Flooring opinions / tile vs. wood vs. laminate

kbkidsNovember 13, 2006

I'm really spending way too much time obsessing about this, but I just can't decide. Scenario is very active family - two kids, boy who loves hotwheels :o), 70 pound dog - we're going to be rough on the floor. I'm nitpicky - a scratch will drive me insane!

I know I'm doing tile in the kitchen, baths, laundry room, and entry way. Here's my dilemna - when you enter the house, you have the study to the right, dining room to the left, and great room immediately in front of you.

I'm leaning towards tile in the entry, wood in the study, dining room, great room, and then wood in all the bedrooms. However, I'm concerned about the durability of it. Will I be happier with the laminate? The echoing effect concerns me, although the house was insulated with Icynene, and I'm amazed at how little it echoes right now. What about the wood-look tiles??

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I have the same dilema. Did you receive any feed back?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 8:00PM
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Luchy, its fine to start a new thread on a similar subject when the old one is 6 months old, with no response...

If I'd seen this when originally posted, I'd have voted for tile: nothing else comes close for ease of maintence without showing wear, with more colors and textures any other class of flooring.

I fully aknowledge the beauty of wood: it can be so, so lovely. But when you KNOW in advance that the scratches will drive you mad [me too!] it wouldn't be on my short list: I'll just have to enjoy it in others people's homes.

The wood look ceramics have come a looooong ways in the last year or two. I've recently come accross some that look like they were painted: great graining, but uniform in color-- looked very good. But I'm almost certain I'll be using a couple of insets [in a tile field] of the 'cottage' line from Arizona tile:

a distressed look wood made from porcelain.

I've seen some others in photos that might be good too. Can't be sure till you see it in person.

I suppose that leaves the issue of laminate. Seems to me I've come accross a lot of people who have it and hate it. Not all of them, of course. But some folks seem to be under the impression that it looks as good as wood but wears like tile, only to learn that if falls short in both respects. Plus, the floating laminates can have an awful, drumlike sound if you are wearing anything but sneakers. It still has it's place, just make sure upside offsets the down before you place an order.

Oh, and Welcome! This is a big, noisey group with its share of dolts. I know: I often fill that role... But you still can learn soooo much here...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 10:40PM
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I was a flooring rep for 20 plus years. Its all about expectations. If I had you for a client and knew you'd go crazy with a scratch I think I'd be a little concerned. I'm a practical person so would always go with a natural product vs a plastic version of wood or tile. Know that anything even concrete can scratch.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 1:22AM
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I've been researching the same thing. I think I've finally decided on Amtico flooring which is a luxury vinyl. It looks amazingly like wood, but won't fade in the sunlight and wears a lot better. It also doesn't have that echo sound that laminates are famous for. I was a little wary of it at first, but I've had some samples sent and instead of a roll it's laid down in planks or squares just like a real wood or tile floor so it can be laid in any pattern you want. My local Home Goods store is using it on their floor and it's really impressive looking. You might want to locate a local flooring store that carries it so you can see it in person. The only thing you'll need to be careful of is that if it's installed directly on to the concrete foundation it'll show every bump, so make sure it's really smooth.

Here is a link that might be useful: Amtico Luxury Vinyl Flooring

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 5:35AM
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Just a fellow consumer here, but just went through this same evaluation a couple of months ago. Two kids (13 and 11) and a dog (1 year old lab). We have laminate in the family room and it's pretty bullet proof. But we were replacing everything else down stairs and went through the wood/laminate/tile evaluation.

We eventually decided on Adura tile from Mannington for the kitchen and powder room (tile look not wood) and Mirage engineered wood in the foyer, living and dining rooms.

Actually swayed back and forth between laminate and wood where we eventually installed the wood. In the end it came down to wanting real wood in those rooms and we'll just have to see how it goes. My wife and I were just talking about this and had a laugh that we should have gone laminate because when the wood was just installed I had what you would call "new car" syndrome. Don't skip on the floor, don't place that on the floor, and donÂt even breathe on the floor.

The anxiety issue is passing with time and we're happy with the decision and the look and feel of wood. When we get scratches (not if) we'll deal with them. Unfortunately you can't run this through an analysis and come up with an exact answer.

In the end if you really wanted wood the laminate will probably be a disappointment. But, if you can't deal with the anxiety (at least initially) of wood not wearing as well then laminate may be the better choice.

Our dog romps more in the kitchen and family room so that won't be seeing wood floors.

We're not the most indecisive people but this took a while to finally come to a decision.

A rather long post without any real direction but your not alone.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 12:03PM
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Original poster here - wow! that post seems like ages ago since we're now obsessing over the driveway! :o)

We ended up going with tile in the bathrooms, laundry room, and kitchen. It's gorgeous!!

And we did Pergo World Traveler Merbau in the rest of the house. I can't begin to tell you how pleased we are with it. It looks beautiful!! This is the individual strips instead of the planks, and it really does look VERY realistic, especially with the beveled ages. It went down extremely easy - considering it was our first time. We did 1700 sq ft in three days - exhausted and sore - but the result was amazing!

My biggest concern was the echoing sound, but I'm very pleased with the results. Yes, you do get a clicking sound, but nothing like I've experienced with other laminates. We just used the Pergo "combofilm" and I'm glad we didn't upgrade to the "quieter" ones because I'm fine with what we've got. I don't know if the house insulation has anything to do with it ??? but it's not loud, not annoying, and I really am extremely pleased with the floors!!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 12:13PM
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Although we eventually went with wood we almost pulled the trigger on the Pergo World Traveler strips. We wanted something that looked like wood and the varying strip lengths along with the look made it our first choice in the laminate area. Enjoy the floor.


    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 9:15AM
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I am struggling with the same question now. I want hardwood floors everywhere, but I have two chihuahuas and a 60 pound pit bull in the house.....plus grandchildren on the way. I have almost decided to go with solid hardwood (species undecided) with a waterlox finish on it. Waterlox seems to be more forgiving and spot repairs are very quick and easy. Plus it's a product I can DIY. It looks a little more rustic than glossy poly finish....which is fine with me.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 9:55AM
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wow, i just stumbled on this and i, too, am in the same dilemma. mainly tile vs hardwood for entire downstairs (area really flows from one room to the next, so i've already decided against splitting it up).

originally i thought wood would be "softer" acoustically -- we have a 25-foot ceiling in family room -- but i'm gathering they're both equally as loud. my decorator says that as far as resale goes, wood might not make that much of a difference, especially if we go with a beautiful tile. she advised wood only if we really wanted it and were planning on staying in house a long time (we're not).

for what it's worth, i wonder how much the area you live in factors in. we're in south florida, where tile remains a classic choice. wood is starting to get popular, too, though, which is why the decision is tough. but given the humidity and other water-related issues (we're known to have a few hurricanes here), i suspect many folks would be nervous about wood.

but i'd love to hear from anyone else... we're still trying to figure this one out and we are very concerned with resale. we're figuring we'll resolve the noise/echo issue with just some rugs.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 8:43AM
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For resale ... go with the region you live in. Where i live most folks want tile where they need it... but not throughout. Excessive grout maintenance is a turnoff to many home buyers.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 5:03AM
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Hi all: A few years ago I did NOT do my homework and put laminate in the kitchen, hallways and dining ell. I absolutely hate it! It shows every spot, it dents easily, the installation was a nightmare and it's the most expensive mistake I've made. Our house is not huge and is very open, so we've decided to move the laminate (it's floating, thank goodness) and put it in the "den" and guest bedroom. My goal is to totally get rid of all the carpet and get the laminate out of the traffic and water areas. Ceramic tile (large with thin grout) is going in the entire living area including the hallways and laundry area. I can't wait. I am also going to replace kitchen cabinets and countertops. Which would come first - floor or cabinets? Appliances are staying and I'm going to add a new cabinet area on an empty wall. I'm thinking we'll have to do the floor - at least the kitchen, before the cabinets but would purchase all the tile at once for the entire job. The living room could wait until the kitchen is done as long as we have all the tile so it matches.

I really like this website - very informative. I just replaced windows after reading a windows replacement forum thoroughly. Wish I'd had all this info available to me when I had the laminate installed. It could be the product as well as the installation. It was an expensive learning experience, but at least we can reuse the laminate in the other rooms and get rid of the carpet so it could have been worse.

Thanks for all the information.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 10:23PM
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A friend of ours did Amtico several years ago and LOVE it. The entry looks like tile and the living area looks like wood. We would have done the same but it was too expensive.

We went with the hand scraped Wilsonart laminate with the beveled edge. It looks a lot more realistic then the non-beveled laminate we had in our old house. It is holing up fine with 2 kids and 50lb dog, but we've only been here 4 months. No echo sound, but then again, we are a 'shoes off at the door' family.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 11:48AM
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We put a very nice, natural looking porcelain tile in our kitchen, family room, and dining room (all connected) about 3 or 4 years ago. It has been virtually carefree, we just vacuum it for dog hair and sponge up the sticky stuff (*smile*). Making a careful choice of a natural looking, mixed color tile and a darker grout really pays off in the long run. Then we've used area rugs in the family and dining rooms (same as we'd do if we had hardwood), and throw rugs that can be put in the washing machine in the kitchen in a few spots (in front of the sink, stove, most used counter, and refrigerator).

Anyways, it is very attractive, and much easier to live with than any other floor we've had...some of our influences were having a concrete slab foundation, and also dealing with animals and beach sand, have made tile a very practical choice.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 5:34PM
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Does anyone know how much Amtico costs? Is it priced by the square foot?
Also, what are comparable products for a stone or marble look? We need something that will go over a ceramic floor because we thought the floor would work with our new granite, but it doesn't. All the cabinets and appliances are in so we don't want to deal with taking up the ceramic and risk damage to the rest of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 4:51PM
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