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Costco Laminate Flooring Reviews 2021

August 9, 2021

Costco laminate flooring: is it any good?

Everyone loves shopping at Costco (we certainly do, at least!) And for the most part, the store offers great deals on all sorts of products.

But: even though Costco partners with top laminate flooring brands like Shaw and Mohawk, there are some pretty negative reviews for Costco laminate products floating around the internet. And you’re probably wondering why that is.

Plus, if you’ve looked into buying laminate flooring from Costco, you may have noticed some other weird things—certain products are carried in stores, while others are only offered by third-party “consultants”, for example.

All of that to say, there’s a lot of weirdness around Costco laminate flooring, and we’re here to clear it up!

In this Costco laminate flooring review, we’ll explain exactly which products Costco sells, talk about their pros and cons, show you how the buying process works, and even discuss the other floors you can buy there.

So: let’s jump right in! Or, if you’d like to skip right to our “is Costco laminate flooring worth buying” judgment call, click here!

Table of Contents

First, What Is Laminate Flooring?

We say this all of the time, but it really is true: to properly understand this Costco laminate flooring review, you’re going to need to understand the ins and outs of laminate flooring in general. 

So: what is laminate flooring, exactly? It’s a type of fake wood flooring composed (most often) of three main layers:

  1. A high-density fiberboard core layer for strength and durability. 
  2. A photorealistic image layer that can mimic any hardwood species there is. 
  3. A protective wear layer that makes laminate more scratch-resistant than even the most durable wood flooring.

The final result is virtually indistinguishable from prefinished hardwood flooring, but it usually costs significantly less to buy and install. 

Cross section of laminate flooring

Does Laminate Flooring Always Look Like Wood?

Great question! While laminate almost always mimics different types of wood flooring, it can technically be made to mimic anything. 

That being said, wood is definitely the most popular look (though you can find laminate alternatives to the best cork flooring or even the best bamboo flooring, if you look hard enough). Tile too, on occasion.

Costco Partners With 2 Major Laminate Flooring Brands

Pretty much all big box stores have their own in-house flooring brands. Home Depot has TrafficMaster flooring and LifeProof flooring. Lowe’s has SmartCore flooring. Floor & Decor has NuCore flooring. Lumber Liquidators has CoreLuxe flooring. The list goes on and on.

Here’s where Costco laminate is different. Rather than carrying their own in-house laminate flooring brands, the store carries exclusive products from other major flooring brands.

Translation: there is no actual “Costco laminate flooring”. Rather, they carry exclusive lines from Mohawk and Shaw

Well, carry might not be the right word. Here’s why.

You Can’t Actually Buy Both of These Brands at Costco

Here’s where things get weird. Costco actually carries their exclusive line of Mohawk laminate, known as Mohawk Home, in stores. But Costco no longer sells exclusive lines of Shaw in stores. Rather, they have an odd “consultancy” deal with them, which we’ll explain below.

Again: Mohawk Home is Costco’s Exclusive Laminate Line 

If the name Mohawk sounds familiar, it’s because the company is the largest flooring manufacturer in the world. And while they’re most widely known for their carpets (and for being one of the best hardwood floor brands around), Mohawk is also heavily involved in laminate production.

In fact, Mohawk owns some of the world’s best laminate floor brands—including Pergo, the company that actually invented laminate flooring back in the 1970s (check out some Pergo reviews if you’re interested), and RevWood, the industry leader in waterproof laminate flooring.

And Mohawk Home is Available for Purchase and Installation Directly Through Costco

To that end: Costco laminate flooring (which, again, is an exclusive line called Mohawk Home) can be purchased and installed directly through Costco. But: the installation is done by third-party contractors, so we really wouldn’t recommend buying this product. We’ll explain why in a moment.

And Costco only Partners with Shaw for Consultations and Installs

What does this mean? Costco doesn’t actually carry any Shaw products in stores or online

Translation: rather than actually selling and/or installing Shaw products, Costco acts as a lead generator for other Shaw retailers.

Basically, if you go looking for Costco laminate flooring and don’t want to buy Mohawk Home, Costco will refer you to a “Costco Shaw laminate representative”. 

These representatives will then visit your home with their selection of Shaw laminate flooring and help you through the purchase and installation process.

Who Do These Shaw Representatives Actually Work For?

So who are these representatives? Do they work for Costco? Do they work for Shaw? Who actually sells and installs this flooring?

Well, Costco’s partnership page is unclear. But more than a few Costco laminate flooring reviews suggest their “Shaw Rep” was actually from a different flooring store and not an actual employee of Shaw or Costco. The same goes for the installation teams.

Why the weird run-around? It’s hard to be certain, but most likely, this is a clever scheme to bypass Costco’s exclusive deal with Mohawk and earn money from referrals.

For Shaw Laminate, Why Go Through Costco at All?

All of this raises a big question. 

If the point of going through Costco for Shaw flooring is to have a rep come and help you pick it out, why go through Costco at all? If you contact Shaw (or just get in touch with a local flooring store that sells their products), you can cut out the middleman—and if something goes wrong, there’s someone to hold accountable.

Both Costco Laminate Flooring Brands Come With Concerns

We’ll get into the nitty-gritty of both of these points soon, but here’s a taste:

  • Mohawk may have cut some corners with their Costco laminate exclusives.
  • The Shaw laminate flooring customers get from their Costco reps appears to be fine, but there are huge concerns with installations and accountability. 

Let’s Talk About Mohawk Home: The Main Costco Laminate Flooring Brand

Now that we’ve cleared up that Mohawk vs. Shaw vs. Costco weirdness, let’s talk about the actual laminate flooring that Costco sells.

As we mentioned, Mohawk Home is the laminate line sold exclusively in Costco stores.

On the surface (pun intended), Mohawk Home seems like a very decent laminate flooring choice. And Costco laminate flooring reviews that specifically mention this product are generally good. 

But: there are also a few negative themes that seem to pop up relatively often. Here’s how it all breaks down.

Pro: Mohawk Home Has an AC4 Rating

An AC rating essentially measures the durability and scratch resistance of a laminate floor’s wear layer on a scale from 1 to 5.

A floor with an AC1 rating is really only meant for closets and very low-traffic areas, while an AC5 rating can handle heavy use in commercial areas. The best laminate flooring usually has an AC4 or AC5 rating. 

So: Costco laminate flooring may not be rated for commercial use, but it should handle high residential traffic.

Pro: Mohawk Home Shares Special Features With Other Mohawk Brands (Like Pergo)

One of the best features of Mohawk Home is that it shares some of the special features that make Mohawk’s other laminate floors so well-regarded. Specifically, we’re talking about its SplashDefense coating (for water resistance) and UniClic locking system (for easy click-together flooring installation). 

Pro: Mohawk Home Can Be Installed in Different Ways

Mohawk Home can either be glued down (just like glue-down vinyl plank flooring) or installed as a floating floor. 

What is a floating floor, you ask? Using a locking system (in this case, UniClic), planks snap directly together and “float” on top of your subfloor without being attached to it. It’s a quick, easy, and durable way to install floors.

But: if you want wood floor patterns like herringbone parquet flooring, you can do that too by gluing your planks down in whatever design you choose. It’s all up to you!

Pro: Mohawk Home Is Made in the USA

All Mohawk Home is made in the USA, so there’s nothing to worry about if you prefer to buy American-made products.

Pro: It’s Relatively Thick and Comes with an Attached Pad

At 12mm thick, Mohawk Home is a relatively thick laminate floor. This doesn’t impact its surface durability, but it can make for a sturdier floor overall. Additionally, this Costco laminate exclusive comes with an attached 2mm pad for extra comfort and noise control.

Con: It’s Unclear Whether Costco Laminate Flooring is Low-VOC

The good news first: Mohawk is strict about meeting US regulations on harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds

The bad news: there’s no information on whether Mohawk’s Costco laminate flooring line (Mohawk Home) is low-VOC certified.

So: if you want to make absolutely sure you’re getting low-VOC flooring (or just eco-friendly flooring in general), Costco laminate may not be your best choice.

In fact, if super environmentally-friendly flooring is important to you, you may want to rethink buying laminate altogether (even non-toxic laminate flooring). Unlike more sustainable wood flooring options, laminate won’t completely biodegrade over time.

Con: There Are Only 17 Styles Available in Mohawk’s Costco Laminate Flooring Line

While Mohawk’s RevWood and Pergo brands come in hundreds of styles, Mohawk Home comes in fewer than 20. 

That said, you should find a decent assortment of normal wood floor colors—dark and light wood floor looks, glossy and matte, things like that. That said, most of your choices will come down to choosing between hickory vs. oak looks. You won’t see many other common species (like teak, pine, or ash). 

Plus, all of the styles come in planks of 6 inches or wider, so Mohawk’s Costco laminate really only mimics wide plank wood flooring. That said, a number of Costco laminate flooring reviews say these wide planks looks great once they’re installed.

Con: Costco Laminate Flooring Reviews Point Out Problems With Mohawk Home’s Locking System

While Mohawk’s UniClic system is well-regarded in general, it doesn’t appear to live up to the hype when it comes to Mohawk Home. A lot of reviews note that you actually have to modify the edges to make planks fit together! 

Worse, there’s a lot of variety from plank to plank as far as edges are concerned—meaning planks don’t snap together perfectly.

Con: Costco Laminate Flooring is Supposedly Water Resistant, But Some Reviews Disagree

Since Mohawk Home is equipped with SplashDefense, it’s supposed to be waterproof (or at least resistant; definitions vary). Some Costco laminate flooring reviews vehemently deny this claim. 

We suspect this is because of improper installation, likely due to Costco’s third-party installers. If a click-together floor is not installed properly, water can get into the seams and destroy the floor. 

To be fair though, Mohawk Home’s warranty is a little confusing because it literally says it “will resist moisture damage” in the waterproof section. So which is it? Let’s just say we’d be careful with any spills on this flooring.

Con: Costco’s Installers Have a Horrible Reputation

We’ll talk about this in a lot of detail further down, but Costco’s 3rd-party laminate installers have an awful reputation. Keep reading to find out why.

All Costco Laminate Flooring Is Installed By a 3rd Party

As we’ve hinted, Costco doesn’t have a dedicated installation team. Rather, all Costco laminate flooring (Mohawk Home and Shaw) is installed by third parties. And judging by Costco laminate flooring reviews, this is where the problems seem to take off.

Why? Costco has zero oversight over these installers and takes zero responsibility or liability for their mistakes.

In fact, Costco even warns about this on their website

Costco’s 3rd Party Installers Don’t Have the Best Reputation

With that in mind, it’s probably no surprise that Costco’s laminate installers don’t have a good reputation.

Despite laminate being some of the easiest flooring to install (it’s one of the best do-it-yourself flooring products for beginners), Costco laminate reviews are packed with complaints of poor installs. 

Which is Really Bad, Because Improper Installation Can Void Your Warranty

Yup. If you install your laminate floor incorrectly, your warranty can be voided before it even takes effect. And judging from the reviews, Mohawk and Shaw are really picky about which claims they’ll honor. 

How Much Does Costco Laminate Flooring Cost?

Mohawk Home costs $2.43/sq. ft. and is sold in cases of 17 to 18 square feet for $44 (the coverage difference comes down to plank width). 

For comparison, RevWood (Mohawk’s flagship waterproof laminate flooring product) costs between $2.00–$3.50/sq. ft., depending on the tier.

Pricing is Costco Laminate’s Best Feature

If it wasn’t clear, the cost is this floor’s main selling point. That being said, it is priced about the same as standard RevWood (premium RevWood costs almost a dollar more than Mohawk Home). 

Either way, buying Costco laminate is way less expensive than buying hardwood floors (remember: laminate is a substitute for hardwood). The total cost of wood flooring is also significantly impacted by installation costs, which are much higher for hardwood floors vs. laminate.

Costco Laminate Also Goes on Sale… Often

If you’re not keen on paying $44 per case of Costco laminate flooring (you would need 6 to cover a tiny 100 sq. ft. room), the flooring seems to go on sale every few months. 

Is Costco Laminate Flooring Waterproof?

Costco and Mohawk say their Mohawk Home laminate flooring is waterproof, but Costco laminate flooring reviews (and the warranty) suggest that it’s actually water-resistant

If you spill a glass of water on Mohawk Home, it won’t fall apart (so that wood floor bathroom look is still doable as long as we’re talking about a guest bath) but you should clean spills quickly to prevent any lasting damage. 

We’d Recommend Going a Different Direction if You Need a Waterproof Surface

Simply put: we’d recommend going with a different product if you need a waterproof floor. There are some waterproof laminates out there (we’ve mentioned RevWood already, but AquaGuard laminate also stands out), and WPC flooring products always offer a great mix between comfort and durability. 

These floors offer true waterproofing and barely cost more than laminate from Costco.

How Do You Install Mohawk Home?

As we noted before, Costco laminate flooring can be installed directly over your existing flooring or subflooring (what is subflooring?). Since you can glue it or click it together, you can create unlimited wood floor designs

Installing click together laminate flooring
Installing click-together laminate flooring

Just keep in mind that a lot of Costco laminate flooring reviews note that the planks may need to be modified a little bit to ensure that they fit together (super annoying!). 

Also, more than a few reviews recommend using YouTube as a resource instead of the included directions—and we’re inclined to agree, especially if you’re installing the floor yourself.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Costco Laminate Flooring?

The cost to install laminate flooring ranges between $2 and $7/sq. ft. on average. 

You can expect to pay somewhere in this range when working with Costco’s installers, who are really just 3rd-party contractors that Costco takes no responsibility for.

To compare: the cost to install vinyl plank flooring is slightly cheaper at $1.50 to $6/sq. ft., while the cost to install engineered hardwood floors comes in between $3 and $8/sq. ft. 

Does Costco Laminate Need an Underlayment?

We’re going to say this loud and clear: any floor can benefit from an underlayment. This is even more true if you’re installing a floating floor—one common disadvantage of floating floors is that, without a proper underlayment, they can be noisy and wear out more quickly than they should.

Is this a bad thing? Not at all. Underlayments are inexpensive, easy to put down, and in some cases, interchangeable. Some underlayments for vinyl flooring can also be used with laminate flooring (especially vapor barriers).

And if you want to get really crazy, there are even underlayments that can turn ordinary flooring into magnetic flooring for easy installation and replacement.

Fun Fact: Costco Used to Sell “Mohawk Harmonics” Rather Than Mohawk Home

Put on your tinfoil hat because it’s *conspiracy time*. 

Costco used to sell an exclusive brand of laminate flooring called Harmonics, which was also made by Mohawk. Costco laminate flooring reviews for Harmonics were pretty negative, which appears to have been the cause of its downfall. Coincidentally (wink wink) Mohawk Home became available soon after. 

We’ll let you put that together however you wish (cough cough sneeze AWOOGAH).

Reviews for Mohawk Harmonics Laminate Flooring Were Bad

Mostly, Harmonics laminate reviews said the flooring had serious durability issues (i.e. it wasn’t even close to scratch-resistant flooring). Now, we wouldn’t go as far as saying the floor was terrible, but even the “good” reviews questioned the floor’s longevity and quality.

It also wasn’t as water-resistant as the marketing claimed—and reviewers who used Harmonics laminate for mudroom flooring (or for similar purposes) reported their floors getting torn up rather quickly.

Harmonics Can Still Be Bought From Mohawk’s Factory Outlet

Proof that Harmonics flooring is made by Mohawk comes directly from the brand itself. If you visit Mohawk’s outlet store, you can still find Harmonics flooring (though we’d probably shy away from it). 

What Other Types of Flooring Does Costco Sell?

Costo sells three other types of flooring in addition to its laminate, two of which are hardwood floor alternatives.

1. Waterproof Engineered Hardwood

Costco’s waterproof hardwood flooring is made by Golden Arowana, which is exclusively carried by Costco (in the USA). The reviews are mostly decent, and it’s only about $10 more per case than Mohawk Home laminate. 

This engineered hardwood (and what is engineered hardwood?) only comes in three styles and seems to be of average quality. Its solid wood veneer is pretty thin (a common disadvantage of engineered wood) and there’s no mention of what species the wood actually is.

The best thing about this product is that it’s a bit cheaper than what many of the best engineered wood flooring brands cost. Take from that whatever you will.

If you compare engineered hardwood vs. laminate, you’ll find that engineered wood (even if it’s not really the best engineered wood around) is almost always more expensive—because it’s made with real wood. So if you value authenticity, engineered wood may be your better choice.

2. Luxury Vinyl Plank and Tile

Costco actually sells two versions of waterproof vinyl flooring (aka PVC flooring): Mohawk Home (again) and Golden Arowana. 

Both are rigid core luxury vinyl flooring, and both have mixed reviews (neither brand seems to rectify any of the common disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring). 

The style options are a little limited—at least online—but at $2.89/sq. ft., this EVP flooring option is cheaper than what many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands cost.

Oh, and if you’re curious about the differences between vinyl plank vs. laminate, click that link!

3. Wall and Floor Tiles

If you’re waiting for good news about Costo flooring, here it is! The types of tile that Costco sells are actually pretty good: Mohawk Home (they’re busy) and Golden Select (no relation to Arowana).

If you’re debating between Mohawk Home’s tile vs. laminate, choose their tile. There aren’t a ton of styles available, but the reviews are pretty solid. 

But: that comes at a very steep price: the cheapest Costo tiles sell for about $9.00/sq. ft., with some options costing over $20/sq. ft. Also: there are no wood-look tile options available.

Conclusion: Is Costco Laminate Flooring Worth Buying? No.

Hot take: Costco laminate flooring is low-end Mohawk flooring for a price that’s way too similar to Mohawk’s better products. 

In other words, you could buy RevWood (or Pergo) directly from Mohawk or a local store, pay about the same amount, and avoid all or most of the flaws that seem to plague Mohawk Home and Costco laminate flooring in general (poor installation, bad reviews, warranty confusion, etc.)

Plus, Costco’s Shaw Partnership Just Doesn’t Make Sense

In addition, it doesn’t make any sense to use Costco’s referral program with Shaw. It only adds a middleman into the equation, as the floors are being purchased from and installed by someone else, anyway. And not even Shaw themselves—a different flooring store entirely!

Ultimately, Costco Laminate Reviews Suggest That You Shop Elsewhere

It just doesn’t make sense to pay the same amount for flooring that’s equal to or lesser than the quality of other laminate floors. And we’re not even talking about the best laminate flooring products money can buy, either. We’re talking normal-ol’-laminate.

To that end: we definitely recommend finding a top-rated flooring store in your area rather than buying laminate floors at Costco. We hope we’ve made that clear!

Whatever you choose to do, thank you for reading. We wish you the best of luck on your flooring journey and we hope this article was helpful!

Want more flooring ideas? Check out some of the posts below:

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About The Author

Christian Southards

Take any subject and there’s a good chance Christian has written about it. From marketing and international relations to wildlife (hobby!) and sports, Christian writes, edits, or helps publish just about everything that’s resigned to written form. His love for home design and remodeling began with his first job working for his uncle’s property management business.

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