Rent/Sell - Laminate wood floor or tile?

susanb_TXMarch 14, 2009

Due to the horrible housing market in Texas, we can't put our house BACK on the market for 1-2 years so we have to RE-RENT it for now. Our previous tenants put a ceramic tile in the kitchen, a different ceramic tile in the dining room, and carpeted over our black slate vinyl tile in the living room. The hurricane destroyed the carpet in the living room. [FYI - there is only a 3' area from the living room leading into the dining room - that's what you see when you come in the front door. There is a full wall dividing the rest.]

Don't know what they were thinking by installing two different tiles in rooms that butt up against each other (kitchen/dining room) but its an expense we don't want to and can't deal with right now.

So our dilemma is the living room. We planned to put HD's Novelco wood laminate in there over the vinyl (based on all the great reviews in the flooring forum). However, my contractor says when he pulled up the tack strips, the tile around the edges broke off. He thinks its much too brittle (its about 15 years old) to install the thin peel-and-stick tiles over it. Thinks we should go with a good wood laminate. That was our original choice until I read that its not good for pets or renters. So now we don't know what to do.

Being an avid HGTV fan, it seems like most prospective buyers prefer wood floors, whether they be real wood or laminate. They usually don't know the difference. I don't think another tile in that room would work (you walk into it from the outside) since we can't match it to the dining room exactly (plus its a whitish tile and that wouldn't work at all in a living room (and the tenants were evicted so we can't contact them anyway).

We found some 12mm laminate wood at Lumber Liquidators which is beautiful but we've been highly warned against LL. Also, they told us it was water resistant but I've learned differently here. I didn't want to put in a floor now that tenants can't ruin and then have to do it again in 1-2 years to sell it. The laminate's much more expensive that the peel-and-stick but we may have no choice. Plus, I guess if they scratch it or get water stains on it, I guess we can just replace those planks (but scratches could be all over the floor.)

Sorry this is so long but any suggestions - from realtors or others?

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I don't know what the problem with laminate is. We had it in our old house, and had up to 5 large breed indoor dogs in the house. The laminate was indestructible and after we lived there 10 years, the house just sold (YEA!). Everyone commented on the beautiful floors, were surprised it was laminate, and loved the easy maintenance. You'd have to work at scratching a good quality laminate floor. If the dogs running around didn't do it, I can't imagine what would. Standing water (or pet urine) IS a problem, but like you mentioned it is easy to replace the damaged planks. You can also touch up small nicks with wood filler and stain. Spills that are cleaned up right away do not pose a problem. Our laminate was not advertised as water resistant; I think some types have a special finish or something that makes it water resistant, but since we didn't use it in a water-prone area we were not concerned with that.

I also do not know what the problem with Lumber Liquidators could be. When we ripped the carpet out of our second floor of the old house to replace it with laminate, we used LL and they were fantastic. We bought some close out laminate, ordered online, and it was delivered exactly as promised.

I do not have any experience with the specific products you mentioned, so can't help you there.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 2:10PM
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OK so it seems in your original post you have some inconsistencies on what flooring is what.

The Novelco are vinyl strips like vinyl tiles and needs a smooth surface underneath. You can buy patching stuff to smooth out where the old vinyl tile came loose assuming all the other ones are not loose.

As for what else to install you could do a laminate floating floor or an engineered wood floating floor. Wood will scratch much easier than laminate. Laminate is very scratch resistant. Either can have issues with water. If you get a glue the edges type laminate it is much more resistant to water damage as only the underside of the laminate gets damaged by water. Wood is sealed with factory finish and generally doesn't damage unless water gets in between under the finish.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 2:26PM
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I spend most of my time on the building a home side. We finally moved into our new home in January after 2 1/2 years of building! was time to sell. We replaced all of the flooring in our old house (new carpet upstairs, new vinyl in upstairs baths, new wood laminate in entire downstairs including kitchen and bath. To do it on the cheap, we had them install it over the old vinyl in some of the areas, but we purchased materials that had the backing already applied. They had no problems with that install at all.

BTW, we used lumber liquidators material and install. Professional service and nice product. The buyers must have agreed as we had multiple offers and were under contract within 48 hours of hitting the MLS. Of course, the fact that we priced it aggressively didn't hurt!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 12:14PM
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All I can say is that I've seen some good laminate and I've seen plenty of bad laminate wood flooring. They all look beautiful when they're new. But when it's bad, it's bad. I've seen it enough to scare me away from it altogether, especially if you're talking about tenants. And I really don't see how you can replace just single planks the way they all lock together during installation.

Have you considered bamboo flooring? I've never seen bad bamboo, but it is relatively new and doesn't fit the decor in many homes (can't imagine it in a colonial, but it's great all around here in Florida). My door lady told me just to make sure the top layer was a least 1/4" (something like that, ours was thicker than she recommended) and she couldn't beat the price of the boxes from Costco.
We did one room and I love it. Dogs, kids & Legos haven't scratched it one tiny bit. We plan to do the rest of the rooms when the carpet wears out or whenever we finish the rest of the remodel, whichever comes last.

Just one idea for you.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 2:15PM
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