Home Remodel Question for the Throbbing Brain

BKM

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#1
I live in a townhouse that's part of an association. We are planning a big "special assessment" this fall to replace our original roof. Quite a chunk of change, I anticipate.

I have a lot of equity building up (even once the inevitable correction occurs), so I am also going to replace my original furnace, air conditioner, garage doors, cantlievered deck, and, most importantly, CARPETS.

I have dogs. They are house-trained, but other dog owners know accidents happen (Max was banished to the garage last night). It doesn't make much sense to replace my carpets with new carpets, so, my choices are:

1. Pergo or similar laminates-cheaper, supposedly durable, but I've never liked the look or feel of installed examples I've seen.

2. Bamboo-eco-sensitive, but not cheap, and you have to be careful to get properly dried and installed.

3. Real wood-I like my real wood floors in the kitchen, but they do scratch and are expensive. Still, the wear and tear is part of "reality" and makes the wood floored room seem homey.

I am leaning toward real wood, but any advice/recommendations (particularly given dog ownership) would be appreciated. What does the Brain think about flooring?
 

Downtown

     
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#2
We've got real hardwood in our living and dining rooms, but the dogs are only occassionally allowed in there, so I really can't offer advice. I've never seen bamboo and am intrigued. I have seen nice pergo, though. If I had to vote, I'd say real wood.
 
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#3
We've got the Pergo-stuff (not actually Pergo, some other similar brand), and my parents have real wood. They seem comparable in terms of durability and maintenence, but the wood takes on more character, like you said. The laminate will scratch and scar if you drag heavy furniture over it, and you can tell it's a laminate. It's nice, though, and easy to keep clean, easy to install, etc. But it just doesn't wear as nicely as wood. I'd go for the wood, too.
 

Cardinal

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#4
I agree with you on the laminates. The pieces do not butt up against each other like normal wood, and it shows. Bamboo is good, but it does not look like wood either. Cork is another interesting choice, which doesn't try to look like wood, but it is a softer material than the others. You could always consider tile or stone.
 

Gedunker

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#5
Cardinal said:
Cork is another interesting choice, which doesn't try to look like wood, but it is a softer material than the others.
Cardinal beat me to it.

I just installed a cork floor in the kitchen during my remodel. I purchased it directly from http://dodgeregupol.com and am just absolutely in love with it. It is eco-friendly, quiet, soft, warm (R-5!), durable and with the pre-finished 12"x12" tiles, very water-resistant. Installation was easy although the adhesive/cement is quite toxic and requires very good ventilation until it dries (about 20 minutes working time). It is not cheap: 180 sq. ft. cost $1,000, but comparable to other higher end products (marble, tile, limestone, bluestone, etc.).
 

ludes98

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#6
I have lived with wood, and my parent's vacation condo has laminite. Wood is definitely my preference. I don't know why, but the laminite floor in their condo always generates alot of static and it drives me nuts. |-)
 
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#7
How about Astro Turf or Rubberized Track from used tires?

Just kidding. I would go with the wood, but make sure it is well coated and sealed. When my parents redid their floors, the dogs nails scratched things up because the coating was not thick enough.
 

boiker

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#8
Wood ages well. it's meant to get scratched, gouged, beaten, etc. I love wood floors.

Stone would be durable, expensive, and heavy.
Bamboo or cork: I have no idea on the durability and appearance this would provide.

Carpet is (not scottish and therefore) crrrrrrraaaap.
 
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#9
I would go with natural materials -- wood or stone or ceramic tile or cork or linoleum or leather :-D -- AND, because you have some respiratory issues, be careful of what it is installed with! One reason to go with natural materials is that they are less likely to off-gas chemicals and, therefore, less likely to cause health problems. But, regardless, if the adhesive used to install it is highly toxic, your new floors can become a health hazard that you cannot escape. Most folks have a hard time making the connection between the remodel and the bout of health problems which can ensue. It isn't obvious. But "sick building syndrome" in your own home is really a bad lifestyle move. 8-!
 

BKM

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#10
Thanks, all! I am leaning toward wood-or bamboo.

My living space is on the second and third floor (over a garage), so heavy tile might not work (although a cool feeling would be nice for the torrid Sacramento Valley summers).

Michelle has a point about off-gassing.
 

donk

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#11
I would go with the real wood over laminate. the primary reason is that real wood can be easily berefinished if scratched or water stained. If you scratch laminate, you pretty much have to live with it.

I installed laminate in my old place, even though I had real wood flooring available and paid for, as the wood would not have added much to the sales price.

If anyone wants 600 square feet of old gymnasium hard wood that has been planed to remove all of the finish and had the tongues and grooves cleaned, let me know and we can work something out. ;)
 

Rem

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#12
We replaced our whole downstairs with timber late last year and we have a dog.

Reuben (the dog) is allowed inside as long as he behaves (he is only 8 months old). He hasn't caused any scratches as far as I can see. He is great entertainment when he decides to play and starts running on the timber floor - he spins his wheels and goes nowhere. The harder he tries to run away, the less he moves. That's when he gets chuched out BTW. I really like timber floors - we had to wait 10 years in this house to afford them.

Mrs Rem's parents have cork in their kitchen dining rooms. It has been down for over twenty years and remains in very good condition. We treated with it with a post-installation sealant (I seem to recall it was a polyurehtane based product). One issue with the cork is that it changes colour over time but at very different rates depending on exposure to sunlight. My in-laws recently remodelled and in a couple of spots, where they previously had cabinets standing on the floor, the cork is much lighter in colour (compared to areas exposed to light). I assume the same thing will happen with a timber floor but I am not certain that a sand back is as straight forward a job on a cork floor. It is definately softer to walk on and cups dropped on it have a better chance of survival than if dropped on a timber floor.

I've lived in house with an area of slate flooring and found it very cold and noisy.
 

Tranplanner

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#13
donk said:
If anyone wants 600 square feet of old gymnasium hard wood that has been planed to remove all of the finish and had the tongues and grooves cleaned, let me know and we can work something out. ;)
I thought you were hanging onto that stuff. We should maybe talk next time you're in town.
 
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#14
Rem said:
I've lived in house with an area of slate flooring and found it very cold and noisy.
It is my understanding that it depends in part on the underlayment and, also, on how the place is furnished. A throw rug or two, curtains, and other sound absorbers can dramatically change the acoustics of a place. (My oldest son is really sensitive to such things and I have done some strategic furnishing of my apartment to address acoustic problems in our tiny apartment. ;-) )
 

Mastiff

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#15
Go with the mullet option - linoleum!

Seriously, check out some ceramic tiles. They aren't that heavy...
 
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#16
Linoleum is a much maligned material that folks confuse with cheap, icky, tacky vinyl tile. It is a natural product. I believe it is a composite of wood shavings and an oil and that is where the "oleum" part of the word comes from. It is environmentally friendly, wears well, is more stylish than folks sometimes think of it as, etc.

Do a little research. Real linoleum is a respectable natural product...unlike the vinyl flooring that is intended to look like it but is about as attractive as the polyester that was intended to be an inexpensive version of silk (I roll my eyes).
 

Rem

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#18
BKM I need to correct something I posted yesterday. I was telling Mrs Rem last night about the discussion on timber floors, given our own new floor. I told her that I had pointed out that our dog doesn't cause scratching - Mrs Rem pointed out "well that's because you don't clean the floors, of course he scratches them". :-$

I can now say that dogs do cause scratching to timber floors, it's just that laid back, short sighted, indolent planners can't see the scratches and therefore it's the same thing as being scratch proof. o:)
 

H

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#19
if you know a local real estate agent you should ask them which has the best resale value. I bet it is hard wood, but then i dont know your area.

another "good dog" alternative to carpet is tile. I really like tile because it keeps the house cool, if you need that in where you are (I dont know Cali real well, your part might get cold, right?)
 
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#20
H said:
I really like tile because it keeps the house cool, if you need that in where you are (I dont know Cali real well, your part might get cold, right?)
The San Francisco Bay Area is the only Mediterranean climate in the entire U.S. Much of the Bay Area has temperatures that hover between 60 and 80 degree year-round, with spikes upwards or downwards from time to time (like any coastal climate, weather can change rapidly in response to winds and storms coming in from the ocean). However, Solano is the flattest county of the 9 counties in the bay area and that distinguishes it from the other 8. That is probably a contributing factor in how agricultural and rural we remain. We are also more inland than most of the counties. Those two factors contribute to Solano being substantially warmer than most of the rest of the bay area, especially as you move inland. Vacaville can be quite hot in the summer.

However, having grown up in Georgia, I have not seen very many days this year that didn't merit a sweater -- especially towards evening. |-)
 
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