Laminate is all the rage these days due to its strength, durability, ease of installation and stunning, modern design. It’s also less expensive than hardwood but leaves the same overall effect as the latter.
Homeowners who have children or pets or just want a flooring alternative that can endure high traffic opt for laminate.
What is TrafficMASTER Laminate Flooring and Its Benefits
TrafficMASTER is one of the world’s best laminate flooring sold by Home Depot. Manufactured by Shaw, it boasts all of laminate flooring’s benefits and more.
Like other brands, TrafficMASTER is crafted with four layers of material. The first layer or the base layer is made of durable and waterproof melamine material. Melamine is amazingly solid and stable and keeps moisture from seeping through your flooring.
The second and thickest layer is composed of high-density fiberboard. To add strength to the flooring, the makers combined wood pulp with resin binders and polymer materials, which also add stability and resistance from moisture, shrinking and expanding.
The design layer, also called the aesthetic layer, mimicks the beauty and feel of real hardwood.
The topmost layer, which is coated with vinyl material, is thick, robust and clear with a little hint of shine. How long the flooring resists wear and tear depends highly on the thickness of this layer.
Trafficmaster Laminate Flooring Pros and Cons
To know what makes this product one of the best-selling flooring options to date, read on:
Being one of the most affordable flooring alternatives in the market is one good reason why TrafficMASTER is largely popular. In fact, its 12mm panels are $1 to $2 cheaper than Pergo’s laminates, which measure only 10mm.
Designed to Last
Upon purchase, TrafficMASTER laminate flooring comes with a 15-year product warranty, with coverage for possible manufacturer damages, given that it’s used in residential applications.
Depending on the area’s traffic expectations, TrafficMASTER can last from 7 to 15 years once installed. If the area of application will have light traffic, no shoes and no pets, the flooring may last even longer.
TrafficMASTER laminates are extremely easy to install that you can assemble them on your own. However, if you do choose to hire professionals to do the job, you should expect lower labor costs since it installs much easier compared to tiles or hardwood floors.
Like hardwood, these laminates are pretty easy to maintain. Actually, they are much easier to care for since there’s no need to seal the surface every now and then.
To keep them looking clean and tidy, simply use a vacuum or broom for sweeping away dust and dirt. Then, polish your laminate flooring with a mop. You can also put a polyurethane finish to protect your floors.
Install in Various Surfaces
TrafficMASTER flooring can be installed on a wide variety of surfaces including concrete and wood subfloors.
While these are subjective, some users claim the following disadvantages:
Limited Style Options
We’ve got Pergo flooring reviewed, along with Armstrong and other popular laminate brands and found out that TrafficMASTER offers fewer designs for buyers to choose from.
Not as Good as Real Wood
Since laminates are made of synthetic materials, some users still crave for the genuine wood feel.
Not Ideal for Wet Areas
TrafficMASTER, like other laminate brands, is not recommended for areas that are often exposed to water such as laundry and bathrooms.
Non-Recyclable and Non-Biodegradable
As mentioned, laminates are not made of green materials, which is why they’ll most likely end up in landfills once disposed of.
Like tiles and hardwood, TrafficMASTER isn’t an exception when it comes to noise production. However, there are subfloor solutions that can be installed to reduce this.
TrafficMASTER vs Pergo Laminate Flooring
As you may already know, Pergo initiated the manufacturing of laminate flooring. However, when it comes to quality and styles, both brands proved to be almost the same. Both deliver decent planks with varying widths and color variants.
Pergo is known for its classic hickory and oak planks, while TrafficMASTER takes pride in their classic hardwood laminates, which come in Birch, Oak, and Sycamore hues.
What differentiates one brand from the other is pricing. Turns out, TrafficMASTER offers more affordable laminate flooring options ($0.50 to $2.00 per square foot), compared to Pergo’s laminates, which cost around $3 to $5 per square foot.
Trafficmaster Laminate Flooring Styles and Categories
There are three available types of textured TrafficMASTER laminates:
TrafficMASTER Standard Hardwood Laminate
Designed to imitate the beauty of real hardwood, standard laminates use images of hardwood flooring. While the texture is quite subtle, it’s still noticeable when touched.
TrafficMASTER Standard Hardwood Laminate is available in 7mm, 8mm and 12mm dimensions. The latter is backed by TrafficMASTER’s 25-year warranty, which covers residential applications.
TrafficMASTER Handscraped Laminate
As the name suggests, this type of laminates depicts a rustic and vintage feel and is designed to resemble the look of planks. Dimensions available are 7mm and 8mm, with no underlayment attached.
The 7mm laminates are offered in Oak, Pecan and Hickory colors, while the 8mm comes in medium and dark maple varieties.
TrafficMASTER Embossed Laminate
Embossed laminates are crafted with raised graining to give off a genuine wood’s look and feel. Like the hand-scraped varieties, it is available in two dimensions – 7mm and 8 mm. There’s no underlayment either, as it is not always necessary for most applications.
These laminates are often more favored by homeowners due to their contemporary visuals and coloring.
Classic Hardwood Laminate
The classic range of TrafficMASTER laminates holds 3 variants namely Birch, Oak and Sycamore. The tones are rather warm, but light and dark options are also available. Gloss choices range from low to medium. As for the widths, only 12mm is up for grabs.
It comes with no underlayment, however, it is a requirement for installation of this laminate. The manufacturer offers a 25-year warranty for Classic Hardwood Laminates used in residential applications.
TrafficMASTER Laminate Flooring Features
While other brands may also possess one or more of these features, it’s still convenient that TrafficMASTER has them all in one flooring product.
The great thing about TrafficMASTER laminates is that they make installation much simpler, unlike other flooring options such as tiles and hardwood. Each panel is designed to click together via a unique tongue and groove method.
This means no nails, screws or glues are needed to put them together, saving you from extra spending from damaged flooring. Since the pieces slide well together, you’d save a great deal of time that sticking panels to the floor and drying consume.
If you’ve been reviewing Waterproof laminate for a while, you must know by now that all laminate manufacturers claim that they make the most durable ones there is. However, TrafficMASTER is one of the user-proven brands that stands the test of time.
Thanks to its thick vinyl-coated surface, it makes buffing out minor abrasion extremely easy. It also makes wiping off of spills from juices, sauces and other liquids effortless.
What’s more, every panel is tested and certified by the North American Laminate Flooring Association for resilience and reliability. Especially when well-maintained, your TrafficMASTER flooring can last many years of use.
Coordinating Trim and Moldings
With TrafficMASTER, there’s no need to use trim pieces and needlessly match wood stains with your laminate’s color. The brand makes perimeter molding and transition pieces, giving your room an organized and harmonious appearance.
Despite being affordable, TrafficMASTER is recognized for its excellent quality. Being able to withstand rigorous tests and moisture exposure, this brand has proved to be one of the leading choices when it comes to laminate.
TrafficMASTER Laminate Flooring Subfloor Guidelines
TrafficMASTER is compatible with most flooring options like tile, sheet and vinyl floors. The subfloor needs to be correctly constructed and immovable.
Before installing it, check to see that the subfloor is positioned within 3/16 inches in 10 feet (2mm in 2m). In case of irregularities, the subfloor could be fixed by using a cement base that’s used for patching and leveling.
If you have a suspended wood subfloor, make sure that it has at least 18 inches (45cm) of space where air can freely circulate above the ground.
TrafficMASTER Laminate Flooring Over Concrete
Cure concrete for at least 90 days before installation. Once cured, apply a 0.008-inch polyethylene vapor barrier over it.
Make sure to tape the seams using duct tape or similar type of adhesive tape. If working on a vinyl sheet, tile and wood subflooring, check that the moisture content doesn’t go beyond 12%.
TrafficMASTER Laminate Flooring Over Carpet
Before installing laminates, remove any carpeting and padding on the subfloor. Even without padding, you can install Trafficmaster over carpeting that’s attached to wood subfloors.
If the carpet is installed over concrete, you must remove it at once and then follow installation instructions for concrete subfloors.
TrafficMASTER Laminate Flooring Over Radiant Heat
Have under-floor radiant heating systems at home? You can install Trafficmaster as long as the heating unit is installed over concrete or wood subfloors. However, before installing, the temperature must be lowered down to 60 ºF at least 1 week before the schedule.
When the panels are installed, the heating can be increased gradually by 10 ºF/hour. While at it, make sure that the surface temperature doesn’t exceed 85 ºF.
How to Install Trafficmaster Laminate Flooring
To start with the installation process, you’ll need the following materials:
- Laminate installation kit (includes tapping block, spacers and pull bar)
- Laminate flooring underlayment
- Carbide tipped circular saw blades
- Table or hand saw
- Duct tape
- Tape measure
- A non-permeable polyethylene vapor barrier (for concrete installation)
- Safety glasses
Step 1 – Basic procedures
Measure and cut the tongue of the planks using a carbide-tipped circular saw blade. Make sure to allow room for spacers on the corners of the wall.
Cut starting from left to right, making sure that the cut side is placed against the wall. Begin positioning the 5/16” spacers on the sides.
Step 2 – Start the installation process
Grab the laminate tapping block included in the installation kit and gently tap the two planks on the short side so they join together.
Step 3 – Install the planks in rows
Install a new plank for the second row. This time, angle it so its tongue slips into the first plank on the first row. Push the plank flat on the floor until you hear a clicking sound. Do not tap the planks on the long side as this might damage the joints.
The fourth plank should be installed the same way as the third plank, however, the tongue should fall right next to it. Push the plank down until it clicks.
Step 4 – Finishing a row
Cut the excess planks at the end of each row using the circular saw blade. To prevent damage to the laminates, make sure to mark and cut the planks upside down. Once cut, flip the plank you just cut and install. This time, use a pull bar to tap the sides together.
Step 5 – Installing around obstacles
For small spaces such as door moldings, the lip of the edge with the groove must be removed. Do this by gently sanding off the lip on the groove side of the plank so it will installed flat.
When the lip is trimmed, lay one plank on the floor. Apply a thick layer of PVAc-D3 laminate glue on the top of the plank’s tongue. Push the plank so it joins surrounding pieces you’ve previously installed.
Step 6 – Remove glue residue with a warm damp cloth
Remove the spacers along the corners of the room. Cover these spaces with moldings of your choice, making sure they are installed on the wall instead of the flooring. Drill quarter rounds before nailing them to the wall.
Place felt protection pads underneath the legs of furniture and other heavy objects in the room. Do not pull or drag heavy objects carelessly to avoid damaging your newly installed flooring.
How to Clean and Maintain Trafficmaster Laminate Flooring
To make sure your floor lasts for as long as possible, follow these simple steps:
Step 1 – Establish a regular vacuuming routine
Using a premium vacuum for laminate floors, vacuum your flooring regularly. Vacuum only with a soft bristle brush attached to the unit. If needed, use another attachment to suction long hair with a vacuum.
Step 2 – Clean with a slightly damp mop
Laminate can be wiped with a damp mop if necessary. You could also use a mop that makes use of steam and spray if you’d like.
Step 3 – Wipe spills as soon as possible
Using a damp white cloth or paper towel, wipe off any spills on your flooring immediately. Make sure to also dry the affected area afterward.
Do’s and Don’ts with TrafficMASTER Laminate
To preserve the beauty and color of your laminate, take note of the following do’s and don’ts.
- Use floor protectors for furniture. Heavy objects like furniture can scratch and leave permanent marks on the surface.
- Use cleaning products that are specially formulated for laminate.
- This will result in the raising of the planks, which in turn leads to unleveled flooring.
- Trim your pet’s nails regularly. This is to prevent damage caused by pet scratches right before they happen.
- Install planks near standing water. Laminate is better off in dry areas such as the bedroom and living room.
- Use oil or wax-based cleaning products for sanitizing. They strip off the gloss and leave your flooring with a dull finish.
- Use wet jet or steam mops. Often used for steam mopping tiles together with a steam cleaner for carpets, these cleaning tools often draw moisture to the joints.
Trafficmaster Laminate Flooring Price
Due to the fact that Home Depot manufactures synthetic planks, TrafficMASTER is deemed as one of the most affordable brands to date. In fact, you can buy most styles with prices ranging from $0.50 to $2.00 per square foot.
To protect your flooring, you can purchase an additional lifetime residential, limited commercial or 15-year residential warranty. With one of these warranties in possession, it’s easier to replace pieces in case they get damaged by accident.
In terms of installation costs, TrafficMASTER offers a lot of money-saving advantages. For one, you don’t need to spend extra on nails, screws, adhesives or heavy equipment. Since the planks are pretty easy to install, the installers will spend less time on installation, potentially saving you more bucks from labor costs.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
When it comes to home or commercial area flooring, cost shouldn’t be the sole focus. Quality is a far more important aspect to pay close attention to instead. For instance, the natural hardwood flooring has a premium quality and high cost, but there are some floors that offer excellent quality minus the staggering price.
If your budget permits, install expensive flooring by all means. Keep in mind to choose materials that are not prone to scratches, stains and other forms of damages so you don’t pay extra for repairs or replacements in the long run.
Just like with other home improvement products, you don’t really have to stash a fortune in order to achieve the results you want in a flooring. While recognized as a mid-grade product, TrafficMASTER is a reliable flooring alternative that boasts a decent quality that can withstand the test of foot traffic, moisture and damage brought by movement.
In addition, its ease of installation can’t be understated in saving flooring costs. So, if you have to choose between spending more on overpriced materials and spending less but getting the quality that you need, choose the latter.
FAQ About TrafficMASTER Flooring
Who makes TrafficMASTER laminate?
TrafficMASTER is manufactured by Shaw Industries, Inc., one of the world’s leading carpet manufacturers. The Georgia-based company is recognized worldwide for delivering premium hardwood, synthetic turf, laminate, tile and stone and other construction products to residential and commercial markets.
Not only in the United States, Shaw also distributes its products around Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Canada, China, India, Mexico, France, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
Is TrafficMASTER laminate flooring safe?
While some homeowners have concerns about laminate because it utilizes a substance similar to formaldehyde, TrafficMASTER is tested safe for homes, food establishments and other facilities.
It doesn’t emit toxic substances or contain dangerous materials that may cause potential harm to both children and adults.
Is TrafficMASTER laminate flooring waterproof?
TrafficMASTER’s high-quality flooring is coated with high-grade vinyl material, which wicks away moisture and water quite well. However, installing them in areas exposed to a water source is not recommended by professional installers. As mentioned, water takes a toll on the joints in between planks. As a result, they might not last for as long as they should.
So, is TrafficMASTER worth the investment? Considering the many benefits, features and stunning visuals this product provides, we have to say it’s a great flooring to spend your money on.
Not only good aesthetics, you could also enjoy the ease of installation, many years of use and reduced labor costs once you do decide to install them.
Despite the limited styles and synthetic materials used in production, this floor is proven safe, reliable, stable and can easily match furniture pieces, especially those with contemporary design and feel.
If you’re in the market for decent quality laminate flooring that can transform your home from old and boring to fresh out of lifestyle magazines, opt for TrafficMASTER. Reach your flooring goals without breaking the bank by installing some on your own or by hiring a professional installer near you.
Photos from: phillyo77 / depositphotos.com, belchonock / depositphotos.com, logoboom / depositphotos.com, Kokhanchikov / depositphotos.com and
photography33 / depositphotos.com.