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Posted: 12/30/2012 4:00:15 PM EST
I own a 1300 sq ft home. Concrete foundation. Wood burning fireplace. Two dogs and friends that have questionable pedigrees.

I've added outdoor decks, repainted the interior, replaced windows, added insulation.

Now, (and I know I should have done it before painting) I need to replace the 15 year old carpet and linoleum and some damaged baseboards.

Lowe's is running a special on some laminates that I like for 1.99 per sq ft, and they have a special on installation for .99 per sq ft.

I have the ability to do it myself, but, I don't want this to be a multi-week process. I don't have any experience installing flooring, and with nobody but myself to cut, measure, install, I just don't want that kind of time involved in this.

I don't plan to replace the vinyl tile in the two bathrooms. They will be remodeled later.

With .99 per sq ft for installation, and 1.99 per sq ft for laminate, I can to the basic math for the pricing. But, what other costs should I expect? What traps to avoid when the vendor comes to my house to measure? What items will they try to use to up-sell this project?

Do they charge to remove the carpet? Disposal fees?

What parts of this should I do myself (other than all of it) to reduce my overall costs?

TRG
Link Posted: 12/30/2012 4:51:39 PM EST
remove the carpet yourself, its very easy to do. hardwood floors are nominally more expensive then laminate floors. hardwood lasts forever with minimal care. laminate can scratched by dog paws and trashed in as little as five or ten years. either are easy to install if your mechanically inclined. get a book or trade rag and read up on the subject. plenty of videos on youtube on flooring.

if you go the contractor route...

know square footage ahead of time.

make sure the installer is a manufacturer certified installer.

check bbb reports for bogus contractors.

Link Posted: 12/30/2012 6:53:48 PM EST
You need to factor in the cost of pad
The really good stuff runs $1 a foot but deadens the sound tremendously
Otherwise, the floors will sound hollow and the dogs will click clack all over the floor

Shoe mould
The matching stuff is really expensive so install paint grade yourself

You'll need transition strips anywhere the floor changes
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 6:59:33 AM EST
Originally Posted By winddummy82:
remove the carpet yourself, its very easy to do. hardwood floors are nominally more expensive then laminate floors. hardwood lasts forever with minimal care. laminate can scratched by dog paws and trashed in as little as five or ten years. either are easy to install if your mechanically inclined. get a book or trade rag and read up on the subject. plenty of videos on youtube on flooring.

if you go the contractor route...

know square footage ahead of time.

make sure the installer is a manufacturer certified installer.

check bbb reports for bogus contractors.



Wood floors are 3.50 sq ft. and Laminate is 1.99

I assumed that laminates were more durable and less prone to damage from water, pets, spilled wine, coals popped from the fireplace?

If real wood is only marginally more expensive, but lasts longer, then I am willing to listen to that guidance.

We have not made a final decision on materials. I am open to suggestions.

As for learning how to do the installation...after replacing all my windows, adding insulation and repainting the interior of the house, I am going to hire a contractor for this one. We've scrimped and saved up enough to cover the cost of certified installers with a warranty.

TRG
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 7:02:00 AM EST
Originally Posted By Handydave:
You need to factor in the cost of pad
The really good stuff runs $1 a foot but deadens the sound tremendously
Otherwise, the floors will sound hollow and the dogs will click clack all over the floor

Shoe mould
The matching stuff is really expensive so install paint grade yourself

You'll need transition strips anywhere the floor changes


Good advice on the pad and painting the baseboards.

TRG
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 3:38:44 PM EST
laminate flooring is particle board with a thin laminate cover. we all know what happens to particle board when it is exposed to water. set the samples on the floor and simulate wear and tear on them. drop a heavy pan from the counter top to see if it dents the laminate. make sure the pan hits on edge. drop a knife and see what happens. if it pierces the laminate your screwed. any water that hits the floor will find its way to the particle board. drag the table and across it and see what happens. break a glass on it to see what happens etc etc. you really don't have to worry about any of that stuff with hard wood.

see what home cheapo has and have a little fun!
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 3:49:26 PM EST
I put down 600 sq' of laminate flooring and if I had to do it again,Id good with .75" hardwood.
I will say some lam. flooring is made better then others. As the above poster said,most are on a
particle board base with a thin laminate cover,but you can find the better types that are on a ply wood
type base. Don't think you will find them in the $1.99 range though.
Link Posted: 12/31/2012 4:18:59 PM EST
Costco has some laminate with pad for 129 a sf I think. Looked like pretty good quality. Ip it laminate in my rentals and they last a long time compared to carpet.
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 4:07:17 AM EST
Go with hardwood, its a whole different ballgame. You don't have to get top of the line, even the lesser grade flooring can look fantastic after its filled sanded and finished.

Check around you to see if there is a mill that might sell directly to you.

We got grade 2 red oak installed and finished for about $5 a square foot and it looks fantastic. May need to be refinished in 10 years, but it should never need to be replaced.



Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 9:26:40 AM EST
i like the rustic or tavern grade. it gives the floor personality
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 9:43:41 AM EST
Reallycheapfloors.com for ridiculously low priced hardwood. The guy buys ALL of Shaw's overruns, 2nds, shorts etc but its pre finished hardwood flooring for less than laminate. Read the grading procedures and give them a call, they are very helpful. Shipping was $69 to NY for 500sf of #1 & better natural maple that I got for $2 a sf. The same stuff at my local lumber liquidator was $5.69 per square foot.
Link Posted: 1/2/2013 12:48:38 PM EST
As with most things, but especially with laminate floors, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive material is usually cheaply made. That being said, a good laminate floor will be less prone to damage than most hardwood floors. Laminate flooring is really one of the easier things you can do in your home as long as your floor underneath is smooth and flat.

If you really do not want to install it yourself I will echo the advise of knowing your footage beforehand. Expect 5-8% overage rounded up to the nearest box, anymore than that and you are most likely being taken advantage of. But think about stocking a box for later use, but make sure you are not charged for installing that material. Save money by tearing out the carpet and pad yourself, remove and re-install the baseboard so you don't have to get base shoe or quarter round added. Make sure the material is acclimated to your home for 72 hours before installation.

Either way, make sure you have transitions at each door and every 25 feet if you are doing an expanse. Get the best pad you can find because laminate floors have a very hollow sound that even those attached cushions cannot overcome. Patterns have notoriously short lifespans so give serious thought to stocking a box or two in case you have to do a repair or addition.

Your dogs will hate you for this. Prepare for Scooby Doo sound effects and much sliding.
Link Posted: 1/28/2013 4:06:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/28/2013 4:06:32 PM EST by TheRedGoat]
Update.

We decided against Lowe's. The only installer they sent was 22-28% OVER on his SQ FT calcs and refused to come back to double check. I took this as a sign of dishonesty and after four trips to Lowe's determined I was swimming against the tide on Lowe's.

Found a local business that offered the same products at lower prices (after Lowe's mis-measure and 'fees')

They started today. They removed the linoleum from the kitchen and began laying ceramic tile.

This is the floor from yesterday, basic linoleum. 16 years old.



This is the floor today. The 'center' will be filled with a 45 degree checkerboard of the mottled tile and a sandy cream.



There is another pattern in the same style in the area around the sink/stove/fridge.

TRG
Link Posted: 1/28/2013 4:15:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By nat103:
Go with hardwood, its a whole different ballgame. You don't have to get top of the line, even the lesser grade flooring can look fantastic after its filled sanded and finished.

Check around you to see if there is a mill that might sell directly to you.

We got grade 2 red oak installed and finished for about $5 a square foot and it looks fantastic. May need to be refinished in 10 years, but it should never need to be replaced.



Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


We are going with a cork. It has a better 'feel' on barefeet, and the mottled browns/speckles will help to better conceal any embers that spark from the fireplace.

It was cheaper than solid hardwood and had better reviews for durability and feel under foot. Cheaper than ceramic tile, and will not crack if the hose settles.

TRG
Link Posted: 1/28/2013 4:16:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By winddummy82:
i like the rustic or tavern grade. it gives the floor personality


We are hoping the cork does this. A deep color, matte finish and classic style.

TRG
Link Posted: 1/28/2013 6:26:07 PM EST
The tile looks good, looks like porcelain to me. The cork will mend with the tile well.
Link Posted: 1/29/2013 4:18:43 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/29/2013 4:19:35 AM EST by TheRedGoat]
Originally Posted By ydididothis:
The tile looks good, looks like porcelain to me. The cork will mend with the tile well.


They share some color similarities. I think you are right about the two blending.

the blue carpet will be replaced with cork flooring. The boundary is where the cork and tile will join.



TRG
Link Posted: 1/29/2013 5:05:59 AM EST
FYI, that floor is/was vinyl, not linoleum. Vinyl is basically plastic, linoleum is made with sawdust, linseed oil and mineral pigments, very different stuff.
Link Posted: 1/29/2013 3:44:39 PM EST
The tile in the kitchen is laid. I think they are coming back tomorrow to grout, apparently they ran short.

Sorry for the small pic, will update with a more detailed pic later. But, you can see the pattern that we had them inlay.



New carpet in the bedroom/office.



TRG
Link Posted: 1/30/2013 4:50:15 AM EST
They got the pattern installed.





In the 'kitchen' area it is 4x4.





TRG



Link Posted: 1/30/2013 6:04:24 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/30/2013 6:26:12 AM EST


Doubt it is antique. Was a Christmas gift about 15 years ago.

Farmall 140.

TRG
Link Posted: 1/30/2013 7:21:12 AM EST
Some types of laminate need an underlayment. Not sure if that is figured into your cost or not.
Transitions, baseboard trim, etc may add additional cost.
Link Posted: 2/1/2013 8:02:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By DPeacher:
Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
Originally Posted By thirstyswimmer:
Originally Posted By TxLewis:
The floor looks great.

TXL


Yeah. I really like that pattern and color.


We like the patterns, the inset, and colors, but...

We should have picked a different grout. It's ok, and in the evening/morning it looks fine, but, there is just a touch too much pink in it for mid-day.

TRG


Whatever, Shiftless...


Well, despite a couple of setbacks, they still finished on schedule today. New carpet in three bedrooms, now cork flooring in the living room, front entry and hall, new tile in the kitchen, dining room and nook.

The bedrooms have gone from a blue carpet to a cookies-n-cream style. Overall, they are a 'meh.' It removed 20 years of traffic and did not really change anything. Feels alittle softer under foot, and a couple of stains are gone. Pretty sure we could have just paid for some steam cleaning and achieved the same result.

The living room is now cork. This carpet was old, abused, and embarassing. The cork... wow. just....wow. The room feels larger, the floor and paint work well together, and it gives the house a 'new' feel entirely. I really do like it. It does show dust pretty easily, and the dogs seem ill-at-ease with their traction on it, but, that's fine.

Ta-da...





I gotta admit, I am surprised they finished this entire house (minus bathrooms) in 5 days.

There is still a lot we need to do. dusting, cleaning, hanging curtains.

We decided to splurge on a new entertainment cabinet. It fits well with the decor.

I also sold my hodge-podge stereo system to the installed for 50 bucks. He mentioned that he had one like it and was looking for parts. I needed to make myself get rid of it, because I had been running two home theaters. One for cable, one for DVDs.

I had only 20 bucks in it, and it saved me the clutter.

TRG
Link Posted: 2/1/2013 8:09:49 PM EST





When they began installing this morning, I went to the study to look at the materials and found a 'DIY' instruction list. On that list, it said a foam layer was not recommended. By the time I found this paper (an ahour or so after they began) this is what the living room looked like:



I looked at this roll in the study and ... well, it was time to call the company, talk to the installer, and see if there *might* be a problem...



Apparently. a 6mil sheet of plastic is what the manufacturer requires. The owner of the local comany, on the phone with me, assured me they would figure out why their supplier sent this foam, and would determine if something was amiss.

It took about 30 minutes, with not much drama, to figure out that the the middleman supplier was not familiar with this cork flooring (my call to the 800 number confirmed the problem).

The local business owner drove to Dallas, picked up the right material, and they removed the flooring, removed the foam, and put the correct barrier in place.

It's a new business in town, and the owner/salesman/proprietor had told us that cork was a new thing for his sales.

Apparently, the foam sub-floor/barrier is known to break down. This leads to problems with the cork floors.

TRG
Link Posted: 2/1/2013 10:07:18 PM EST
Wow, nice.


Looks puke-proof even...
Link Posted: 2/2/2013 12:55:18 AM EST
Not to stir anything up, but does the cork manufacture require an expansion area between the walls and flooring. From the pictures it looks like it is installed tight to the walls, this may very well cause it to tent the flooring up when the humidity level rises. Most floating floor manufactures we deal with require us to install with room for expansion, with the gap capped with shoe-moulding and nailed to the base only.

Btw it looks great, again I didn't want to start anything negative, just don't want you to deal with the headache of a full tearout should a problem occur. I have pulled my fair share of faulty installs.
Link Posted: 2/2/2013 6:42:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By ydididothis:
Not to stir anything up, but does the cork manufacture require an expansion area between the walls and flooring. From the pictures it looks like it is installed tight to the walls, this may very well cause it to tent the flooring up when the humidity level rises. Most floating floor manufactures we deal with require us to install with room for expansion, with the gap capped with shoe-moulding and nailed to the base only.

Btw it looks great, again I didn't want to start anything negative, just don't want you to deal with the headache of a full tearout should a problem occur. I have pulled my fair share of faulty installs.


I noticed that when they started laying the floor that there was a gap. I did not measure it to see what room they left on the ends.

Thanks for making me nervous.

TRG
Link Posted: 2/4/2013 1:59:03 PM EST

Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
Originally Posted By winddummy82:
remove the carpet yourself, its very easy to do. hardwood floors are nominally more expensive then laminate floors. hardwood lasts forever with minimal care. laminate can scratched by dog paws and trashed in as little as five or ten years. either are easy to install if your mechanically inclined. get a book or trade rag and read up on the subject. plenty of videos on youtube on flooring.

if you go the contractor route...

know square footage ahead of time.

make sure the installer is a manufacturer certified installer.

check bbb reports for bogus contractors.



Wood floors are 3.50 sq ft. and Laminate is 1.99

I assumed that laminates were more durable and less prone to damage from water, pets, spilled wine, coals popped from the fireplace?

If real wood is only marginally more expensive, but lasts longer, then I am willing to listen to that guidance.

We have not made a final decision on materials. I am open to suggestions.

As for learning how to do the installation...after replacing all my windows, adding insulation and repainting the interior of the house, I am going to hire a contractor for this one. We've scrimped and saved up enough to cover the cost of certified installers with a warranty.

TRG

Home Depot HAD a special on install. $398 whole house basic install for laminate and "click-lock wood" special order ("click-lock" is like laminate except it has a thiiiiiin layer of hardwood vice a picture of it) and $798 whole house basic for engineered hard wood and hard wood plank.

After figuring the padding, we went with engineered hardwood for my son's house. We were within shouting distance price-wise with my 10% military discount and engineered hardwood can be refinished (once).

No one else could beat that price.
Link Posted: 2/5/2013 6:03:24 AM EST
Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
Originally Posted By DPeacher:
Originally Posted By TheRedGoat:
Originally Posted By thirstyswimmer:
Originally Posted By TxLewis:
The floor looks great.

TXL


Yeah. I really like that pattern and color.


We like the patterns, the inset, and colors, but...

We should have picked a different grout. It's ok, and in the evening/morning it looks fine, but, there is just a touch too much pink in it for mid-day.

TRG


Whatever, Shiftless...


Well, despite a couple of setbacks, they still finished on schedule today. New carpet in three bedrooms, now cork flooring in the living room, front entry and hall, new tile in the kitchen, dining room and nook.

The bedrooms have gone from a blue carpet to a cookies-n-cream style. Overall, they are a 'meh.' It removed 20 years of traffic and did not really change anything. Feels alittle softer under foot, and a couple of stains are gone. Pretty sure we could have just paid for some steam cleaning and achieved the same result.

The living room is now cork. This carpet was old, abused, and embarassing. The cork... wow. just....wow. The room feels larger, the floor and paint work well together, and it gives the house a 'new' feel entirely. I really do like it. It does show dust pretty easily, and the dogs seem ill-at-ease with their traction on it, but, that's fine.

Ta-da...

http://i671.photobucket.com/albums/vv71/TheRedGoat/20130201_193527_zpsf3c166ca.jpg

http://i671.photobucket.com/albums/vv71/TheRedGoat/20130201_191956_zps2094beef.jpg

I gotta admit, I am surprised they finished this entire house (minus bathrooms) in 5 days.

There is still a lot we need to do. dusting, cleaning, hanging curtains.

We decided to splurge on a new entertainment cabinet. It fits well with the decor.

I also sold my hodge-podge stereo system to the installed for 50 bucks. He mentioned that he had one like it and was looking for parts. I needed to make myself get rid of it, because I had been running two home theaters. One for cable, one for DVDs.

I had only 20 bucks in it, and it saved me the clutter.

TRG


I LIKE IT! you mentioned you have a wood burning stove. have you tried lighting a piece of cork on fire yet? im interested to see what happens.
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