Flooring advice for seniors

dgalellaAugust 7, 2014

A year ago we moved into a 30-year old unit in a 55+ community. The place needs lots of work, which we are mainly doing ourselves to keep costs down. Have a dilemma deciding on flooring that is durable, safe, easy to maintain and not too costly. Note we live in NJ where everything seems to cost twice as much.
The unit is on slab. Currently have ceramic (must be replaced; big expense) in kitchen and entryway. Everything else is carpeted. Entryway is open to living room and an L-shaped hallway (carpeted).
I need advice on flooring that would be least costly, to replace the carpeted areas. Thinking long term and issues seniors face with walking, what are some recommendations for (1) the hallway and (2) the living areas including bedrooms? Replace with new wall-to-wall carpeting? Engineered wood flooring? LVT/LVP? What would hold up best but be reasonable in cost and safe (no area rugs to trip over).
For kitchen and entry, should we have them remove current tile or can we put new flooring over? It is not cracked anywhere. Should we do another ceramic (will it be too high then) or cover with LVT (not so durable but cheaper)
Thanks for any advice.
(This is also being posted in Flooring)

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Annie Deighnaugh

I've spent too much time in nursing homes and notice that a lot of them seem to use level loop commercial grade carpeting in the hallways. But for easy maintenance and easy operation of walker and wheel chairs and such and going over concrete slab, I'd suggest cushioned sheet vinyl like flexitech. (This is very different from the congoleum of old.) I put it in my craft room which is on concrete slab and it is good looking, very durable, very easy to clean and the cushioning is nice under foot. It is also more price effective than LVT.

    Bookmark   Thanked by dgalella    August 7, 2014 at 11:52AM
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Is it even remotely possible for you to keep the ceramic tile? Removing it is a big project and I don't know of anything that can be put down over it.

If it has to be replaced, my first choice would be another ceramic, specifically with a non-slip surface, since you would never have to replace it again.

Engineered wood is a good choice for over a slab, but my first choice, and what I want to use in my own house, is engineered cork.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:40PM
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@okmoreh - My daughter-in-laws parents found an excellent floor installer who put Armstrong Reserve LVT over the beveled ceramic in their kitchen. He was recommended by a flooring wholesaler as an installer who does it well. It was also grouted to look like ceramic. Just not sure LVT will hold up long term.
Ceramic over ceramic - maybe not but tearing up the old ceramic will eat up the budget.
@AnnieDeighnaugh not sure I would want sheet vinyl or linoleum throughout, too commercial-looking, although the new stuff is very nice. Am considering the carpeting

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:56PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Here is a pic of the flexitech in my craft room.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:05PM
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I've heard great things about Allure strip vinyl that looks like wood floor. There was a lady who used to post here a lot who put it in her kitchen and bath over tile and used a self leveling product under it to keep it from sinking into the grout lines.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:41PM
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I noticed they used wood-patterned strip vinyl in a new medical facility I visited. I'm sure it's installed over a concrete slab. I noticed two negatives. First, they chose a vinyl with a glossy finish so it showed every imperfection. Secondly, there were lots of imperfections from the underside, probably glue globs and concrete bumps and debris.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 2:48PM
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Hi mkjec,
Ponder thinking beyond ambulation needs for senior housing.

Consider: bodily fluids
- gastric tsunamis
- med interactions (vomiting)
- incontinence
- gymnastics; hitting head on floor, skin tears resulting in open, bloody wounds, etc.

Possibly reconsider ceramic and carpet. And for older eyes, lighter is typically better for way-finding.
Best wishes on your project,

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 3:45PM
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In the sad event someone ends up in a wheelchair, carpet sucks.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:13PM
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Faced a similar situation after moving to Florida. House had old carpet in bedrooms and den. Kitchen, entry was tile. Living/dining was wood.

My husband is 82 and has some difficulty walking. I knew before moving, that carpet was dangerous for him because he tended to slide his feet rather than lift when walking. He was tripping on carpet.

We decided to tile all the rooms that had carpet. I was concerned about sliding and his falling. Tile can be slippery especially when wet.

He has no problem with the tile. We laid porcelain tile, 18" with very tight grout lines. Had a great installer who fit the tiles so close, hardly any grout lines. Florida homes are on slabs so the floors are very level.

I have bath rugs in the bathroom by the shower. No area rugs at all (although I wish I could), and so far, so good.

I'm not recommending tile, just stating that it works well for my husband. I'm sure vinyl would work as well and might be less expensive. I think I would not pay the cost of tearing up old tile. There must be a way to go over it or leave it.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 8:35PM
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the strip vinyl is very nice looking and reasonably priced, not as inexpensive as carpet, but less by far than most engineered wood

if laminate is available in your area you might look at it, it is no longer in vogue, but if very inexpensive and nice looking too (do not let it get saturated with liquid)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 8:58PM
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Thanks everyone for yor input. My husband is a shuffler already so carpetting is probably out. Plan on going to some recommended flooring stores tomorrow to check prices.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 9:44PM
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We have laminate, carpeting and ceramic tile and my husband is a "shuffler". I do have bath mats on the ceramic tile and he does not slip on those...just get messed up when he walks through. The laminate is fine as long as there are no throw rugs (experience). I prefer short napped carpeting in case of falls because it is a softer surface. I also think of the cleanabillity of the floors also. Do you want to use a dust mop/broom or a vacuum?.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 2:17PM
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I'm putting down vinyl planks (Armstrong). It took me a long time to decide and many trips to HD and flooring stores.

Tile would be too hard on my feet, legs and back and hurt if I fell on it. I sure didn't want carpet again with a dog and living in the desert so that left wood or vinyl. Then I thought about cleaning and how often I dropped things - including liquids and settled on vinyl.

I was leaning toward sheet vinyl but knew the smell of the glue would do me in so I tried out some vinyl planks and really liked it. I put down a 6 x 6 patch of it and it survived about 6 wks of my pup sliding and skidding on it without any signs of wear.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 7:21AM
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About eight years ago, I chose Amtico vinyl planks for my kitchen, laundry area, bathroom, and den. It still looks like new, is easy to take care of and comfortable to stand on while cooking. I'd like to have it in the whole house. I have had many items broken falling on ceramic tile floors, and figure if I fall, I'm safer on the vinyl.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:43PM
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High quality laminate would be my choice, but high quality vinyl - as others have suggested here - might be better because it is not quite as hard as laminate. Ceramic tile would be my last choice for an elderly person because of the unforgiving hardness of ceramic tile.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 8:34AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I would go with high quality vinyl. As graywings said, it is softer and also it won't have the moisture issues most laminates have.
However, in order to get a flawless look, it must be installed professionally, it is the trickiest of flooring to properly install and is not a diy project. Tile is, however, and so is most hardwood.

You might also consider industrial carpet squares. I've seen some that look great.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:12AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We have amtico in a lot of our house and the underfloor had to be perfect. But that was not true with the flexitech which is heavily cushioned and far more forgiving.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 12:28PM
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Cork....that's the ticket!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:43PM
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