How to Choose Your New Floors?

This week I’ve been trying to make up my mind about flooring. I have not really liked my vinyl flooring inside my home for a while. After all it is as old as my home, 16 years. It is white and it shows all the dirt being dragged in from the porch and patio when we venture out to those areas.

It also shows a lot of dirt at the entryways and any droppings in my kitchen seem to show up daily to the point of looking like I haven’t cleaned the floors in any way–for weeks after only one day. It’s yellowing in spite of only using water to clean it and there are black marks and brown streaks where my wicker chairs have slid under the table and desk.

So after much debate I started looking for new flooring. I found some carpet that was on sale and I liked a lot of them very much, but most were not in my price range—which wasn’t a lot. Now you might ask “What? Carpet? I thought you were looking for new vinyl?” At which point I will say this: “You cannot replace one in an area without the other looking even worse than it did before you started!” Which is actually not that far from the truth, lol. In my case, my flooring was butting up against each other and I knew that would bug me each time I sat in my sofa to watch tv or read. So I made the plunge.

What concerned me was this fact: when I built my house, the carpet I chose to have laid was a commercial berber. My thinking was that it would last longer than a residential choice. It was more, but I thought it was worth it. In pictures you really cannot see how the texture has been flattened by years of wear. If you look closer, lower part of this photo shows some of this…

Thinking back it’s been several years since I was really in love with this carpet—actually I settled—yes I did say “settled”. My former workplace had offered me a fantastic carpet at an unbelievable price when I was looking; but even though I was in love with it—it scared me. It was so light, I was afraid I would be paranoid about getting any dirt on it or allowing people to leave their shoes on while visiting. My pet peeve with hosts is just that, they buy carpet that they expect their guests to instinctively know to kick their shoes off as soon as they walk through your front door. I didn’t want to be that host. So I bought a more utilitarian carpet but never loved it. Yes I said it! I did not marry the right carpet for my home.

Here you can see the wear near the front of my chair. Yes, my living room is pretty small and I’ve had a chair or a sofa, sitting here the whole time I’ve lived here.

I was determined not to do this again. So now I am looking at a Stain Master carpet. It is warranted against soil for a lifetime (no I am not getting any thing for saying this) and many other things. It just makes sense now that I am in love with this carpet and have vowed “from this time forward, for better or worse (and it had better not be terribly worse)”. Ha! Okay so the carpet is chosen…onto the vinyl replacement in my kitchen, entryways and hallways…

I looked at sheet vinyl which I thought would be easiest and the cheapest to install…WRONG! The cost of installing it (they don’t glue it down anymore) was about twice the cost of the purchase PLUS hauling away or as they put it even just ripping out the carpet underneath (the old vinyl can be left in place).

Then I looked at self-sticking planks or tiles. My kind hearted sister-cousin offered to do this for me since the store does not install that type of flooring. Alas, my handy man, Don recommended against it. He had looked into it and believed it did not have a good track record as the salesman seemed to tell me. I did my own research prompted by his lack of enthusiasm and found Don’s recommendation was pretty right-on.

I made a phone call to the store to ask a question (which of course now I cannot remember) and the salesman who answered recommended laminate floors.

Years ago when I was looking at laminate floors, I vowed not to buy them if only for the monetary reasons. Back then the cost to install these floors was unattainable for me. Since then the cost has come down quite a lot.

Another question in my mind was how will it be in my kitchen? I was told they have been approved for kitchens. That being said, I have NOT found this in writing anywhere, but I have seen a lot of reviews from customers who have installed this in their own kitchens without problems. I looked up the warranty on laminate floors and guess what? It doesn’t say it is warranted against water of any kind.

That being said, I don’t know that vinyl floors are either if your kitchen floods, flooring underneath if not the vinyl would possibly need replacing. So after considering this, I decided to go for the laminate. The salesman gave me a quote and I was amazed at how inexpensive it is now. I was sold!

I decided to match my wall cabinet color which is a type of white. My base cabinets are a darker wood, like a cherry color. I think this will look great in my home. Plus I decided on an off-brand flooring after researching written reviews, and saved enough money to actually use the carpet in the living room, which was more costly even on sale. So it’s a win-win!

I will go through the steps I followed in choosing my own flooring so that it may help you if you are in the market. So here they are:

  1. Online research. I researched online so I would know the price range. I did not want to order anything sight unseen though. This gave me an idea for the cost of each item and the ‘add-ons’ that may not be known when first deciding. I didn’t want ANY surprises.
  2. Articles. I read articles to see the pros and cons of each type of flooring so I could make an educated decision. I also spoke with friends and family that might have installed those floors about their experiences.
  3. Local Stores. Visiting actual brick and mortar stores is the only way to buy such an expensive, life impacting investment. I want it to last for years, and not just a few. I don’t spend large amounts of money all the time or even easily, so this warrants hours of looking at prices, textures, colors and quality.
  4. Know your approximate square footage. It’s good to know about how much square footage you are looking to cover. If you have your house plans if you are building or have in recent years, take those with you when shopping for easy access to square foot measurements.
  5. Listen. I spoke to about a dozen sales people in several stores before I found the right prices, quality and the right item for purchase in both cases. The time spent on this is well worth it, you can never get too much information. Also read the store reviews of customer purchases of your item. Make sure they are legitimate. Lowes and Walmart both had the same ‘word for word’ reviews and it was hard to tell where they actually purchased their flooring. Because of this I didn’t put much weight into any of their reviews.
  6. Swatches and demo-boards. These are invaluable in matching to your wall colors, cabinets, furnishings, and each other. You don’t want colors to clash or textures to be to alike. You really don’t want your floors to perfectly match your kitchen cabinets, they should contrast each other.
  7. Write your questions down. When you speak with salespeople, you want to have your deepest questions answered.
    1. Ask about wear. What fibers or textures wear well?
    2. Know your floorings good points and lesser points
    3. Ask if you need to hire an independent installer or do they offer their own?
    4. What are the extra items you need to lay that flooring? Is it quiet or do you need a different underlayment for noise reduction or warranty? Do you need to buy a special kind of padding for the sale price or warranties?
    5. Last but not least: How long is the sale? This will help you organize your research with a target date.
    6. Ask if they will need to take off your base boards or if they will add quarter round trim or just float the floor.
    7. Ask about extra charges like pulling up old flooring and disposal, added installation materials, moving furniture etc. My sale included moving your furniture, pulling out old carpet and hauling it away—all free when you buy the carpet and padding from their company. A great deal from my point of view.
  8. Research your resale value based on what you are doing.  I looked for articles by Realtors about how much this might increase or decrease my current house value. If you are not planning on selling for several years this may not be needed. I’m not sure so I researched this fact. My articles were split as to the resale value of my home increasing if I laid laminate.
  9. Don’t be afraid to call the stores. Once I got home, more questions came to mind. I told a friend that each time I walked into the store the clerks would start greeting me like Norm on Cheers! Well almost. The bright side was I had all my questions answered until I felt confident about my purchase and choices.

So now…

My decision is made, can’t wait to get them installed. Blessings to all.

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