Workmanship - Laminated Tiles

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When we were first shown color swatches of the Premier brand laminated floor tiles, we decided to use the same laminated floor sample that was laid in Summit's own bedroom showroom.

However, there was a miscommunication between the office and the laminated tile supplier, resulting in the wrong color code being delivered and laid. Not only was the wrong shade used, but we had wanted the floor strips to be laid in alignment with the length of the room instead of the breadth:

The ID instructed the supplier to re-do the laminated floor tiles after LNY using a lighter shade of brown, and to lay the laminated tiles aligned with the long side of the bedroom. And so it was:

However, the replaced floor tiles still looked too dark for our liking.

Nevertheless, this time we decided to accept it (~sigh~) because the laminated tiles were laid very nicely and it was wasteful to re-do the floor tiles again. In any event, most of the floor space would be taken up by the bedroom furniture and furnishings, minimizing the impact a darker tone would have on the occupants.

So, never choose a tile based on someone's else reference or hearsay or your own memory or recollection of something you might have seen previously. In our case the mistake was made because we had asked the ID to use the floor tile that was used for the bedroom showroom in Summit's office. The ID called his office staff who then gave the supplier an incorrect color code for the tiles.

Summit's showroom had been completed some time ago. For all we know, possibly no one in the office knew or could recall what the original color code for the showroom's laminated tile was. Or maybe that particular floor tile had been phased out and newer tiles launched, resulting in a change of color codes, and no one noticed. The ID insisted the replaced tiles looked the same as the tiles used in his showroom, although it certainly looked much darker to my eyes, and I was not one to argue for the sake of argument, as the tiling had been completed.

So I let the matter rest.

LESSON: Always choose a sample material with its color code written down as a reference after you have seen and selected the specific color sample with your own eyes.


Next, how does one judge the workmanship, aside from physical appearances of the laminated flooring?

Well, step on the floor, and you will instinctively "feel" the difference i.e. if you have walked on parquet flooring previously. Whereas parquet floors give you a solid feeling underfoot, laminated floors lack that solid feel underneath, giving a "floating" sensation instead that some may not like.

This is because laminated tiles "float" on a thin sheet of plastic foam material as an underlay, and the individual pieces of laminated tiles are "locked" together using a glue-less click system, akin to a tongue-and-groove method. Now, if the underlying floor surface is uneven or not perfectly level, the "floating" sensation is heightened.

In fact, prior to engaging my ID I was given a show-around and in some flats' bedroom I could sense the floor slightly "sinking" under my bodyweight as I stepped on the floor. This was due to the trapped air beneath the laminated tiles in areas where the floor was not perfectly even or level.

Hence it is absolutely essential that the floor be perfectly level before laying the laminated tiles.

In my case we were lucky, because the previous owner had used ceramic tiles for the bedroom, and laying over such a floor with laminated floor tiles produced less of the "floating or sinking" sensation.

FOOTNOTE: I was surprised to see the word "PERGO" printed on the T-shirts of the guys doing the installation of my laminated floor tiles. Not only on one but on both of them, like they were wearing a uniform of sorts!

Since PERGO is a trademark and a reputable brand, I do not think anyone could simply wear T-shirts emblazoned with the PERGO brand name, consumers may be, but definitely not for tradesmen such as laminated tile installers!

So, why would PERGO people install a non-PERGO product such as Premier laminated floor tiles? Is Premier somehow related to Pergo? Perhaps Premier is a sub-brand made by the producer of PERGO in order to price compete against China-based producers of laminated floor tiles?

Mystery Deepens

I was unable to find any info on the web concerning the Premier laminated floor tiles, although Premier laminated tiles are quite popular in the Singapore market.

Just yesterday (12-Mar-08) I was at the Simei MRT station at Eastpoint Mall. Someone was exhibiting PERGO floors at $7.90 psf (premium range) and $6.80 psf (standard range) for PERGO tiles produced in Sweden, both ranges come with with lifetime warranty and another range priced at $4.50 psf, with 15 years warranty period, claimed by the saleslady to be produced by PERGO in Malaysia.

If true, could this lower-price range be sold under the PREMIER brand name in Singapore?

PERGO Floors exhibited at Simei MRT / Eastpoint Mall

Some producers may not wish to be associated with a low-priced product range so as not to dilute the brand equity of its high end product.

It is possible the ID's supplier also handles PERGO laminated floor tiles, so it should not be surprising that the installers wore T-shirts with PERGO printed on them.

But the PERGO promotion at Simei introduced the possibility of a low-price range of laminated floor tiles claimed to be produced by PERGO in Malaysia, something I did not hear of previously. Could this low-price range be marketed under the PREMIER brand name in Singapore?

I believe there may be more to it than meets the eye here.

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