Bruce Lock and Fold Is Real Hardwood That Installs Like Laminate

Bruce Lock and Fold Walnut Flooring
© Bruce / Armstrong

Bruce Turlington Lock & Fold is engineered wood flooring that fits together without nails or staples--just like laminate flooring.

Engineered vs. Laminate

Engineered wood flooring is real hardwood veneer adhered to a plywood base. Laminate flooring is an image of wood covered with a transparent "wear layer" set atop a particle board base. One clear advantage of engineered wood flooring is that you do not have the "pattern repeat" like you have with laminate flooring.

Connections

Typically, engineered wood flooring planks are connected to each other by nails or flooring staples. Laminate planks are connected in tongue and groove fashion, without glue. So, it is unusual to find an engineered wood floor that connects like laminate.

Specifics

  • 36 different species of Bruce/Turlington Lock & Fold Engineered Wood Flooring are available. 
  • Well over half of the species are lower cost oaks (19 currently).
  • 3" and 5" widths.
  • Lengths range from 10" to 48"
  • Average 25-year flooring warranty.
  • Available for separate purchase are peripheral, species-matching items such as reducer strips, thresholds, T-moldings, stair noses, and quarter rounds.

Detailed Review

The best of both worlds? Such a cliched phrase, but Bruce (a subsidiary of Armstrong) promises this with their Lock and Fold engineered wood flooring.

Unlike traditional engineered wood flooring or solid wood flooring, it does not install with floor nailers--best operated by professional flooring installers. Unlike laminate flooring, it is real wood on top, not a fake wood photograph, and like engineered flooring or solid wood, it is real wood (on top).

Homeowners do complain that Bruce Lock and Fold flooring must be installed over an absolutely dead-level, featureless sub-floor--or cupping and warping will happen. Also, much confusion about whether Bruce Fold & Lock should be installed parallel or perpendicular to joists, though as a floating floor, it should not matter either way.

Pros

  • Ease of installation - real wood installed like laminate flooring
  • Nails and glue not required (some laminate requires glue)
  • Wood flooring that can be used in mildly moist areas
  • No pattern repeat, like you find with laminate
  • Easy to obtain - purchase online or at a local home improvement store
  • The strength of a known company--Armstrong--behind the product, rather than a company that may disappear before your warranty is up.

Cons

  • Thin - nothing close to 3/4" solid wood flooring.
  • Consumer complaints about "cupping"
  • Product does not "lock" as easy as Armstrong claims
  • Sandable, but only lightly for minor scratches.
  • Needs a perfect subfloor for installation - often not found in the real world