quite confusing because there are no common denominators between the different styles within each collection.
For example, you would expect they may all be the same thickness or have a specific technology exclusive to them, but they don't except for the waterproof Forte collection.
They come in random dimensions, thicknesses, and colors, so which collection is right for you?
Let me simplify it for you.
If you are looking for the vinyl plank wood look (not the sheet vinyl), you only need to look at four (4) of the six available collections:
All of Shaw's existing and older products will fall under one of these collections.
*Go with this product if you are a homeowner wanting an excellent bang for your buck product that looks great and is highly resilient.
Available Styles: Century Plank, Cornerstone Plank, Dandridge, Destiny Plank, Georgetown Plus Plank, Insight Plank, Modern Twist, Modern Twist, Norfolk Plank, Retreat Tile, Rock Creek Tile, Stone Fusion, Traveler Tile, Traverse, Tyson Plank 6mil, Tyson Plank 12mil, Tyson Plank 20mil, Uptown 8mil, Uptown 12mil, Uptown 20mil, Urbanality 6mil, Urbanality 12mil, Urbanality 20mil, Wanderlust, Watercolor, World's Fair 6mil, World's Fair 12 mil.
The Array collection was Shaw's original LVP release used for residential applications.
It's Shaw's flagship LVP line aimed at homeowners looking for a quality product but without the expense of hardwood or the hardness of ceramic tile.
There is such a wide range of looks, so whether you prefer the very simple golden oak look or something a little more custom like a weathered, distressed barn look, there is something for everyone with this collection.
It currently comes in 27 different styles, with each style ranging in color choices from 4-18. The wear layers also vary between 6 mil - 20 mil.
Check each style's installation methods because the locking system varies.
Just be sure to use Shaw's recommended adhesive if you get a glue-down product which will specify this on the installation instructions.
The consensus among customers using products from this series is they well exceeded their expectations.
Most praised the product's distinctive look, color clarity, and how it shows on the floor. The clients also praised the speed of delivery from the online retailers they purchased from.
The main thing that stood out for me when working with this line is the simplicity and selection.
I cannot stress this enough: Make sure you have an installer who knows what they are doing.
The boards can sometimes be a little tricky to cut at the ends.
If you are doing it yourself, be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions enclosed in each box you receive. The overwhelming majority of complaints I have come across for this product is mainly due to incorrect installation and/or unrealistic expectations from the client due to an irresponsible salesperson.
*Go with this product if you are a homeowner or business owner wanting a unique custom look that's rare to find in vinyl planks.
Available Styles: Bella, Casa, Largo Plank, Largo Mix Plus, Mantua Plank
Floorte is an enhanced vinyl plank on a core board, used mainly for residential and light commercial spaces.
It features the "fold and tap" locking system, which makes them very easy to install and waterproof, and Shaw claims this is also the case "even at the seams."
This is why it's an ideal floor for businesses and homes where one wishes to install it in areas more likely to get water accidents like the kitchen or bathroom.
The printing technology is referred to as "HD Plus" for its exceptional clarity and color quality.
It gives such a realistic look that an untrained eye would find it very difficult to differentiate between this product and natural hardwood.
Even in the tile looks, the grout lines are distinct and realistic; they appear to be newly installed.
If you're considering this floor, I recommend taking a look at Largos Plank's style because it also comes in the form of varying widths called Largos Mix Plus, creating a truly unique visual.
This collection carries five styles ranging from 6-18 colors with wear layers ranging from 8 mil - 20 mil thick.
From my experience, clients have regularly asked for this particular line when they want something different, and the general experience has been a good one.
It only has five styles to select from, so you're going to decide pretty quickly if what it has to offer is for you or not.
I think as a "newer" product from Shaw's vinyl plank series, it's done exceptionally well by delivering on the waterproof claim.
The thing just won't get damaged from water on top of the product. I've personally tested it, and you can leave water on it for days, and it'll be as good as new.
Shaw did go through a temporary lousy run with this line around four years ago where a specific batch was coming loose after installation, but they have long remedied that since (hence the excellent overall reviews).
Also, be mindful of the "waterproof" benefit of this floor.
This refers to the floor not being damaged from water as long as the water does not get underneath. Water can remain on top of the floor, even between the seams in large quantities, but not underneath.
Here are Shaw's installation instructions specific to Floorte. Please be sure to either follow them yourself or give them to your installer.
This is very important because Shaw will not honor any warranty claims if the installation violates their specific instructions.
Shaw has also put together this installation guide video as well:
*Go with this product if you are a commercial owner, contractor, or business owner looking for optimum performance and resilience where your floor can take anything you throw at it.
Available Styles: Aged Oak 720C Plus, Aged Oak 720G Plus, Coastal Pine 720C Plus, Coastal Pine 720G Plus, Mineral Twist 720C Plus, Mountain Pine 720C Plus, Mountain Pine 720G Plus, Paramount 520C Plus, Paramount 520G Plus, Stone Works 720C Plus, Whiskey Oak 720C Plus.
This is the commercial line of the enhanced vinyl options.
The only one that doesn't still have a very robust 12 mil wear layer.
As with all of Shaw's LVP products, this collection contains colors ranging from 5-20 across 11 different styles, each offering very carefully selected commercial looks.
They range from the clean and contemporary and warmer woods and even the rustic and reclaimed wood looks that have made an incredible comeback over the past few years, particularly in commercial settings.
I have had nothing but very positive experiences with this product throughout all my commercial projects, both from a product quality and installation perspective and customer feedback to how it looks and performs.
Architects and GC's specify this line regularly due to its elite performance when required.
I think a big part of this is due to its construction - a 20ml wear layer on a commercial vinyl is close to indestructible. Nothing really can go wrong with it unless a natural disaster hits it.
Things To Look Out For
Since this product is perfect for heavy use like commercial settings, make sure this floor is adequately acclimated to avoid any large-scale issues after installing it.
Having a problem with a room or so in a residential setting is easily remedied, but trying to undo a few thousand square foot job will be problematic, I assure you.
Acclimate as per Shaw's instructions and forget about this ever being an issue.
*Go with this product if you are looking for either a modern look with plenty of grey and lighter options or if you want a unique stone-wood fused look that suits both residential and light commercial settings.
Available Styles: Atlantic Station, Galleria, Internat Ave 8mil, Internat Ave 12mil, Internat Ave 20mil, Metropolis 6, Metropolis 12, Newport Beach, La Jolla, Ocean Avenue, Ocean Avenue Elite, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, Thoroughly MO6, Thoroughly MO12, Thoroughly MO Elite, Union Square Elite, Wilshire Boulevard
5th & Main is a line used in residential or light commercial areas.
It comes in 18 different styles ranging in 3-18 color choices and a wide range of looks.
Aesthetically, one eye-catching feature of this range is it contains a couple of beautiful-looking styles that mimic natural stone.
If you're into this type of look, go for either Wilshire Boulevard, which has a striking, fused travertine and wood look, or Newport Beach.
Aside from that, the collection has both contemporary styles characterized by in-demand greys and rustic, old-world styles in the classic hardwood hues of browns, naturals, and reds.
I have not worked with this particular line myself, but the consensus among customers using products from this series is they've had an excellent overall experience. A few had minor hiccups with the floors arriving slightly darker than they thought, but this is expected when buying flooring since dye lots and production runs will have slight variation between each other.
Since this series contains designs that mimic both natural stone and hardwood grain, it's essential to have your installer work out of a few boxes simultaneously, just like one would when installing stone or prefinished hardwood. This is to get you a natural spread and variance in the look of your floor. Just putting the planks down one after the next will result in patches of a particular pattern, and you will hate it.
As you know, prices are constantly changing.
To make your shopping a little easier, I reviewed the stores to determine whose pricing is better after factoring in all taxes, fees, and shipping.
There are four more factors I have to draw to your attention:
Please listen very carefully as what I'm about to tell you is from first-hand experience. Don't just buy any "recommended for you" adhesive from the websites you shop from. Insist on what's specified in the installation instructions to protect yourself.
If you run into a warranty claim situation, the first thing an inspector from Shaw will ask you is, "what glue did you use?"
If you state anything other than what's specified for that particular product, they will pretend everything is ok.
Then say, "oh ok," scribble it down, then go back and file a report denying your claim due to "incorrect adhesive used."
You will be left high and dry and very likely furious.
I'm warning you now, don't buy any other glue no matter what the salesperson says.
When it comes down to it, you're, "but the guy said so," won't hold up against what's in writing.
All of these collections come with their matching transition pieces, so be sure to order what you need. If you're doing an entire area, it's possible you may not need them but more often than not, folks transition between vinyl to other flooring surfaces. If you're unsure, ask your salesperson or installer.
Before installing your floor over concrete, you must float the slab to eliminate low spots.
There's a difference between a level slab and a flat one. I have yet to see a single level concrete slab in all my years in this industry! Don't confuse the two. Floating doesn't level it out; it just means you fill in the natural topography of the slab with concrete to get rid of low spots for a better installation.
That way, you don't get hollow areas.
Please consult your installer or contractor as this incurs additional charges.
As a guide, a bag of float supplied and installed ranges anywhere between $40 - $90/bag.
Almost all retailers including the three reviewed here, private label their products so they can minimize the number of folks making a direct price comparison.
See, even if two stores carry identical products, if they're labeled differently, then they don't consider them the same and therefore won't honor their price matching policy.
So if you recognize some styles and not others, ask the store to cross-reference the product to ensure it's the precise one you want.
Also, keep in mind stores like Home Depot, whose policy is "if you find it at a competitor for less, we will beat it by 10%," only applies to offline offers.
This brand of vinyl plank has consistently been rated highly among clients, installers, and contractors alike.
I wouldn't have any hesitation in recommending it but be sure to get a competent installer and be aware of the things to look out for in this review, and you'll enjoy some very high-quality vinyl plank floors.
The past problems of this floor were fixed years ago, and you will also notice the vast majority of folks who purchased this brand are pleased with it.
However, some folks complain about issues that, quite frankly, could have been avoided had they not cheapened out and just gotten a professional installer to do it.
This is not an easy install for a DIY'er, so just be aware of that.
Vinyl flooring, whether in sheet or plank form, is not scratch-proof. It's highly resistant to a lot of wear and tear, but scratching and scuffing are part and parcel of having the floor.
Shop the three leading stores below with confidence your order will be fulfilled reasonably efficiently, and their follow-up, particularly from the first couple of stores, is excellent.
I hope this overview of Shaw's vinyl plank flooring has been helpful to you!
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