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Flooring for Florida condo
Old 03-18-2016, 01:31 PM   #1
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Flooring for Florida condo

I'm thinking of replacing the carpet (currently in the 2 bedrooms and den) in my Florida condo due to age/wear.

The 18" square light-colored ceramic tile that currently runs through the rest of the condo (living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, and baths) is no longer made. It is impossible to match.

This is a ground-level condo with no HOA requirement for any sound absorbing underlayment. A moisture barrier would be required if something 'porous' (other than carpet) is installed, as it would be going over a poured concrete base.

So, I am evaluating installing some sort of hard surface flooring that would look nice adjacent to the existing tile but would not try to pass for a "match". A (relatively) inexpensive option (at $2.29/sq.ft.) that I have seen at Home Depot is a bamboo, tongue and groove, engineered (which means it each plank is made of up layers of wood, which is better/more stable in this environment with the humidity/climate here), click-lock (the 6' long planks sort of push-snap together) floor. This is effectively a floating floor, as it is not glued-down. Quarter-round trim that gets nailed to the trim boards at the base of the walls is what holds it in place.

According to the literature, the bamboo planking is janka-rated at 4000 (more than 3.5 times harder than Red Oak) and has an 11-layer polyethylene/aluminum oxide finish which is highly scratch resistant.

My interests are to have something economical to buy and install that looks nice, wears well, is easy to clean, and will be a selling feature when I (eventually) put this unit on the market.

I get the sense that the trend in flooring (at least in warmer climates) is turning from wall-to-wall carpet to hard-surface floors of all types (tiles, cork, hardwood, bamboo, etc.).

So my questions are:

Does anyone have any experience with bamboo flooring?
Would you recommend it or not? OR should I look for something else -- carpet or hardwood?
Would this flooring be a feature (or turn-off) if you were shopping for a Florida condo? (There is a definite appearance of "joints" in the bamboo. At the same time, this is somewhat mitigated by the light natural color I am considering.)
Anything else I should be considering?

omni
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:48 PM   #2
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I use laminate in all my rentals. Always hardwood/laminate rather than carpet. Carpet in bedrooms only.

I have never used the bamboo, but if you are going over concrete, make sure the flooring is made for that.

Concrete tends to have a lot of moisture.
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:58 PM   #3
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we put down 16" Armstrong lvt in our 1600 ft basement and grouted it - best flooring decision I've ever made
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:11 PM   #4
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we put down 16" Armstrong lvt in our 1600 ft basement and grouted it - best flooring decision I've ever made
What is lvt, please?

omni
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:16 PM   #5
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luxury vinyl tile


http://www.armstrong.com/flooring/pr...in/_/N-6uxZ6xk
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:30 PM   #6
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We have bamboo in the great room and master bedroom of our house (but nailed down, not floating). I have installed inexpensive laminate both in the bonus room over our garage and in Mom's Florida lanai (over concrete). We have LVT grouted both in the bathroom over our garage and the kitchen and both bathrooms of Mom's Florida house.

One potential issue with bamboo is that it is very hard and as I recall requires special blades to cut it. We have been happy with our bamboo other than we wish we had chosen a lighter color since it show every piece of lint. We have also been happy with the laminate but it is definitely not as attractive as the bamboo.

I think engineered bamboo for your Florida condo is a great choice other than ii is a bit harder to work with.

I definitely prefer hard surfaces to carpet as it is easier to keep clean. I am still to this day grossed out by the silt that we found under the pad of some carpet that we took up in our old house.
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Old 03-18-2016, 03:45 PM   #7
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I am still to this day grossed out by the silt that we found under the pad of some carpet that we took up in our old house.
that's why I'll never have carpet again, ever
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Old 03-18-2016, 05:40 PM   #8
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We have bamboo in the great room and master bedroom of our house (but nailed down, not floating). I have installed inexpensive laminate both in the bonus room over our garage and in Mom's Florida lanai (over concrete). We have LVT grouted both in the bathroom over our garage and the kitchen and both bathrooms of Mom's Florida house.

One potential issue with bamboo is that it is very hard and as I recall requires special blades to cut it. We have been happy with our bamboo other than we wish we had chosen a lighter color since it show every piece of lint. We have also been happy with the laminate but it is definitely not as attractive as the bamboo.

I think engineered bamboo for your Florida condo is a great choice other than ii is a bit harder to work with.

I definitely prefer hard surfaces to carpet as it is easier to keep clean. I am still to this day grossed out by the silt that we found under the pad of some carpet that we took up in our old house.
As you have had experience with both the bamboo and the LVT, I'm curious which you would recommend for a den? In my case, the den will mostly get arts & crafts (sewing, stained glass, basketry, etc.) use, some TV watching, and the occasional overflow guest(s) sleeping on the sleep sofa.

Have you had any experience with the bamboo being exposed to prolonged water (as in a leak)?

omni
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Old 03-18-2016, 05:53 PM   #9
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When I was condo-shopping in early 2015, I toured a condo where the owners had recently installed a high-end vinyl plank floor which was some sort of laid-in-place (not glued) installation. Sadly, it had visible 'bubbles' in it where it seemed to be physically raised/heaved off the concrete subfloor. (These were easily-visible areas when viewed from a distance with the light reflecting onto the floor. I'd say they were about 6-8 inches long).

I can't recall the manufacturer or style of floor. As I was quite interested in the condo, I actually researched the flooring, found a forum where other owners had experienced similar issues, and I even called the customer service number.

The details are lost in the fog of memory, but I was underwhelmed. Had I been the one who had paid for that floor, I would've been majorly upset. And as a potential buyer, I didn't know what to do to rectify the situation.

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Old 03-18-2016, 06:11 PM   #10
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Flooring is a subject where everyone has a different opinion. The bamboo floors are fine to use like you want, and they're very scratch resistance to dog claws. You can read all about them on LumberLiquidators.com.

But in Florida, many houses have porcelain tile--due to having so many tile masons relocating there from "the islands." With warm weather, it's not so cold on the feet as having tile in a northern climate.

We have a 7 million square feet of unsold porcelain/ceramic tile in a warehouses a couple of miles from me, and we can buy the stuff really cheap locally. Monarch Tile is located here--now Italian owned.

We also have Tarkett's Nafco luxury vinyl tile factory 2 miles away. I've laid a bunch of 3" x 36" vinyl planking on concrete floors that looks like hardwood. The trick is using a special mastic designed for that flooring application and rolling the floor as you're installing it with a 100 pound floor tile roller to get out all the bubbles. We pay $1.50 per square feet for vinyl tile that retails for over $4 per square feet. It's priced like hardwood retail, but is much more durable.

I'm up to my eyeballs installing porcelain tile in the master bedroom in our new house. The previous owner had white carpet in the bath. It's a bigger job than I originally anticipated with 2 closets with diagonal walls.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
As you have had experience with both the bamboo and the LVT, I'm curious which you would recommend for a den? In my case, the den will mostly get arts & crafts (sewing, stained glass, basketry, etc.) use, some TV watching, and the occasional overflow guest(s) sleeping on the sleep sofa.

Have you had any experience with the bamboo being exposed to prolonged water (as in a leak)?

omni
I think the engineered bamboo is a better product and if I was doing a den I would use that rather than LVT. The LVT looks good but I'm not convinced how durable it is. The bathroom t home that we put in in gets little use, as does the guest bath a Mom's house... heck, even the kitchen and master bath only get used 6 months a year. The LVT is a great DIY product though... easy to work with.

We have not had any prolonged water exposure for our bamboo at home. While we do have it in our kitchen, if we spill liquid we are careful to clean it up promptly.
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Old 03-19-2016, 02:22 AM   #12
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I installed dark bamboo in a rental (glue over concrete). Impossible to keep clean, stay away from dark. It will get small scratches. Friend bought it and changed his mind, got for a 1.00 a sq. ft. I would not do it again, a lot of wasted product when installing, Chinese crap. I have used Anderson hardwood in a few other rentals and way less waste and goes in perfect, Made in USA. If I had to to do over again I would find one natural product that I can match in 10 years. I buy 10% extra to match when there is a issue, and have garage full of different woods and ceramics. Travertine
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Old 03-19-2016, 07:56 AM   #13
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I installed dark bamboo in a rental (glue over concrete). Impossible to keep clean, stay away from dark. It will get small scratches. Friend bought it and changed his mind, got for a 1.00 a sq. ft. I would not do it again, a lot of wasted product when installing, Chinese crap. I have used Anderson hardwood in a few other rentals and way less waste and goes in perfect, Made in USA. If I had to to do over again I would find one natural product that I can match in 10 years. I buy 10% extra to match when there is a issue, and have garage full of different woods and ceramics. Travertine
Agree on the no dark. I bought a coastal condo a couple of years ago and it had a light colored laminate through out the living areas. Only tile in the kitchen and baths. I really like the laminate. Cleans easy and holds up well to my 90 lb lab. Looks something like this.....

Pergo XP Sedona Oak 10 mm Thick x 7-5/8 in. Wide x 47-5/8 in. Length Laminate Flooring (20.25 sq. ft. / case)-LF000583 - The Home Depot
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:04 AM   #14
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+1 on light colored flooring. We had light colored Pergo in our old house and liked it. The bamboo in our current house is darker, more of a medium brown, and shows much more stuff.
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:05 AM   #15
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In Florida I'd use a laminate. Not Home Depot or Lowes, but go to a flooring store that has nice stuff and knows what they're talking about. Laminants look like real wood or tile these days and are hard to tell the difference. Wood flooring invites termites in Florida.


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Old 03-19-2016, 08:09 AM   #16
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Found this.

Quote:
The best way to prevent termites from eating their way into bamboo is to buy bamboo or bamboo laminates and other products pretreated with borates, derivatives of boric acid. Borates kill the protozoa in termite guts that enable them to digest cellulose. If they eat bamboo treated with borates, they starve to death. Evidence has shown that termites are able to detect borate in wood and go elsewhere. Commercial borate formulations come in powders that mix with water and borates mixed with glycol to help them penetrate deeper into wood. If you live in an area that has problems with terminates, inspect your bamboo annually for termite activity and seek professional treatment if you find it.
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:12 AM   #17
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Not me, no wood floors of any type in FL. The humidity is too high, and even the best engineered wood can warp if it gets exposed. Unless you are never going to have the windows open, and even then there are always the possibility of power outages. I'd go with ceramic tile. We've been looking at some that looks like wood planks, very cool and attractive. We didn't go with that, deciding to get our grout cleaned and painted instead, but we were definitely leaning that way. Ceramic tile is nearly indestructible unless you juggle hammers or something.
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:18 AM   #18
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Not me, no wood floors of any type in FL. The humidity is too high, and even the best engineered wood can warp if it gets exposed. Unless you are never going to have the windows open, and even then there are always the possibility of power outages. I'd go with ceramic tile. We've been looking at some that looks like wood planks, very cool and attractive. We didn't go with that, deciding to get our grout cleaned and painted instead, but we were definitely leaning that way. Ceramic tile is nearly indestructible unless you juggle hammers or something.
This. Additional advantages of ceramic tile - nicely cool in a very hot climate, and no termite problems.
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:54 AM   #19
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This is great stuff for high humidity we have it in our basement and really like it, its not cheap but very durable. It is not wood but looks like it and can get completely submerged in water and not be damaged and easy to replace if one gets damaged, its loose lay no glue, no nails just put it down and your done.
Karndean LooseLay Vinyl Flooring Collection
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Old 03-19-2016, 11:31 AM   #20
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We put a good quality vinyl in our basement at home (glued down) ... by the time we got to the basement we were tiring and wanted something quick, easy and affordable. Also, the vinyl was a good match with our in-slab radiant heat. Today's vinyl is quite attractive. Our builder was out when it was put in and he said that when he got back to do the floorboards he saw the floor and said to himself..."Ah, they decided to go with laminate".... and then later realized that it was rolled goods.
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