Please help me choose flooring

cedarburgcapecodJuly 31, 2013

Hello all!
This is my first post, so I hope I do everything correctly, especially posting pictures.
Last year we moved to a new area and bought a fixer-upper. Luckily for us, it still retained most of it's original 1971 character and beauty -especially in the kitchen. Z-Brick, paneling, faux red brick vinyl floor, a brown kitchen sink, a very cramped layout and a spectacular view of the toilet in the powder room! Yet we bought it anyway and have been very busy for the last 6 months. We've ripped out the Z-brick and paneling, changed the layout, and moved a wall and door so the toilet view is no longer. However, we are at a point where we need to put a 'band aid' on the kitchen so we can focus on other areas of the house and save money to buy new cabinets. We will have to live with the 'band aid' on the kitchen for 2 -4 years. Which brings us to my current dilemma.
I found laminate flooring at Costco that is well-reviewed and in our budget. However, I'm stuck on which color looks best. (if the floors hold up as well as reviews state, I may keep it even after we get new cabinets, which appeals to DH)

Option 1 -"golden aspen". I like the variance in color and I it brightens a room that is rather dark. However, all the other floors and woodwork in the house are dark, so I think it looks odd in the hallway and new doorways we've created. It also looks like laminate.

Option 2 -"vineyard cherry" I think it is much nicer looking flooring, the graining is nice and there is a subtle hand-scraped texture, BUT it is dark and doesn't brighten the dark room. However, we can put it in the hallway without it looking too jarring. The kitchen can now be seen from the front entry, so I want it to look decent.
PICTURES OF THE TWO OPTIONS ARE IN THE FOLLOWING POST. The black dishwasher will be replaced by a new stainless steel one. We will also be replacing the white countertops with the black sample you see in the pictures.

This post was edited by cedarburgcapecod on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 16:23

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Ooops, let's try that photo sharing thing again. Sorry!
AND the black dishwasher is being replaced with a new stainless steel one as soon as we get the flooring in.

OPTION 1 -Golden Aspen

Option 1 again, Golden Aspen

Option 2 -Vineyard Cherry

OPTION 2 again - Vineyard cherry

This gives an idea of how dark the room can be, even in the early afternoon. Windows face east.

This post was edited by cedarburgcapecod on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 16:27

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:56AM
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From the owner of a 1972 house who's lived here since 1974, let me add a couple of cautions on the kitchen band-aid:

1) We refloored with a laminate about 10 years ago, which was fine. We liked it. The problem was that when you add a 3/4" plank on top of your existing vinyl floor, you actually raise the level of the floor by 3/4". This makes the dishwasher a "drop in" that is difficult to get in place. More than difficult. It also shortens the toe kick area under the cabinets and makes you relatively taller. Not fatal by any means, but something to keep in mind.

2) When we replaced our 1972 cabinets, we discovered that 1972 cab footprints were larger than 2011 footprints, at least in our case. I suspect this might be universal. This meant that we had a 1-2" gap between the new footprint and the old floor. We ended up replacing the whole floor which extended into the dining area. [We loved the new bamboo floor so much, we continued it on into the living room and hallway, and later our bedroom, but that wasn't actually necessary.]

Here's something to think about: Rather than put bamboo in the 2 children's bedroom closets, we used peel and stick wood-look vinyl and stuck it in there. It looks fine:

The price is certainly right and it's a pleasant change from your current vinyl. The other bonus is that it does well with little kids (I recognize those alphabet letters on the fridge!). My daughter's rental has that flooring in the kitchen and family room and it looks and functions well for a family with little ones. Ultimately, you won't mind ripping it out when you're finally able to redo your kitchen for real. Just something to think about.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:55PM
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If you can survive (no sarcasm!), I would suggest holding off on the flooring until you do the kitchen. In my last house, i did just what you want to do - installed laminate throughout the kitchen, then renovated the kitchen two years later. Although we didn't change the footprint, the reno did involve pulling the laminate up and putting it back down again, and it was never the same again. However, our kitchen did feel much better for those two intervening years, so might be worth it.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:48PM
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Thanks for responding and sharing your 'band-aid' experience! Right now the cabinets aren't actually attached to the wall (well, the sink base is, but that's it), so we may put the laminate under them, if needed. It's probably not clear from the photos but the black counter isn't attached yet, either - I just plopped it on top of the old counter to get an idea of the overall look -lol! Since we are replacing all the countertops and the sink I don't think we will have too much of an issue getting in the dishwasher as we can shim where needed, but it's good to know that .

At first I was looking at peel and stick stuff and the laminate actually is even less expensive than peel and stick (at least what I priced out a HD). So that's why we went that route. If we ruin it when new cabinets go in we won't cry if we need to throw it away and put in something else.

Is there one of the 2 options, that in your opinion, looks better than the other? Again, I don't have to keep the floors when we get new cabinets, but if I like the floor and it wears well, it would be wonderful to save that money.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 5:02PM
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I like the lighter laminate. Those are the basic colors I have in my kitchen: white cabs, dark counters, warm, mid-toned floor. You say that the lighter one looks more like laminate, but in your photos I think it looks better than the other one. It might help brighten up your space as well.

ETA: I just realized you have dark floors in other visible parts of the house, so maybe the juxtaposition of light next to dark isn't what you want. Hard to say without seeing your choices next to your existing floor.

This post was edited by linelle on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 18:42

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 6:37PM
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Thanks for your reply! I think I need to take some photos of the lighter floor next to the other floors and woodwork and see what the folks here think.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 5:43PM
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I think the cherry is lovely! But I do tend to like mid to dark toned wood over light.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 10:35PM
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There will be so many things to spend money on in your house, you may find it painful to re-do what you've already re-done. I lived with countertops I hated because I didn't want to change them until I changed the cabinets, which I didn't want to change until I changed the layout, so here we are a decade later finally remodeling the whole kitchen. It took longer and will cost more than I thought when I considered doing band-aids. Having new floors for most of that time hasn't helped aesthetically, though I love my wood and the tile was unlivable.

I think you should investigate solatube. The lack of light (and dark countertop) will otherwise severely constrict your choices.

See if you can do the kitchen in the right order - cabinets first - if you go with Ikea or find a Habitat ReStore deal, or showroom closeout. At a minimum, consider the way you want the final result to look (try Sweeby test, and creating an ideabook on houzz) and work from that backwards rather than from where you are, forward. The work of planning/drawing/budgeting/shopping could easily take two years.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 7:12AM
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If you are planning to change out cabinets down the line, then it may be better to address the flooring at that time. Then you can get the flooring under the cabinets so you don't have any issues with moving a dishwasher in or out. In the interim, maybe get some inexpensive peel and stick tiles to brighten things up or just live with the old floor.

Before you go putting down laminate flooring, I'd do a spill test on it. Lay down a few pieces and leave a puddle on it for awhile. See if the water causes the boards to swell. We put laminate in our first home and as soon as we had a drink spill on it, the affected boards swelled. The stuff was basically just glorified particle board. Maybe today's laminates are more water resistant, but I'd still be very leery of them.

With that said, I am not a fan of putting any type of flooring that is subject to water damage into a space with a water source. In our current house, we had an icemaker connection valve blow out (stem shot right out of the valve body). Even though we got the water turned off quickly, the water got under the hardwood floor and cause many boards to cup. It was over 6 months for the floor to fully dry out and the boards to lay back down (mostly). I would have loved to tear out the hardwood in the kitchen during our current remodel, but DW loves the hardwood, so I lost that battle. We have since refinished the floor, so all signs of water damage are gone, but the threat of new damage still exists.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 11:55AM
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I adore my hardwood floors, esp. in the kitchen. I've had them for 6 years and no water damage at all. I've been fortunate that the two fridges I've had have behaved themselves. If it was a choice of wood floor or icemaker, I'd give up the icemaker in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 12:13PM
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@linelle - Sure you can get rid of an icemaker connection, but you would still have the sink and dishwasher potential leak sources;-)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 12:33PM
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