I have worked with Shaw’s luxury vinyl plank (LVP) wood looking floors for quite some time so I’ll give you an overview on it from my first hand experience.
I’ve worked extensively with each store for over 10 years purchasing a lot of product for my own clients so I’m very familiar with how each works as well as their pros and cons.
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’s Collections Simplified – A Buyer’s Guide
Shaw is the second largest flooring company on the planet so there’s no issue when it comes to 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 a variety of styles, colors and looks.
The way Shaw has set up their collections however 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 except for the waterproof Forte collection, they don’t.
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:
- Floorte Pro
- 5th and Main
All of Shaw’s existing as well as older products will fall under one of these collections.
*Go with this product if you are a homeowner wanting a great bang for your buck product that looks great and is extremely 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 really is such a wide range of looks so whether you prefer the very plain 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 be specified on the installation instructions.
Overall Thoughts On This Collection
The general consensus among customers using products from this series is they well exceeded their expectations. Most praised the product’s exceptional look, color clarity and the way it shows on the floor. They 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 simplicity and selection it offers clients. I’ve yet to have one that hasn’t found a style and color they like.
Things To Look Out For
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 very 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 not only very easy to install but waterproof and Shaw claims this is also the case “even at the seams”.
This is why it’s an ideal floor for businesses and even in 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 real hardwood.
Even in the tile looks, the grout lines are so distinct and realistic, they appear to have just been installed.
If you’re considering this floor, I recommend taking a look at a style called Largos Plank because it also comes in a form of varying widths called Largos Mix Plus creating a truly unique visual.
This collection carries 5 styles ranging from 6-18 colors with wear layers ranging from 8 mil – 20 mil thick.
Overall Thoughts On This Collection
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 fairly 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.
Things To Look Out For
Shaw did go through a temporary bad run with this line around 4 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 so long as water does not get underneath the floor (over the edge of cut boards). So water can remain on top of the floor even between the seams in large quantities but not underneath the actual boards.
Here are Shaw’s installation instructions specific to Floorte. Please be sure to either follow them yourself or give to your installer.
This is very important because Shaw will not honor any warranty claims if the installation was not performed according to their 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 has 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 as well as warmer woods and even the rustic and reclaimed wood looks which 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 as well as customer feedback to how it looks and performs.
Architects and GC’s spec this line regularly due to it’s elite performance when it’s required.
I really think a big part of this is due to the way it is made – a 20ml wear layer on a commercial vinyl is close to indestructible. Nothing really can go wrong with it unless it’s hit by a natural disaster.
Things To Look Out For
Since this product is designed 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 is going to 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 that can be used in residential or light commercial areas.
It comes in 18 different styles ranging in 3-18 color choices and with 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 is filled with both contemporary styles characterized by in demand greys as well as rustic, old world styles in the classic hardwood hues of browns, naturals and reds.
Overall Thoughts On This Collection
I have not worked with this particular line myself but the general consensus among customers using products from this series is they’ve had a very good 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 variance between each other.
Things To Look Out For
Since this series contains designs that mimic both natural stone and hardwood grain, it’s very important to have your installer work out of a few boxes at the same time just like one would when installing stone or prefinished hardwood. This is in order 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.
Pricing & 4 Other Very Important Factors
As you know, prices are constantly changing so what I did to make your shopping a little easier was go over each of the retailers and look at the average overall pricing across all of the collections in order to rate the stores on who’s pricing is better after factoring in all taxes, fees and shipping.
There are four more factors I have to draw to your attention:
1. Adhesive – 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 and say “oh ok”, scribble it down then go back and file a report stating your warranty request is declined and the reason is “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 specified in writing.
2. Transition pieces – All of these collections come with their own 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.
3. Leveling/float – Prior to your floor being installed over concrete, the slab must be leveled to eliminate low spots.
There’s a difference between a level slab and a flat one. I have yet to see in all my years in this industry a single flat concrete slab! Don’t confuse the two. Leveling it doesn’t flatten it out, it just means you are filling 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 spots.
Please consult your installer or contractor on this if they are doing the installation as this incurs an additional charge to your project.
As a guide, a bag of float, supplied and installed ranges anywhere between $40 – $90/bag.
4. Private Labelling – Almost all retailers including the three reviewed here private label their products so they can minimize the number of folks doing a direct price comparison.
See, even if two stores carry the identical product, if they’re labelled 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, simply 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 rated highly among clients, installers and contractors alike.
I personally wouldn’t have any hesitation in recommending it but just 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 very happy with it.
However there are some folks who 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 is part and parcel of having a floor.
Shop the three main stores below with confidence your order will be fulfilled fairly efficiently and their follow up, particularly from the first couple of stores is very good.
I hope this overview of Shaw’s vinyl plank flooring has been helpful to you!