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Author Topic: An overview of Costco's Harmonics laminate flooring  (Read 154409 times)
tim
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« on: August 27, 2004, 03:27:31 PM »

I'm doing a survey on laminate flooring, please vote! Now, back to our regular program...

I've been thinking about getting some Harmonics flooring. Costco sells it in 17.18 sq ft cartons for $26.89 (1.565 pre sq ft). A coupon this up coming week (7/5-7/11) gives you $5 off (1.274 per sq ft). Don't forget to factor in the installation kit (padding, tapping block, spacers, etc. for $29.69 per 150 sq ft. (.198 per sq ft). Total cost, about $1.50 per sq ft (excluding tax).

My sisters actually installed this product into my dad's office with no problems and good results. I've heard others complain that laminate flooring sounds cheaper when you step on it. So what's the real story? I talked to the painters about it and one of them mentioned that you still should use some glue.

I found a discussion group at Better Homes and Gardens on the subject. I was especially concerned about the water issue...

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I bought 250 square feet of this floor, fo my bedroom. I rent an apt and I didn't want to spend a lot. I have asthma from 9/11 so I had to get the carpet out asap.

It's very easy to install. I love the quality. I agree with the bare feet coments above. It's also easy to keep clean, just get a swiffer.

I did not buy the install kit. I bought the foam pad stuff from home depot. I did the whole job with a cordless circular saw. Instead of the tapping block I used a small scrap it works, but a block would be better because when you hit it, it delaminates and breaks apart.

I have a customer with laminate flooring in a hair salon. It flooded twice and the floor still looks good. It kind of curld up, but laid back down when it dried.

Harmonics is "Quick Step".

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Well, after reading up on this post yesterday, I stopped by Costco today to check out the Harmonics flooring again and show my wife. I got a scrap plank of Pergo from a friend and subjected it to a key scratch test (scratching my car key against the surface pretty hard to see the result). I also did this test today at Costco on a scrap piece that someone had taken out of a box. It seemed like the Pergo was a little more resistant to the scratch test. THe harmonics seemed to show damage with less pressure than the Pergo did. Anyways, I think the price is unbeatable.

I also checked on the coupon that someone mentioned in an earlier post and found a coupon for $5 off (between Feb 16, 2004 and Feb 29, 2004). THe interesting thing is, I think this coupon settles the "who makes Harmonics?" mystery. The coupon says it is good on "Quick Step" glueless laminate flooring (item #'s 695303, 696727, 696728). The picture looks just like the Harmonics packages that are there now. Unfortunately, I did not check the item #'s of the Harmonics boxes that are currently there (didn't think to check until I had left), but I have a feeling they are the same as on the coupon.

I also read the fine print on the warranty. It requires the "wear" spot to be at least a one square inch area! That's pretty big!! However, I'm sure all the laminate floor warranties have similar constraints.

Address and contact info
Harmonics- 1000 Cal Oak Rd., Oroville, CA 95965
Tech support number 1-888-459-9220
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lauren
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2004, 04:13:04 PM »

I bought Harmonics laminate flooring at Costco with the coupon and it is a great price.

I have had problems getting in touch with Harmonics Customer Services number. I have called serveral times and always get an answering machine. I have had problems finding a local dealer so was unable to get the moldings unless i can get in touch with Harmonics :<( too bad they don't seem to care about their own products
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Randy
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2004, 04:15:47 PM »

Quick Step originate in Europe and entered the US under the name of Quick Step, the web site is http://www.quick-step.com.
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Klaus
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2004, 04:17:26 PM »

I also tried to contact the special order # 1-888-459-9220 as I need the transition parts but no one is answering - I contacted Costco and told them and they gave me a different number, whic apparently is Quick Step, but after talking with them, they told me, that they are not making parts for Harmonics - so I am still stuck - I guess I will have to go to Lowe's or Home Depot and check their special parts - too bad that this did not work out ..... did anyone else have success with this special order number ?
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Klaus
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2004, 04:17:56 PM »

Had finally a call from Harmonics - the email is customer_service@cncnet.com
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Stan
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2004, 04:31:03 PM »

Today at 1:20 PM I called the 800 number for the Harmonics laminate to ask a couple of questions. Within 15 minutes I received a call back from their customer service. I asked if this was a product manufactured by Quick-Step and where can I buy accessories (base trim, etc.) and she said that while it is true that it is manufactured by another company she could not confirm nor deny it is Quick-step and to take a sample board to any flooring company to match trim pieces or I could order through them. I asked if I could pick the accessories up at their Orville, Ca. location and she said yes, but only on Fridays. She also said that the flooring it self is available in all Costco stores nation wide, including Alaska and Hawaii. Costco is the only retailer to date to sell this line and when I asked where I could go if Costco decides to discontinue it, again she said she could not answer that now.

All in all I was pleased that customer service returned the call very quickly and that the product is available at all Costco stores YEAR ROUND and not seasonal but am concerned, what good is the 25 year warranty if Costco stops retailing it and it is no longer available at any retailer?

I guess if one feels the product is as good as the warranty states than it is a safe gamble. I myself feel that if it is indeed the Quick-Step 800 series and the fact that I can find that product locally for 3.09 or better yet on-line for 2.19 a sq. ft. that the .62 cents a foot difference for Quick-Step branded on line is worth the worries over the possibilities that the harmonics warranty may not be worth anything.

Just my opinion.
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Liz
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2004, 08:04:10 AM »

6-word summary: You get what you pay for.

I have put laminate-type flooring into four different properties now (well, one was actually engineered hardwood, but same idea) and used a different brand each time, so here's my thought on how Harmonics lines up.

First, Harmonics is NOT comparable to other Quick Step or competing name-brand products.  It is a bottom-of-the-line cheap knock-off product.  That said, you can't beat the price.  Really, you just can't beat it.  (Even thoughyou can find floors for maybe 70 cents/foot more online, that's $140 for a 10x20 room, plus shipping costs--which can be substantial.)  So, if what you're looking for is a nice, clean look in a quick cheap makeover, go for it.  I just installed it everywhere but the kitchen and bath in a 5-room apartment.  It cost hardly anything and it made a huge visual difference.

One obvious difference betwen Harmonics and higher end products--when installing, the finish on Harmonics flooring chips and the boards bruise much more easily than other products I have worked with (see note about Alloc Domestic below).  So, I frequently would install a board, and then discover a tiny nick in the finish along the side of the board (which would be in the crack between two boards once I was done installing).  Ditto on dented corners of boards.  If you're looking for perfection in your floor, this is extremely annoying.  But if you just want to cover that icky vinyl tile, it's not that big of a deal.  The finish is more durable once it's in (because it's harder to hurt a flat surface than a corner), but if you expect your floor to be subjected to a lot of punishment (kids, dog-toenails, dropped items with sharp corners, entryways) and care about that brand-new look, you might want to consider a higher-end product.

If you really care about durability, or want to put your flooring where it might get wet,  I'm a big fan of a brand called Alloc.  They make 3 related lines with increasing wear resistance; the "Domestic" is the middle one and is what I have used (the "cherry" color is gorgeous).  The joints are reinforced with a metal scarf, and the edges of each board are impregnated with wax to keep water from leaking in the cracks.  It's also easier to intall than Harmonics--the locking mechanism makes the boards snap together cleanly as you tilt them flat, so there is almost no pounding.  This I used in a kitchen and bath as well, and you really can let water stand on it overnight without damaging the floor (although I'm not recommending that!).  Pet incontinence--no problem!  It lists for $2.67 at floorshop.com.  So, you'll pay more than for Harmonics, but then you won't have to worry about it.

In comparison, I had some rain come in the window on my Harmonics floor, and the boards were warped and buckled within a few hours.  They did "flatten out" again when they dried, but you could tell that something bad had happened there.  It wasn't bad to fix--I just unfolded the floor back to that point and installed replacement boards--but either you're going to have a less-than-perfect floor, or you're going to have to do repair work if you let water stand on the floor.

I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the warrantee.  Think about it--what are the odds you are still going to be living where you are right now in 10 years, much less 30, and that you won't have redecorated in the meantime?  You can take the floor apart and reassemble it, so if you have a badly damaged spot from a scratch or water problem, you'll just have to fix it.  Most laminate flooring warrantees (even for companies that stay in business and answer their phones) only pay for the materials replacement, which is worth virtually nothing compared to the cost/hassle of the work to replace it; some depend on whether you use a professional installer, which virtually no one does.  They also generally expire when your property changes owners.  Don't expect a warrantee to be an actual reflection of product quality--the manufacturer knows what a tiny fraction of people are actually going to go through the hassle of filing a claim even if they are incredibly dissatisfied with the product, and it doesn't cost them much even when people do.  In the meantime, they've made thousands of sales to folks who think that an ambitious warrantee promise reflects a quality product.  If you want a product to last a lifetime, crack open your wallet and pay for a higher-end product.

Any laminate floor product can be damaged.  Example: while putting an anchor in the wall, I dropped a drill, and it of course landed bit-side down.  Result: big ding in the floor.  There is no fiberboard product on earth that will hold up to that.  But you can fix most little nicks with some matching plastique floor putty from your local home store, and no one but you will ever know it was there.

The moral of this very long story: decide what you want before you go shopping.  If you want to do this install job once and then have a floor that looks like new for years with no hassle, Harmonics probaby isn't for you.  But if you're on a tight budget and can live with "good enough" or are willing to revisit your install as needed, Harmonics is a great choice--it's a solid B-level product and an awesome value for the price.

Hope this is somewhat helpful!
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Malcolm
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2004, 10:37:18 PM »

Quote from: "Liz"
6-word summary: You get what you pay for.

Hi Liz: Thanks for your comments ... I'm interested in a laminate floor that will hold up the 10-15 years. I have no clue about the various qualities of floor brands on the market. Would you mind telling the higher quality floors?

Malcolm
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chinchaz
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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2004, 12:12:01 PM »

I just finished putting down 600 sqft of the harmonics cherry color in and I did it with a friend in 10hrs on Saturday. Not too bad to put down. Question about cleaning it...what should I use? I got some stuff at Lowes $9 for 1/2 gallon but wondering if it's worth it or what you guys have been using to clean your floors.
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Jeff
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2004, 01:24:17 PM »

The best and cheapest cleaning product is (1) part white vinegar to (4) parts warm water.  Just make sure you use a "damp" cloth or mop, not a "dripping wet" one.
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Mary
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2004, 11:17:07 AM »

I want to use this flooring in our downstairs.  However, there are a lot of doorways and closet areas. I am wondering if the doorways will make it a lot harder.  What is the best way to learn to put this stuff in.   We did do a small den, but my husband did most of the work.  My husband thinks this is a very crazy  idea to pull the carpet all out downstairs and put this flooring in.  I think it is a wonderful idea as I am so tired of keeping up the carpet.  He thinks it will lower the value of our home.    Also he thinks the stairs will be too slippery for stocking feet.  We dont wear shoes in the house.  Any ideas or comments regarding installation, difficulty of the doorways, and practicality would be greatly welcomed.  Thanks
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guest
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2005, 07:28:40 PM »

Does anyone know if heavy furniture will dent or harm the seams of the floor?
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dondog
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2005, 01:50:09 PM »

A couple years ago I purchased Laminate flooring from Costco - It was the Gallery branded flooring.  I had planned some remodeling and bought 55 boxes of it (a lot).   As some projects go.... the stuff is all still brand new in the box almost 3 years later.  I noticed that it uses the same exact click system that Shaw at Home Depot uses.   I was reciently at Costco and asked about the 25 year warrenty since they went to Harmonics.  They offered to take it back and give me Harmonices if I wanted to haul it all back!!!!!!  Harmonics is about $5.00 a box cheaper.  My question has to do with quality - same warrenty on both.  Is Gallery a better or worse product than Harmonics?   Should I take it back and get the Harmonics or keep the Gallery?

A super thanks to all who have posted on this forum.   :wink:

Learning@aracnet.com
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Van
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2005, 07:03:24 PM »

Quote from: "Stan"
Today at 1:20 PM I called the 800 number for the Harmonics laminate to ask a couple of questions. Within 15 minutes I received a call back from their customer service.


I don't understand how it can be so different for alot of people. I have left several messages over several days and have had many more calls just ring without answering, no response. This is the poorest customer service I have ever experienced. The flooring is crap, the joints don't hold together and there is cracks at most of the seams. Not to be recommened.
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Shralper
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2005, 11:23:04 AM »

Quote
Quote from: "Liz"
6-word summary: You get what you pay for.

I have put laminate-type flooring into four different properties now (well, one was actually engineered hardwood, but same idea) and used a different brand each time, so here's my thought on how Harmonics lines up.

First, Harmonics is NOT comparable to other Quick Step or competing name-brand products.  It is a bottom-of-the-line cheap knock-off product.


I recently purchased 30 boxes of Harmonic flooring (with $5 off coupon) at Costco (Premium Oak) and I must say I was a little nervous after reading the post by Liz back in October 2004.  She stated that "Harmonics is NOT comparable to other Quick Step or competing name-brand products. It is a bottom-of-the-line cheap knock-off product."

Liz gave a lot of good info, but I decided I'd do a little research on my own first before loading up the van and hauling it all back to Costco.  I've now concluded that the Harmonics product *is* Quick-Step's 800 Classic series (just as others on this msg board have assumed).

Here's what I found at http://www.quick-step.com.  I'll let you decide for yourself.

First, go to http://www.quick-step.com/designs.aspx?id=11 and go to U784 Select Oak and click "View in interior."  The room photo is *identical* to the photo on the Premium Oak Harmonics box.
Next, go to http://www.quick-step.com/downloads/pdf/ENG.pdf and read the instructions and especially look at the pictures on pages 3 and 4.  Everything is nearly verbatim from the Harmonics instructions (just replace the name "Quick-Step" with "Harmonics").  Also go to http://www.quick-step.com/accessories.aspx?typeid=11 and read the Quick-Step Combi floor section.  Again, the installation instructions on this page are nearly *verbatim* from the Harmonics underflooring installation instructions on the package (see 5. The Harmonics Underfloor System).

Would a cheap manufacturer blantantly plagarize Quick-Step's documents and photos and get away with it?  Also, note the that Uniclick system used by Quick-Step is *patented*.  Would a cheap knock-off product infringe on a patent?  And would one of the largest retailers in the country, Costco (known for quality products), be duped into selling such a product in mass quantities?

Someone might argue that Quick-Step may have built an inferior product just to sell at Costco.  But Quick-Step already has a lesser product line called Steps (I believe this may have been called 700 Classic Series previously).  It has only a 10 year wear warranty, with no water warranty because of a cheaper core material (according to floorshop.com).  Would anyone believe that Quick-Step/Costco is really selling this lesser-quality product and trying to pass it off as worthy of a 25 year wear/water warranty?  Would they tell you it's ok to install in water areas with sealant?  I don't think so.  Besides, the Steps line is only 7mm thick (Harmonics is 8mm, matching the 800 Classic series).

Nor do I believe that Quick-Step would go through the trouble of building a lesser product *just* for Costco, slap a 25 year wear/water warranty on it (identical to the 800 Classic), and hope that no one calls them on it when it falls apart.  I guess anything is possible, but it just doesn't seem plausible to me.  Building an entirely different product brings in additional costs in manufacturing, overhead, etc.  Would they do this just to sell cheap flooring at Costco?

The only difference I found with the product on Quick-Step's site and Harmonics is this-- The Quick-Step site says "20 year warranty" for the 800 Classic series.  I have to believe that Quick-Step's website is outdated or in error, because even dealers are advertising the 800 Classic series with a 25 year wear and water warranty now.  Check out http://www.floorshop.com/productdisplay.pl?fs_group_id=605&session=  and see for yourself.

Even more important, check out the price.  Even though www.floorshop.com has some of the best prices on the internet, the 800 Classic still runs about $1 more per sq ft. than Costco's Harmonics.  Not only that, but the Quick-Step (Combi Floor) underflooring runs about $50 for 160 sq. ft., and that doesn't even include the install kit.  Suddenly, the Harmonics underflooring ($30 with kit), which sounds to be identical to the Quick-Step Combi-Floor, is also looking like another incredible bargain!

Hope this helps everyone.  You can decide for yourself what to believe.
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