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What type of flooring should I install?

6 years ago

We are getting ready to tile our kitchen/eating/living room (700sf) and the rest of our common areas (1200sf). I would like to replace the common area laminate because it is bubbling up anywhere water gets spilled on it. We have no plans to move soon, but selling is a possibility in the next five years, so resale is an important consideration. The home is upscale for our city (but not "million dollar"). We live in the southwest (mild winters, blazing hot summers) where tile is very common. I have five young children, some with behavioral special needs, which means our home takes a beating.


The flooring in the kitchen/eating/living room needs to be extremely waterproof and durable, because it gets dirt dumped on it from the backyard access, scrapes from bicycles and assorted toys, and water poured on it numerous times a day. It needs to coordinate with the white cabinets and brown quartz countertops in the kitchen and the stone fireplace wall in the living room (see pictures). Unless you can show me another upscale, indestructible type of flooring, it will need to be tile. Bonus points if the flooring has enough variation to hide food messes between moppings (lol) and is easy to clean.


The flooring in the rest of the common areas should either be tile, or possibly a really tough engineered wood. I am still leery of wood, because I am concerned my kids will destroy it. Bonus points if I can use the same flooring as in the kitchen/eating/living room.


What flooring would you recommend?


Here are some pictures.

Living room stone wall (adjoining kitchen):


Kitchen will have white cabinets and brown countertops that match these:


Our entryway as-is with the existing laminate that is deteriorating (BTW, all the walls in the common areas are getting painted a clean beige):


A close-up of the existing laminate:


Comments (40)

  • 6 years ago

    I have been consistently unable to maintain wood flooring. You might consider an LVP. It can go everywhere including kitchens and baths, and some of the look pretty good.

    U P thanked smit2380
  • PRO
    6 years ago

    One wood look porcelain tile EVERYWHERE. or one LVP everywhere. The LVP is waterproof...... so is the tile. The tile will be the hardest to destroy. ONE flooring.

    U P thanked JAN MOYER
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  • PRO
    6 years ago

    Agree with Jan. Use the same wood look tile everywhere, so LVP everywhere. Don't make your floor plan choppy by tossing in multiple flooring if you don't have to.

    U P thanked Sina Sadeddin Architectural Design
  • PRO
    6 years ago

    Please do not put LVP throughout your house. While it’s a great product, it’s not appropriate as the main flooring for a high-end home such as yours. Find a large-format, good quality porcelain tile that will compliment the rest of your finishes. For resale, using vinyl could ultimately reduce the value of your home.

    U P thanked Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.
  • PRO
    6 years ago

    I don’t agree because I work on a tile floor all day and would never have it in my whole house to hard on knees and backs and feet, IMO LVP has come a long way and much softer underfoot , easy to install and works everywhere. Since there was laminate there before it will be a step up from that.

    U P thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • PRO
    6 years ago

    If they were replacing real hardwood I would agree LVP would be a step-down. But replacing laminate with LVP isn't a huge knockdown IMO. Especially these days.

    The OP almost mentioned she has young kids and tile can be pretty hard for them when they fall so LVP is a softer option.

    U P thanked Sina Sadeddin Architectural Design
  • PRO
    6 years ago

    You can tack the work "luxury" in front of it, but at the end of the day...it's still vinyl. It may be your personal preference, but for resale, vinyl floors will turn off more people than it will attract.

    U P thanked Kristin Petro Interiors, Inc.
  • 6 years ago

    Thank you all for your input. What about Cali Fossilized Bamboo? They claim it has a Janka hardness of 5000, the highest of any hardwood or bamboo. They also sell a Geowood with limestone core that is rated for kitchens and bathrooms. https://www.calibamboo.com/product-antique-flooring-java-fossilized-bamboo-9009002001.html

    I'm sorry, we are not considering LVP.

  • 6 years ago

    Bamboo....no thank you. Bamboo is tricky. It is tricky. And at the end of the day, it is SUPER tricky to live with. It goes WRONG more often than it goes right. The PERFECT humidity control is required to keep bamboo happy. And it has the smallest "happy window" of any flooring product. It requires PIN POINT humidity control between 45% - 55% at all times. It cannot handle even small swings of humidity. Please MAKE SURE you have a whole home humidifier/dehumidifier that allows you to balance humidity with the touch of a button/screen. If not, bamboo is not an option. Actually it is, but the added expense of upgrading your home heating/cooling settings will be off-putting to say the least. Most people choose not to go to the added effort/expense. Some do.

    If you can afford solid, 9/16" Calibamboo products, you can afford full tile install. A high-end bamboo is a stunning product. A high-end 3/4" bamboo (glue, nail, staple) floor is incredible. The costs will be more than solid hardwood.

    And bamboo is not hardwood. It is grass glued together. The FINISH is what takes all the abuse.

    You are welcome to work with Calibamboo SO LONG AS you have the HUMIDITY CONTROL that I describe above. If you are willing to ADD the humidity control, if you don't have it, you could be very happy with bamboo.

    But the sad thing is: bamboo does NOT like water. At. All. It hates it. So many people have been upset with bamboo in their kitchen. It has a nasty reaction to water....much worse than hardwood.

    Personally, I say a high-end large format tile (does NOT have to be wood look) will do everything your STUNNING home could ever want it to do...and more. You are in the perfect place (and your home is in the right price range) to work with tile.

    Why mess with a good thing?

    U P thanked SJ McCarthy
  • 6 years ago

    SJ McCarthy, I go back and forth, but I think tile is where I am landing. Yes, we are able to afford the full tile install, but I want to make the cost worthwhile. I like the wood-look, but I DO think it is too trendy to last. Do you have any suggestions for a tile that will look good in all of the areas I showed in my pictures? I am hoping for something with enough variation to hide dirt and mess.

  • 6 years ago

    @U P: I'm a HUGE fan of travertine-look porcelain tile. I think it is STUNNING. That being said, we don't really know the style you wish to go with (you have the high-end southwest mansion feeling down to a "T" right now). You say you would like to paint the common areas of the home. Have you looked into the colours you are interested in?

    With a dark chocolate counter top like the one in the photo, I think a traditional travertine (kinda yellow-gray-brown) look with the strong striations would be amazing.

    But then again, travertine-looking porcelain comes in every colour of the rainbow - that's the beauty of man-made porcelain....it can be MADE to look like anything.

    With a home of this stature, and with a big flooring change and wall colour change (and what sounds to be a kitchen renovation) I would highly recommend working with a designer who specializes in Kitchen Design (KD). If they can coordinate a kitchen, then can coordinate the rest of the home as well.

    U P thanked SJ McCarthy
  • 6 years ago

    SJ McCarthy, thank you. Can you show me an example of the travertine look you are thinking of?

    What do you think of this tile? Too dark? I like that it looks worn and scratched, because that's how everything ends up at my house, lol.

    https://www.bedrosians.com/en/product/detail/palazzo-tile/?itemNo=STPPALVG1212

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    Do the LVP and bicycles are for outdoors. Water won't hurt it . Dirt has to be cleaned up no matter what. So does spilled water . At some point it is to reinvent the wheel:)

    U P thanked JAN MOYER
  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Feel free to google "travertine look porcelain tiles". You will come up with 100,000 photos in one shot.

    I do not like dark floors so I'm the worst person to offer advice on dark chocolate floors.

    What does your designer think of your choices?

    U P thanked SJ McCarthy
  • PRO
    6 years ago

    I do understand! But it's a choice, even with very special needs, and yes ... I've had same for clients and one very extreme. . LVP will withstand most of anything. Tile is harder to mop. :) one floor is still best

    U P thanked JAN MOYER
  • 6 years ago

    In our last house, we had travertine look tile and bamboo. The tile was awesome. We had strand bamboo from Calibamboo. I loved how it looked. It was hard and it wore well. After 7 years, my kids managed to scrape it in several places. Fingernail polish was hard to get off of it. We never had any of the issues with humidity that I hear about here. Our bamboo was glued down on our concrete slab in Texas. I have 7 kids, so I know about kids and floors. I would choose tile, among your choices. Or put in more laminate and expect to replace it again.

    U P thanked suseyb
  • 6 years ago

    It sounds like you're already set on tile, but I want to chime in here and reiterate that luxury vinyl does NOT belong in your home! Not necessarily because your home is high-end, but because it looks like you have lots of direct sunlight from those big beautiful windows. Believe me (speaking from personal experience here), direct sunlight and luxury vinyl are not happy friends. I've spent the past month doing some detailed research into new flooring for my home and there are a couple SPC brands (Tarket ProGen and WeShipFloors' SuperCore by Kryptonite) that say they can handle direct sunlight. But then I stumbled across a new product from CaliBamboo called Geowood. I spoke to them on the phone today and it sounds like this product is super durable: it has a rigid limestone composite core and it's water-resistant, scratch-resistant and looks beautiful! It doesn't have the problems with humidity and water that solid or even engineered bamboo has. There's a color of GeoWood called Jasperstone that looks like it would go with your house. Might be worth checking out since I imagine it might feel more comfy than tile for your kids to play on!

  • 6 years ago

    We have LVP, a high end priced choice, and it looks so good that I don't think it is a wrong choice for more expensive homes! I had ceramic tile for the past 10 years and believe me, it is durable. But, it is so hard! I love the look of tile and have used it in my bathrooms, but never again in the main living area. LVP is not cheap, but none of the 3 choices are if you choose quality styles. With LVP you don't have to worry about water damage, which makes kitchen work so much easier. Best of luck!


  • 6 years ago

    Carolyn808, you and I are tracking with each other. :) I just called about Cali Bamboo and Geo Wood on Friday. The sales rep said the Geo Wood was only released a week ago. It looks great, but I am cautious about being an early adopter of anything, especially 1900sf of anything. It sounds so great. It would be cheaper than all the other options because we would do the install ourselves. But I am cautious....

  • 6 years ago

    I just want to add, your foyer is FABULOUS! And I went with the supposedly trendy wood look tile. I swear you cannot see any dirt on it.

    U P thanked User
  • 6 years ago

    U P, I'm with you! It's kinda scary to think about investing in something as new as GeoWood, but I'm going to at least check it out. The samples should arrive in the mail next week and I'll let you know how they look. Like you, I'm trying to find one flooring for the whole house. My biggest hesitation with tile is that it feels kinda cold for a family room. Your area rug would help with that, but whenever I see tile in a living room or family room, it just doesn't feel cozy to me. Just my two cents!

  • 6 years ago

    Carolyn808 and suseyb, what do you know about bamboo and stability regarding expansion and contraction? It sounds as though people either love or hate the Cali bamboo, and it all hinges on the humidity problem and excessive expansion/contraction. Is it true that using engineered instead of solid and gluing down prevents the expansion/contraction? We would be gluing to slab.

    suseyb, would you use the bamboo again if you had the choice?

  • 6 years ago

    You live in the SW with 5 young children? Who give the house a beating?

    I live in the SW too, and we have lots of kids. I would put in a floor that I don't have to worry about if the kids leave the door open while they go play in the backyard. Some of these options require humidity to be between 45-55%???? How are you going to achieve that? Add some kind of whole-house humidifier device to your house? And then a dehumidifier for the house when the (short) rainy season comes? My DH likes to sleep with an upstairs window open if possible. Can someone tell me how you can open windows for a cross-breeze if humidity has to have "pinpoint" accuracy? Do you have a pool, or might you add one someday? Pools lend themselves to kids running in and out, doors open, wet feet and towels...

    I read the OP post, and it sounds like a rough-and-tumble flooring is desired--rustic-looking even. But with so many kids, it is not only the traffic/playing/abuse that is an issue to the floor itself, it is how much the adults have to worry about and baby the temperature conditions for the flooring. As a busy parent with young kids, I wouldn't be interested in that at all.

    I'd put in tile. It's hot most of the time, and tile feels cool. Rugs can add the softness. Tile isn't hard to mop, especially with the larger sized tiles of today and the minimal grout lines. I like the tiles you posted, UP, but I wouldn't go so dark, because dark flooring looks dirtier faster (dust, pet hair). I'd go more medium tone.

    U P thanked Mrs. S
  • 6 years ago

    U P, I have engineered strand woven bamboo (click-lock floating floor) in 2 of my bedrooms and I love it. I live on Maui where the humidity varies dramatically -- it's 97% right now according to the weather app on my phone. Because of the trade winds, I don't need a/c, and my windows are open most of the time, so whatever the humidity is outside, it's inside too! The engineered bamboo has been in there 4 years now, and I've had no problems at all with contraction or expansion. Here's the rub about bamboo, though: it doesn't like to get wet, which is why I'm not using it in the rest of my house. (This is why I'm hopeful about GeoWood -- it's bamboo that is water-resistant!)

    U P thanked carolyn808
  • 6 years ago

    One of the reasons we did a glue down installation of our bamboo was because of stability. The floor was professionally leveled and then glued down. We did not use the Cali Bamboo adhesive, but got permission to do the one that my installers were familiar with. It worked out super well.


    We have since moved from that house into a home with mostly carpet, linoleum, and a teeny bit of tile. I pulled up the entry tile and some of the carpet. The least expensive flooring for us to put in (other than carpet) is vinyl planks, especially if we install it ourselves. I've decided to install a SPC product. It still scratches, but I think that it will be a good product for us. I considered tile everywhere, but it is so cold on the feet. I also considered marmoleum, but the price is too much for this home. Bamboo will be cost prohibitive as well. Besides, it scratches, too, and I honestly can't trust my kids to be nice to a floor.


    In your situation, I'd do tile. It's really hard for kids to destroy tile, and if you plan to live there a very long time, it won't matter for resale.

  • 6 years ago
    Carolyn, did you get the Geowood samples?
  • 6 years ago

    Jonnie, I haven't received them yet. There was some kind of shipping issue with the post office. Hope they arrive soon! I'll let you know what I think when I get them.

  • 6 years ago

    I received a sample of the geowood. It is a layer of bamboo and then a layer of the "geocore". It seems quite sturdy. My kids will scratch right through that bamboo like they did before.

  • 6 years ago

    I received my Cali Bamboo samples a few days ago. Here's to hoping that the GeoCore reduces expansion and contraction due to humidity. Those colors are quite delicious. The first thing my kids and I did was to get something sharp and scrape up the surface. While it looks nearly impossible to get to the bamboo layer, I think the light scratches in the protective layers would drive me nuts. I'm not an early-adopter and I'm not going to risk it. I'd love to keep an eye on this product as the reviews start coming in.

  • 6 years ago
    Thanks guys for the feedback so far. I have kids (baby bashes toys into the ground etc), and a 25 lb dog. I really don't want the regular LVP or laminate either. Bamboo does seem easily dented. What to do?
  • 6 years ago

    Solid hardwood that you can refinish again and again and again for 60-100 years. Or you choose the product that comes the CLOSEST to your "ideal floor" and then live with the down-side of that choice.

    Many homeowners expect "indestructible" from materials that are easily marred. They are still perfectly functional. They just look less than ideal. It all comes down to homeowner expectations. And the concept of "wants vs. needs".

    I've seen clients expect indestructible, life-proof flooring (ie. what you would get with a stone floor) from cork flooring (the softest wood in the world of flooring). The cork was still doing it's job but the homeowner didn't like how it was behaving. In fact the cork was behaving like cork - no better no worse. But the homeowner's expectation was a floor that would be live like stone but feel like carpet. Totally unrealistic expectations for cork.

    That being said, the homeowner needs to figure out NEEDS (kitchens and baths NEED water proof flooring) versus wants (wanting a floor that is soft as carpet but water proof as well).

    There is no 'perfect' floor that gives everything to everyone. Figure out the NEEDS the floor must have (characteristics) and the figure out which categories of materials will GIVE YOU those needs. And then make the best of the options you have been given.

  • 6 years ago

    Knowing the kind of beating you say your floors take, I'd do LVP in a heartbeat. I would much rather live with LVP that doesn't look beat to hell, than to live with "real" hardwood which is going to look like a wood chipper went over it in short order.

    Everyone has different priorities. Some people can only stand "real" wood and sniff in derision at laminate and LVP.

    I personally - for me - do not like tile throughout a whole house. It's too hard for my regular living areas (again, in my opinion). Some people love it. That's awesome and differences are what makes the world go around.

    Everyone is different. I've had all the above, and they all have their pros and cons. Only you know what you like though. :)


  • 5 years ago

    Well, what is the verdict?


  • 4 years ago

    Looking for updates as well. I just received my samples for Cali Bamboo's Geowood Flooring and although it's marketed well, I would also like some real world experience....

  • 3 years ago

    @richardshome wondering if you ended up going with the Geowood?


  • 3 years ago

    Elizabeth, I ended up putting Geowood in my home in July 2019 and I absolutely LOVE it. Before I bought it, I did a ton of research on all different types of flooring and at the time I was feeling a little reluctant to order it since it was so new and there weren't any reviews online. So I called the folks at Cali Bamboo, asked a bunch of questions and ultimately decided to go for it. I am so glad I made that choice. It looks so beautiful, feels wonderful under my bare feet (I live in Hawaii so I'm barefoot all the time!) and it's easy to clean. I'm remodeling my kitchen right now and I'm about to order another 800 square feet of Geowood Aged Amber for that project. For the price, you can't beat the quality.

  • 3 years ago

    @carolyn808 Thank you so much for your review of Geowood! Yes, I am drowning in this decision and keep going back and forth between LVP and engineered hardwood. Geowood seems like a pretty great hybrid of both! You are right about the lack of reviews and so I'm so glad to hear that you have been happy with your choice! We may be going with the Half Moon Maple. :)

  • 2 years ago

    Elizabeth King…. I saw your posts and wondered what flooring product you decided on after all the research you did?

  • 2 years ago

    @J9 I ended up choosing Paradigm Tower LVP and we install in Oct. Colorwise, it just seemed to fit the European white oak I was looking for and kept comparing everything to Tower so I finally went with it. I liked that it has a ceramic bead finish, embossed and register texturing, and easy maintenance, Floorscore, etc. It also has a full 12 different planks plus reversals and so look is very natural without noticeable repeats. My only apprehension was that there are people that have had finicky installs, but it sounds like a good and experienced installer will be fine. I would have loved to have wood, but it didn't make sense with our family's lifestyle with three kids, and I although I liked the concept of Geowood, none of the colors fit our bill. Not my pic of Tower.