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adkhiker

Am I Insane? Replacing hardwood with LVT planks.

6 years ago
I'll keep it quick. 1940s Cape Cod, modest neighborhood. Live in upstate NY with harsh winters and a killer mud season, but no mudroom on thr house. Older dog with increasing accidents and cat who leaves the occasional hairball. Planning on having a baby soon. Need to replace flooring on the first floor which is currently a mix of crappy stained carpet, crappy linoleum in the kitchen and a few areas of really beat up hardwood flooring. Hardwoods have not held up well for us. After 7 years, they are embarrassingly worn near the entry way. I am looking for something dog proof, cat proof, kid proof, mud proof. Am I crazy for considering ripping everything out, including the hardwoods, and putting down LVT plank throughout?

Comments (25)

  • 6 years ago
    here is an example if the wear we've experienced near the entry on our hardwoods (which are probably original to the house and 70+ years old. Also experiencing a lot of gapping.
  • 6 years ago

    adkhiker, we are in NNY and I hear you, snow is bad enough, but mud season is the worst. I know many people will say yes, but I'm not one of them, I don't care for the look or feel of LVT, YMMV. If it were me, I'd put real NY slate in the entry and do the rest in hardwood, but try an oiled finish for the wood. In our home we have white oak that we oiled ourselves and larch that came pre-finished, the stuff we oiled ourselves looks much better than the larch, and it's in a higher traffic area, the larch is in the LR and office, kitchen, den, stairs and entry way have white oak. We used Bush Oil, from Amsterdam, NY, and I highly recommend it. I just looked up the link, but their website is currently down, and Mother Google tells me that is "may be hacked" (that's a new one on me, and ominous, I didn't click on it). But it's a great product and produces a durable, deep, not glossy finish. You can stain before applying the oil, and it really is simple to apply, pour, wipe, wipe some more, wipe a final time and let dry, 24 hours curing time IIRC.

    We purchased ours at Lakeshore Hardwoods, https://www.lakeshorehardwoods.com/, they are great to work with and very knowledgeable about anything hardwood related.

    Good luck.



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  • 6 years ago

    You are not crazy. I, personally, would choose LVT over hardwood. There is some very nice LVT out, but it's just not the same. I love hardwood, not everyone does. Lakeaffect has given you some good suggestions. Many years ago, my mom did slate in the entrance area of her living room (which really wasn't a foyer) and it looked great and held up well (it's still there!). We are only two adults and one small dog, so we're pretty easy on our wood floors. Our house is a little over 20 years old and the floors look great.

  • 6 years ago
    Thank you so much for the feedback so far. indeed, it is a struggle as I know hardwoods can be beautiful and are more desirable overall. I am just struggling with matching what I want (new hardwoods throughout) with how we actually live. I keep replaying in my mind how devastated I would be if we put in all new hardwoods, the dog has an oops while we are at work, and $10k later I have a giant black spot in the middle of new floors I must now live with for the next 20 years. That's my biggest fear. Also, I would love brick/slate in the entry as perhaps that would help corral some of the dirt and grit, but unfortunately, we have such limited real estate, I am not sure how much it would really help, or how far to take the slate/brick. Thoughts?
  • 6 years ago

    There are some pics at this link of slate 'rugs' in the entries of homes that may give you ideas - Slate 'rugs'

    One example shown here -



  • 6 years ago

    In my opinion, having different hardwood flooring in a house, especially of that vintage, is fine, preferable even, but I'm not a matchy-matchy person at all, I like variation and especially patina. I'd sand down the wood you have, stain if you want it darker, slap Bush Oil (or another oiled finish) on it and call it good. Then I'd find another hardwood choice for the rest of the rooms, have it installed and do the same. Transitions can be handled many ways, as my3dogs has shown, the room transitions/doorway flooring in our house is black walnut, and that provides the transition between white oak (in two widths in two different areas) and the larch, and the tile in our pantry (which I hate, never going to do tile outside of a bathroom again; cold, hard, unforgiving, shows every speck of dirt and did I mention cold?).

    And here's a radical idea, ditch the formal dining room and make it into a mudroom and office/command center/playrooom, at least while you are in your kid years. I know many would faint at the thought, but what works for you is important, and frankly, not having a mudroom in the far northeast would drive me bonkers, and I'm not even a neat or clean freak (hardly). I'm looking at our entry/mudroom right now; my husband has 4 pairs of boots, I have 6, he has several jackets, I have several plus, and our kid is away at college, when she's home next week we will have even more. Of course there are hats, mittens, snowpants, ice fishing gear, snowmobile helmets, and umbrellas, etc., stored there. It's nice to have a designated space for that stuff and it sure makes life easier when going outside most of the year requires some covering(s). Keep thinking about what works for your lifestyle and your budget, and think outside the box, you can always get back in the box if no outside solutions work.

  • 6 years ago

    We have a water based finish (at the time, Pacific Strong), which has held up very well for 25+ years with kids, dogs, and bikes being dragged daily into the house (yes, I know).

    Today's equivalent is Bono Commercial Finish.

    What if you put a larger rug at your entrance, then a bunch of these plastic shoe trays, IKEA 3.99?

    https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60329711/

    The beauty of hardwood is that you can always refinish it.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I'm in the hardwood camp, here.

    Now, the last house we were in before this one, our hardwoods looked like yours. It could have been the finish that was an issue, or the prep (or lack thereof). I would blame the dogs nails/rough pads making micro scratches that caused the finish to become unsealed, but we have a dog now, too, and don't have any issues with this floor.

    This hardwood now (they are both oak), the finish has held up beautifully. We had them re-finished a couple years ago and there were gaps, which the floor guy fixed. I don't see any worn areas or visible scratches. Oh and we are NOT careful....we're not a "shoes off inside" kind of family.

    I'm thinking that finishes have improved vastly...

    Why do you want to take up the existing hardwood and replace it with the same? I would just continue with new, white oak (readily available) where you need to and refinish all of it.

  • PRO
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I've had multiple dogs (often ones that were old), and multiple cats (again, some old). I've had children. And I've had hardwood floors the entire time. Mine don't look like yours, so perhaps the flooring contractor did a lousy job and did not use a good polyurethane. I do prefer a high gloss "gym floor" finish - it wears better.

    LVT is a misnomer. It's just vinyl flooring and that means that there are little gaps between each tile, into which dog/cat unine/poop can get. It will then eventually get UNDER these tiles, they will smell and they will also eventually start curling and popping up. I would NEVER use such with pets!

    I do suggest that you leave elderly dogs in a contained area, and not give the dog the run of the house. My dog is always confined to the kitchen (which has hardwood floors!), when I'm not home. Giving ones cat Kitty Lax or changing diet can really help with hair balls - talk to your vet about this.

    Put in hardwood throughout your house. Get a good poly finish put on it. You'll be fine and your resale value will be better as well.

  • 6 years ago

    Hardwood camp here for reasons listed. Have had both. I agree, don't obsess about wear on hardwoods. But you can mix hardwood and also mix LVT with hardwood. Just make sure the transition is natural. I have that in my office which is in a house. Two rooms and hallway natural wood, central meeting room and kitchen LVT. Also can mix high quality vinyl flooring with hardwood. That's how I handled my entryway issues in my home. Not too many different floorings but more than one throughout if carefully coordinated can be done.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    That wood looks in excellent condition - better quality than most current flooring you could buy. Your minor wear/discoloration is easily remedied by professional refinishing.

    Vinyl plank flooring can be installed directly over any surface - not understanding why you feel you have to remove the current floor.

  • 6 years ago

    Keep the hardwoods and use area rugs to prevent wear and tear at the entry. Our house was built in '64 and has the original hardwood floors throughout, even in the closets. We have had them refinished once in the 30 years we have lived here with 3 children, always a dog and a cat. You just can't beat hardwood floors for durability.

  • 6 years ago

    I've had new hardwoods, laminate and tile in our different homes. Now, I have LVT and with the use you're describing, and a new baby, LVT gets my vote.

    We got a dog shortly after installation, and now a year later, no scratches, damage and am very pleased with it.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hmm. I have oiled white oak hardwood and LOVE it, but my kids are a bit older now. No, dogs don’t scratch it, but I keep a waterproof mat near the door, and I do worry about staining. In your shoes, I’d do the LVT, OR, just live with what you have until you have at least adjusted to new baby. Where I live, the cost of refinishing runs over $5 /sf...with no guarantee it will be great! And don’t hardwood floors, even solid ones, only have a few refinishes in them (you could be refinishing down to the nails).

    I had 4 kids who were little all at once, and LVT would have added to the family’s quality of life, letting mom enjoy family life instead of worrying about the floor. And, not all family members may be onboard with the vigilant precautions (ahem, DH, who won’t remove shoes, nor “notice” spills). Yes, it’s a cost-benefit decision, but quality of life matters too. Simplifying life, esp with a new baby, is a great goal.

    You can always install hardwood down the road, when the kids are older.

    btw, love the idea of ditching formal dining room, but that’s a personal choice.

  • 6 years ago
    Those floors look to be a high quality wood and able to be refinished. The gaps arent a big deal to me, they open up every winter and close up over summer. My house has tile in the foyer and I do appreciate not having to worry about water. I put hardwood in my kitchen which butted up to the hardwood in the rest of the main floor. The back door has just a 3 ft x 3 ft landing inside the door with stairs down to the basement or an opening into the kitchen. I left a space to put in 4 16 x 16 inch slate tiles to keep wet shoes off the wood. Unfortunately, I just was not thinking about the actual location of the footsteps or I would have made the inlay space wider as you have to walk onto the wood to close the door.

    My plan was to use slate tiles but we used a piece of commercial low pile carpet cut to fit the space while we were working. As it worked out, we decided to leave the carpet piece as it was nice to have a mat that didnt get kicked around, and that absorbed water. When the carpet piece gets really dirty, I can pull it put for an extra thorough cleaning and replace it easily.
  • 6 years ago
    Thank you to everyone who has responded so far. There is obviously a clear preference here to keep the hardwoods. Just to clarify a few things:
    - We can't ditch the dining room, though I understand the sentiment there. Formal or not, our house is small and we don't have an eat-in kitchen so the dining room is the only place we have to eat and, unlike many families, we use it every day.
    - I agree that the two existing wood floors in the do ing and living rooms could easily be refinished. My concern is the dust, the fumes, the pain of having to be out of the house for days while everything dries. If we did refinish, I would want to find a better, more matte coating than what is on there now.
    - The wood floors can remain untouched, even if I hate looking st them every day. there is no pressing need to replace or refinish them, other than wanting consistency if we do the other floors. However, not ripping out the carpet and worn kitchen flooring is not an option. Both are so old and dingy (they were here for years before I moved in) that no matter how much I clean, vacuum, or shampoo, it still feels dirty. I can't in good conscience allow a baby to crawl on that, which is the impetus for replacing the floors to begin with.
  • 6 years ago

    When I bought my first home I tore out the carpet in the dining room and underneath was an old hardwood floor with the original finish with a few really worn areas - worse than yours. I had already refinished the hardwood floors upstairs and was not relishing doing the downstairs. My good friend was visiting helping me set up the house and she said, "It looks fine, just enjoy it as is." Which is what I did. And I'm a messy eater and had to eat all my meals in the dining room. Lived in houses can be just as nice if not MORE charming than the photo spreads. Your floors are gorgeous and hardwood can be mopped up with Murphy's Oil Soap and stay clean and sanitary. Get some washable area rugs for high traffic areas/wet areas and enjoy your home. It is lovely. Save your money for the kid's college fund.

  • 6 years ago

    I had hardwood floors installed upstairs in my house, sanded and site finished. Even though I was prepared for dust and fumes, the dust was absolutely minimal. There were no fumes because we went with the Bono Commercial finish, which is waterborne. Drying time was about 24 hrs. Now, we've always had a satin finish because that's the look I prefer.

    https://www.bona.com/en-US/Bona-Professional/Products/Coatings/Waterborne-Finishes-and-Sealers/BonaTraffic-HD/

  • 6 years ago

    Cant really see the whole floor but a light ammonia solution and scrub brush would be all you need to get out the dirt. Then lay down some indoor-outdoor rugs (easily cleaned). BTW murphys oil not good for polyurethane (delaminates it over time) , so be sure you dont have that on your floor if you use it. If its original coating then it would e some other resin varnish, not poly, so should be ok.

  • 6 years ago

    Well, we stayed in the house while ours were refinished, but we had areas that weren't done so we could do our normal routine. As already said, surprisingly minimal dust. As far as fumes go, yes. And probably not good for us. However within 24 hours it was more than tolerable with windows open---no worse than paint. Then we could walk on it with socks on. We were actually told that furnishing could go back on at that time, but we decided to give it a week.

    If you're thinking of doing it all at once, I would give myself a couple days in a hotel or the house of a relative.

    We purchased additional oak (we needed it) from some guy on Craigslist....we did another room with it. I have a tiny budget and my preference is to reuse, reduce, recycle. You can't tell where that floor ends and our old floor begins. I've also had to do a diy patch at my mom's house (older floor like yours) and I got some planks from Lumber Liquidators. You can't see that patch from that either... :)

    Get a couple of estimates...that won't cost anything.

  • 6 years ago

    Would you use tile in the kitchen or wood? If you tile, perhaps you could get that done first...Sometimes, doing in stages is less overwhelming.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Professional refinishers do a lot to keep the dust down. The fumes from the poly was the horrible part when I had my floors done upstairs, but that went away in a few days. I am not a fan of the poly sealers on wood floors. The old ones I had downstairs that I didn't refinish were original stain which I just treated with wax once a year. Much nicer. Folks say wood floors are difficult to maintain but they are just fussy I guess. I found mine to be trouble-free. I don't sweat the small stuff.

    Rip out carpet and worn kitchen floor and replace both with a type of vinyl flooring that looks good with your existing wood floors. If there is great wood underneath the carpet I would still consider just keeping it and getting rugs in the color/design that I liked, even one matching a slate look (they make indoor outdoor ones like that) or just putting the vinyl in high traffic areas and keeping wood in the others. Bring some samples home, I'll bet you can find something you like that looks good with the existing wood floors. I was initially hesitant to mix vinyl flooring, wood flooring and carpet in my house but it works, it can be coordinated.

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    We always ate either in the hardwood floor kitchen or the DR with hardwood floors. Two children. My DD has done the same - all hardwood floors. They will take anything!

    You do NOT want "matte"!!! It will look awful and be hard to clean.

    As for the refinishing process, well, that's sort of like saying you have decided not to have children as the thought of one day of labor and delivery is just overwhelming to you. You will be doing this ONCE. Try to find a time when it is convenient to be out of the house - a little 2-3 day trip - go stay with friends - find a Red Roof Inn. Just do it and do it correctly.

  • 6 years ago

    I am fully in the LVT camp. Love the looks you can get today and they are so hard wearing! Just make sure its fitted correctly