Just finished installing 250 sq ft (12 boxes) of the rustic maple. The Good: It looks fantastic - really beautiful and 95% like real wood. Also, it was surprisingly easy to cut, including the tough cut-out around air registers etc. All I needed was a utility knife and straight edge. I crimped cut-outs with a pair of pliers. That's it.
The Not-So-Good: This is NOT the easiest flooring in the world to install. I have installed real wood flooring, have built and renovated houses and am very mechanical. I ended up with some hairline cracks that I am concerned that over time will collect dirt and be unsightly. I bought the Allure tapping block to persuade pieces to draw up, and actually discovered that I was doing more harm than good by using it. This is a "finesse" product and not a "force" product, and the tiny tongue and groove system only sometimes actually "clicked" as advertised, about 1 in 10 pieces. Only 1 in 3 or 4 actually drew up together perfectly the first time. Hitting the tapping block (as you would with real floors) didn't work and actually fragmented the "tongue" so that thin slivers of plastic shredded off. About 1/4 of the way through the job. I experimented more with the angles and applying pressure with my hands and body weight, and got better results. You need to wiggle the pieces together and lean into it, and sometime arching the previous piece as well to get everything to draw up. Then, it doesn't stay drawn up on the long sides despite using a rubber mallet. I occasionally sank a sheetrock screw under the edge (to be covered by shoe moulding) to hold everything in place. No matter what anyone else says, hairlines cracks will be a part of the job, which actually makes it look even more authentic, like wood. But we will see over time. If they become a problem, my rating of this product goes from 4 stars to 1.
When I was finished, I felt like I had wrestled every piece into place and had really sore knees despite using knee pads. I had to, because there was variation in how the pieces inter-locked together - the manufacturing process does cause subtle variations in the mechanics of the each pice. Also, the tiny differences in how separate prices draw up will compound across rows. This product is one of those that sounds great in the advertising and in principle, but the realities of installation tell a different story. To be fair, when it is done, you do not need to stain or coat the floor as with wood. I do think this was the right flooring system for our situation, but fingers crossed on how it looks 1, 2 or 3 years from now.
Looks Like Wood, Looks Great
Difficult to Install