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Wood Floor Alternative, Higher End Home

J U
5 years ago

We are in the pre-build process of a new 3500 square foot home. It will be a higher end finish. Our concern is the durability of wood floors however we love the look of wood. We have an open floorplan so we would like the wood look in our kitchen as well.
We have been considering wood like ceramic tile but we're not sold on it.
I stopped by a showroom today and the rep showed by vinyl planks. Are people doing this in higher end homes? I'm finding a lot of mixed reviews on this concept and brands.

Comments (62)

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    5 years ago

    1600s and 1700s colonial houses with wide-plank PINE (as in soft) flooring holds up well, and it easily sanded and refinished when desired. I've never heard anyone saying these floors look ugly and should be replaced with wood-grained vinyl planks. Our forefathers and mothers are rolling over in the resting places...!

  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    5 years ago

    And oak floors hold up as well, if they're finished on-site. It will be at least 30-40 years before you have to think about refinishing them.

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  • veggiegardnr
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Another vote for site-finished hardwood. We have about 2500 sq ft of site-finished hardwood floors. They are everywhere, except the bathrooms (they are in the master bathroom, but not in the little room with the toilet) and the laundry room. We've had them finished for about 8 months now and, so far, we're very pleased with how they are performing/wearing.

    They are finished with a hardwax oil. I thought I'd share my experience with this newer type of finish, so far...

    There are multiple hardwax oil brands available. Some have better reviews than others. We ended up going with Pallmann's Magic Oil 2K, applied over a stain. We almost picked a product called Rubio Monicoat (we would have used one of their precolors underneath their hardwax oil). In the end, we went with the combination we thought provided the best color with our wood.

    Hardwax oils (at least the ones I mentioned above) are spot-repairable. Using a stain or dye underneath them (which you can only do with certain brands) makes spot repairs more difficult. We would have preferred to not use a stain, but we just could not achieve a color that we liked, with the wood we picked, without resorting to a stain. This was due to our choice of wood--hickory. It's very contrasty and yellowish without a stain or dye and that was not the look we wanted. So, our floors are not going to be as easy to spot-repair as they would have been if we had not had to use a stain.

    If I had it to do over again, I would probably have picked white oak and just used a hardwax oil (without a stain or dye underneath). Hindsight is always 20/20. :) It's best, we've learned, to pick a wood where you like the natural color vs picking something where you're trying to change the color or decrease the natural contrast in the wood. There are many colored hardwax oils (many choices especially with Rubio Monocoat), but the intensity of color you can achieve with them, alone, is not as great as if you use a dye or stain underneath (and this is something you cannot do with all brands of hardwax oil). So, if you pick a wood where you want to decrease contrast or change the natural color a lot, you end up having to use a stain or dye underneath. But, fortunately, things seem to have turned out well for us, despite the fact that we ended up having to stain our floors.

    We are very happy with how our floors are wearing so far. We always wear shoes in the house and I'll admit that I am even guilty of walking on the floors in high heels, several times, which has not left a mark, so far. It really isn't a good idea to do this on hardwood, though, at least not if you want to avoid the possibility of dents... We also have cats. How many? :) Lol, more than you can count on one hand, but not so many that you need two whole hands. Anyway, there are a few tiny scratches from the cats' nails where they have been running/sliding/chasing around like crazy. :) You have to get down on your hands and knees to see them. It's not the hardwax oil finish that's scratched, it's more that the wood is compressed a bit. I'm sure more will accumulate over time, but, it doesn't bother me. I don't plan to make it a habit of getting on my hands and knees to look, anyway. :) There have been no scratches or dings that have gone through the finish and stain, so we have not needed to do any spot repairs. We have put felt on the bottom of the chair legs, etc. We do use mats underneath rolling chairs. We have walk off rugs at the exterior doors.

    We don't baby the floors, but we do try to be a somewhat reasonable with them and keep them cleaned and don't knowingly let spills sit (we use the recommended cleaner to clean any spills when they happen and I "damp mop" everywhere, with the recommended cleaner, about every 2 weeks). We dust mop a fair amount (every other day) to keep them clean. I really like having clean floors. I'd dust mop daily, if I had time. I think I am going to get Roombas, to vaccum them daily.

    The finish is pretty matte. I am actually surprised by how much I like it. I thought I'd want something more shiny because that's what I was used to seeing. But, I am surprised to find that I REALLY like the matte look of my floors. The hardwax oils mostly provide matte finishes. I was afraid a matte finish would look unfinished (it doesn't) or show smudges (it doesn't) or streaks (it doesn't)

    We need to mop on a refresher every 4-6 months. We've done this once so far, and it was very easy. Every few years, we need to apply more hardwax oil with a buffer. We can do this ourselves.

    We had a really hard time finding someone who was willing to do a hardwax oil finish for us (plus, they had to be licensed, trustworthy, etc). I won't go through all the details, but was nearly impossible, in our area. Most floor people refused, saying they wouldn't do it and would only do water or oil based polyurethane. A few tried to convince us we'd be sorry (we are not sorry) if we didn't use polyurethane. I think some are afraid they will lose money on future rescreening/refinishing (periodic rescreening is not required by hardwax oils and, supposedly, if you maintain them properly, hardwax oil finished floors might never need refinishing). I think that some are just not familiar with hardwax oils and don't want to bother learning something new.

    Anyway, we are very pleased with how the floors are holding up (they basically look like new, except for the two places with cat nail scratches that I can only see on my hands and knees) and I am very happy with the ease of maintenance. We'd definitely use a hardwax oil finish again on any future floor. After seeing our floors and how well they are doing for us, my sister is planning solid, site finished, oak floors with a hardwax oil finish for her house.

    Oh, I almost forgot to say that the hardwax oil we used is very low in VOCs and it is also very quick to dry. The floors were completely dry and ready for use (furniture, rugs, etc.) in twelve hours after the hardwax oil was applied. There was also very little odor while the product was wet and zero odor after 12 hours.

  • Love stone homes
    5 years ago

    Hi Virgil....we cut pine trees from our wood lot, had them milled and installed. One week later we were installing the fridge...guess what happened. Yup pine floors didnt like heavy appliances rolled on top of them...that was 20 yrs ago..the fridge mark still there, gives us some laughter, something to about and adds character. :)

  • worthy
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The buyers of a custom home I built were quite upset with their red oak floors that had developed mysterious markings a week after they moved in. They insisted the flooring installer inspect and rectify. He came and tracked the markings like a big game hunter following spoor, quickly concluding they were the indentations of spike heels, mostly near the kitchen counters with occasional forays to other rooms. The owners had hosted an "open house" on their move-in. And yours truly instantly remembered their very hot and tiny neighbour in her Christian Laboutins.

    worthy home

    Consider where your hardwood of choice falls on the Janka hardness scale.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    5 years ago

    Life's memories are often written on the floors...you don't want memories, make your floors concrete! :-)

  • Love stone homes
    5 years ago

    @worthy said...consider where your hardwood of choice falls on the Janka hardness...". We had hickory wide plank in our Boise home...high heels worn by our renter on a daily basis made these very hard floors look like moon craters...): I guess floors don't like heels either

  • Stinky Muffin
    5 years ago

    "Hi Virgil....we cut pine trees from our wood lot, had them milled and installed. One week later we were installing the fridge...guess what happened. Yup pine floors didnt like heavy appliances rolled on top of them...that was 20 yrs ago..the fridge mark still there, gives us some laughter, something to about and adds character. :)"

    The flooring Virgil references is known as old growth heart pine, and is far different than your soft new growth yellow pine floors.

    http://maconhardwood.com/technical-expertise/types-of-flooring/yellow-pine-vs-heart-pine-vs-old-growth-heart-pine/


  • Love stone homes
    5 years ago

    Hi stinky muffin...thanks for the education. DH just told me that some of the trees we cut were indeed 200 yrs old, (little did I know, or I would have said something...): There are still some very very old pines on the property. Remember, we are up in Canada...

  • veggiegardnr
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Yes, Worthy is absolutely right. :) I think I've only gotten away with my high-heels on my floors so far because they are hickory and I've never worn spike heels. My high heels are not spikey at all. I wouldn't recommend anyone trying it out on their wood floors and I really should stop doing it on mine (actually, I should just get rid of the shoes, they're no good for my feet!). Now that someone mentioned craters in hickory caused by high heels, well, I think I will stop taking chances! Wood compresses. The softer the wood, the easier this happens. Some people like a floor that will develop a distressed patina, so softer floors are good for them (soft floors plus high heels would lead to a distressed patina rapidly :)).

    If you choose wood, you need to pick your wood carefully. There are many things to consider...hardness, protosensitivity, source of the wood (there are good and bad places to get it), your climate/humidity (some hardwoods just do not do well in certain climates because they expand/contract a lot with with changes in season/humidity), color, ease of staining (some hardwoods are difficult to stain evenly or just do not take stain up well), etc. Do not pick a wood floor until you see a large sample! Small samples are often not representative of the whole! This is why we ended up needing to stain our floor.

    Oh, LOL, we also live in the land of concrete slab foundations. We had to put down a layer of plastic, then 3/4" plywood, then heavy roofing felt before we put down the hardwood floors downstairs. It's not normal for our area (most everyone uses prefinished/engineered hardwood around here), but it's what we wanted. So, it's what we did! :-) I'm SO glad we did it!

    I think that every type of flooring has its strengths and weaknesses. I don't think there's any floor that will not suffer some degree of damage over time, just through normal use. Some types of flooring gain character through normal wear/use. Some can be repaired if/when damage occurs. Other types of floors are not repairable and just look increasingly worn/damaged over time. Yet, many non-repairable floors can look great for long periods of time.

    Don't forget, though, that the same luxury vinyl tiles, tiles, prefinished/engineered hardwoods, carpets, etc. bought today will probably not be available to purchase in a few years (if you need more flooring to repair damage). This happened to us at our last house. We had some water damage. We'd bought a fair amount of extra flooring, but it wasn't enough.

    Also, prefinished hardwood floors...well, from what we were told, they are often not so durable or so easy to refinish as some might claim. I also didn't want grooves (I think they trap dirt, just my opinion). So, it was site-finished solid hardwood for us.

    I think you should put in a floor that you like and that you think will serve you well. I wouldn't really care about what anyone else would like, unless you're planning to move in the near future. Having said that, I do think that site-finished hardwood floors are beautiful, timeless and they can be a pretty durable surface (depending on species and finish). Site-finished can also be refinished, if needed, or repaired. As others have said, there are wood floors being used today that are hundreds of years old. I think I love my hardwood floors a little more every day. I wish they were a slightly different color (a little darker; picking a stain color is hard :)), but, that's my only complaint and I could change that if I really wanted to.

  • Stan B
    5 years ago

    Just curious, what is a typical cost per square foot of a site finished wood floor in a high cost of living suburb? Cost per square foot of material for let's say a red or white oak floor? Installation cost?

  • worthy
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Sadly, were I to splurge on the floorboards below, not one in a thousand homebuyers would appreciate the value. "Nice that you're going green and recycling," would be the faint praise.

    Reclaimed oak flooring, starting at £90 (US$111.60) sq. meter (10.76 sq. ft.) and up in the UK.

    Incidentally, in the UK, reclaimed wood flooring from as early as the 14th Century can be found. Somehow, I don't think our descendants will be salvaging laminate in the year 2717!

  • veggiegardnr
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I kind of lost track of our flooring costs. I do remember our estimates for finishing (sanding, staining, finishing, not including installation) ranged from about $5.25-$7.30/sq ft. I don't exactly remember the quotes for installation. The wood (solid 3/4" hickory, select and better, 5" wide planks in lengths from 1.5'-14', average about 6' in length, I think) was about $4-5 sq ft., I think. There were additional costs for the plastic, plywood and roofing felt that went under the hardwood. Overall, I would estimate it would cost of about $14-15/sq ft. for the materials, installation and sanding/finishing. I'm not sure about the cost of oak. If I were going to do oak, I'd be tempted to get the quarter and rift sawn white oak.

    Having said that, I'll say that my sister's last house had solid 3/4" red oak from lumber liquidators. I think the boards were 2.25" wide? They put it down themselves and hired someone to finish it just with oil-based polyurethane. The board lengths were not very long, but before I did a whole bunch of research on hardwood floors, I didn't even think about getting anything different because I didn't really realize there were a lot of options. This is because the vast, VAST, majority of site-finished hardwood floors around here, even in many high end homes, are red or white oak, in that width and those lengths are typical. I don't know how much my sister's floor cost, but it was probably a lot less than $15/sq ft. They are skilled diy people, though.

    She bought another house and they are going to put in the same floor they had before. Except, they are planning to finish it with Rubio Monocoat this time, in a fairly dark color. The oil-based polyurethane was quite yellow on their last floor and they weren't overly fond of it being so yellow. That's also pretty typical for this area, though. Maybe they will get longer boards this time? They could really afford most any floor they want, but this is what they like and are used to, what's typical in our area, and what they think will go nicely in their house. I'm sure they'll put it in themselves because they enjoy doing that. We're in CA.

    I think that most people do very little research before getting a hardwood floor. They just go with what the installer recommends and what's typical for the area. There's nothing wrong with that, I think. Lol, no one has ever recognized our floor as hickory. Most everyone thinks it is oak. One person thought it was pine, before it was stained. :) No one ever says anything about the long planks, or the 5" width. They don't recognize the care that went into the installation, the fact that the joints are beautifully staggered or any of the other things we see, after spending a long, long, time learning about wood floors before getting ours. :-) It's like what Worthy was saying about that reclaimed floor. The vast majority of people just see a wood floor.

    Worthy, I would totally appreciate that floor in my house!! It has grooves between the boards, which I'm not overly fond of because of the dirt-catching issue I think grooves have, but I would not mind the grooves one bit if I had that beautiful wood! I think $10.76/sq ft is a good price for that!

  • autumn4
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    @JDS - "I caution homeowners to think carefully before exposing such a large
    surface of PVC in their home even if they do not have children or
    chemical sensitivities and have installed an adequate fresh air
    ventilation system. If I encountered it in a renovation project, I would
    recommend removing it in all living areas."

    Can you explain a little bit more on why you feel that way? We are planning to put cork backed LVP in our basement....Stratum XL LVP

    J U - why exactly do you not want wood? We have 2 busy tween boys and a dog (70# one and now we have a crazy puppy who can't get a grip on the wood floor) and I'd do wood all over again in a heartbeat. We have it in our kitchen, living room and dining room and only carpeted the bedrooms. I don't bat an eye at it. It will dent and it will scratch but you can barely see it at all and it just adds character. We had originally thought about tile in the kitchen due to water fears but those so far have been totally unfounded and I am so glad we didn't. As others have said, go for a harder species and if you don't get a high gloss finish it really hides most anything. I will add we are no shoes in the house people in case that matters and no I don't even own a pair of heels. :O Our home is a 2,300 sf mid range with higher finishes because we did the work ourselves making it affordable. Have you thought about getting a sample of some wood you like and kind of beating it up to see how it holds up?

    edit: ours are pre-finished hickory not site finished. Still no complaints.

  • Naf_Naf
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I am familiar with LVT/LVP as we used it in a few commercial projects.

    Now I am going to give you my personal opinion:

    Why would someone use vinyl/tile pretending to be wood? IT'S FAKE! I would not use it in a high end home.

    I'd use instead wide wood planks.

  • worthy
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Can you explain a little bit more on why you feel that way [about vinyl flooring?]

    Presumably because of the presence of phthalates. Even a Consumers Union study that found only very low levels in many brands noted the importance of frequent floor washing and cleaning small children's hands every time they touched the flooring. Whew, what a relief that is!

  • autumn4
    5 years ago

    Naf_naf - my question of JDS was coming at it from a safety stand point more than a finishing aesthetics one. I was looking at it because the cork insulates, it's below grade, water proof, easy to install, durable, easy to clean....doesn't need a subfloor other than the cement that is already there.

    worthy-yikes. That is scary. Maybe I should look at engineered wood instead.

    Apologize for the mini-hijack.

  • homepro01
    5 years ago

    Autumn4,

    A new product that I just ran across maybe of interest to you. I have some sample of it and it is really nice. It is a cork base with slate on top. It is by a company called Nova Stone. The product is called Realstone. For a basement, I would look at Cork or Linoleum instead of Vinyl.

    Good luck!

  • J U
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Thank you, everyone for your help and advice. It has been great.

    I have been to three flooring vendors locally.

    The first one was a local specialty retailer who one of the contractors bidding the job referred me to. The owner was helpful but I kind of dictated the materials to him and he quoted based on that. In this case it was ceramic wood style tiles.

    The second one was a distributor with a showroom which another contractor sent me to. I somewhat also dictated to the rep there what I wanted. She was okay but didn't provide any real advice other than answering some basic questions. This is where I found the vinyl material and was impressed with how real it looks. I think she was taking the path of least resistance and just going along with the products she believed I liked.

    I found another local specialty retailer yesterday. The owner there was great. He talked me out of doing anything other than wood. He showed me a line of engineered hardwood floors that look great. It is the Old Charleston collection from UA Flooring ( http://www.uafloors.com/oc.html ). I am going back this coming week to discuss more with him. Anyone familiar with this brand?

    My wife and I were dead set against doing carpet anywhere other than closets but he may have also talked me into doing carpet in our 3 upstairs bedrooms to cut down on noise to the bottom floor. Any thoughts here?



  • J U
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    autumn4 - I think the reason I didn't want wood floors is because of hopefully un-based fears. The house we currently live in has wood floors that were down when we purchased. They are not in the best of shape but they are probably going on 20 years old with poor maintenance and I have no idea of the quality level since we didn't put them in.

    My parents have engineered wood floors which seem very delicate. I have since learned that it is probably due to using a soft wood.

  • patriceny
    5 years ago

    I know I've posted this here before, somewhere....but anyway....

    I lived in an older home, from the early 1900's, that had hardwood floor. I loved that floor. It had patina. Lots of patina. It had been refinished a few times and it felt like a perfectly worn pair of jeans.

    I built a new house. Wanted wood floors. Agonized over the decision. Money wasn't really the main consideration either, just wanted a "nice" wood floor.

    The new floor is nowhere near as nice as the old house floor. Long story, but the short version is that apparently old growth hardwood is about a bazillion times nicer than anything you can buy now. Who knew.

    Yet I come here and read so many people who love their "new" wood floor. So either I made a poor choice or I'm too picky. We will sell at some point in the next few years, so I chose real hardwood for resale. Would still probably chose wood again, but would not get what I got again. There are so many variables - engineered, solid hardwood, matte finish, oil finish, shiny finish, light colors, dark colors. I've read of problems with every single variable I just listed. I love Worthy's reclaimed floor idea though and personally would do that in a heartbeat.

    I doubt any of this helps you....but I just wanted to say I feel your pain, and good luck.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    Reclaimed oak flooring, starting at £90 (US$111.60) sq. meter (10.76 sq. ft.) and up in the UK.

    That works out to $10.38 a square foot. Expensive yes, but not prohibitive.

  • Love stone homes
    5 years ago

    I love hardwood, but not everyone does. We installed close to 2,000 sq ft, wide plank hickory, site finished in our home. This included bedrooms. They were beautiful. We thought it would be a selling feature when we were transferred. However, we were aghast at comments from prospective buyers, who stated they didn't like wood, preferred carpet in bedrooms etc.

    in our next build we are thinking of laminate and carpet in bedrooms.

  • just_janni
    5 years ago

    I actually think that is pretty damn cheap.

  • Love stone homes
    5 years ago

    Hi jannicone, I kind of agree with you but we were so disheartened after our previous experience that we are thinking that is the way to go. I don't want to throw money away, which we previously did. Anyway, we have not made a decision yet...

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    My wife and I were dead set against doing carpet anywhere other than closets but he may have also talked me into doing carpet in our 3 upstairs bedrooms to cut down on noise to the bottom floor. Any thoughts here?

    If anyone has allergies, you absolutely do not want carpet as it harbors dust mites, etc. A lot also depends on what the carpeting is made from. Wool is absolutely the best and the most expensive.

    The other problem with carpet is after a while, unless you walk on it barefoot all the time, it will get ground in dirt down into the fibers. I'm not a fan and never have been.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    I would NOT use this type of flooring in a higher end home.

    The specifications state that the finish layer of wood is only 1/8" thick!

    This product could never be sanded or refinished. Additionally, it wouldn't take much to penetrate completely through the finish layer. A picture frame fell from a bookcase and put a gouge deeper than 1/8" in my hardwood flooring.

    Compare that to true hardwood flooring that is 3/4" thick and can sanded/refinished multiple times. It will also stand up much better to gouges/dings/nicks.

    WRONG! A floor at a minimum of 3mm thick which this floor is can be resanded at least 2x.

    And a gouge or a nick doesn't care whether it's 3 mm or 3/4" thick. It's still a nick or gouge. And if you nick a "true" hardwood floor that deeply, the color is also going to not be what the surface color is so either way the gouge or ding will show.

    I had 3 mm ipe engineered wood floors in my condo I just sold. Those floors held up beautifully. The only problem with them was that it was a very dark color so showed every piece of dust, and they were a smooth, satin finish so showed every footprint.

    And if you're in a high humidity area such as FL, engineered wood floors are more dimensionally stable for the area.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    Hi jannicone, I kind of agree with you but we were so disheartened after our previous experience that we are thinking that is the way to go. I don't want to throw money away, which we previously did. Anyway, we have not made a decision yet..

    PG, if you love it, do it for yourself.

  • Love stone homes
    5 years ago

    Jannicone ....thank you(:

  • bobbyboob
    5 years ago

    "WRONG!
    A floor at a minimum of 3mm thick which this floor is can be resanded at least
    2x."

    You
    must get your information from the engineered flooring
    industry. It is possible to do a few very light surface sandings of
    engineered material, but you can forget about sanding out
    any nicks/stains/deeper scratches/ect, which is a primary reason for refinishing hardwood floors.

    I've
    had my hardwood floors refinished, and one room had staining caused
    by a previous owner. They sanded down 1/8"+ in some areas, which
    would have burned completely through engineered flooring.

    "And
    a gouge or a nick doesn't care whether it's 3 mm or 3/4" thick. It's still
    a nick or gouge. And if you nick a "true" hardwood floor that deeply,
    the color is also going to not be what the surface color is so either way the
    gouge or ding will show. "

    WRONG!
    If there is a 1/8" gouge in true hardwood, it's not a big deal. The exposed material is the same as the top finish area. It can be spot-repaired (touch-up with matching stain & poly) or more thoroughly sanded & refinished.

    If you have 1/8" gouge in engineered hardwood, you have broken through the top finish surface, and exposed the substrate materials. You are left to look at layers of particleboard/plywood/cardboard/cork/ect. This is NOT repairable, unless you rip out and replace the entire board.

  • veggiegardnr
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Carpet... It only looks nice for a little while (maybe a year or two) and then spends most of its time in your home (years!!) looking like it needs replaced. It's dirty, in my opinion. If you are looking for a durable flooring, carpet is not it!

    When we did the floors in our last house, my MIL made comments about liking carpet in the bedrooms. "It's soft underfoot, I like how it feels when I walk on it, it's quiet," she said. My husband took all this to heart. I wanted no carpet, but in the spirit of compromise, I agreed to the carpet in the bedrooms. It looked nice for a year or two. Then it looked like it needed replaced for about 6 years, until we decided that enough was enough and we had to change it out. At that point, my husband said he was sorry he'd ever wanted any carpet at all, that it was dirty, didn't look good for long, etc. He ordered more of the flooring that we'd put down in the rest of the house. When it got to us, it did not match because the manufacturer had changed the surface so that it was more textured. So, we had to pay to send it back. Our options were then to redo the floors in the entire house, if we wanted them to match in the bedrooms, or put more carpet in the bedrooms. Because we didn't plan to live there too many more years, we replaced the carpet. We picked some fairly expensive carpet, thinking it would hold up better. Nope. It looked good for a year or two. Then, it looked like it needed replaced. We moved and said we'd never do carpet again.

    My MIL (a really lovely person, who I love very much), who was so fond of carpet in bedrooms, put hardwood floors in her house a few years ago. But, she insisted on carpets in the bedrooms. Same reasons she had said we should do that in our house...soft underfoot, warm, quiet. Last year, they sold that house. They had to replace the carpets in the bedrooms because they were worn, dirty and nasty. It cost them a lot more than they expected to replace the carpets. They are now, a year later, nearly done building their new home. They put hardwood everywhere, except in the bathrooms (tile there). My MIL's comments about that were that, "carpet doesn't look nice for very long, then you live with it looking bad for longer, until you replace it...carpet costs more than you think (especially when you have to keep replacing it)...rugs also feel soft underfoot, are quiet and are easily replaceable." :)

    I don't understand about putting carpets just in closets? Is that to save money or for another reason? We put the hardwood in the closets too. Overall, I don't think it added much to the cost, plus I think it might look a bit odd to have carpets in there, but nowhere else?

    If you are going to be in a home for even 5-7 years, I vote to put down the floor that YOU want. IMO, it's not wasted money to make your home into a place that you enjoy. If you always worry about what the next person who buys your house might want, you'll never have what you want! :-) If you sell your house and people don't like the floors you put down, they can replace them with whatever they want. If they want to tear up beautiful hardwood and put down carpet, they can do that! I think this is especially true for homes with higher end finishes. If you're buying a home with higher-end finishes...if you can afford to buy that house, you should be able to afford to replace the flooring if you want something different.

    About prefinished hardwood floors...when they need refinished, those grooves may end up complicating things. If the sanding isn't completely even throughout the entire house, they will end up deeper in some areas and more shallow in other areas. They probably will not be sanded completely away, they'll just end up being less deep. Those aluminum oxide finishes some prefinished floors come with...not only can they scratch (surface scratching) more easily than you expect, but, they are hard to sand off (more time, more sandpaper). You may end up paying quite a bit extra for sanding them.

    Oh...just as a side note, those warranties on flooring... They usually aren't worth the paper they're written on.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I've had my hardwood floors refinished, and one room had staining caused by a previous owner. They sanded down 1/8"+ in some areas, which would have burned completely through engineered flooring.

    And how old were your floors when you had them refinished because it's not something that is normally done often. I lived in my last house almost 20 years. When we moved in, we refinished them. They hadn't been refinished in over 40 years before that. Frankly, I'll put down the engineered wood which is better in my climate and let the next owners worry about it in 20 or 30 years.

    And as mentioned, I had engineered in my last condo which after 6 years were still in perfect condition. If you're always dropping things heavy enough to gouge something 1/8" down, then there's a bigger problem there.

  • worthy
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    A floor at a minimum of 3mm thick which this floor is can be resanded at least 2x

    Barely twice, according to this floor finishing co. Engineered woods have an actual hardwood layer ranging from 1mm to 5.2mm.

  • kirkhall
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Carpet upstairs is what we chose, and we like. It does reduce the noise of the kids. It is softer a-foot. And, since we are a barefoot household dirt really isn't tracked upstairs to where the carpet is (so, "ground in dirt" just isn't an issue). And, I've never really understood the allergies argument for carpet--most people who have hardwood also have rugs over the top of a lot of their hardwood--esp in bedrooms.

    You should assess who will be on your carpet, and what their foot hygiene is--our dog was short haired, and not really allowed upstairs. So, all the dog dirt (what little there was) was kept downstairs (main floor) where there was other flooring materials). Bare or socked feet only upstairs (because everyone basically removed shoes at the doors on the main floor--we had a good sized mudroom, for example). Carpet was comfortable to walk on, and also warmer (we were in a cool climate).

    Carpet also isn't forever--is less expensive than hardwood, and can be changed out more frequently, as needed.

  • Renee Texas
    5 years ago

    This has been an interesting thread for me. I love carpet, and when we moved at 7 years- with 4 kids and a large indoor dog!- our carpet looked as new as the day we moved in. We do not wear shoes in the house, and wash our feet if we were playing outside barefoot, etc. I also buy a nice, quality carpet. I'm curious why it's never worn badly compared to all these stories I hear. Even along the doors/enterance/walkways, it looked brand new, even the realtors remarked on it.

    IMO, floors are replaceable. I find something I like with the assumption I'll get 15-20 years out of it, then replace as scratching/dirt/wear and tear/etc would surely have made their impact.

  • mojomom
    5 years ago

    Addressing JDS's concern (but thanks for posting because it induced us to do additional research)

    May 14, 2013 – DALTON, GA – USFloors has achieved GREENGUARD GOLD Indoor Air Quality Certification for COREtec Plus® Engineered Luxury Vinyl Floors, a patent-pending luxury vinyl collection the company developed and introduced at Surfaces 2013. GREENGUARD GOLD Certification (formerly known as GREENGUARD Children & Schools) is the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute’s most stringent testing requirement for emissions of formaldehyde, aldehydes, phenols, and other VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). COREtec Plus® joins USFloors’ Natural Cork™ and Natural Bamboo™ products in the company’s portfolio of GREENGUARD GOLD Certified products.

    GREENGUARD Gold Certification requirements comply with the State of California’s Department of Public Health Services Standard Practice for Specification Section 01350 (California Section 01350) for testing chemical emissions from building products used in schools and other environments. As such, GREENGUARD Gold Certified products can be used to earn valuable credits in the CHPS Best Practices Manual for K-12 schools, the US Green Building Council’s LEED® Green Building Rating Systems, the Green Guide for Healthcare, the NAHB Green Building Guidelines, Green Globes, Regreen and many other building codes, standards and specifications.

    “GREENGUARD GOLD Certification adds another important value-added benefit to our COREtec Plus® products,” said Piet Dossche, President and CEO of USFloors. “Achieving third-party GREENGUARD GOLD Certification demonstrates our on-going commitment to indoor environmental quality and furthers our efforts to provide flooring that enhances the quality of life for our customers.”


  • khinmn59
    5 years ago

    Many homes are no longer amenable to solid hardwood or even engineered hardwood floors due to homeowners using radiant floor heating. Many hardwood manufacturers will not guarantee their products if used in this siuation. If you do find a particular wood that can be used over radiant floor heating you then need to be concerned about the insulating factor of the wood product and pretty much negating the purpose of your radiant floor heat.

    We are currently building a moderately high end home and flooring choices have been one of the most agonizing areas of our home build. Geothermal, slab on grade, radiant floor heated. We've looked at dozens of samples of wood-look tiles all of which look fakey or just couldn't find the right color, laminates-again concerns about the insulating factor, engineered wood, tile. We decided to try luxury vinyl planks by Shaw...It actually doesn't look too bad, is comfortable to walk on, will be easy care and I don't have to worry about babying it as I would with wood.

    I say go with what you feel comfortable with and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

  • keywest230
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Ditto on Shaw LVT (vinyl plank).

    I can't believe how much traction this thread has gotten. In hot, humid, wet Florida, solid hardwood fails. Engineered can too, and can require maintenance, and can only be refinished so many times.

    Enter LVT. Essentially water proof, maintenance free, soft on the joints, and you wouldn't know it wasn't real wood until you bent down and scratched it. I happen to love the way it feels to bare feet. Much better option than wood-look ceramic tile.

    LVT and Hardie (and encapsulating the attic in the insulated building envelope) have changed the way homes are built down here. I've been told that Shaw's has completely converted many of their carpet plants to now produce LVT exclusively.

    Even back home in the Northeast, every small flooring store I've gone into now carries many brands of LVT. My house in FL is 4 months from completion, and I came down this week to check on the floors. Whole-house LVT and no regrets. Looks awesome. LVT is everywhere down here: my hotel, restaurants, stores.

    Different kinds of LVT: flexible strips that glue down, vs rigid planks that look like engineered wood planks and which are designed to float. My builder recommends gluing down the rigid planks. Water based adhesive. Installers all say they've put it throughout their own homes.

    Did I mention how cheap LVT is? (at least it is in FL) My wife and I still joke that we're putting plastic floors in a somewhat high end home, and we are absolutely thrilled with our decision to do so. YMMV

    Have tons of pics, but the lighting wasn't ideal.

  • autumn4
    5 years ago

    Mojomom-I found that same greenguard info today. Thanks for posting and I am thankful for this thread as it did prompt me to do more research.

  • J U
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    keywest - Do you mind if I ask the cost of the flooring?

  • keywest230
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Contract says: Flooring Material: $3.10/sqft

    $15,000 flooring allowance / ~3250 sqft = ~$4.60 installed.

    Therefore labor is $1.50/sqft.

    J U thanked keywest230
  • worthy
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    With two exceptions, Greenguard only tests for VOCs. Phthalates are not VOCs so, of course, they don't show up. Voila! Certification for you. Vinyl is also a source of deadly dioxins when the product is burned. Again, not a VOC.

    But, heck it's tough and it's cheap and stands up well to moisture. And it's cheap.

  • autumn4
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Worthy-so how does a consumer shop responsibly? This document says it does test for phthalates...but nothing about burning. Can the data and certifications not be trusted?

    edit to add link: http://www.dwellsmart.com/COREtec-Plus-GREENGUARD-Gold-Certification

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    Keywest it looks great. Wish I could have seen it.

  • kirkhall
    5 years ago

    I'm pretty sure I read that both HD and L big box stores where going phthalate free in all their flooring by 2016. If they can go phthalate free, I'd expect others to go phthalate free too. And, we're 2017 now, so ... Read up, I guess.

  • ILoveRed
    5 years ago

    we have LVT in our office and my dh and dd spend lots of hours in this office. It looks great. But this is a little freaky.

  • Wilma May
    5 years ago

    I was just at a car dealership where they had wood-look tile in the main entry and hallways of their offices. I was surprised at how good it looked.


  • andrewdclark
    5 years ago

    My architect who has very cool taste and practical opinions about building used it in his new top of the line home and it's gorgeous. Perhaps certain parts of the country are more accepting of using this sort of material. Visually I cannot tell. And with kids, animals, etc it's bullet proof.

  • Chrissi
    4 years ago
    This thread is a replay of everything I've thought about for the last three months while deciding on new flooring. Thank you for all the great pros and cons on this topic. It's been over a year since this thread started...has anyone purchased new flooring in the last year and if so what did you choose? Key west: have you enjoyed your LVP? Any suggestions on brand etc? We're in N FL coastal region so many of your needs are spot on in our decision process. I'm looking at NAF, Hallmark and Marcello engineered and some high quality gorgeous lvp's.