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Old 10-17-2012, 01:18 PM   #1
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Looking for Best Wood-like flooring


We are looking to replace the outdated vinyl and carpet in the kitchen and living room and are looking for the most cost effective option out there. At first, someone said that the "wood" vinyl is a great option but now everyone is saying that laminate is the best. Also, for a brand-new DIY person, is laminate installation doable or should I pay the $2 a square foor for installation.

Lastly, what is the best place to get flooring? Our options are Lowe's, Home Depot and Lumber Liquidators but LL is about an hour away so there is the cost of moving the furniture here.

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Old 10-18-2012, 08:20 AM   #2
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Looking for Best Wood-like flooring


In my experience, beware of laminate. Basically, laminate is just a durable "picture" of the wood surface, over compressed particle board.

It is very easy to damage laminate with even a little water exposure. The edges swell and lift and look nasty.

I have heard of waterproof laminate, but I've never seen it in action. Whether it would permanently avoid the edge swelling issue, I don't know.

I've seen some very good looking sheet vinyl.

My 2c

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Old 10-18-2012, 09:52 AM   #3
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Looking for Best Wood-like flooring


Engineered flooring.
Stable, not plastic looking like laminite, it's real wood on the surface, thicker ones can be refinished, long lasting finish. As easy to install as laminite. Can be nailed, glued down or installed as a floating floor.
It will add real value to the home unlike laiminite.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:41 AM   #4
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You have more options than that. Look at online suppliers, too, like iFloor and BuildDirect, which will send you free samples.

Look at lots of samples. There is a big quality difference between products! I've seen engineered hardwood with half-millimeter veneer that weren't much better than laminate and ones with 4 millimeter wear layers that could be refinished like any solid hardwood floor.

You pay for it, though. Really good engineered flooring is, if anything, more expensive than solid hardwood (and better, in some respects).

Only you know your budget, home layout, and the use your home gets. For entry ways and kitchens, I prefer tile since it will take water and street grit with aplumb.

For someone who is frugal and lacks tool confidence, I would consider a click-lock engineered wood floor in the living room (BR-111 might be out of your price range, but that sort-of thing). I'm not a fan of any wood or fiberboard product in a kitchen. For a new kitchen floor you may need to remove your base cabinets and reinstall them on top of the floor - otherwise you can lock your dishwasher into place!

I've always found that the tool-less, "DIY" products are more difficult to install than the real thing. Any time you save in prep you lose trying to finagle cheap boards to click into place (they never click), or fight sticky panels (they stick better to things they aren't supposed to stick to).

I have laminate in my dining room (was carpet - that doesn't mix with kids). It has held up well, but is instantly recognizable as laminate. I put down vinyl plank in my son's room. It was as expensive as hardwood, but he needs a water resistant floor. Both were a PITA to install compared to porcelain tile over Ditra. I'm about to embark on installing 1000 sq ft of hardwood but I'm willing to bet it will be less swear-inducing than the cheaper stuff.

My bottom line advice: spend that $2 per sq ft on better materials and DIY. No one cares about your house as much as you do.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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Looking for Best Wood-like flooring


I notice Oak Parquet flooring is still or again available. You might consider researching that to see if it is something that would work for you. My daughter and son in-law found this in their pre-owned home when they were considering new carpet. These pics were after we pulled it, drum sanded, detail sanded with a random orbit laid back down and applied 3 coats of poly. It makes a very durable floor.

As imautoparts suggests, there is some real nice sheet vinyl available and for easy keeping it's tuff to beat. We have some in our house that's difficult to tell from tile.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:38 PM   #6
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I am not a fan of laminate anywhere but especially in the kitchen I would also not recommend engineered for the kitchen. I would look at vinyl, linoleum, or tile just to name a few. You don't say where you are but if you have a H/D and Lowe's and LL I'm pretty sure there will be other flooring stores and showrooms in your area. And if you go with wood in the other area don't overlook bamboo.
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:23 PM   #7
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I agree with tile in kitchens, entryways, laundry rooms and bathrooms. But the OP is a new DIYer. Tile, especially using something like Ditra underlayment, is very easy but one would need to remove the base cabinets.

I mean, that's what I would do but I know it sounds just awful to someone who hasn't done it before.
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zakany View Post
I agree with tile in kitchens, entryways, laundry rooms and bathrooms. But the OP is a new DIYer. Tile, especially using something like Ditra underlayment, is very easy but one would need to remove the base cabinets.

I mean, that's what I would do but I know it sounds just awful to someone who hasn't done it before.
I was just saying that there are quite a few other options he might want to explore because wood or laminate is not usually good in wet areas like you said.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:11 AM   #9
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Looking for Best Wood-like flooring


I would definitely visit a real, not chain or box store, flooring store or department to fully explore all your options.

Noting the moisture issues, I still would not hesitate to put nice, properly finished wood or bamboo floor in a kitchen. Nailed down or engineered.

Wood patterned tile strips look nice and are great in a kitchen but a little colder under foot. They are noisier.

I never used laminate but once, for my elderly Godparents and the real Pergo looked alright I guess. They were pretty easy on the flooring though. Even on the Pergo, the edges started lifting after a few years.

Sheet vinyl is sort of off the radar but carefully chosen nice stuff is still a great choice and I would pick it over laminate in a heartbeat for a kitchen.

Beware the box stores and especially LL getting rid of weird lengths, samples and seconds of stuff.

Whatever you buy for a kitchen, get a few extra sf for repairs.

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