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Old 08-26-2014, 04:12 PM   #1
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Quick Step Laminate in a Rental (and a few other questions)


Hello all,

I'm redoing the floors in my rental apartment (first time landlord and first time floor install). The bedrooms will be done in carpet, but I'd like to add a nice touch by doing the livingroom/hallway in laminate (no laminate in the kitchen or bath). I'm looking for a flooring that is low cost, durable, somewhat aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly easy to install. I've considered VCT but just can't stand the look. So a few questions:

1. Have any of you ever used the Quick Step line of laminate? I've read great things about the uniloc system making installation a breeze but haven't found many reviews on durability. All my local dealers carry this product, which makes me wonder why there is a lack of online reviews. While I'm quite handy, this will be my first install. And time is money when it comes to vacancy. I'm currently between the "home sound" line and the "qs-700" line. Both are their lower end 7mm products with essentially the same finish Which brings me to my next question.

2. The "home sound" planks have an attached pad. Since this will be going on an above grade plywood subfloor (with full basement below) will I be good without an underlay? The qs700 is a bit cheaper, but would require laying underlay (not a huge deal, just added time). The rep at one flooring dealer stated no underlay is necessary and attached pad is the way to go. At another dealer I was told that because the attached pad does not go underneath the click system, it is better to go padless and install an underlay (i.e. go with the qs700 instead). I can get the no-pad for $1.60/sqft and the padded for $2/sqft in case that makes any difference.

3. I currently have baseboard and carpet. I'd like to carefully take off the baseboard, repaint, lay the floating floor, and reinstall the baseboard. This will save the time/money of cutting/purchasing quarter round and make painting a bit easier. Is this an acceptable method (assuming i maintain my spacing for expansion/contraction of the floor)?

4. On a similar note, I plan on using HD commercial carpet tiles in the bedroom. Any horrifying reasons why I shouldn't? At $1 a sqft and super easy installation, it seems like a win-win. Also, when something stains the carpet tiles I can easily just replace one instead of the whole carpet. The user submitted photos on the Home Depot don't look half bad either.

5. On the note of Home Depot, does the price difference ($1.60 vs $0.68) between the QS-700 and the HD SuperCheapo Laminate justify going with the cheaper stuff? I guess I'm curious if I'm investing in a product that is actually going to make a difference.

Thanks for any advice in advance. If you couldn't tell - I am trying to target upper/middleclass tenants (young working couples). I'd like to price my unit on par with the rest of the neighborhood, but use upgraded features (new paint and floors) to select a tenant that will appreciate and take care of the place. Thanks so much!
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:34 PM   #2
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Too much to read and follow at one time. I'll wait for others to narrow things down to a manageable content.
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:03 AM   #3
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You want to remove baseboards (tons of time and effort and likely wall damage as well) to save on $50 worth of quarter round? Total waste of effort. Buy the quarter round.

Price the rolls of padding, usually the attached pad stuff ends up being cheaper.

I'd avoid carpet in a rental. One or two "mystery spills" and you'll have stench and stains and have to pull it up. Not worth the hassle in my opinion.
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Too much to read and follow at one time. I'll wait for others to narrow things down to a manageable content.
Sorry for the wall of text. Let's start with the laminate - have you ever seen/heard/worked with quick step? Specifically some of their less expensive products? Thanks.
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnp13 View Post
You want to remove baseboards (tons of time and effort and likely wall damage as well) to save on $50 worth of quarter round? Total waste of effort. Buy the quarter round.

Price the rolls of padding, usually the attached pad stuff ends up being cheaper.

I'd avoid carpet in a rental. One or two "mystery spills" and you'll have stench and stains and have to pull it up. Not worth the hassle in my opinion.
Thanks for the input! Considering I'm going to have to tape and repaint the baseboards, I think I'll do a test to see how difficult removal would be. Personally I don't like the look of quarter round. When I factor in the fact that I won't have to worry about taping when repainting (i.e. paint the walls with the baseboard removed), I still think it may be worth it. These are fairly large rooms (~800 sqft of flooring). In addition I'm going to have laminate to carpet transitions. Wouldn't quarter round on half the room look a bit odd?

I agree with you on the carpet - which is why I'm going to be using carpet tiles. If one area gets stained, remove and replace just one tile. The tiles I plan on using are a random assortment that follow the same color pallet (i.e. a bunch of grays/blues/blacks) so I won't have to worry about perfectly matching tiles.
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:39 PM   #6
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If you are a DIY rookie I bet you will do damage to the wall when removing baseboards. Not every nail in the baseboard hits a stud and when you go to pull them off a little bit of wall will want to come along. The result is a lot of holes to repair. You "don't like the look" of quarter round, but this is a rental. Work smart, not hard.

I don't like the laminate with the integral pad. When you cut it the pad creates a fine sand of green fuzz that goes everywhere. I installed some in a rental and I did all the cuts in the garage. I had a huge pile of green fuzz everywhere when I was done. If you're cutting in the room you're installing in you'll have to constantly vacuum or wipe up the fuzz so it doesn't get under your work.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:55 AM   #7
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Cost wise, laminate with attached pad is usually cheaper than the cost of the laminate and a separate roll of padding. When I was looking into it, I was told to cut the pad with a blade, peel it back a bit and then cut the laminate with the saw. No fuzz problem, or pad tearing.

Good luck with the baseboard removal. Personally, having removed hundreds of linear feet of moulding (which is nothing compared to the average pro, I'm just a home owner) removing the trim without major damage to the trim and wall is not nearly as simple as it sounds. Nails are in different angles, wall board gets torn, the wood cracks or ends up warping. It's a major PITA. Personally, I said forget it and stopped being careful. When you're only working on preserving one - in my case it was the moulding and not the wall - it's much easier. But I hope you have better luck!
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