Finding the right flooring can be a tricky balancing act. Needless to say, you want your flooring to look great and match the carefully planned aesthetic of your living space. You also want it to be hard-wearing enough to withstand the rigors of years of regular use by all the people and pets in your household. You also want your flooring to sound and feel pleasant underfoot. And if it can also be easy to install… so much the better.
This begs the question… do you buy hardwood or laminate?
Here we’ll review Pergo’s Outlast Plus engineered laminate and take a look at some of its inherent advantages over solid hardwood flooring as well as some great features that the brand has over other laminate flooring manufacturers.
What is laminate flooring?
For the uninitiated- laminate flooring may look indistinguishable from hardwood at first glance, but it differs from hardwood in a number of respects. While, like solid hardwood, it’s extremely long-lasting, hard-wearing and easy to clean and maintain, engineered laminate is composed of several layers, unlike its solid counterpart. The outer layer sits atop a layer of high-quality plywood and is pre-varnished for added convenience. Unlike solid hardwood, it’s much less prone to warping in damp or humid environments due to the composition of the fiber core beneath. It’s also designed to be easier to fit than its solid counterpart and can be installed on a “floating” basis before being glued down or fold-and-locked into place.
Getting to know Pergo Outlast Plus
Now that we know a little more about laminate flooring in general, it’s time to dive a little deeper into Pergo’s product and explore what makes it special.
First of all, the Pergo brand has a great pedigree behind it. With over 35 years’ experience in the field, it’s safe to say that they know what they’re doing and this alone can bring great peace of mind for those making a home that they plan to inhabit for a lifetime.
What’s more, the brand has a long history of innovation, pushing the boundaries of flooring technology to deliver greater durability that doesn’t come at the expense of the rich and elegant finish.
The Outlast Plus line, for instance, has a range of new technologies designed to prevent damage and repel liquids. So you’ll never need to worry about everyday drops and spills affecting the quality or look of the visible upper layer. Each board features what the Pergo brand calls SurfaceDefense wear protection combined with SpillProtect24 technology. This, Pergo claim, can protect the flooring from everyday liquid spills for up to 24 hours. The robust Uniclic joint and the materials used to treat the surface combine to hold water out of the seams for 24 hours straight. More than enough time to correct household spills before they damage your beautiful flooring. Perfect for families with young kids for whom spilled milk, dropped sippy cups and creative mishaps with paints and inks are part and parcel of family life.
The finish itself is extremely rich and lustrous yet looks extremely natural with pleasing grain and knot details. Yet you may be surprised by how gentle and yielding the flooring feels when walked upon. This is due to a soft inner layer that provides both cushioning and sound dampening underfoot (more on that later).
Furthermore, the Outlast Plus line features extensive scratch proofing, incorporating the brand’s signature ScratchGuard Advanced and PermaMax protection layers. So those with rambunctious dogs and cats at home need not worry that playful claws will cause damage to the flooring’s finish.
The anatomy of a Pergo Outlast Plus board
Pergo Outlast Plus flooring is made from several layers of material that are fused together by extreme heat and pressure. Because the underlayment is pre-attached to the bottom of each board, it makes installation much quicker and easier. This thin layer of dense foam provides both cushioning and sound dampening while also evening out minor floor imperfections and providing further protection from moisture.
The next layer up is a “balancing” layer which helps to stabilize your flooring and stability and prevents the bowing or collapsing or boards when walked upon. Above this is the core board of water-resistant high-density fiber. This terminates at the click-joints making it easy for you to snap the boards together when installing. This dense core also prevents dents from being caused by impact from falls or dropped objects. Finally, the outer design layer creates the planks’ look and feel. This is topped off with the water-resistant transparent overlay described above.
The flooring comes boxed in ~16 sq. ft. bundles for easy transportation in a pickup or wagon. Almost 550 square feet of flooring can be fit onto a single pallet.
The fact that laminate flooring comes ready finished is a real boon for those who want to start enjoying their new home as quickly as possible. And because Pergo has such a great range of finishes, there’s something to suit all tastes and home aesthetics.
The range of finishes available for Pergo’s outlast Plus flooring line includes;
- Antique Cherry
- Marigold Oak
- Vintage Pewter Oak
- Vintage Tobacco Oak
- Auburn Scraped Oak
- Java Scraped Oak
- Molasses Maple
If you want a closer look at any of the colors, you can check them out on Pergo’s official website here.
Installation tips for Pergo Outlast Plus
Because Pergo Outlast Plus is designed for “floating” installation, it can be laid straight out of the box over flat surfaces like wood or concrete. If you have a tiled floor, however, the uneven nature of tiling will mean that tiles must be taken off before your new flooring can be laid down. For this, we recommend a demo hammer with a flexible blade that will make short work of the tiles and grouting.
It’s also worth noting that while Pergo Outlast Plus is designed to be highly spill-resistant, this will not protect your floors from flood damage. Thus, we recommend starting off by laying down a moisture barrier such as tar paper.
While your process may vary, here’s an installation overview which you will hopefully find helpful;
- Inspect each plank’s integrity before measuring and planning your initial line.
- It’s easiest if you can start in a corner. Remove the tongue on the short and long edges of the first row boards and lay in a straight line across the room. Leave a gap of around 3/8-inches at both ends and wall sides, to fill with 100% silicone combined with a 3/8-inch compressible PE foam backer rod.
- For homes with fireplaces, backfill planks as needed using a tapping block and mallet. Scribe uneven walls onto the end plank or remove the tongue if the wall is straight.
- Add new planks by inserting the end tongue into the end groove and rotating downward.
- Make sure joints are tightly closed.
- Make sure the first piece on your second and subsequent rows is at least 8-inches long to guarantee that it will hold. Leave at least a foot between joins.
- Insert the tongue of each new plank at a slight angle into the groove of the first plank, leaving a 1/2-inch gap along the long side. Rotate the board downwards until you hear/ feel the short edge joints lock.
- When short ends are joined together, raise the outside long edge of the plank by about an inch and tap into place with a mallet and push block.
- Repeat until the room is finished.
- Be sure to apply 100% silicone all around the room to keep out moisture.
Great looking, hard-wearing and supremely water-resistant, Pergo Outlast Plus is satisfyingly hard wearing as well as being quick and easy to install.