suggestion on wood/wood-look flooring

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Jun 3, 2009
Im getting ready to either DO or hire out the floor job on my kitchen LR, I like wood floor and am considering the "click together" floor kits that are engineered, or may take the easy road with wood look laminant. Durability is key with kids, but we want something warm and inviteing as well, were probably going to do both our connected kitchen LR (open floor) in the same flooring, Im so confused and lost going into this so i thought i would post here, does anyone have experience installing the "kits" or how cheesy dooes the laminant look down ? ease of install ? hows about creeking ? trouble areas with anything particular ? Im looking for total opinions and advice on this.. the only one thing for sure is i like the plank redwood/gunstock colour.. please feel free to chime in and share if you have any experience in this area. thank you
Haven't done it myself, but the daughter and son in law did their living room. The problem with wood is that it is fairly easy to scratch. They got some marks early on from moving play pens and furniture around, plus the kids dragging stuff. In a kitchen I'd worry about water getting between the joints.
Fake wood laminate is very hardy, but real wood laminate can still get damaged. It doesn't creek or anything like that. I would suggest you get some distressed wood or some real planks with an already worn character. That way, any damage will become part of the look.
a carpet installer "friend" is suggesting engineered laminate/wood.. im not particular on the details but i think its a kit, dunno.. this does make me nervouse in a kitchen setting with kids and drinks, i love real wood but you get the same problem if drinks are spilled on it (or so im told) Ive also been told the kits do tend to scratch easily, and with my little boy.. thats big disasters waiting to happen..
The only reason I do this job myself is so I don't have to get financing. I have done 3 rooms and a hall, myself, with laminate click together flooring. They are all floating floors. No nails or screws. It is very durable but the kids have scratched it by racing a big wheel and a cozy coupe on it. For a house with crawl-space foundation I recommend laying a cement board sub floor first. Commercial grade flooring is thicker and heavier but it's not DIY like residential grade is. It takes a crew(my Wife helped me) to install it. I hate doorways! You mark the bottom side of the planks for doorway entry cuts, and the cut to length on the last piece in a row. I always have mat'l left over even though I ruin 2 or 3 planks per room. It is difficult for me get the correct edge distance on a floating floor. I have used 1/4 inch spacers behind the new base boards where the gap was too big. Good luck and enjoy your new floor.
I've installed alot of flooring in customers' homes and I dont like being part of the decision process. Bruce and others make some real wood flooring with a baked on finish that is pretty durable. My house came with a ton of oak flooring (I'd rather have hickory, or some other wood) but I have refinished it 2X in 13 years. (big dogs, kids, etc) the most durable finish is "Glitsa". it's a swedish finish, but you probably cant buy it commercially - the stuff is NASTY to put on - the fumes!! anyway, when it was time to replace 3 (carpeted) rooms in my house with wood floor I used a simple "key scratch" test: with only moderate pressure I ran a key across every floor sample: (hardwood, engineered, etc) and they all scratched way too easily. so... unfortunately I now have laminate flooring in my own home. It kills me, as a lover of wood and of natural products, but it's in our family room, dining room, basement, 3 bedrooms. it sure is durable! I even installed some in a cabin where the steel door frame was crooked for a few years and the door would rub on the floor at the end of its travel... no scratches!!!
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I've installed fake wood flooring in one room, 10 years ago, and the only mark that stands out is where the left rear chair leg on the computer chair pivots when people swivel out of the chair. Drinks don't worry it, even when the children don't notice it/tell for half a day. It went in easy in a rectangular room, and I'm putting similar system with 25 years warranty in the new kitchen.
I installed Tarkett Boreal laminate flooring over my tired vinyl in the kitchen/dinette. Simple 4 hour job and really freshened up the look. Very durable and cleans up nicely with a swiffer wet followed by a swiffer dry.
You can get away with laminate and it is fairly durable unless a spill remains. If water creeps its way into the gaps, it will start to buckle the laminate (I found out the hard way, but had young kids who ignored spills). I have since used the glue together vinyl that looks like wood and it is great. Really easy to use and totally waterproof. Also covers a lot of imperfections in the floor. For my kitchen, I am going to get the click together vinyl that looks like wood planks (my wife likes the looks better than the glued edge). ref
Not all laminates are affected by water. One high end product can be immersed without damage. It comes in all flavors. Some of the new ones are more expensive than real wood but very beautiful, with TEXTURE and color that defies belief. You need to shop around, and remember you get what you pay for.
There is a large difference in quality between products, manufacturers and product lines. I highly suggest you get samples, lots of samples, and test them for durablity and appearance. When we built our home I tested about 70 samples. There was a brand called Jasper (if I remember correctly) that would dent or scratch if you dropped a cup on it-the products surface was incredibly soft. Others, like Bellawood products were almost scratch proof, and I couldn't dent it by dropping a hammer onto the sample. I also tested by sitting a leg of our heavy dining room table on the sample for a few days, and then pulling the sample out without lifting the table. Some dented and scratched, others were unscathed. I suggest you stay away from laminate. While I'm sure they've come a long way, it's still easy to pick out a laminate floor and the repeating pattern. After all, they're nothing more than a photo of wood and they tend to scream "cheap". Engineered hardwoods and real hardwoods will give you the best bang for the buck, and are far more attractive than laminates, and will increase your future resale value. Both can be done as floating floors, and if the right product is used, can be suitable for a kitchen. There are also some products, such as bamboo, that if I were in the market today I'd seriously consider. The real key to noise is making sure the subfloor is solid. We glued and screwed our subfloors, and our floors are dead quiet when you walk over them. If I were to do an existing floor, once the old flooring was up I'd reinforce the subfloor by adding screws to the existing nails. When the new floor is installed make sure you use the correct underlayment-it will make a difference. I put down all of our hardwoods and tile floors by myself in just over a week (about 1500 square feet of wood and 1000 tile). I've also put down engineered hardwood floors (the click lock floating system), and both nailed and floating floors are easy, just time consuming. If you are at all handy and have a few basic tools (including a table saw and a power miter saw) there is no reason why you can't do it.
Someone^^^^ has not seen any newer laminates lately. I guarantee some of them look BETTER than real wood and have texture and character like nothing you've ever seen. The point is, cheap looks cheap. There's nice stuff out there. Quit going into the discount houses. Real wood is subject to the characteristics of each species of wood, and is typically a thin veneer, unless you go 3/4 inch tongue and groove where you sand it and finish it. So some will dent no matter the finish, plus prefinished floors are often coated with the [censored] finish made, and quickly show wear and tear unless you tiptoe around in socks. I have genuine maple in my house, we bought two pallets! It's stunning, but after ten years required sanding and recoating. What a mess, but totally worth it for the natural look. If I had it to do over today I would go laminate hands down. But at least the shop shop shop advice is good.
I have the "higher end" Pergo in the Kitchen. Large plank, rustic Red Oak style. It's showing it's age (10 years), but it's held up incredibly well. So much so, I'd do it again. I have dogs, I'm a mechanic, and we are not gentle on things. The only real problem is the edge molding is poor quality presswood and gets wet and warps. My den is high end, hardened "real" bamboo, as is my office. It has not held up nearly as well as the Pergo. It's 3 years old and needs to be refinished. It has many small "divots" in it where things were dropped and plenty of scratches. My bottom line: Pergo is easier to replace than real wood is to re-finish. However, the replacement cost of Pergo should be factored in if you are DIYer.
I have had Mannington installed 10 years ago in heavy traffic areas. Little wear to be seen (if any) I personally installed the DuPont Premium Laminate Flooring. It used to be available at Home Depot. We got the Honey Oak Plank (10 3/4") I like it a lot. I would never bother with wood. Its a personal opinion though.
Originally Posted By: Cujet
My den is high end, hardened "real" bamboo, as is my office. It has not held up nearly as well as the Pergo. It's 3 years old and needs to be refinished. It has many small "divots" in it where things were dropped and plenty of scratches.
Have you discovered that you cannot sand Bamboo yet? I did, and was very disappointed. So much that I developed a proprietary process to clean it and allow me to finish right over that tough metal oxide finish that makes it so hard.
I've yet to see a laminate or engineered flooring that looked as good as a solid wood floor. It's an investment that will hold up in the long run longer than the newer alternatives. I'd like to hear from a realtor what the difference in appraised value is for a house that has solid wood floors vs. laminate or engineered. What are the obsessions with a floor that won't scratch? Let's be realistic, you're going to walk on this thing every day for years and you expect it to not scratch? Some people are absolutely insatiable. The finish on the flooring has as much to do with the durability as the wood itself. All floors will scratch, just give them time. The wonderful thing about solid wood is that it can be refinished, try that with laminate. Engineered floors can have it done once or twice but how does that compare to hardwood? Bottom line is that all wood floors will scratch. Solid wood floors will add value to your house and last for decades. Clark
Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
.... I have genuine maple in my house, we bought two pallets! It's stunning, but after ten years required sanding and recoating. What a mess, but totally worth it for the natural look. If I had it to do over today I would go laminate hands down.
I have one inch wide maple planks throughout one of my houses, including the kitchen, and it is stunning, but I have had to refinish it once. I have some kind of modern engineered wood in our other house ( I bought it built ), and it looks good enough, but all of that engineered stuff is not "real" wood, it's just a veneer overlay. Might as well get a good quality laminate as that stuff, imo. I just built a new office building and used laminate in my personal office and all the public areas and it looks very good. There are many nice laminates out there. If you have small kids around, I'd get an inexpensive laminate and replace it in a few years with something nicer when it will be less prone to kid abuse.
My house has 13 year old laminate fake wood floors throughout. Not sure which brand, the builder installed it. Pergo was really big at the time though, so that would be my guess. Most of the flooring looks like new. It can get nicked, chipped, and scratched, but you really have to be rough with it to do that. It's definitely more damage resistant than real wood. There is one loose plank at the bottom of the stairs. It's probably the highest traffic area in the house though, and it just moves side to side a couple mm. Not sure how that happened, it was like that when my roommate and I moved in and we haven't bothered to fix it. The PO destroyed the laminate sheet that was in the kitchen, so they were not easy on floors. Cleaning is extremely easy. No special cleaners or care required. You can clean it with whatever you have on hand. It's also very quiet. No creaking. In a higher end house, yeah I'd probably want real wood. In a cookie cutter tract house that has laminate counters, vinyl siding, and other cost saving materials throughout, I'll take the laminate.
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