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Old 11-18-2009, 01:27 PM   #1
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


Greetings. Thanks for having me as a member here.

We bought a new construction townhome and it's time to decide on floors. We would really prefer wood floors over the default vinyl and standard rug. The place is about 2,500 sq ft. and we'd like to put wood in all areas except the bathrooms and stairs, so, estimating 2,100 sq ft in wood. The builder's design center is quoting us about $22k for engineered maple, 5" wide boards, 1/2" thick, random lengths up to 7', 2-3mm top veneer layer, micro-beveled, aluminum oxide finish. It's lightly distressed (hand-scraped by hand) with almost matte finish which we sort of like... won't have to obsess about every little scratch or dent. Product is Gemwoods, 25 yr finish warranty. I know the veener is on the thin side, but at most I only ever see use redoing the finish, not the stain.

As a rule, I know using the builder's design center is going to be more expensive than an outside contractor. But I sort of dread the thought of having the builder lay down the carpet and vinyl and then after we close escrow, have an outside person come in, tear it all up and redo the floors in wood. And if we use the builder's vendor, there will also be more accountability on the installation. The unit is still under construction and we'll need to make some flooring decisions before a contractor could really come in and give a quote.

So, I'm just sort of fishing for some feedback on the type of wood we are considering, and the quote. I am attaching a picture.

Also, anyway to tell if this is a rotary peeled or sliced veener product?


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Old 11-18-2009, 01:54 PM   #2
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


You are deluding yourself if you think the builder is going to hand you a floor that lasts anywhere close to five or ten years if you have kids. I use a lot of Duro Design floors for clients. Installation is standard. Contractors love using the materials. They are not that much more than quality, not builder or box store flooring, and you will grow tired of them before you have to ever worry.

http://www.duro-design.com/

They, like other quality vendors out there, warranty for 25 years structural without a lot of fine print and at least 5 for the surface. Don't skimp on your floors. Make it a condition of closing that you get to pick your own materials and contractors with whatever is a fair discount for using them. Demand lots of scraps and instructions for patching with such a thin flooring material if you go with what is being offered.


Last edited by user1007; 11-18-2009 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 11-18-2009, 02:11 PM   #3
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


Hi there

Thanks for the reply. Just to clarify, we are going through a design center that contracts with the builder. There's probably 100+ wood floor options running the range of prices to pick from (thicker veeners, species, etc), so it's sort of up to us what we want to use. We could also use an outside contractor, but we would have to first wait until escrow closes on the finished house, and then rip out the builder's carpet and vinyl. Fun
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:27 PM   #4
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


so they are quoting you about $10 square foot for engieered wood? is this the type that is floated, glued or nailed? seems a little high but I would definately go with an option that allows you not to go through a tear out phase. Also there is something to be said about the flooring sub being managed by the builder since if anything happens during installation the builder is responsible. You can do some damage to the home if you decide to put floors in after the fact that might negate the savings of managing the flooring contractor yourself.. I am just getting over a remodel which ran over budget and to be able to afford to finish I had to take many projects that my contractor was planning on handling and do myself or find and manage my own sub to do. It was a huge pain I wish I had the money to just let my contractor finish all the work and be accountable for everything.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:35 PM   #5
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


I think that flooring is manufactured in Taiwan. For the price per square foot why not buy an American product? No specific experience with that flooring but I have noticed that knockoff imports have flooded the market and the quality of them is very poor.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:43 PM   #6
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


Indeed, seems to work out to a little over $10 per sq foot installed. It can be glued, floated or stapled.. not sure which they will do. It's a slab floor out here in California. The first engineered maple we considered with them had a thicker top veener, but came in at about 28k. So, 22k was "better" and let's us do the tile in the bathrooms, too. It'd be another 4,500K to do the 2 flights of stairs in all wood, so might go with berber rug on those -- maybe wood on the first step and the landing between the 2 stairways.

Like you said rocketdoctor, no doubt it would be cheaper on paper if we didn't have the builder do it. But my wife and I pretty much work constantly, and I don't see us as having time to vet contractors, supervise a job, haggle if something goes wrong, risk voiding home warranties, etc. If I use the builder's contractor, and they ding the baseboards, etc., then they'll fix it. Time is money.
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:51 PM   #7
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


Hi Josh

When we visit the design center again, we'll see if there are other options, American made. If there are similar options, great. The price I am quoting here is the total price installed, not sure how it breaks down into the wood/labor itself. I think our max budget on the whole deal though (wood/installation) is 25k.

I have the sample here. It's 7 ply. Any tests I could do on it or things to look for? Granted, most things will only turn up with time and use.
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Old 11-19-2009, 12:47 PM   #8
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


Quote:
Originally Posted by sportinwla View Post
Any tests I could do on it or things to look for? Granted, most things will only turn up with time and use.
You can do a hardness test. Take a screw driver drop it from shoulder heighth and see how much damage it does? if it just nicks its pretty durable. also try scratching it? if you have pets run their paws over it. maybe throw a piece in a bucket of water to see if it warps?
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:14 AM   #9
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


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Originally Posted by rocketdoctor View Post
You can do a hardness test. Take a screw driver drop it from shoulder heighth and see how much damage it does? if it just nicks its pretty durable. also try scratching it? if you have pets run their paws over it. maybe throw a piece in a bucket of water to see if it warps?
Well, I scuffed a pen cap across it back and forth and couldn't make any visual scratches or blemishes. I dropped a set of keys from a decent height and the nose of one key hit it head on and made an indentation, as would be expected. Being distressed wood with hand scraping, these types of marks would mix with the patina. Also left some drops of water on the surface for a half hour, no affect.

I also spoke to the independent flooring contractor that lent us the sample. I told him the estimated square footage of flooring and he quoted a price of $11sq ft installed. Sort of surprised because this is sort of spot on with the builder's quote. I did not tell him what the builder quoted.

The only thing he advised to do differently was, if we were to do the staircase steps in wood, he advised doing solid wood on them rather than the engineered wood, which aesthetically won't look as nice on stairs.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:32 AM   #10
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


I would not use engineered wood for a floor. The material cost is so much higher than standard T&G wood flooring that even with the greater labor of installation the total cost is about the same and a standard solid wood floor can be sanded and resurfaced easily over the years.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:23 AM   #11
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


So, is this not still a DIY site? I don't mind offering opinion & advice to someone doing their own work, but if I read this right, you're asking product opinion rather than advice on how to do the work yourself.
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:00 PM   #12
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Advice on engineered wood for new townhome


Quote:
Also, anyway to tell if this is a rotary peeled or sliced veener product?
More than likely it's a solid sawn engineered product. "Sliced veneer" typically refers to a veneer under 1 mm.

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