Low cost flooring choice?

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Old 08-21-08, 04:57 PM
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Low cost flooring choice?

Since there isn't a general flooring forum and I am looking to replace my existng carpeting, this seemed the most appropriate place.

My wife and I recently tried to sell our hosue and move farther south. After 4 months on the market, numerous open houses, price dropping, etc. (plus someone bought the house we had built down south), we pulled the house off the market for now (maybe try again next year if the economy is better).

Anyway, everyone said the house showed well with the exception that the carpets (1st and 2nd floor) looked dirty. We have steam cleaned them ourselves and even had a professional come out about 3 years ago. I think they are just cheap builder's grade carpets (original carpeting, 8 year old house). Since this seemed to be the only area most people noted, I would like to change it before we put our house on the market again. And since we plan on moving, I don't want to spend a ton of money for something I may only get a year's worth of use out of. I have looked into carpeting, cork, etc. What is the least expensive, durable flooring that could be installed. First floor is slab on grade, second floor is a wooden subfloor. I have done some laminate flooring install, so I am not opposed (obviously since I am on this site) to something that is DIY.

I don't want cheap stuff that I would have to repace in 6 months, but I also don't see spending $3k for something that I will not get to enjoy for more than a few months to a year.

Any thoughts are appreciated. The area to redo is about 600 sf or so plus a stairway.

Thanks,
Neil
 
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Old 08-22-08, 08:26 AM
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What do the competitive properties have for floor covering? Have they replaced older carpet with laminate, engineered wood, hardwood, or tile?
No amount of DIY or professional cleaning can make an older carpet look like new. High traffic areas tend to be the worst for wear where fibers abrade and compact and cushion compacts. Buyers are looking for move-in-ready conditions. If a house down the street has new floor covering and costs a little more than your home, then they will likely opt for the home down the street.
More and more folks are pulling out carpet and going with hard surfaces for ease of maintenance and health issues. You can shop the low budget carpets for cost + installation and compare to cost of other types of flooring materials. If you can DIY, you may find that laminate or engineered wood are good options.
Keep in mind, that it is best to go with a major manufacturer that offers good, better, best levels of quality, warranty, and price. Purchase the best that your budget will allow.
 
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Old 08-22-08, 08:46 AM
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flooring

I may have missed it, but what room/s is this? Common areas?

As a design consultant and stager, the recommendation would be hardwood or the hardwood look.

As a DIYer, I will say that you can find flooring lots on ebay. There's a specific tile that's wonderful. I'm not talking your typical ceramic, but there's a porcelain tile that actually looks like a wood grain, it's gorgeous when laid too. My aunt put it in her house and it's just beautiful.

This dealer of Shaw products has some great prices on Ebay:
http://stores.ebay.com/Floor-Mania-H...QQftidZ2QQtZkm

The item I'm referring to is item #: 170251310823

Good luck,

Nikki
 
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Old 08-22-08, 11:01 AM
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Twelvepole,
I think it is a mix. There aren't any (that I know of) houses nearby on the market right now. When we were selling, there were about 10. Then all of a sudden, all of the signs were down except 1. I know our neighbor did all hardwood when she moved in a couple of years ago (she is also and end unit). Our neighbor 3 TH's down has carpet (original) on the first floor and cork (2'x2' glue down tile) on the second floor. One of the houses we looked in while ours was for sale was carpet (looked original, a little better shape than ours).

Nikki,
The two rooms are our living room on the first floor and family room on the second floor (4 story townhouse).

I would avoid tile on the first floor. That room/floor is always about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the house. We did marble tile in our entry hallway (next to the garage) leading to the first floor living room and it is pretty cold on bare feet in the winter. I wouldn't want to do the rest of the first floor that way.

First floor I would prefer carpet or cork for insulating purposes since it is cold down there and a slab on grade. That room doesn't get used much except when we watch movies (my home theater is down there away from our 2 year old). The area that is really bad on the first floor is at the bottom of the stairs where we all get ready and put our shoes on.

Second floor I am more open to options. I could continue the laminate we have in our kitchen out into the family room, but that would be costly and I worry about getting my money's worth (especially in this economy). Although that may be what I have to do to actually get the house sold (again, especially in this economy).

Each area is roughly 300 sf for a total of 600 sf, plus the stairs from the 1st to 2nd floor. Just looking for various ideas, so keep the thoughts coming! Once the wife starts working full time, we may be able to afford a little more for flooring. I may also buy some bits at a time (if I do hardwood or similar) and store them until I have enough to do a whole room. Buying a few sq. ft. here and there over a few months won't break the bank hopefully.

Sorry for the long post!

-Neil
 
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Old 08-22-08, 04:47 PM
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You may want to consider same or similar marble tile at entry at bottom of stairs for the sake of continuity if replacing carpet. This is an area that gets alot of tracking. Otherwise, laminate or engineered wood and a colorful throw rug to catch grit and drips if going with one of those options.
My rental's downstairs is on a slab. The tiny kitchen has plastic laminate, and it is very cold in winter. The powder room has ceramic tile, and it is very cold as well. Of course, houseslippers would be an easy solution to combat cold floors. Rugs also offer warmth.
My entry door opens directly onto carpet and stairs are to the right. These areas are professionally clean, but the older carpet is a bit frazzled and tired looking. I wish they had put laminate in the small entry hall for ease of maintenance. Tracking ice and snow and snow melt inside the entry where shoes are removed on a rug poses some cleaning issues.
Carpet may be a preferred floor covering in a home theater room. This is because of acoustics. Area rugs can provide color and warmth, but do not absorb as much sound as carpet and cushion. Keep in mind that potential buyers may not use that room as a home theater and may prefer laminate or engineered wood with an area rug. When staging a home for the market, the home should appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers.
Cork offers sound absorption and certainly more resilence and warmth than marble tile or plastic laminate. If this is a popular floor covering in your area, then it might be something to consider if it is budget friendly. Cork tiles would make for an easy DIY project. Cork seems to be an individual preference in my area, and tends to be more of a rarity. Some buyers would tend not to like cork flooring.
Although hard surface floor coverings continue to gain popularity, there are still buyers who prefer carpet in bedrooms because of softness and warmth. Thus, one often finds hard surfaces on the first floor and carpet on upper floors where there are bedrooms.
Too, not everyone likes plastic laminate because of the sound. Some do not like floating floors because of movement. Some do not like hardwood because of the extra care and maintenance.
Do your homework and compare apples to apples for costs of flooring materials and installation costs. Be sure to take into consideration the extra materials and labor required for stairs. You may find that it may be simpler and less expensive to simply replace all the carpet with new less expensive carpet in a neutral color just prior to listing the home. Carpet would simplify floor covering replacement on stairs. Watch for warehouse sales and clearance sales.
Simply replacing the carpet will give you your 'money's worth' and give the home a fresh, clean look. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way, too. Because of recent trends in the real estate market and homes not bringing top dollar, it is not a good time to think about making expensive upgrades. As you describe the offerings in the neighborhood as a mix of floor coverings, replacing the carpet should not affect the sale.
A note of caution re: buying floor covering in 'bits and pieces.' You may find that when you get a few more dollars ahead and return to the store that the product you have been buying in small lots has been discontinued. This is a frequent complaint in flooring forums and folks need a box or two to finish a project. Thus, it is best to calculate the amount needed with the extra averaged in for cuts and waste and to purchase the amount needed in its entirety.
 
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Old 08-22-08, 08:21 PM
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Twelvepole,
All very good points.

I think the first floor will be carpet no matter what, especially given the slab on grade and home theater. Many people around here seem to have the big screen TV's or playrooms on the first floor, so carpeting would be more comfortable. I had pondered cork for its thermal and acoustic properties on the first floor, but it may still be too reflective for a home theater.

If I had thought about it, I should have extended the marble tile some more. I think it might be too late now since it was special order (we matched the marble that was around our fireplace on the first floor when we bought the house) and there was, IIRC, a minimum 8 box order. I would need about 1 box. We ordered extra, but with some breakage during installation, I don't think I have enough to do a lot more.

Carpeting may be the best choice, and I will probably wait until after most of the winter is over (depending on when we decide to sell) to minimize trekking stuff into the house.

I guess part of my original question would be how cheap is too cheap for carpeting (or other flooring)? I looked around HD one time and they had carpet for $1.56/SF up to over $4/SF, and honestly, the cheap stuff looked like it would match exactly what we have (same carpet throughout all 4 stories).

I still might look at cork tile for the second floor. It looks nice, but I think it probably still pricier than carpeting.

And thanks for the tip on NOT buying in bits and pieces. I hadn't thought of things beng discontinued, although I think I have had that happen to me before!

-Neil
 
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Old 08-23-08, 02:37 AM
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Based on description of comparative propertives and desire to stage home for sale, lower cost point for carpet is likely the best best bet. Watch for sales and get carpet installed prior to listing. With a new, neutral carpet, you will tend to get your money's worth.
 
 

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