Flooring Advice – Laminate or Hardwood?

Q: Which flooring would hold up the best in heavy traffic areas? I was leaning towards wood, but heard laminate was good. Please give me advice.
Thank you,

A: This will be massively dependent on the quality level of the floors you are comparing. Generally speaking, most laminate will hold up better to higher traffic than most hardwood floors, but again this is highly dependent on the floors you are comparing.
Many of the cheap laminates out there are just that, cheap. If you want your best bet for holding up to traffic, looks into a laminate floor which is at least AC3, though AC4 and AC5 laminate is preferred. These laminate floors are built to deal with light levels of commercial traffic or moderate to heavy levels of residential traffic. AC5 laminate is meant for moderate and high levels of commercial traffic and if maintained well and cleaned regularly, these floors can stand the test of time very well.
Traditional wood flooring can take a bit of damage, but over time they typically will need to be refinished a few times in high traffic areas, which means an additional cost every few years. Some places refinish their floors every 2-3 years to ensure they remain in tip-top shape.
In the end here, I would suggest looking into a high-grade laminate such as Quick Step Perspective or Eligna, Westhollow South Pacific or 12mm Handscraped, True Flooring’s commercial collection or similar laminate floors.


Wood Flooring Over Uneven Wood and Cement Subfloor

Q: My husband and I recently purchased an older home and are remodeling. We pulled up the old carpet in the family room and discovered that a little more than half the room has the original raised, wood subfloor while the rest is a cement slab from an expansion/addition the former owners had constructed. We would like to put down real hardwood or engineered hardwood but are unsure of how to prepare the subfloor. Where the two material meet they are a bit uneven. We were considering a self-leveling compound but we fear that the wood will flex and the cement won’t resulting in cracking and an uneven floor. We’ve also considered covering the whole floor with thin plywood or a similar material. What would you suggest for leveling a floor with two completely different types of subfloors? Thanks!

A: Depending on which area of your subfloor is lower, will determine what method is best to do. Let’s look into a few options:
First of all, I would not suggest putting plywood over the concrete. To do this you must glue it in place and unless you have done this several times, it’s a pain to do and has a higher rate of failure than other options.
If the concrete portion of the subfloor is lower, than using a leveling compound is a good bet. If you have worries about it cracking because of the wood expanding more than the concrete (which does expand and contract some) make sure you use a latex additive to give the leveling compound some elasticity. Another option would be to build a slow, sloping ramp, but it’s a bit less work and more reliable to simply bring the entire concrete portion level.
If the wood subfloor is lower, than using some plywood nailed in place to shim up the floor is a good bet. Follow-up with a bit of leveling compound to make sure that the concrete floor is level as well and you should be all set for installation. Remember, you want your subfloor to be flat and dry. If there is a sizeable gap between the wood and concrete portions of the subfloor, fill it like you would repair a crack in your concrete.
For the flooring itself, you will want to use an engineered or 5/16″ solid hardwood floor which is approved for a glue-down installation. You could also do a floating hardwood, but you must have a moisture barrier in place over the entire floor. In the case of glue-down, the adhesive will act as your moisture barrier. Before installation, give the flooring plenty of time to acclimate and ensure to moisture test before installing. Try to make sure the flooring and subfloor’s moisture content is within 4% of each other, and try for 2% if doing glue down.

Floating or Nail-down Installation?

Q: We plan to install about 600 sq ft of engineered wood floor over in 5 areas, all interconnected.
Are we better off using a floating system, or nail down? We would like some advice prior to selecting our floor.
The rooms connected include: Entryway, kitchen, family room, bathroom, and hallway.

A: The “best” choice here is going to be mostly dependent on you. If you want to ensure you have a continuous, flowing floor in your home, then you will want to nail-down the floor. You may want to use a t-mold in doors here and there, but it is not necessary as long as you leave a proper expansion gap around the edge of the floor, especially in halls and doorways. Nail-down will take a bit more work and some careful planning to ensure the floor flows smoothly from room to room and remains straight (use plenty of chalk lines to make sure).
A floating installation will be much easier from a planning and work stand point, but you will be required to put transitions in at each room transition or doorway. This ensures that proper expansion gaps are maintained as the floor changes dimensions from room to room.
My suggestion here would be to take the time and do a good nail-down installation. Take the time to plan out the floor, dry fit boards in place to ensure everything will be straight and that your cuts are proper before anchoring planks in place. Also keep in mind that since this is an engineered floor you will most likely need to use staples rather than nails, but the methodology and techniques are exactly the same.


Vinyl Flooring on Stairs

Q: I am elderly and due to age – the carpet’s and mine, I need to replace carpet on the stairs and upstairs. I want something other than carpet for ease of cleaning and am on a limited budget as well. Is it possible to use vinyl on the stairs? I have two labs so cork does not seem like a viable option for the stairs.
Also, what is your opinion of recycled rubber underlay below vinyl floor V.S. MLV for soundproofing under vinyl upstairs?
Thanks so much.

A: Depending on the vinyl you choose to install, you can install it over stairs. As far as the actual nose of the stair is concerned, you will need to use a rubber or metal molding, such as those made by Johnsonite. Your best bet here would be to use something like Konecto and honestly that would be my suggested product in your case. Konecto is very easy to install, maintenance is very easy, plus you get all the benefits of vinyl.
With vinyl, I would not suggest using a mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) underlay, as these underlays are built for carpet, and nearly all vinyl floors are not built to go over an underlay. One benefit of flooring like Konecto, is that you get a good vinyl lower layer, which absorbs a great amount of sound making it far quieter than a typical vinyl tile or roll-out product. In the case of some vinyl floors which can go over an underlay, I would make sure you are using something which is fairly dense, cork being a great example, as this will reduce the amount of spring you would feel in the floor when walking over it.
If you use an underlayment under vinyl, first you must make sure that floor is approved to go over the underlayment. Typically this means the underlayment you are looking at must be approved for being glued down to the subfloor, which eliminates any cost effectiveness you are shooting for. This also means you are likely to be looking into a floor which floats, rather than being adhered down to the subfloor, which leaves very few vinyls to look at.
In the end here, I think you best bet would be Konecto, you can get everything you need for well under $4 per sf, and have a nice, durable floor that requires little work to get in place when compared to adhesive vinyls.


Flooring Covering Advice

Q: What would be good durable floor covering choices for a basement apartment remodel. The existing floor is concrete.
A: Depending on the type of durability you are going for will determine your choice here. If you don’t intend to move or drag a lot of furniture or heavy objects through this area, cork can be a great choice. Cork is naturally dent resistant due to its memory feature. Over time, dents in cork will slowly push themselves back out. Cork also gives the room a bit more comfort under foot and warmth.
Laminate is also a great choice here as it is durable courtesy of its construction and finish layer, but I would suggest ensuring that the underlayment you use for this laminate be fairly dense to minimize movement in the floor when walking over it.
Now if this room will have quite a bit of traffic and potential furniture or heavy objects moving around, I would look into something like vinyl or stone flooring. Stone or tile will be your hands down choice for pure durability, but vinyl floors give great durability over concrete as well, and you can get them in wood looks. The only downside to stone or vinyl is that your floor will feel a bit colder, but if you want the best durability for nearly any situation, this is your better bet.


They made too much, so I bought it all!

One of the benefits of being one of the largest flooring companies in the world is that when your vendors overestimate on production or have other customers that cancel orders, they compensate by offering deep discounts to those that are capable of purchasing quick and selling in volume. That’s definitely us!

Bottom line, they made too much and I bought it all! With one strategically placed phone call (to me,) one of our largest manufacturers was able to get out of a pinch while simultaneously making a very happy customer (also me.)

Up for grabs is over 3 MILLION DOLLARS worth of flooring that we will blow out for 50% or more off of retail value. Why should YOU pay retail anyway? This hardwood and laminate liquidation is your ticket to a SUPER high quality floor for substantial savings.

And so the old cliché goes, their loss is our gain (and better yet your gain!)

In fact, these deals are so good that in addition to passing these savings on to our customers, I made a call to Wells Fargo the iFLOOR card partner and got them to extend last week’s special offer: 0% Financing for 36 months!

Remember, these are all first-quality manufacturer overstock items and at these prices, I suspect they’ll be gone rather quickly. The financing promotion ends on the 31st and these special purchases are only available while supplies last, so don’t wait until the last minute! (early bird gets the worm – another cliché for you.) Below are some shots when we made the buy which illustrate just a taste of the scale of these multiple truckloads of flooring that you can now buy below wholesale.


Pictures of some of the newest items from these trucks are on the next page.

Continue reading They made too much, so I bought it all!


Replacing 9″ x 9″ Parquet Tiles

Q: I am looking for 9″ by 9″ tongue and groove parquet flooring to replace water damaged tiles —
I believe it may be model “K-36.” Do you know where I can get it?

A: The only Parquet that I know of off-hand with K-36 as a product number was an old Bruce Oak Parquet, but this stuff has been discontinued for some time now. To be honest, the only parquet I know of now is all 12″ x 12″ and almost all of the good quality stuff is tongue and groove. Your best bet for replacement would be to either contact a company which can custom build some of this for you or take some 12″ tiles and mill them down to a 9″ size.
I’m sorry that I can’t give you much better help here, but one long shot you can try is somewhere like Ebay or Craigslist. I have had some customers in the past have luck finding discontinued product is this manner, but again I stress that this is a long shot.