Traingulo or LM Engineered - Advice Needed!

AlexJouJouApril 9, 2013

Hello!

First thanks to all that post here as there is a wealth of information.

I am looking for flooring for my new house. I want to do the LR/DR and 2 bedrooms upstairs (as well as the hallway upstairs). I have tile in kitchen and both baths. The sq ft is about 850 or so with the surfaces I want to floor.

It is a concrete block house and the area has high humidity in the summer (MD/DC area) so I will be getting a dehumidifier and making sure the house is 40-60% at all times if possible. It has baseboard heating and a through the wall A/C unit. All subfloor is concrete with the old asbestos vinyl tile (9") underneath so it will need to be likely smoothed. Supposedly it is in good shape.

I've looked at and considered all types of flooring (except sheet vinyl). Currently I'd like to keep the budget to $8K give or take a thousand or two either way.

I've found Triangulo Brazilian Chestnut 5/16" 5" wide engineered on sale at a local flooring store for $1.99. I've put the sample through some tests but I'm not someone with super wood knowledge. I'm not quite as fond of the way this was sliced as the grain image is a little busy. However for this price it is a really good value.

At the same store he also had a really pretty LM Flooring Kendall Smooth Maple engineered. This is a 9ply and 1/2" wide so it appears much sturdier than the Triangulo. It is on sale for $3.00 or so a sq ft. The grain is subtle (as Maple seems to be) and it has also gone through tests with me. It is FSC certified which I like.

Both have aluminum oxide finishes (not so fond as, IMHO, it lends itself to the plasticky feel but I think this must be very standard).

I would be putting a vapor barrier and cork underlayer down. The Triangulo can be floated - but the guy said the LM cannot and he'd glue it.

I cannot find many reviews of either of these products. If I had my perfect choice I would actually choose bamboo as I like the look better for the LR/DR and choose cork for the bedrooms. However all the information on the net scares me away from both of those and I only know one person who has cork in the kitchen though he does love it (tiles not floating planks).

I'd love input on either brand and whether the 5/16" product is really thick enough to provide a good floor. It is only 3 ply and looks so incredibly thin and, well, insubstantial!

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grout_guru325

If you can find Triangulo Brazilian Chestnut at that price, I'd go with it.

As for the old asbestos tiles installed currently, do not attempt to smooth these yourself. This could cause the asbestos to become airborne and therefore harmful. Your best bet would be to install the new flooring over the vinyl, but if you can remove them without disturbing the material inside the tiles at all, this might be a better option. If not, call a professional.

It's definitely something you need to think about before you rush into the removal process, let alone smoothing them down, which I would never recommend.

Here is a link that might be useful: This explains asbestos tile removal better than I can.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:50AM
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AlexJouJou

That's why I'm tempted. I men it is 5/16" so it is thin but that is a great price and it is a nice wood. I also like it might shift for me to slightly darker.

In terms of asbestos I am moving into a coop who will do any abatement that is needed if the tiles are in any way damaged or not intact. I won't know until we get in there and pull the carpet. I would only consider a professional doing the install due to these tiles. Settlement is scheduled for 5/3 and I am in my rental until 7/31 so I have more than enough time to paint, fix a few things (bathroom vanity is, well, yuck!) and get a new floor in. It should be enough time to be sure any asbestos issue can also be handled.

Is the 5/16" a concern overall on a floating? It looks so so thin compared to the other wood I've been looking at. I would be buying at a local flooring story and the guy has told me he will warranty it for 3 years. I'm mostly concerned with the install warranty and for a couple of years to make sure there are no problems so I'm good with this given the price.

To complicate matters I just got samples of Cali Bamboo and oh my this stuff is gorgeous! However I'm still concerned due to reviews in general on bamboo. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:02PM
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grout_guru325

The only problem you would encounter with any floating floor is that it may sound hollow when you walk on it, but if you do the installation properly this shouldn't be an issue. Also, why is the flooring store only giving you a warranty of three years on it? Most of the Triangulo I've seen comes with a 25-year manufacturer's warranty at the very least. Or is he just putting his own warranty on the install job?

If you go with bamboo, make sure you get it from a reputable manufacturer. Some producers use high levels of formaldehyde to bond the strands together, and this can leave a pungent smell throughout your home for weeks as it off-gasses.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:14AM
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AlexJouJou

The flooring store put the Triangulo on sale so he says no warranty. He will warranty the install for me. I don't know - maybe he bought a truckload? I don't know how useful warranties are to some degree as all I hear is horror stories of companies who don't do anything anyway. Since I already know the house has the potential for moisture issues I almost assumed that would be the "out" if anything happened. I've gotten very pessimistic after reading stuff online and talking to friends.

I had planned, if floated, to put a vapor barrier and cork down under. It is just that 5/16 that is worrying to me - it is so thin I feel like it will not hold up. The wear layer is miniscule...and I don't know, other than it is ply and not HDF, what the layers are made of. If it is this thin the layers under may make a significant difference.

This hardwood flooring search is actually very tough. I've talked to friends, read reviews, etc. It just seems like the last 5-6 years the quality just isn't there. Many of my friends with recent hardwood (engineered or solid) purchase are not as happy as my friend's who put hardwoods in a long time ago..or whose home had original hardwoods. Almost everyone who has it "newer" says it scratches, dents, peels, and has other problems. I'm not sure what to make of that!

There was only one lady with a Bruce Oak Engineered she put in about 5 years ago who was happy with it....

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 5:28PM
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grout_guru325

I can definitely feel your concerns and frustrations. A lot of manufacturers do cut corners in the production process to keep costs down for the consumer, but cheap doesn't always mean best value in the long run. If what he's selling you is actually Triangulo, you shouldn't have a problem even with the 5/16", but I would be cautious if he's telling you there's no warranty on it. Unless he's marking it down because it's defective, the manufacturer is supposed to honor the warranty it comes with so long as you follow the instructions during the installation job, even if the flooring is on sale. Now, the store may not put an additional warranty on the product, but it's rather dubious of him to tell you that the manufacturer's warranty is null and void.

Also, if 5/16" is a big concern for you, have you thought of going up to some of their 3/8" or even 1/2" engineered woods? They may be a little more expensive but they certainly won't wear down as quickly.

If you go for something like Bruce Oak Engineered, which is a decent product, you won't get the same exotic looks as you will from Triangulo, but at that point it's really a matter of style preference rather than functionality.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 10:03PM
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dannnnn1111

If you're considering LM flooring, read my blog post...
http://renonightmares.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-first-horror-story-lm-flooring.html

I recommend staying away from this company, you never know what you're going to get regardless of your order.

Here is a link that might be useful: LM flooring review

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 1:46AM
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