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Old 05-26-2012, 05:55 PM   #1
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


I'm moving into a new house. It's my first home purchase and I've bought a cosmetic fixer. I currently own a hammer and a small cute tool box that came with a set of screwdrivers. I plan to learn home improvement by doing but I know I'm going to have to have A LOT of the work done by contractors.

So here's my first question for this forum: The house is built on a concrete slab and currently has ancient threadbare carpets installed over some spongy looking yucky pretend wood which lays between the carpeting and the slab. I want to replace the carpet with wood floors.

The question is: should I pay the extra to have subfloors put in and solid hardwood, which seems like the best choice in terms of longevity and quality, or should I have engineered wood floors put in on the slab?

I have three dogs. Short of tiling the entire house, solid hardwood, something durable like maple, seems like the best bet.

But I'll have to have all of the doors reframed, won't I? And will I also have to have the appliances in the bathrooms and kitchen moved, so those floors can be leveled with the wood floors? Even if I can afford all this, will it make my ceilings awkwardly low?

Is this work beyond a beginner's carpentry skills?

Any expert opinions or words of wisdom would be much appreciated.

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Old 05-26-2012, 07:06 PM   #2
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


You can not just lay down plywood as a subfloor over a slab floor. It will rot.
But with a proper vaper barrier engineered flooring can be layed as a floating floor by gluing the seams.

You do not reframe the doors, the jambs will need to be cut while there in place with a jamb saw, ossilating saw, or even a hand saw. And the doors can be removed and shortened if needed.

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Old 05-27-2012, 08:56 AM   #3
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


I forgot to mention that I live in Southern California. It seems that people out here have been putting in subfloors (with 'floater' boards? under the plywood). But it sounds like a huge project, expensive and difficult. I just worry about the quality of engineered floors.

On the other hand, home depot has amazing sales on engineered, hand scraped, maple by the crate. This is something I could do myself, isn't it?
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:09 AM   #4
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


The only issues I've seen with engineered flooring is when someone thinks they can buy some thin $1.00 a sq. ft. junk or it was installed wrong.

You can not just go to the store, buy it and bring it home and lay it the same day. It has to sit in the room a few days to adjust to the temp. and humity in the room before installing.
It also has to have a gap around the outside edges. No gap and it can not expand and will buckel.
It almost as easy to install as a laiminte floor.
It will be more stable and water resitant then real wood and the finish should last longer then a site sanded and finish floor.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:27 AM   #5
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
The only issues I've seen with engineered flooring is when someone thinks they can buy some thin $1.00 a sq. ft. junk or it was installed wrong.

You can not just go to the store, buy it and bring it home and lay it the same day. It has to sit in the room a few days to adjust to the temp. and humity in the room before installing.
It also has to have a gap around the outside edges. No gap and it can not expand and will buckel.
It almost as easy to install as a laiminte floor.
It will be more stable and water resitant then real wood and the finish should last longer then a site sanded and finish floor.

Joe, where do you buy 1.00sq ft engineered flooring?
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:22 PM   #6
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


Which brings me to the quality issue. I've seen 1/2 inch handscraped maple at Home Depot for under $4 a sq ft. It looks good to me, but what do I know? How do you check this sort of thing? I've tried googling different manufacturers online but the reviews are all over the place on nearly every brand.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:15 AM   #7
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


I am a wood flooring contractor and I have some real strong opinions on engineered flooring. Most of it is junk. It will be 3-5 layers thick with a rotary peeled veneer glued on top. Most of this stuff is fairly expensive in my opinion, for what you get. Once the finish wears off, it cannot be refinished and will need to be removed and replaced. This is a very expensive process, especialy if it is glued down. Now...there is a product that is made by Owens that is called plankfloor. It has a 9 layer baltic birch base with a sawn layer of wood on top. The wear layer is the same as on traditional 3/4 solid wood. That means it can be sanded as many times as a solid floor. This product does come with a higher price tag but when the time comes to refinish, you are already money ahead. They offer it in many different species, widths, prefinished, unfinished, etc. Now to answer your question. You can glue it to the concrete, as long as it is relatively flat and ther relative humidity of the slab is not too high. You might have to do a poured leveler to get it flat. There are also moisture barriers that will work with most any level of moisture in the slab. I would leave this one to a professional, at least the part of getting it ready to lay the wood.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:59 AM   #8
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


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Originally Posted by amh56 View Post
I have three dogs. Short of tiling the entire house, solid hardwood, something durable like maple, seems like the best bet.
speaking from experience, if you have the choice of solid hardwood vs engineered floor, you dont want engineered floor if you have dogs. you will end up having scratches galore in it and it looking like crap afterabout a year. get the solid this way you can have it refinished, in 5 or so years or when you go to resell the house, to look good.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:32 PM   #9
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


You might take a look at this link,they will send a sample kit for you to examine,sounds like it might be a solution,at least until you find out how much it cost's,good luck.


http://www.petfriendlyflooring.us/Pa...8/Default.aspx
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:33 PM   #10
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subfloor and solid hardwood or engineered flooring? help me decide.


So I looked into the Owen's brand plank floors and was very impressed. I shot the info around to my diy friends who have dogs and got a slew of thumbs ups. AND I found a site online where I can buy Owen's prefinished Hickory for a sane amount of money. Especially if I install it myself.

I'll see what's what when I pull up the carpet. May have to hire a pro for the prep work.

Thanks so much everyone for your excellent advice!

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