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Old 02-20-2012, 09:16 PM   #1
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Which flooring material??


We live in montana in a fairly dry climate. We just bought our house last fall and are workin on plans to replace the carpet. We want the wood look for coziness, possibly even with the option of in floor heat. We have a budget of around $2/square foot, for the main flooring material. I know that's low, I've been bargain shopping all my life and im willing to shop clearances etc... We can't decide between a "wood look" tile planks, "wood look" laminate planks, or traditional hardwood. I would love to keep the flooring continuous throughout our 1200 sq ft upper level, which includes a kitchen and a bathroom. In-floor heating is something we want to look into, as we really need to replace our electric heating beast from the 80's. Neither of us have installed flooring before, but we are ambitiously hoping to do it ourselves. essentially what I'm hoping to get from this forum, is help deciding on our main material and more information on in-floor heating and what materials it functions with. Also, we have two dogs, 70-80 lbs each, and our active lifestyle makes it less than convenient to keep their nails highly manicured... Any help is HIGHLY appreciated, thanks!!

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Old 02-20-2012, 09:47 PM   #2
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:07 PM   #3
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right off ill say, at 2 bucks a sq. my best advice is to waite and build funds to get a better range. dont skimp on your flooring esp. if you want it heated. tile is your better option with price, install, and less trouble with useing heated floors. good luck. and remember, it costs a whole lot more to have a bad floor removed and a new floor installed on a bad install job.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:57 PM   #4
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Which flooring material??


At $2 a square foot, save your money until you can afford something reasonable. Floors are not something to skimp on.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:58 PM   #5
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Did I read that correctly? Two bucks a sq. ft. for the tiles or wood?

Your options might be limited to some cheap Chinese laminate.

I'm assuming this 1200 ft. is over a suspended wooden subfloor. So, with tile you'd also need a concrete backer, (if the subfloor is up to par as is). I don't know of a porcelain tile that looks like wood planks of a decent quality that can be purchased for less than $4-5 a ft. Add the backer and misc to install and the cost should be in the $6-7 range. This does not include all the minor related items you'll need such as new moldings etc. Plus warming mats.......

As for the in-floor tile warming mats or wire; People keep calling this system "heat" or "heating". It is not heat. All it will do is warm the tiles, it is not going to heat the room.

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Old 02-21-2012, 12:29 PM   #6
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I got 1100 sq ft of odd lot flooring from Lumber Liquidators for 2.40 a sq ft. The cut quality of the wood is low. There are a lot of shorts. There are a lot of damaged pieces. There are some warped pieces. I had about a 10% waste factor. It took a LOT more time and thinking to find a layout that best uses what we had. I did the demo and install. Other costs include renting the nail gun, buying the nails, rending the sander, buying the stain/poly, buying new trim, buying new shoe... even at 2.40 a sq ft, the whole project still came in at close to 4k. But for 3/4" exotic wood floors that look amazing, it was worth the extra work for me.

If you add in heated floors, though.... I've done that job, too. I would not do it with wood unless it was engineered wood advertised to handle those conditions ($$$). I don't think laminate glue would hold up well to the heat, either. Tile is the better option there, hands down. Installing a radiant floor takes a lot of learning to do it right. Read read read. The labor is not overly difficult once you know exactly what you are doing. The material costs are very reasonable; I did my 700 sq ft kitchen/dining radiant system for about 1000 in materials, but I do have a boiler already.

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Old 02-21-2012, 12:46 PM   #7
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You can get laminate for less then 2 bucks a sqr and will look nice if correctly installed padding/ vapor barrier needs to be in the cost though. Although doesn't belong in the bathroom.
You can put allure planks in the bathroom if you go that road more expensive then laminate.

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Old 02-21-2012, 10:50 PM   #8
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Wonderful thanks for all the words of wisdom! Lumber liquidators was what I had in mind, but I may be second guessing that now... Appreciate everyones more experienced words, looks like maybe our one year planning/budgeting stage just turned into two :-). Thanks again!!
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by HGTV Obsessed View Post
Wonderful thanks for all the words of wisdom! Lumber liquidators was what I had in mind, but I may be second guessing that now... Appreciate everyones more experienced words, looks like maybe our one year planning/budgeting stage just turned into two :-). Thanks again!!
Mine was an "odd lot", which means the quality control was too low on it for them to sell at regular prices. If you buy their normal every-day stuff, your problems will be less. I would still do my homework.. not many people I know have a lot of love for LL. More like a begrudging tolerance. Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:56 AM   #10
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Real bamboo flooring works well with in floor warming and heating but the idea of pay $2sf for anything decent is really scary.

One possible option though? Some of the flooring mills seem to gamble and load trucks with flooring in an effort to bypass the middle people. Starting about this time of year, they will be posting ads (at least here) in places like Craig's List. I took a chance and ordered 3,500sf for one home with the material and it was beautiful and came nicely sorted and ready to nail down. Obviously I didn't let my client pay for it until it arrived, was unloaded and the flooring contractor inspected it.

Note that it was unfinished though so had to be stained and polyurethaned. If going with raw wood and seeking a whole house look you would want to lay the entire floor and finish it at the same time if you could. Came to more than $2sf.

I've found some amazing tile deals at Habitat for Humanity ReStore places. If you find one near a large shopping mall you may really be in luck. They are not going to have the total square footage you need though. And as mentioned, you have all the other materials to factor in also.

I know the prior poster was perhaps joking? If the floors are in decent shape, or fixable with a light sanding? Painting them might be an option to consider to get you by until you can afford the flooring you want. I hate to see you compromise on box store or liquidation crap.

Painted floors got a rather cheesy reputation when people started doing to many crazy, hippy dippy or 70s' things with them I guess. When colors and patterns are thought out and combined with area rugs, they can be quite nice. The urethane strengthened floor paints come in all colors imaginable and will hold up as well as a clear poly surface. The library should have some nice books on contemporary painted floors that might inspire you.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:22 PM   #11
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Which flooring material??


I remember looking into this same thing. We have one 80 lb dog who doesn't aLways have short nails is scratching our laminate flooring. We checked at our kcal home depot and an employee suggested a type of wood- looking flooring, but I can't recall the name. Anyone know of this? Probably not within 2/ sq ft.
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by nathan.hawk View Post
I remember looking into this same thing. We have one 80 lb dog who doesn't aLways have short nails is scratching our laminate flooring. We checked at our kcal home depot and an employee suggested a type of wood- looking flooring, but I can't recall the name. Anyone know of this? Probably not within 2/ sq ft.
There is nice wood looking flooring made of ceramic out there. You are not going to find and be able to put it down for $2/square though.

I did used to rescue antique wood flooring and usually got it for free. You have to learn to pull it up just opposite of how it was nailed. Most beautiful find? Antique cherry. Milled in 1864 and never sanded. I was going to nail it down in a kitchen. It just needed a light pass through a planer and sanding once nailed. Owner ran out of money. Flooring I rescued and stored looked old. It got dumpstered. I almost cried. Any old ranch houses in Montana with dumpsters outside?

Steel can make a gorgeous looking floor surface. I put an engineered steel tile floor in a kitchen once with dogs parading in and out. Clients still love it even though they thought I was nuts pushing them towards the idea. Zilch maintenance. Easy to clean. Beyond pretty with the appliances and kitchen counters.

If you really have to pull this together for $2, you have to be creative. I have to be honest. Without some scrounging, anything coming in at $2 is going to cost you much more when it fails.

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