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New flooring for house--Hive ideas please!


Ravin
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We are putting in an offer on a house. Before we can move in, we are going to have to replace the carpets, because the previous owner had cats.

 

Any advice about flooring? We're leaning towards less carpeting. Probably none downstairs except the master bedroom that's on the first floor.

 

The kitchen currently has tile. We could do more tile, or laminate, or...?

 

What are the best options for low maintenance, affordable flooring?

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 I like hardwood.  It's pretty much not affordable.  Sigh.

 

(But if you go with hardwood, OMGosh, Brazilian Cherry is absolutely gorgeous.)

(I like classic oak, the thin oldfashioned varied boards, if they are stained in medium brown, too.)

(And walnut planks are amazing--wide, maybe 5-6 inches, unstained.)

(And maple.)  (All the maple.)

 

A problem?  Me?

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I am quite fond of our fake wood flooring - since I can't afford the real thing.  We had it installed by professionals in the kitchen and laundry room and it's been just lovely.  Two huge dogs running around and no scratches.  Puddles wipe up.  Rarely have to mop because once mud dries, you just sweep it up.  Same with dog hair.

 

I would totally do the rest of the downstairs (dining room and living room) in the same stuff if DH would go for it.  Then I would put a large area rugs in the living room to anchor the seating area and call it good.

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I do not want to contribute to deforestation, in Brazil or elsewhere. I'm pretty sure bamboo is out of our price range. So, something that looks like wood but isn't seems to be getting the most pitches?

 

I like wood-looking stuff.

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We're currently putting in stranded bamboo in a medium brown, so I can't tell you about the wear over years. However, I do love the way it looks, it held up well to my testing (huge scratches with a butcher knife:) and I'm happy that it was under $4 sqft. It definitely looks like a hardwood floor and feels like one too.

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Wood-look plank vinyl. We have Core-tec in two bathrooms and love it. Feels great underfoot and easy to clean. BIL now works for the flooring company we used, and they laid a section in their store, numbered the planks, soaked them in water for a few weeks, then dried them out and relaid them. Still looks perfect.

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I hate carpet. 

 

I'd go with hard wood or laminate. 

 

If you can afford the hard wood (real 3/4 inch thick wood, not "engineered" wood), then I'd go with that. It's what I did in our forever house. It gets scratched, but we have lots of pets and kids . . . I don't sweat the scratches. (Natural oak is very forgiving.) In 10-15 years, after the kids are out and we have fewer, smaller dogs, we can have it refinished and then it'll be perfect till we die or move, lol. It's an art to install it, and the materials are a very big part of the cost, so I wouldn't personally try to DIY it, but if you are very handy and can buy or rent the tools, then you could save there. 

 

We put mid-priced laminate (fake wood) floors in a residential mobile home on our commercial property 12 years ago, and it still looks fantastic even after having renters (with dogs, cats, and babies) in it for the last many years. I was in it a couple weeks ago, and I was shocked to see it still looks awesome. 

 

This is supposedly pretty easy to DIY, but I haven't done it myself. 

 

So, if cost is a limiting factor and/or you want more scratch resistance than wood can offer, I'd go with laminate. 

 

Alternately, I LOVE ceramic/porcelain tile. You can get it at a good price for materials, but labor for installation is very pricey, so it will likely be as expensive as real wood floors. That said, if chosen well and installed properly, it will likely look like new 20, 30 years from now with almost no care (and easy to recover from abuse/neglect). Really can't say that for anything else. Installing it is actually really easy DIY. Just need to buy or borrow a good saw (under $1000 to buy) and be ready for a lot of work on your knees (knee pads are a good idea). I put it in all our baths & laundry/mud areas in our recent remodel, and DIY'ed it in a couple of the rooms. Very easy. Downsides are that tile is very hard and very cold. If you can buy the saw, you can DIY one room/area at a time. For instance, I did our laundry room tile start to finish (probably 10x10 with a zillion nooks and corners) in a weekend no problem. 

 

 

 

 

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We had Armstrong Alterna LVT installed in the bathrooms (2.5) and laundry room before we moved in here in April. I've been very happy with it. If I were redoing an entire floor I wouldn't hesitate to use LVT or LVP. I'd absolutely choose LVT/LVP over hardwood since it's much more durable--it's almost impervious to scratching and to moisture if you use grout.

Edited by Pawz4me
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I do not want to contribute to deforestation, in Brazil or elsewhere. I'm pretty sure bamboo is out of our price range. So, something that looks like wood but isn't seems to be getting the most pitches?

 

I like wood-looking stuff.

We felt that way, and when we did our last house, we went with high end laminate. That stuff was amazing. It was the higher end pergo at lowes. No scratches. No fading. No buckling or warping like we saw our friends who put on lower end pergo type products. We have big dogs, and - again, no scratches. The only problem was a lamp got knocked off a table, and a corner of the base punctured the floor - can't do anything about that, as it's essentially a picture of wood, you know? But for us, it was great flooring. We had it for ten years, and it looked new when we sold the house. Well, except for that one spot. :)

 

We now have cork upstairs. I do not recommend it if you have dogs.

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We're currently putting in stranded bamboo in a medium brown, so I can't tell you about the wear over years. However, I do love the way it looks, it held up well to my testing (huge scratches with a butcher knife:) and I'm happy that it was under $4 sqft. It definitely looks like a hardwood floor and feels like one too.

 

Costco or no?  I'd love to hear how you like it in a year.

 

 

We are putting in an offer on a house. Before we can move in, we are going to have to replace the carpets, because the previous owner had cats.

 

Any advice about flooring? We're leaning towards less carpeting. Probably none downstairs except the master bedroom that's on the first floor.

 

The kitchen currently has tile. We could do more tile, or laminate, or...?

 

What are the best options for low maintenance, affordable flooring?

 

 

Do you live somewhere cold or warm?  If I didn't live somewhere that gets cold I'd go tile throughout - wood look, real tile.  

If expense wasn't an issue then I'd do the same but heat underneath.

 

We planned on stranded bamboo - Costco.

But we are really wondering about LVT

 http://www.armstrong.com/commflooringna/products/lvt - Especially considering that two years ago we put in premium carpet in our living room.  Supposedly pet durable, child durable, etc.  But, 26 feet traipse across it daily and it was  bad call.  We should have done something for commercial use.

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We live in the Tropics so I doubt that many houses here (if any houses here)  have wall to wall carpeting. When we built our house (2003-2004) we selected Tile Flooring from a very reputable Colombian company.  I think we chose from among their least expensive flooring, because we didn't see any differences, regarding durability, between the least expensive and most expensive tiles for Residential purposes.  If one was purchasing for the lobby of a skyscraper or a shopping center, that would require a more durable floor covering.  I have *never* heard my wife say anything negative about the tiles on our floors or on the bathroom or kitchen walls.

 

Cleanliness is a huge plus for tile floors. Also for Hardwood floors. One can shampoo carpeting, daily, and never get 100% of the filth out of the carpeting.

 

If anyone in your family has allergies, they will probably be healthier without carpeting.

 

Wall to wall carpeting will probably be the least expensive floor covering you can buy, but with time it will need to be replaced.

 

GL with what you select!

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In our last house, we swapped most of the carpet for laminate. It wasn't top of the line, but it wasn't the cheapest either. It looked really nice and was pretty durable. I don't recall any scratches, but one time some sort of liquid spilled that we didn't notice right away, and it caused bubbling in the seams of a few pieces. 

 

In our new house, the majority of the downstairs is stained concrete. It looks nice and is super easy to clean, but it's hard to keep looking  clean. The master bedroom (downstairs) and all of the upstairs are carpeted. Someday I want to put in wood-looking tile over the concrete. With young children and a big dog, I think for us the tile would be more durable than hardwoods. The tile comes in all different lengths and if they are installed with really small grout lines and darker grout, it can look pretty close to hardwood. 

 

Good luck to you!

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Laminate or Luxury Vinyl. I'd do the Vinyl because no worry about warping with spills, etc. No worry about what you use to mop it. Etc. 

 

We went with laminate and it has warped in a few places where it got wet and was left wet. And I can't use bleach to mop. I like bleach, lol. 

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I wouldn't go for timber laminate in the kitchen. Ours is chipped from all the cutlery that gets dropped in there, and we've had one leaking pipe that badly damaged the floor (luckily under the dishwasher so out of sight). Basically laminate and water or sharp objects doesn't go (similar chips around dining table).

 

I'm tempted to go with vinyl floor boards in our next house, or bamboo (although bamboo flooring in a rented house scratched quite badly).

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We felt that way, and when we did our last house, we went with high end laminate. That stuff was amazing. It was the higher end pergo at lowes. No scratches. No fading. No buckling or warping like we saw our friends who put on lower end pergo type products. We have big dogs, and - again, no scratches.

Third post - can you tell I take flooring seriously :-) We're in the process of selling / buying and its flooring that's the deciding factor for me!

 

In terms of buckling etc: thin IKEA type stuff is bad for this, but it's also about leaving the necessary expansion gaps. When we moved into this house it had cheap stuff with no gap and in winter when it rained a lot the flooring would buckle from moisture-related expansion then settle in the dry summer.

 

The other issue is the underlay - a good quality underlay makes a huge difference. Without it you get the hollow 'tinny' feeling when you walk on the floor. I don't know how else to explain it. The flooring doesn't feel solid when walked on.

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We have laminate on our first floor and really like it.  It stands up well to the large dog, children, and grandchild.  We would have chosen hardwood except for the wear and tear of the dogs nails. As others have said, you can't get it wet.  When our washing machine hose burst we had a mess.  Our insurance covered it.  After that  we opted to put tile under the washer and dryer.   Our house at the beach has porcelain tile that looks like wood.  We've been super happy with that too.  It's durable and looks fabulous.  I wouldn't want it in my main residence though since it's so hard.  If you wear shoes in the house it's okay, but we rarely wear shoes at the beach. 

 

ETA: 

 

Agreeing with pp -- the underlay is super duper important.  I'm home all day almost every day so not having the hollow sound is important to me.  When we had our washing machine leak, the adjuster wouldn't give us the full value of the underlay until I produced the receipts.  He said that in all of his years he had plenty of people who claimed high quality  underlay but few who could actually prove it.  Our underlay was actually more expensive per sf than our laminate.  We also have laminate with the underlayment attached and had to contact the manufacturer to get the correct additional underlayment that wouldn't cause buckling.   The installers and the manufacturers both told me it was an unnecessary expense, but it was important to me.  It gives the floating floor a much more substantial feel, and there is absolutely no echo in the house.   If I had to do our flooring all over again, I'd make the same choices.  Can you tell I'm passionate about underlayment? 

Edited by Artichoke
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Why not? I use bleach on the laminate floor. Am I not supposed to? Although I use a "dry mop" type technique, well squeezed, definitely not lots of water.

 

 

Details, please :-)  I am super curious how you do this.  Can you please explain?  I'd love to know how to mop this way.  

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Well, it's a moot point. We wound up not making the offer because the realtor didn't think we could get concessions to cover the cost--we don't have the money for something like that out of pocket that's a "ready for move in" deal breaker. We're back to house hunting.

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Don't get bamboo.  Dh insisted on bamboo and I absolutely hate it.  It scratches very easily and because it is so light it looks dirty all the time.  Seriously, I am constantly moping and sweeping and it looks good for maybe 30 seconds.

 

  

 

Just say no to bamboo.

 

Every dish, book and knife drop leaves dings, dents and gouges.

 

Our house came with bamboo. It's five years old and looks bad. Everything dents, scratches, or gouges it. It is discolored under the entry mat as well. Just say no.

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Details, please :-) I am super curious how you do this. Can you please explain? I'd love to know how to mop this way.

I use this style of 'squeegee' mop: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marko-Cleaning-Extending-Telescopic-Microfibre/dp/B00S8GRI4O

 

So I'm wetting the sponge mop between each wipe, but it's well squeezed out before it hits the floor, and if any traces of water remain on the floor a quick wipe with the squeezed out mop will remove it. The floors are dry enough to walk on pretty much immediately. It's definitely removing dirt, as the water gets dirty, and if I use bleach in the water you can smell it afterwards on the floors.

 

I love bleach as well, although I'm not big on cleaning products in general - it's usually vinegar, baking soda and bleach here! I don't use bleach every time, but after 5 years there hasn't been any damage to the finish.

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Third post - can you tell I take flooring seriously :-) We're in the process of selling / buying and its flooring that's the deciding factor for me!

 

In terms of buckling etc: thin IKEA type stuff is bad for this, but it's also about leaving the necessary expansion gaps. When we moved into this house it had cheap stuff with no gap and in winter when it rained a lot the flooring would buckle from moisture-related expansion then settle in the dry summer.

 

The other issue is the underlay - a good quality underlay makes a huge difference. Without it you get the hollow 'tinny' feeling when you walk on the floor. I don't know how else to explain it. The flooring doesn't feel solid when walked on.

:)

 

Ours that held up so well, and looked just beautiful (despite rough kids and huge dogs) ... Built in underlayment. I loved that it never made that clicky sound or felt tinny. We didn't DIY the install either - we had a contractor do it. Actually, 3 different contractors, as we did the house in sections. The first contractor messed up and put underlayment under it - it had to be redone immediately, as it was too much and caused some issues, so the built in underlayment was really just right, for that product.

 

It was definitely a good purchase. I loved that stuff.

 

I used glass cleaner and a dry mop to clean it, mostly. Sometimes vinegar and water, sometimes store bought laminate cleaner.

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Well, it's a moot point. We wound up not making the offer because the realtor didn't think we could get concessions to cover the cost--we don't have the money for something like that out of pocket that's a "ready for move in" deal breaker. We're back to house hunting.

Bummer. Good luck.

 

FWIW, we have Acacia wood flooring and it is awesome. 

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We have ceramic tile in the kitchen/breakfast area/hall/laundry rooms/bathrooms. Nice but cold. Anything breakable that falls on it will break. Still it is lovely, and I'd do it again. Easy to clean and keep clean. I wouldn't do a super light color, and I wouldn't do a light grout either.

 

We have fake hardwoods that look real through the rest of the non-bedroom areas. It is a lovely cherry color. It looks nice with my cherry end tables and coffee table. But ... I have two girls - one with long light-colored hair and the other with shorter darker hair. Oh, my - that hair shows up very well on that floor. Sweep it in the morning, you will see more hair within the hour. Argh. It was here when we moved in, but if I could, I'd replace it with a lighter color in the hopes all that hair would blend in better so I wouldn't see it all the time. Also if someone comes through with dusty feet, they do leave very slight footprints on the floor. 

 

So, whatever type you decide - think seriously about color because that can impact daily cleaning later.

Edited by Bambam
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laminate is not good in wet areas - re: kitchens and baths.  vinyl is ok. - or porcelain wood-look tile.*  ceramic tile is cold. 

 

they are coming  out with ceramic, and especially porcelain tile, that look like stone, for much less.

 

engineered flooring has the look of hardwood at a lower price point, and supposedly more stable.

 

I prefer finish on-site hardwood - and have hardwood throughout, and quartzite tile in my kitchen. ceramic in bathrooms. (I had wood, my dishwasher leaked and destroyed my floor. I refuse to ever have wood in a kitchen.)

 

I like bare floors  because far fewer allergens, easy to clean. 

 

 * wood-look tile - a brand-new builder generic $ :scared: $ mcmansion up the street used it throughout the main floor.  it felt cheap.  it felt like a builder grade finish (most of the finishes were so generic they felt cheap.  they really should have fired their interior designer. it sat for months with price drops.  next door was a 10yr old custom mcmansion that was half the size - it *felt* special and sold much faster.)

 

 

 

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It's the desert, so more hot than cold, though it does get somewhat cold in winter, not cold enough to need to heat the floor.

 

Tile. It's hard on your feet, but it keeps the house cooler. In the Gulf South, one rental home we stayed in had tile flooring all through the downstairs. The home was noticeably more comfortable than carpeted homes even at the same AC temperatures.

 

Edit: Just saw your update. Too bad.

Edited by ErinE
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Well, it's a moot point. We wound up not making the offer because the realtor didn't think we could get concessions to cover the cost--we don't have the money for something like that out of pocket that's a "ready for move in" deal breaker. We're back to house hunting.

 

You'd never know if you could *actually* get those concessions until you put in an offer, no matter what the realtor thinks.

 

We were of the "doesn't hurt to make the offer" type when house hunting.

 

Good luck.

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We are putting in an offer on a house. Before we can move in, we are going to have to replace the carpets, because the previous owner had cats.

 

Any advice about flooring? We're leaning towards less carpeting. Probably none downstairs except the master bedroom that's on the first floor.

 

The kitchen currently has tile. We could do more tile, or laminate, or...?

 

What are the best options for low maintenance, affordable flooring?

 

If they have cats, you may have to do more than this.  Cats who spray can mark lower walls, and some have had to replace the wallboard.  Hope this is not the case for you. At least paint it with Kilz.   I would have the ductwork cleaned though. If you are bothered by cats at all, I would get rid of that bedroom carpet.  If you did want carpet in that room, you can pick up amazing remnants very cheaply at places like "Floors to your Home" and similar places. 

 

As to floors, remove the carpet and paint the subfloor with Kilz to get rid of the cat odor, or you will have it wafting back when it gets hot.   The tile should be fine if you just clean it with Odor-Exit or some similar product.

 

Landlords like Trafficmaster Allure (glue strips, not click together) for its amazing looks and ability to withstand high wear.  You might check that out at Home Depot. 

 

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Well, it's a moot point. We wound up not making the offer because the realtor didn't think we could get concessions to cover the cost--we don't have the money for something like that out of pocket that's a "ready for move in" deal breaker. We're back to house hunting.

 

What?  A Realtor discouraged you from making an offer? The worst they can say is no.   If yours is the highest offer they get, they make consider it.  It sounds like you want money for flooring, which is cosmetic, but if it is cat-damaged flooring, no one is going to buy it (and only you and they know how cat-permeated it is).  This latter is reasonable. 

Edited by TranquilMind
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The realtor pushed us to make an offer that would have included a few thousand towards flooring, but not enough to actually replace it all.

 

The carpet was OK for someone who doesn't have severe allergies--it was clean, you couldn't smell the cats even though they were still there when we toured. But cats are second only to horses in DH's allergy reactions. He was there for less than 5 minutes before he felt it hit him.

 

We've moved on. We definitely favor places that either have all hard flooring downstairs, or brand new carpet!

 

Thanks for all the suggestions, though!

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Well, it's a moot point. We wound up not making the offer because the realtor didn't think we could get concessions to cover the cost--we don't have the money for something like that out of pocket that's a "ready for move in" deal breaker. We're back to house hunting.

I would never walk away from a house on the advice of a realtor unless there was something wrong with the house.  Are you saying you want the house but need the current owners to give a concession of money to cover the cost of flooring?  Shame on your realtor for not writing up that offer!  You could write a beautiful letter telling the owners how much you love their house and why you need to replace the carpet.  Explain this is your best offer (with the flooring concession written in) and how happy you would be if they accepted.  You NEVER know what the seller of a house will do unless you ask!  Go back to your realtor and advocate for yourself!

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The realtor pushed us to make an offer that would have included a few thousand towards flooring, but not enough to actually replace it all.

 

The carpet was OK for someone who doesn't have severe allergies--it was clean, you couldn't smell the cats even though they were still there when we toured. But cats are second only to horses in DH's allergy reactions. He was there for less than 5 minutes before he felt it hit him.

 

We've moved on. We definitely favor places that either have all hard flooring downstairs, or brand new carpet!

 

Thanks for all the suggestions, though!

 

Considering the allergies, it would be best to find a house in which no cats had resided.

 

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I have gotten better at spotting scratching posts in the online listing pictures for sure! 

 

Good luck hunting!

 

Since you're dealing with allergies, you can ask your realtor to check before seeing the houses, too.  My DS is actually anaphylactic to cats - I had no idea that was even possible.  Our RE agent called ahead to every house.  One house didn't give us an answer, and wen went to see it anyway - DS felt his throat closing just walking into the foyer of a newly remodeled home.  He got out fast, and we actually saw the cat under the front window, beside the front porch.  Yikes.  They had clearly just replaced carpets and painted everything inside, but it was too much for DS.  

 

We ended up finding a house with bare floors and air filters throughout - turns out the previous owner's kid had allergies similar to our child, so that was a good find for us.  :)

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Good luck hunting!

 

Since you're dealing with allergies, you can ask your realtor to check before seeing the houses, too.  My DS is actually anaphylactic to cats - I had no idea that was even possible.  Our RE agent called ahead to every house.  One house didn't give us an answer, and wen went to see it anyway - DS felt his throat closing just walking into the foyer of a newly remodeled home.  He got out fast, and we actually saw the cat under the front window, beside the front porch.  Yikes.  They had clearly just replaced carpets and painted everything inside, but it was too much for DS.  

 

We ended up finding a house with bare floors and air filters throughout - turns out the previous owner's kid had allergies similar to our child, so that was a good find for us.   :)

 

I had a beautiful house with an indoor pool that I sold in order to buy rentals.  We often fondly remembered that home, but someone "catted it up" by moving in 3 cats.  We can never go there again, sad to say. 

 

I can't be around cats either, nor can one of my kids, who had a major reaction after being made to wear a shirt and apron belonging to a guy with three cats at work. 

 

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