The Perfect Floor?

steph2000July 13, 2011

I'm at the beginning of a remodel and have begun researching flooring options. My attempts at research have been pretty darn overwhelming - and the horror stories of sales people who lead people astray are not helping.

Here are the particulars of my situation:

- I'm on a cement slab in a cold climate (Alaska)

- Alaska is known to be rather dry/low humidity. It also enjoys (term used loosely) a large fluctuation of temps from about -20 to 75 degrees in my area

- The floors are not level, but that can be remedied

- I want one continous look throughout the public areas we are remodeling, which means kitchen, DR, LR, den at minimum

- Some of the area MIGHT end up with radiant floor, but likely not the entire area

- Water issues (given it will go in the kitchen and we do have snow)

- We don't have a dog currently, but do plan to get one down the road and have a preference for BIG dogs, so whatever we get needs to be durable in that regard as well

- I'm in a budget neighborhood with budget limitations of my own, so I'm not sure actual hardwood is feasible even if it works for my space, but I'm open to it if it seems the way to go.

- We can install ourselves if it makes sense, but I also read so many horror stories wherein problems are blamed on installation so I'm open to professional installation to avoid that or to save time.

I know the basic look I want, which is a mid-tone brown hardwood appearance. Not yellow or golden. Not reddish. Love dark floors, but I do think they are trendy and hard to keep clean so I am veering away from the expresso/chocolate tones.

My post title is tongue-in-cheek, as I know there is no such thing as the perfect floor - or we'd all have it already. However, I would love to hear about what options might be feasible or recommended for my situation - and which options are definitely out of the mix so I can start narrowing this down.

Thanks in advance!

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Good luck with this. I have been agonizing over the same issues for a year now. Ultimately, I have decided I can't risk using something that would be ruined if it got wet and remained wet for a few hours. That leaves me with either vinyl or tile.

I live in MD and a tile living room would be very out of place for this area. Then there is the concern about tile being so hard to stand on for any length of time (YOU are already on a slab, so not much will change the feel of your floors). All I need is to put tile in my kitchen and then find out it bothers my feet/legs!

Vinyl is by far the most economical solution. The question is, can you live with the look of fake wood? I've been asking myself this question for months. I'll be covering the majority of my living room floor with an area rug, but still, I don't know if I can handle the vinyl wood look in there.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 12:45PM
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Thanks so much for the responses. So much to think about with floors, while meanwhile I'm all starry-eyed at the idea of ripping out this icky, old carpet and vinyl and having the 'wood look'.

I appreciate the tile suggestions, but... I'm just not a tile person and I really don't want it in my LR and Den especially. I see it as more of a warm-climate option in those areas, as it seems Cindyloo does, and I do find it cold and hard. Also just not crazy about grout lines, either, and the thought of replacing it someday seems like such a dirty job. I admit, though, there might be some new products I am not aware of because I've seen it as a non-option.

For my neighborhood and given where I am starting from, I think I -could- be happy with the right laminate/vinyl product. As long as it was durable with dogs, etc and could tolerate SOME moisture. I hear that Bruce even makes one that can go into bathrooms... alas, the sites I have visited say it can't be shipped to Alaska. What I hear about vinyl strips is that you need a totally level surface and I'm sceptical we can reach the level of perfection needed there on this old slab even with leveling work...

I am also hearing that engineered floors were actually made for cement slabs. Not sure if that is true, but I like the idea of floating and engineered does seem like a mid-point between laminate/vinyl and hardwood. Is that right?

Recently read that laminates/vinyl planks can't go under cabinetry and that raises issues for dishwasher repair/replacement. This isn't an issue with engineered floating floors?

Also, are there any recommended products for laminates/vinyls if I get serious about considering that direction? I was liking Mannington Adura but I'm hearing mixed reviews. Similarly, any favorite products for engineered wood?

It also seems radiant floors are nixed, so if that's a determining factor in recommendations for anyone, it seems to have become a non-issue overnight.

Net research can be so helpful - but also overwhelming and contradictory. I've come to appreciate the credibility of GW and am grateful for the help. I seem to know just enough to be dangerous - and to make it seem that no option is really going to work. lol

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 1:39PM
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