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Old 12-08-2013, 07:05 PM   #1
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Engineered Wood, floor and Stairs


I had some quotes for having engineered wood flooring laid down in the living room. We also plan to do two small sets of stairs(it is a split level house).

The main question is can I do this myself? I have laid tile, and done a few things around the house. I'm no expert at DIY but I'm not a novice either. My main concern is the stairs. It seems the main floor isn't too hard. If I give this a go, I'll keep this thread going. Mostly screaming for help!

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Old 12-08-2013, 08:39 PM   #2
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Hi, I hope you don't mind me butting into your thread, but I just logged on to post my own question about engineered flooring and saw your question. My daughter just bought her first house and wants to rip up all the carpeting; hardwood is too expensive for her budget; she's not sure if there's any such thing as a quality laminate that won't scratch (two big dogs in house); and she heard about engineered wood flooring which I had never heard of before. She had researched a little and came up with Mohawk engineered wood with a zinc oxide coating called "Armor Max" that has a 50 year warranty, which of course sounds good if it's true. Do you mind my asking what brand you got quotes on and how durable your contractors felt it would be?

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Old 12-08-2013, 09:02 PM   #3
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We got quotes on Bellawood but the labor was the number that stopped us cold. Bellawood is sold by Lumber Liquidators. I have a decent sized dog (70lbs) and that was a concern of ours as well. The carpet is a hair magnet though so we want it out! Isn't Mohawk Home Depots brand.

My dog is getting older so I am a little concerned about him slipping on the stairs.

Also, by all means post on my friend. I'm open to any detail that might help.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Beth1 View Post
Hi, I hope you don't mind me butting into your thread, but I just logged on to post my own question about engineered flooring and saw your question. My daughter just bought her first house and wants to rip up all the carpeting; hardwood is too expensive for her budget; she's not sure if there's any such thing as a quality laminate that won't scratch (two big dogs in house); and she heard about engineered wood flooring which I had never heard of before. She had researched a little and came up with Mohawk engineered wood with a zinc oxide coating called "Armor Max" that has a 50 year warranty, which of course sounds good if it's true. Do you mind my asking what brand you got quotes on and how durable your contractors felt it would be?
We have crappy laminate and a dog and it has not been scratched in 8 years. I don't even really try to not scratch it since I don't like it anyway.

The inlaws have prefinished wood and it has scratches.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:03 AM   #5
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Use real wood treads, not laminate or engineered on the stairs.
If you do not mind a plastic looking, loud, noisy, floor that can get destroy with one pet accident or where there water bowl is, then laminates the way to go.
If you go up to the search function and use laminate to search you may see all the people facing having to remove it due to it falling apart.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:31 AM   #6
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I've been using the search function and getting mixed advice, pro and con about laminate. I've also read a post in another forum that says laminate is dead and the newest best thing is vinyl plank. I should have added that my daughter's flooring will be over slab, so she would have to worry about moisture, and also being cold on the feet (don't know how cold it gets in Kansas in the winter). So I know you don't advise laminate, but what can you tell me about engineered wood flooring or a quality vinyl plank for a slab foundation? Which one is more scratch resistant (for dogs) and durable? And after she rips up the carpet, what type of moisture barrier? Would a barrier already be in place or does that come up with the carpet?
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:35 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hurriken View Post
I had some quotes for having engineered wood flooring laid down in the living room. We also plan to do two small sets of stairs(it is a split level house).

The main question is can I do this myself? I have laid tile, and done a few things around the house. I'm no expert at DIY but I'm not a novice either. My main concern is the stairs. It seems the main floor isn't too hard. If I give this a go, I'll keep this thread going. Mostly screaming for help!

Here's a site that may help answer your questions,and Beth1's also and good luck to you both.


http://www.hoskinghardwood.com/Depar...dId=7&pageId=7
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:15 AM   #8
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Great website, very informative especially about the engineered wood. It had some info on that new luxury vinyl plank or tile. Do you or anyone have any experience with, or opinions on the vinyl?
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:43 PM   #9
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Very helpful web page. Thanks. Good tips so far, I have some studying to do.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:13 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Beth1 View Post
Hi, I hope you don't mind me butting into your thread, but I just logged on to post my own question about engineered flooring and saw your question. My daughter just bought her first house and wants to rip up all the carpeting; hardwood is too expensive for her budget; she's not sure if there's any such thing as a quality laminate that won't scratch (two big dogs in house); and she heard about engineered wood flooring which I had never heard of before. She had researched a little and came up with Mohawk engineered wood with a zinc oxide coating called "Armor Max" that has a 50 year warranty, which of course sounds good if it's true. Do you mind my asking what brand you got quotes on and how durable your contractors felt it would be?
I put in the Mohawk laminate that Home Depot has for 1.59/sq foot. It is a great product. Their products are AC4 rated for hardness of finish (1, 2, 3 are not quite as good & intended for residential; 4, 5 are the hardest & are rated for commercial).

I also just got Home Depot's Pergo Presto on their Black Friday deal. Normally it is $2 or more per square foot; it was 99 cents. Despite the fact it is normally more expensive than the Mohawk, the Pergo is a much inferior product. It chips quite easily and tiny chips make the piece unusable - they really stick out.

The Pergo Presto is not manufactured as well as the Mohawk, either. The Pergo pieces were slightly off in thickness - just a tiny amount, but that shows up. They were also not all the exact same length, which really isn't a problem but still, says something about the product. The base under the top coat on the Pergo is less solid than the Mohawk - I had a few pieces where the ends had started splitting.

The Pergo Presto has an AC3 rating, whereas the Mohawk was an AC4. All around, the Mohawk is a better product. I suspect it will hold up well to dogs' claws.

I kept the Pergo Presto only because the price had been so good - if I had paid even 25% more, I would have returned it all. I would say about 20% of the pieces had some chip or worse (corners sometimes were crumpled; sometimes just the back but that destroys the integrity of the whole piece & makes it more susceptible to water damage) which made them unusable - I returned 3 full boxes of defective pieces (out of 16 or so).

Both Mohawk & Pergo are NALFA certified - google NALFA & laminate flooring & you can see what that means. One thing it means is you don't have to worry about formeldahyde offgassing.

For a great underlayment: use either Versawalk or QuietWalk, also NALFA certified & some soundproofing. Versawalk is essentially QuietWalk but is a newer product that can be used with glued floors. I used QuietWalk under the Mohawk & VersaWalk under the Pergo - both work very well (I used the VersaWalk only because the best price I could get for both made VersaWalk a little better deal).

Mohawk is NOT Home Depot's brand, although there are a few products I believe are sold only to Home Depot.

Re: treads:
I bought the Stairtek Re-tread from Home Depot (white oak) & finished them myself (Bona DTS & Traffic - some here say the DTS fades in sunlight; I don't know). They work very well. Instructions specify using a polyurethane construction adhesive. My existing staircase was particleboard so I had no great qualms about gluing them down, but if you have something better, you might want to think about it. I also reinforced the back 2 corners with screws (then used an oak wooden dowel to create a wood plug for them) - the manufacturer doesn't call for this, but I did it anyhow, just in case.

I guess if you want your stair treads to match your flooring, that's a different issue, but the retread was a nice option for me.

Moisture & a slab:
That could be an issue with laminate. Many laminates can be put over a heated floor, but that adds another layer of complexity (I don't think I'd use electric except in a small bathroom, and even then, it's tricky to make sure you don't damage the wires in the flooring net, plus you need to worry about the electrical connections). The VersaWalk & QuietWalk add a tiny bit of insulation (.5 R).

Engineered flooring:
I researched this and decided it was way too expensive for what you get. It seems to have quite a limited lifetime (10-15 years if you're lucky), a lot of it fades, the wood under the surface layer is sometimes fairly soft so you can in fact put deep scratches & dents in it regardless of how hard the surface is. Because aluminum oxide finishes are so hard, you can't really refinish engineered flooring (and the veneer is generally quite thin, so there's little to sand down).

I decided either it's real, old-fashioned, hardwood floors (without a prefinish) or I go with laminate. I don't see the old fashioned hardwood floors increasing the value of my house enough to justify the cost (even if I installed them, which would be a lot of work & cost for nails & nail gun), so I went with laminate. It increases the value over the carpet that was there before.

Last edited by lazzlazz; 12-16-2013 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:27 AM   #11
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Thanks so much! You've provided so much good information to pass along to my daughter. Many thanks to everyone who's helped this worried Mom!
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:54 AM   #12
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We have laminate flooring in our living room and it will be coming us as soon as we can afford to. This floor was destroyed by one little Chihuahua, not just a little swelling, it is ruined. Once it swells the top hpl will come off and it will keep swelling and not just look bad but look horrible. Over a period of time every joint will swell. Cheaper isn't cheap sometimes and this is one of them.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:06 AM   #13
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Thanks so much! You've provided so much good information to pass along to my daughter. Many thanks to everyone who's helped this worried Mom!
One thing with laminates is you can't let liquids sit on them. You need to get them dry ASAP. Many manufacturers don't even recommend mopping them - if you do, you should get the mop as dry as possible so the floor dries quickly. I have laminate in my kitchen that I think is original to the house so 14 years old (I've been here a little over 3 years). It's still fine - no sign of water issues, and I do wash it with damp cloths but keep the water to a minimum.

When installing, you want to make sure you get the edges very tight so less water can get between the pieces. I don't think I'd opt for laminate with beveled edges, because that allows water to pool (as well as simply being a place for dirt to collect). The nice thing about laminate is if you can do some basic things like run a saw, and work carefully, you can install it yourself, which helps keep cost way down. Measure twice, cut once is important advice.

What can make laminate more tricky to install is if you have a lot of complicated cuts and especially, cuts which cannot be hidden by moldings. In this case, you have to invest in a high tooth count blade & a decent mitre or table saw (a circular saw won't cut straight enough). I'd suggest wearing a good mask when cutting so you're not inhaling the dust. The more cuts you have, the trickier it can get. A large rectangular room is actually easier than a smaller room where you have more complicated cuts.

A person who isn't really sure of their skills could always buy one box & start by trying to put flooring in a closet. That will actually be relatively challenging, given the small space! The most important thing is to take your time and try to do it well (although molding can hide chips & stuff that happens when cutting!). If you can't handle doing the closet, forget about the entire room!

Last edited by lazzlazz; 12-17-2013 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:00 PM   #14
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Well, the verdict is in - she's going with the engineered wood floor. As far as how long it will last, we'll never actually find out because she'll only be able to stay in that location for 3 years - 4 tops; her husband is in the military and they've been moving every 1 to 2 years. They decided to buy rather than rent this time because this is a long time to be stationed at one location compared to their usual moves.
This has been a very interesting discussion all!
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Old 12-19-2013, 08:41 PM   #15
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She made the right choice.

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