New flooring; hardwood or....?

polly_ilApril 5, 2013

I have an area approximately 17x40 that needs new flooring. There is an L shaped kitchen along one narrow end and then part way down a long wall; I do not plan to move the cabinets to refloor. One half of the area currently has sheet vinly with underlayment; the other half is OSB subfloor (carpeting has been removed.)

Tile is out - we have a family member who is a very frequent guest and who weighs 450#, a basement under the area with wooden beams supporting the floor; even with underlayment there is just too much 'give' to the area.

Sheet vinyl is out - too many seams, and we as a family are rough on floors - the current vinyl was gouged within a few days.

Carpet is out - I am in the process of removing all carpeting from the house for health reasons.

I am looking at various wood type options. I don't think that the laminated wood floors would do well, related to us being rough on flooring. I think that we need something that can be repaired/refinished, or have pieces that can easily be replaced, but I'm not sure what that might be. I haven't been able to obtain much information from the respresentatives at our 3 local home improvement centers - Menards, Home Depot, Lowe's.

We will be hiring the installation done, so skill level isn't a deciding factor.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would very much appreciate them!


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Sophie Wheeler

Reinforce your floor joists and use porcelain tile if you are hard on floors. That will be the longest lasting and most durable installation possible.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:54PM
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If tile is completely out of the question for you, have you thought of using cork? As you can probably tell by my username, I have porcelain tile down in my kitchen and I'm never going back to anything else. Hardwood might look pretty, but if you have pets,children, or as you said in your case heavy-set relatives, it can turn into a total disaster. But if I were to go with anything else in a kitchen, it would be cork. My spine doesn't hurt when I stand on it for long periods, and it's not susceptible to mold,mildew, and pests like some other materials are. My first apartment had it in the kitchen and cleaning it was a breeze.

Whatever you decide to do, take hollysprings' advice and reinforce the floor joists anyway. This will prevent any subfloor damage from occurring in the future.

Out of curiosity, what sort of climate do you live in?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:42PM
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Thank you for answering; I appreciate your time.

Grout Guru, I live in the midwest; zone 5/6.

The house is 17 years old and the floor joists are those engineered wooden I-beams set on what appears to be 2' centers; they go across the short length of the area. They 'should' support the area adequately; and generally do except when the one family member visits and we hear creaking and groaning when he walks. 450# is a great deal of pressure to put on an area :(

Most of the basement area underneath the area to have new flooring is open - a family room/game room/exercise equipment area; there is one supporting wall 8' in from one end. Putting jack stands in that area would greatly decrease it's usability. Think Bow-Flex, pingpong, pool...

We live on a farm. While there hasn't been any baby chicks or calves in the kitchen recently, stuff does get tracked in; including my most recent pet peever - rocks stuck in the bottom tread of sneakers (have bigger rock ordered to put down over the small gravel that keeps getting brought in.)

I have no feeling in my fingertips related to having had chemo. I drop things, and some of them are heavy (cast iron dutch oven, canner), some of them are prone to badly staining wherever they hit (pickled beets), some of them gouge (griddle corners, handles, heavy jars). I have 2 young grandsons who will be walking/running/driving toy trucks/etc... across the area for several years to come. I have a dog and a cat; my daughter's dog comes to visit frequently. When I host family dinners, my relative's dogs come with them...

Whatever I get needs to be able to handle the abuse, and to be simple to repair or replace damaged areas. Tile would shatter the first time a heavy jar or skillet got dropped on it, I'm afraid. The cork I've seen comes in rolls like vinyl, only narrower - not sure how I would replace gouged areas on it.

I have to decided soon - Husband has said no more family dinners until we get flooring down - for some reason he is embarrased by construction paper over sub floor lol!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:32AM
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You've ruled out evething that exists. Nothing meets your criteria.

You have to pick the lesser of the evils.

If your properly reinforce the floor joists, and then properly lay the porcelain with thinset, there isn't much that will damage it. Things you drop may break, but unless you drop that iron skillet at an angle that concentrates it's force in one spot, you're not going to shatter it. And if you do, it's not that difficult to chisel out the broken one and replace it.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Try Marmoleum. It comes in tiles, can be replaced, is extremely sturdy and durable.. Would be great in that type of environment. And they now ahve tons of really great colors. You can create your own pattern.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 3:28PM
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It seems like you have quite a lot on your plate. I've never lived on a farm so I can't imagine the amount of stuff that could get tracked in.

As far as cork goes, a lot of it comes in planks or tiles now, so if one area does get damaged, replacement is easy. While the material itself can take a lot of abuse, it is also quite malleable. If you drop something on it, the object is less likely to break than it would be on hardwood or tile, and if it does dent the floor the cork will revert to its original shape in about a day or so in most cases, unless of course you drop something like a piano or a floor safe on it. I would avoid anything that comes in sheets; it really is a pain to replace.

If you're leaning toward hardwood for your basement, make sure you opt for engineered hardwood. Solid wood below grade is never a good idea, as it's too susceptible to moisture and can cause the planks to cup or buckle. Since you live in the midwest at least you won't have to worry about the wood splitting due to dryness, so at least you have that advantage.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:26AM
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