Which type, Where to purchase

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  #1  
Old 02-10-12, 06:02 AM
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Question Which type, Where to purchase

I want to replace my carpet in the living room and dining room. I live in a townhouse so the total floor are is small- 18'x24'. I have a dog and resistance to scratching and wear is a consideration, as is cost. I also will be using the entire area as a photo studio rather than its traditional use so species will be a consideration. I like many different type but wood w/ a lot of character or markings is my preference.

Cost is a big big priority so the exotic hardwoods are not an option. I have also never done this before and will be learning as I go. A friend installed a laminate type he purchased from Home Depot and he did his 3 step entrance stairs which I thought looked quite nice- not cheap or fake, (with the same material he used throughout his living room, also a townhouse).

He suggested I look at engineered over the laminate as he believes it is stronger and more resistant to scratching.

Putting these considerations out there I need help in what material to use, what my choices are and where to purchase for the best deal.
The other detail is that my run of stairs total about 16 rather than three. I have to tie the different looks together. The entrance is a light taupe colored marble and the kitchen is a bright white w/ orange veining and the grout matches.
Having an active dog factors into this and I am thinking of keeping carpet on the stairs up to the landing... for functional purposes but the aesthetic look is what concerns me.

The alternative if just using carpet on the stairs looks horrible would be to only use the wood flooring in the living room and keep carpet in the adjacent dining room which returns off of the stairs and the landing.

Thank you,

Doug
 
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  #2  
Old 02-10-12, 09:32 AM
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I'm just a flooring installer, not a designer, so my input on where to put what might not be the best advise, but, have you considered any of the engineered bamboo or cork floors? The cork normally comes with a lifetime warranty as does some of the bamboo. Strand woven bamboo is supposed to be harder than Oak and should hold up under any sort of dog traffic and would make a nice looking floor in a studio. It goes together just like laminate so it's a great DIY project. If you decide to put it on the stairs as well, most of the manufacturers make stair nose pieces to accommodate that application.
 
  #3  
Old 02-10-12, 01:58 PM
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Thanks Smokey-
Bamboo would be an option. Is the caramelized as strong as the natural? Someone told me that the process of caramelizing weakens it somewhat.
 
  #4  
Old 02-12-12, 04:00 PM
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I'm not sure about that. I do know, however, that the strand woven is supposed to be three times as hard as oak. I'll ask my sales rep about the caramelizing and get back to you on it, if someone else doesn't answer the question sooner.
 
  #5  
Old 02-13-12, 03:35 AM
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Thanks.
Also I am looking where people here recommend best places to purchase.
 
  #6  
Old 02-16-12, 06:15 AM
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Any other suggestions floating around out there for materail and where is a good place to purchase?
 
  #7  
Old 02-16-12, 08:18 AM
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We have a Portuguese Water Dog and a few years ago had pre-finished oak plank flooring installed on our main floor. Within a short time it was significantly scratched. We were devastated at first. Now we're used to it BUT I would not suggest using a pre-finished oak. A friend has a cheap laminate that has stood up to our two dogs sliding back and forth on it with no scratches at all. We were told when we were looking at flooring by ALL the dealers that the pre-finished oak had a super-scratch resistance, diamond-whatever, and it just turned out to be sales talk. So my vote would be laminate. What about in a grey tone (if you can get it to match the taupe), maybe a barn-board look?
 
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Old 02-16-12, 08:30 AM
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What about in a grey tone (if you can get it to match the taupe), maybe a barn-board look?

Thanks- Laminate was not what I thought I would end up using, but it seems to be a very valid choice. I liked Scott's suggestion of Bamboo, even though it is harder than oak I think it would still be subject to scratching.... my Labrador is very active...

Any advice where to find a wide variety and best cost places to purchase from?
 
  #9  
Old 02-20-12, 11:44 PM
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My two cents having just finished about 2000 sqft with a combo of laminate and engineered hw....

I would stay away from the laminates as they are thin, so any scratch or damage is not repairable, and I found it susceptible to that. Engineered layer is thicker so you at least have some damage repair and capability. I bought 5 inch maple planks in two shades. Dogs cant touch it, so dont know if this is the different woods, or a change in the finishes. If damage and sustainability with dogs is an issue, may want to consider the luxury vinyl tiles that come in a variety of wood plank styles . We shied away from them b/c they were at least 2 dollars sqft more than the engineered. A couple of dog hotels where I live have this in their lobbies and it looks fantastic.

As for where to buy, you basically have to decide whether you want a full service experience or not. Local dealers have a pretty good selection, but wont be cheap. They will have good advice and access to the little things, the odd trim piece, etc, that you will run into. If you want a cheaper experience, you can go to the box stores. Lumber Liquidators was interesting in terms of pricing, but I found their selection to be a bit limited as we had specific color/size/species requirements. We ended up buying on line from Home Depot and were very happy with our choice and actually stunned by the speed of delivery (I was actually still out of town because I thought there was no way in hell they were going to deliver in three days). It ended up being the cheapest alternative for the base flooring, but I have already had to make my own spline (to reverse direction) and will be milling my own trim at some point as well.

And whatever you do, if nothing else, do NOT, NOT, NOT ask HD a question about installation unless you are just trying to get some comic relief. There was a reason I ended up buying on line.
 
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Old 02-21-12, 02:46 AM
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@dnspade-
Not sure what you meant in your comment here:
" I bought 5 inch maple planks in two shades. Dogs cant touch it, so dont know if this is the different woods, or a change in the finishes."

I looked at some of the vinyl stuff and this looks promising, thanks for the suggestion.
 
  #11  
Old 02-21-12, 02:08 PM
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Yeah, writing at 1:30 am has its risks...

Meant I bought pre-finished maple in both a very dark and very light shade, and the dogs havent been able to put a scratch on it. Not sure if that is because of the colors or the type of wood compared with the others experience with Oak where it was destroyed. They basically only skate on it and it is also standing up well to twelve nieces and one nephew that come through regularly. Net, would not dismiss engineered because of peoples oak experience - seems to be a common theme. (BTW my apostrophe key is not working so please disregard any typos)
 
  #12  
Old 02-21-12, 02:30 PM
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@dnspade-
Thank you. I was hoping you meant this... but thought it could have been that you wouldn't let them near it to "touch it" :-)
I visited a local flooring retailer and looked at the laminates and the high end vinyl. The laminates seem to be the way I am leaning.
The shop gave me a $4 sqft price on Armstrong Best laminate flooring, which I think is a good price and $6.70 installed. The type is American Duet
Armstrong Flooring - American Duet - Hartford Maple

Could you provide the link(s) of the products you purchased so we can compare?
 
  #13  
Old 02-21-12, 03:43 PM
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I purchased a floating engineered wood for my house. It was the first and only time I installed hard floors. I've refinished other solid wood floors a few times as well.

I installed about 1200sq feet of it, and learned a few lessons.

If you're doing floating, don't cheap out on the foam under the wood. Wish I would have spent a few hundred more for premium foam. Also don't cheap out on the thickness of the board.

I have engineered oak, it sratches incredibly easy. The finish scratches, even though the wood is very hard. Not sure if this is my particular type or not, but I definitely need to keep a bottle of old english handy. Its sort of strange how it scratches. A 100 pound dog could run in circles all day, but got forbid you try to slide a piece of furniture anywhere.

I don't really like the feel of floating floors. I would have gone unfinished oak hardwood and finished it myself if I had to do it over again. It's way more work than slapping together some floating floors, but as far as quality:cost, the combination is unbeatable.

Oh and I highly recommend lumber liquidators for the wood. I am a deal hunter and shop around for many many hours whenever I make a big purchase. Lumber liquidators always had excellent prices. Better than HD/lowes, and way better than small shops. They have sales from time to time as well. There is also something to be said for the ease of dealing with a large company, especially one that only deals with one product. I buy a lot of things at home depot/lowes, but hardwood flooring will never be one.
 
  #14  
Old 02-21-12, 03:47 PM
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wow 4$/foot for laminate is really high, def check out lumber liquidators

I paid $1.59 for engineered that was on sale, the local LL had a leftover pallet.
 
  #15  
Old 02-21-12, 08:26 PM
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@bzinsky:
Thanks for your input.

To your point about price-
"wow 4$/foot for laminate is really high, def check out lumber liquidators
I paid $1.59 for engineered that was on sale, the local LL had a leftover pallet"

Is not taking into account the difference level of quality. I was also offered a Mannigton product for $1.25, but there is a considerable difference in quality. The Armstrong product is their "Best" line. I located this online at $3 a foot but shipping is required and pushes it to $3.50 a foot when all said and done.

As for the hardwood Oak- I don't think that is the best product for me, definitely not the hardest hardwood. As for finishing this ourselves- unless we are able to apply Aluminum Oxide rather than a polyurethane, which is a plastic, will scratch and will allow for a wood product to dent- it is not dense enough for an active dog.

Please feel free to comment back- I am not taking a position just sharing my thoughts.

 
  #16  
Old 02-21-12, 09:08 PM
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Maple Platinum 1/2 in. Thick x 5 in. Wide x Random Length Engineered Hardwood Flooring (31 sq.ft./case)-PF9611 at The Home Depot

Thats the link above - doesnt look like it is pasting right (please ignore lack of apostrophes). I find it interesting the new lower price is 5.39 when I paid 4.99 a couple of months ago. But it has held up well. Looking at the discussion, this met my needs well, although I stapled it down and the resulting flex vs. solid hardwood is welcome as it is on the basement flooring.

The laminate I used was one of the laminates that Costco sells which is sub-2 / sqft but would not buy it again. Agree LL better than HD/Lowes but found locally they didnt have a lot and was very happy with the HD experience. Would also check Craigslist. Lots of builders offloading excess material. Its a crapshoot but can payoff.
 
  #17  
Old 02-22-12, 06:00 AM
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@ylwdog

check out some of the other unfinished woods at Lumber liquidators. I personally think it looks better when its finished afterwards. I would assume it would be better for spills as well as there is no seam.

Anyway, if your heart is set on laminate, at least check out what LL has to offer before you purchase. I'm a far cry from an expert, and I'm unsure of the actual differences between to good/cheap laminates, but the best stuff you can buy at LL is under $3. Not to mention, you can pick it up at one of their outlets for free. All I ask is that you check them out, I thoroughly enjoy saving other people money.
 
  #18  
Old 02-22-12, 06:32 AM
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Have you considered staining the concrete? If your home is on a slab. It's a cheap alternative to carpet and looks very nice.
 
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