Vinyl Flooring: Do It Yourself Planks vs. Sheet Vinyl Install

ozziepuppyJune 13, 2010

Hello All,

We have just about decided to replace our carpet (living room and hall) and vinyl (kitchen and dining room) with a laminate product due to dog and cat issues. We are looking at high quality fake wood looks such as Mannington Adura Loc'n'Go planks or Armstrong Best Luxe Planks. However, I have some concerns about doing such a large area (1000 sq. ft.) in a floating floor, especially in the kitchen where the 'fridge might occasionally need to be moved out, etc. This morning I had the idea of possibly doing the same thing, but in sheet vinyl. For example, Mannington has some of the same patterns available both in the Adura planks and in their sheet vinyl. Questions:

(1) Do the floating planks look more realistic than the sheet vinyl? For example, the Armstrong Best Luxe Planks have a micro bevel and "realistic" graining. The sheet vinyl would be smooth.

(2) Would the floating planks be better quality? The Armstrong planks have a lifetime residential warranty.

(3) Would the sheet vinyl install better since it would be professionally installed?

(4) Would the glue-down method of sheet vinyl be much more durable, especially in the kitchen?

(5) Could the do-it-yourself floating planks be installed room-by-room over time or would the color lots vary too much?

(6) Would there need to be transition strips between areas with the floating floors (between dining room and living room, or between the living room and the hallway)?

(7) Would one alternative be significantly more cost effective?

My current feeling is to stick with (pardon the pun) the plan to do the do-it-yourself floating planks, but with a cost estimate of around $5000.00 I would prefer that this not have any major unexpected pitfalls. I would appreciate any input from others who have chosen this route, and any pictures would be most welcome. Thanks a lot in advance.


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When I said "with a laminate product" I meant "with a high quality vinyl product."

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 9:00AM
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Wow..tough dilemma....I understand all your concerns and they are legit. I own numerous flooring stores,and I would not use any type of a floating vinyl product. Or laminate for that matter. The pet issue...Wow, 5 grand is a lot for a do it your self project and you can't start and stop unless you buy all from one lot. Vinyl products have huge dye lot issues and I mean huge. There are some great vinyl floors that look real and they would be professionally done. I will say this, on a 1000 sq ft project, I would want it adhered to the floor and then I would be fine with any of the products you discuss because you have a store on the hook. Its just going to ruin that do it yourself thought. I'm telling you though, I just would not ever put a 1000 ft connecting job of a vinyl product that is floating as there is just a ton of things that can fail. There will be many installer and others on these forums that tell you my statement is crazy, but let me tell you...I live and breath flooring and deal with more issues, and complaints with floating stuff than you can ever imagine. One nice thing about floating issues is that it can normally be repaired but when it gets to a 1000 ft job, Its not always that easy. And all companies are trying to jump on board with the floating vinyl product to gain market share from laminates and fiber floors. The bigger the project the more I like it adhered to the floor as expansion and contraction is taken out of the equation. Just my honest opinion. And those big warranties don't mean much (Lifetime residential)...A good vinyl installer with a glue down vinyl can make your home look like a million bucks and it will be waterproof against those critters. That is probably the way I would go.The floating planks will not be better quality as far as surface layer. They will feel thicker though. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 1:31AM
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Thanks for your reply. We are strongly considering the Mannington Adura Planks which, I believe, contain limestone, and also have a coating that contains aluminum oxide. I am currently in the process of ripping out the carpet and pad and preparing the subfloor. The Adura Planks (as I am sure you know) come in two versions--the Loc'n'Go and the glue-down planks. The thing about the glue-down planks is that according to the installer they would be glued down to an underlayment, not to the subfloor (an underlayment that rolls out--not the plywood kind), so he said BOTH kinds would actually be "floating." So it doesn't seem like there would be much difference in the end result (correct me if I am wrong here) whether it was professionally installed or not. There are some parts that I have concerns about (undercutting doorways, for example) but they are willing to come out and do things like that for me given the size of the order. Does gluing down the planks prevent any expansion or contraction? They said it is extremely minimal--just have to allow 1/8th inch at the edges. When you say there are a ton of things that could fail, what in particular are you referring to? I appreciate your input and comments.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 1:37PM
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However, the underlayment for the glue-down "floating" installation would definitely be more stable since the underlayment is stapled to the subfloor. On a Loc'n'Go installation the entire floor would actually not be attached to anything.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 9:46AM
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This is a message to Ozziepuppy or any one who can help me decide what to do. I, too, have a large area 1400 sq. ft that I would like to do in vinyl and I can not decide what to do..sheet? planks? I have looked into Congoleum Airstep Plus, Mannington, and Karnderan. This is for a concrete basement that has no moisture issues. Ozziepuppy, what did you end up doing and are you pleased with your decision?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 10:37PM
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I put a high quality, floating floor in my apt kitchen in NYC to help with pet wear and tear. NOT the best option. If one piece needs to be replaced (and with pet accidents it bubbles very easily), you have to undo a whole section because they are interlocked. Also, they just don't look that great, no matter what we paid.
So when it came time to make the rest of the apt floor look decent, we switched to vinyl planks from Lowes. Sounds gross, but they're actually amazing looking.
Our apt was built in the 1880's, (the original floor was long destroyed and removed before we got it),and I found a dark gunstock in a wider cut that almost matched our neighbor's original floor exactly. You ready for this? 98 cents a sq foot! If one gets damaged you peel it off (with some effort) and put a replacement.
Echoflooring is sooo right about batch colors. Get it all at once and mix up the boxes as you lay it. We have a bunch of mixed ones for replacement and haven't used one, not one, but I know we have them.
Lowes will recommend their sealer,but we didn't use it. They self stick just fine. One or two spots came up after we were first done and someone on line told us to use a hairdryer to reheat it and lay a book on top overnight. Worked like a dream.
Our apt in NY is 800 sq ft and our current tenant is a photographer with two rescue cats and she loves the floor. Even with her keen eye, we had to tell her they were vinyl and how to replace it if she had a pet accident. She was blown away!
I will try to post a picture of our NY apt floor for you. To be fair to our tenant the photographer, I took the horrible quality pics w my cell, not her! LOL!
Choose wisely for your space and go with your fave, not what everyone says you should do, incl me. And pls do remember the color batch issue echoflooring brought up. Good luck :)

Here is a link that might be useful: NYC vinyl plank floor

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 1:39PM
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MrsBungaloonie your photo link isn't working. Are these the planks you used (Armstrong - link below)?

I would really love to hear more about a floor like this. We currently have engineered hardwood in our condo and it's beautiful but we are moving and the new place has carpet - which has to go due to allergies and pets. I prefer hard floors, but we don't want to invest in a very expensive floor for the new place, we want reasonable attractive and durable preferably wood look.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lowes Armstrong planks

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 7:45PM
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I used the 'Allure Vinyl Planks Cherry' And love them. I have had no issues with them. They have held up amazingly with my 3 kids, and big American bulldogs. People who come over to my house think its real wood. Anyhow, maybe look into it?

Here is a link to my house blog if you want to see what it looks like. I have this flooring all over my 2400 SF home.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:33AM
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Tinan, another option to the Vinyl planks is a floating cork floor. I have wood , sheet vinyl and now cork in my house. We put the floating cork over a cement slab. Its warm and durable. So far it has performed better than wood. The brand is We Cork. I did look at the Nafco Vinyl planks which the same floor place sells, I will probably end up using planks in basement.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 10:45AM
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I don't like the look of cork, prefer wood grain rather than the speckled cork look. Thanks for the suggestion though! I think we will go with the vinyl planks either glue down or floating, there are some with aluminum oxide layer to help reduce scratches. The Allure planks look great! Those are Home Depot, similar to the Lowes products I think.

One question remains - what do you do with stairs when using this kind of flooring throughout a 2 story townhouse? I thought maybe of putting the vinyl on the stairs too and then putting a carpet runner on top to disguise the fact that it won't look very authentic on stairs. The stairs are currently carpeted and likely just base wood underneath. Any other ideas?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 6:41PM
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