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Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 09:42 AM   #1
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Pro and Con wood floors.

Ok - wood floors for dummies.

So it's 38 degrees with sleet outside and the latest brain phart is to pull up the 1970's looking carpet and install Bella wood floor - saw the Bob Villa ad. 1200 sq feet if I do the whole house. Looks like red oak under the carpet - in the original part of the house - except Bathroom, Kitchen and the garage part which was converted to a room addition at some unknown point in the past.

1. Have no idea of old wood floor condition under the carpet.

2. Know absolutely nothing about wood floors.

3. Golden Retriever and Cat.

4. Plan to stay here a minimum of 2 years - probably much longer - at least as a home base.

5. Will contract the job - 'a man's gotta know his limitations.'

Am I a danger to myself - does wood help resale value in maybe ten years - what are the trade offs on types of flooring?

Think Kansas City.

heh heh heh
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 09:58 AM   #2
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Wood flooring looks good and does improve resale.

Everything else about it is a pain in the butt. If you install the real wood as you mention, everything you drop will dent or scratch it. The animals running around corners will scratch it. Any water dripped or poured on it and not wiped up promptly will buckle or stain it. It will need to be sanded and refinished about every 5-10 years depending on traffic, which is messy, smells bad and may cost another couple of bucks a square foot if you have someone good do it with good finishes. In slippers or smooth flat soled shoes you may slip and fall.

I would put it in in a small room, or a living room, someplace where theres one entrance/exit. I wouldnt put it in a bathroom or kitchen unless my life depended on it.

See my other thread on tile saws. Theres a vinyl product that comes in long thin rectangles that is hard to tell from wood looking at or feeling it. It goes down pretty easy. Waterproof, ding and dent proof, and its not as slippery as wood. Looks like lowes carries it although I havent seen it myself there. I saw it installed in a store and was very impressed with the look and quality.
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Unclemick2,

Our new house came with wall to wall carpet installed by the builder. Because of the layout of the house, the path from the foyer through the living and dining room receives a lot of traffic. We figured the carpet would not hold up well to it so we started looking into wood flooring. We first looked at Pergo (fake wood floor). It is cheaper than wood, and easier to install and maintain. It comes in a great many finishes and styles. It looked pretty good in the stores but when we brought samples home and saw it with our furnishings it just didn't cut it. It looked too industrial. We then drove ourselves nuts trying to select a wood floor. There are SO many types of wood to choose from. We finally had Brazilian Cherry installed (one of the hardest wood varieties). It was quite expensive ($13 sq. ft. installed) but it is spectacular looking. We also got an oriental area rug and matching runners for the foyer and hall. Everone who comes into the house asks about it. It does required a good bit of care to keep it looking really nice but we think it is worth it. It has been in for about a year and it gradually darkens and enriches in color over time. It has held up very well to the high traffic. You do need to be careful to put glides or felt pads on all chair and table legs to prevent scratches.

Here's a picture to show how it looks.

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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 11:42 AM   #4
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclemick2
3. Golden Retriever and Cat.
Whatever you get has to pass the cat piss test.

If it has joints, whatever's underneath also has to pass the same test...
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 12:08 PM   #5
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

I speak from experience when I note that cat piss turns the CP'd spot a nice darker shade of brown and requires board replacement, along with priming the subfloor with killz.
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 12:40 PM   #6
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute n' Fuzzy Bunny
I speak from experience when I note that cat piss turns the CP'd spot a nice darker shade of brown and requires board replacement, along with priming the subfloor with killz.
Sounds like you had a urethane finish.

We've got wood. Lots of wood. And we generally love it. One house has wide-plank fir floors. Softwoods will get dings and scratches like crazy. So much so, it just becomes part of the "character." We don't even consider repairs.

Another house has Jatoba (Brazillian cherry). Very hard stuff and looks very elegant. No dogs allowed.

And yet another house has engineered wood floors from Lumber Liquidators (they also distribute Bellawood). I love their engineered wood product. It's as easy to install as pergo, but it has a real wood veneer on top, so it doesn't look like a laminate. You can do a floating floor installation. And they put multiple layers of a ceramic coating on it that seems to hold up well even under pet and kid abuse. And since it's a floating floor, it's relatively cheap and easy to replace any part that does get damaged.
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 12:52 PM   #7
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

You know, its been so long that I'm not sure what they were finished with, but we had a guy come in from nevada with some stuff that smelled like formaldehyde for 3 days that wasnt supposed to be applied in california, but it was heavier duty than what california technically 'allows'.

All wood floor finishes are, or should be, at least somewhat water permeable if for no other reason than to allow the wood to shrink and expand, and to lose any moisture it might gain through the subfloor.
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 01:10 PM   #8
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclemick2
3. Golden Retriever and Cat.
i replaced all the wood flooring here (and, yes, the house also had now gone linoleum) with porcelain non-skid tile in the entire house for the aging hybrid wolf-puppy. i had already reconstructed both his legs when he was about 4 years old which tripled his life span but later he started sliding on the wood.

i orginally bought this old house thinking i was bob vila but turns out i'm not even tim the tool man taylor. so i had it done. was for a good cause.

pretty much doesn't matter what you do to a house here. most everything in my area is a tear down so any improvement is just a personal luxury that will be replaced with a mini-mansion when the property is sold.

for your pets, i would think twice before installing slick floors.
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Old 03-04-2006, 01:33 PM   #9
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wab
product. It's as easy to install as pergo, but it has a real wood veneer on top, so it doesn't look like a laminate. You can do a floating floor installation. And they put multiple layers of a ceramic coating on it that seems to hold up well even under pet and kid abuse. And since it's a floating floor, it's relatively cheap and easy to replace any part that does get damaged.
We also looked at Pergo and didn't like it at all. It doesn't sound or feel like a wood floor. We ended up getting an oak floor from Kahrs. It's an engineered floor and it looks great! It cost me about $4.25/sq ft from an online store including the special underlayment that I had to use to preserve the warranty. It's only been a little over 2 years but the finish still looks good. I installed it myself (tongue and groove) and believe me, it shows in a few places. : Doing the installation ourselves did save us about $4/sqft.

Kahrs is a Swedish company that has EXCELLENT customer service (I talked to a live person on Saturday afternoon!) Also, the wood is supposedly harvested from an environmentally sustainable forest.
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 03:44 PM   #10
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

UM,
I really love the look of my wood floors. I have a dog, 2 kids, and a husband. Sure, there are some scratches in it but I have long ago learned to accept that when you have a family you are going to have a somewhat used look to things. Very easy to maintain. I just take a wood floor spray cleaner and a terry cloth mop to it. Looks great all the time.





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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-04-2006, 03:46 PM   #11
 
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

I love wood, but I can't give up the warmth and cozyness of wall-to-wall carpet.
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Old 03-04-2006, 04:08 PM   #12
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Unclemick,

We have a house that was built ~1960. A couple of years ago we pulled up (the really ugly) carpet in the living room and bed rooms and refinished the wood floors that were underneath them. At the same time we replaced the linoleum in the kitchen with hardware floors.

We couldn't be happier with the results. Part of that is that the floors that they replaced were pretty bad but given the same choices I would do it again.

I have put a couple of gashes in the floor moving furniture around but they don't really bother me much. Maybe I'll get them refinished if we sell it?

We do have a dog but it doesn't seem to bother him. We don't have a cat.

We did have the floor "sealed." I think that it is a polyurethane? That seems to fix most of the water problems. We always seem to get some water (not much just a few drops here and there) on the floor near the sink while rinsing dishes, etc. We just try to wipe it up. I haven't notices any damage.

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Old 03-05-2006, 10:15 AM   #13
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Unclemick,

We have had two houses with wood floors and love them. First one had oak but had never been refinished in 30 years. Had it refinished with "Swedish finish"--urethane in butanol solvent. Three coats were recommended, but we took only one. Very tough, but it did get scratched here and there. I considered doing it myself. Took a course. Chickened out and had it done.

The second had wtw orange and green shag carpets that were disintegrating. Used engineered flooring downstairs. (Thin plywood strips ~6" x 6 ft with tongue-and-groove edges. Prefinished with urethane with silica filler for hardness.) Glued it down. It is wearing well in the basement with kids. We were so happy with it that we put it upstairs, too. Upstairs gets more scars, but we will refinish someday. In the master bedroom, my wife and son laid down parquet squares very successfully. When we lived in Denmark, my wife fell in love with cork floor in a kitchen. In this house we finally put in a floating engineered prefinished cork floor in the kitchen. We installed it all ourselves. Just follow instructions. HomeDepot gives free classes on installation, which is a good idea. We ought to have put a urethane coat over the kitchen floor to seal it, but didn't and it is holding up great. (I still recommend a coat.)

Since our first house, water-based urethane coatings have improved greatly. I would use them today.

My brother built his house with wood floors with a proper urethane finish and between kids and dogs, they are in great shape.

It really helps to keep the dirt off the floors. A good door mat outside and inside helps a lot. This will keep your whole house cleaner. It also helps a lot to take the shoes off at the door (my brother enforces this). Throw rugs do protect, too, but you still enjoy the wood.

We really like wood--furniture, floors, etc. My wife and daughter both have asthma and are allergic to house dust and animal dander (hence no animals), so we are happier with wood flooring. It also helps to have the heating ducting in the house vacuumed out before you move in. Both houses above had animals in them and were run-down (we have an eye for value and fixer-uppers), so we expected to make these improvements.

It has all been more work, but we have a cleaner house now.

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Old 03-05-2006, 12:17 PM   #14
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

UncleMick, when you pull up the carpet, the wood floors may very well be in good condition. Even if not the best, they likely can be refinished.

We had carpet in all our rooms, including the kitchen. Pulled it all out and refinished the wood floors (red oak and some maple) 8 years ago. The kitchen had some real bad spots that we repaired with wood strips taken from hidden areas. Other than minor scratching, the floors still look great and I throw balls for the dogs in the house. We do have area rugs in all rooms but the kitchen. No shoes worn in the house will go a long way to keeping wood floors looking nice.

Odds are you won't have to replace the floors, just refinish them.
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Old 03-05-2006, 12:34 PM   #15
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Quote:
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-05-2006, 02:15 PM   #16
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Unclemick,

I second the coments of Martha and mb. The house we bought last year was built in '59 and had carpets installed over the oak floors in '63 (they were dated and signed on the back by the guy who put the carpet down). The carpet was mondo ugly and caked through with dirt. I ripped it up with the padding and we had the floor refinished (sanded and oil-based polyurethane put on top--three coats). Apparently the carpet did a good job of protecting the wood for 4 decades. It looks really good to us. Yes, there are some "character spots" (esp rust where the carpet tack strips were nailed down) but somehow these blemishes/imperfectons on a wood floor just don't seem to be as upsetting as stains in a carpet. In addition to being a lot cheaper than a new wood floor, I like the look better than the pre-finished floors. I don't care mutch for the dirt-catching small grooves where the prefinised planks meet.

We have two dogs, the scratches have been minor and water, "etc" have not been a factor.

A small tip if you do have the floor refinished--get a gloss finish for the first coat or two, then top everything with the gloss that you want (satin, etc). The glossier polyurethanes are a little harder/tougher, and the only thing that affects the look is the final coat.

Good luck!
samclem
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:02 AM   #17
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Quote:
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Grumpy and LL can join Sailor in the clean house club.
Are you going to print the membership cards?

Here just a bit of advice about little Sailor and hardwood floor:
Hardwood floor (even protected by triple urethane coat) is no match for a determined little Sailor armed with his mother Allclad 4 quarts pot. He can easily make 1/8" dents without raising a sweat.

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Old 03-07-2006, 10:37 AM   #18
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

I guess all y'all had good luck with your floors or didnt have them near water. :P

I had mine in about 1/2 of the downstairs of my mcmansion. You came in to a large open 2 story entryway, wood floors, with a sweeping curved staircase going up to the second floor, entry to the right to a carpeted living/dining room big enough to put in a couple of bowling alleys, and more wood going to the left to the downstairs guest suite and on into the kitchen/family room, also large enough for a couple of alleys and all wood.

We had the floors redone the week before we moved in. Couple of grand IIRC.

On the second day we lived there, I put a load of laundry in the washing machine and went to the store. Came back to 10-12 gallons of water on the floor. Drain line disconnected from the washer in the laundry room and the low point on the floor turned out to be the center of the kitchen. The floor had absorbed some of the water even through the expensive oil based finish. All the boards 'cupped' slightly, and of course the seal between the boards was 'broken'. Not great, although normal expansion/contraction usually do that eventually. After a couple of months, the floor laid back down flat again. I did a little light sanding and reapplied the matte top coat finish. Looked ok.

Which was just in time for the new refrigerator to be installed. I became aware that the installer didnt fully tighten the water connection about a month later when the regularly dripping water caused the floor under the fridge to buckle, along with the ends of the boards on the other side of the wall in the main entryway.

I did manage to successfully sue the installer to recover the cost of refinishing. Which I never did. Same trick of drying it out, light sanding, and a new coat of top finish. However, I had now redone so much of the floor that under the right lighting, from certain standing points in the family room, you could see the original and refinished areas quite clearly at that angle.

With that behind me, a few months later the dishwasher drain line burst and dropped a few more gallons in an area that hadnt been wet before. More buckling. More sanding. More top finish.

The house also had a small electric hot water spot heater under the kitchen sink for immediate hot water as otherwise you had to wait about 6 minutes to get hot water. Its overflow valve became stuck and it turns out it wasnt very tight. Pressure built up and guess what? Leaked onto the floor while i was at work.

Several months later, I was sitting at the kitchen table (thank god) when the improperly installed compression fitting on the hot water pipe under the sink let go, lets not even go to the place where a compression fitting shouldnt be used in an application like this. Picture me diving under the sink to see that the fitting that let go was upstream of the turn-off valve, with the sudden realization that it was the hot water pipe and that nice cool water hitting me in the face was about to turn into 140 degree+ water (hot water heater turned all the way up, else my whirlpool tub for two in the master suite wouldnt take a full hot fill).

Yes, I teleported backwards about 10'. Nothing else would explain the sudden change of location.

By the time I got out to the main valve and closed it, I had about 5 gallons of nice hot water on the floor.

Then the old cat we "found" when we first moved in hit (i'm guessing) about the 19-20 year old mark and no longer cared about the whole 'cat box' experience. Any place on the wood floor was a-ok. :P Usually by the time I found it, it had permeated the finish somewhat.

Then I met my current wife and her dogs. Fair game was to hear something in the back yard, go racing down the stairs, skid sideways around the corner at the bottom of the stairs, skid into the island in the center of the kitchen, skid around the corner and out the back sliding door to see what it was. After a couple of years, we had a nice trail of skid scratches in those spots.

Oh yeah...this was the special finish thats usually applied to gym floors and commercial applications, that i had to get the guy from over the state line to come in and apply. None better.
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.
Old 03-07-2006, 10:44 AM   #19
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

CFB,
Have you gotten to the point yet where you can chuckle over it yet? What a story. I can see why you don't have wood floors in your new home. I hope I never have to go through what you did. That would drive me nuts.
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:58 AM   #20
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Re: Pro and Con wood floors.

Maybe in a year or two, when the shock treatments are cut back to twice a week I'll be able to laugh about it.

Only time I've ever had wood floors in a house I owned. Only time I've ever had a really major leak except for the time when I was sitting in the kitchen in my first (small, crappy) house and the cheap $2 plastic cold water line the prior owner put in burst...I was an hour away from heading to the airport for a 9 day trip to england...that could have been one heck of a homecoming had it happened later that day :P

Actually, and i'm not making this up, I forgot one. When I moved out and put the house up for sale, I cleared out the refrigerator and shut it off. Turns out there must have been a load of ice starting to be made in the icemaker when I shut it off. The refrigerator manufacturer, who will remain nameless because it was GE, made no accommodations for catching water in the freezer, so it all piddled out onto the floor in front of the fridge. It wasnt discovered until a realtor showed the property the next day and called my realtor. Floor cupped and buckled in an area about 10' long and 3' wide and didnt 'settle' back down again for almost a month.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this might have had a little bit to do with very little interest in the home for that first month. You're in the house for maybe 30 seconds and thats what you see.
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