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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 mixed 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.
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
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.
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”.
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.
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 be targeting budget buyers 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 some downsides that seem to pop up too. 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
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.
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.
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 Some Issues 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.
Additionally, there seems to be some variation from plank to plank as far as edges are concerned—meaning planks don’t always snap together perfectly.
Con: Costco Laminate Flooring isWater Resistant, But Some Reviews Question This
Since Mohawk Home is equipped with SplashDefense, it’s supposed to be waterproof (or at least resistant; definitions vary). Some Costco laminate flooring reviews question this claim.
We suspect this is because of improper installation. 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.
Con: Costco’s Installers Don’t Have a Great Reputation
We’ll talk about this in a lot of detail further down, but Costco’s 3rd-party laminate installers don’t have a great 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 majority of the problems seem to come from.
Why? Costco doesn’t have oversight over these installers, nor does it take responsibility or liability for their mistakes. In fact, Costco even posts a disclaimer about this on their website.
Costco’s 3rd Party Installers Don’t Have the Best Reviews
With that in mind, it’s probably no surprise that Costco’s laminate installers don’t have the best reputation.
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 material 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.
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?
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.
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
Prior to Mohawk Home, Costco sold a Mohawk exclusive product called Harmonics.
Reviews for Mohawk Harmonics Laminate Flooring Were Mixed
Mostly, reviews for Harmonics said the flooring haddurability issues (i.e. it wasn’t particularly scratch-resistant flooring). Now, we wouldn’t go as far as saying the floor was bad, but even the positive reviews questioned the floor’s longevity.
It also wasn’t as water-resistant as one might hope—and reviewers who used Harmonics laminate for mudroom flooring (or for similar purposes) reported problems with their floors.
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.
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.
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.
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? It Depends.
Hot take: Costco laminate flooring is Mohawk flooring marketed toward budget buyers. It doesn’t offer the same features as great Mohawk laminates like RevWood or Pergo, but to be fair, it’s not quite as expensive.
In other words, you could buy RevWood (or Pergo) directly from Mohawk or a local store, pay a bit more, and avoid some of the issues that seem to pop up in Costco laminate flooring reviews. But again, we’re talking about two different price points.
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!
There are Other Products for the Price
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly laminate that checks all the boxes and will last a good long time, we’d recommend checking out brands like Newton. This company’s laminates are exclusively made in the US and Europe, some of them are waterproof, and they sell for about the same price as Mohawk Home.
We’d also recommend checking out RevWood and Pergo’s laminate lines, as these products are excellent.
Ultimately, Costco Laminate Reviews Paint a Mixed Picture
Again: Costco laminate may be worth purchasing if it’s at the right price point for you. But as always, we’d recommend shopping around.
Christian is a freelance everything-writer, editor, & SEO guy. When he’s not writing about flooring and remodeling, he’s either writing news for the California American Legion or writing fresh content for his camping & EDC blog (or, you know, actually camping).
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