This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shaw Floors. The opinions and text are all mine.
I get excited when it’s time for the flooring to go in when I am doing a flip.
That means we are wrapping up the renovating portion and the fun portion begins. The decorating and staging. The flooring is an extremely important design to make. I consider several factors when choosing the flooring. I have a “formula” which I use when choosing the other elements, and it’s not unusual for me to install the same products, such as the appliances. But, I like to choose different flooring for each home. I will share my process below.
5 Tips for Choosing Laminate Flooring
Have you ever heard that saying which started out “I wish I had a dollar for every ( fill in the blank.)” That’s what I say when it comes to flooring. I wish I had a dollar for every square foot of flooring I have purchased and installed over the years in both our flip homes and our rental homes. I could retire tomorrow. 🙂
Between our own homes we have bought and sold throughout my husband’s Marine Corps career, the rental properties we own and my parent’s rental properties which I manage, and all of the flip homes our family has renovated over the last 25+ years, we have put in thousands of square feet of flooring. But, each home has a different situation and required different levels of consideration when choosing the type of flooring we installed. Durability and price are just a few of these considerations.
I will say, of all of the types of flooring we have installed, we have used laminate flooring the most. When laminate first entered the flooring scene years ago, I have to be honest – I was not a fan. I didn’t like the looks and I hated the way it sounded so hollow when you walked across it. To me, the earlier laminate flooring looked like someone had photocopied and decoupaged cheap images of wood onto thin planks of wood. Yuck.
But like everything else that gets better over time when the technology can be improved, laminate changed and morphed into the beautiful and durable flooring we see today. And though laminate may never be what real hardwood is, it is an affordable flooring that is DIY-able and has allowed many homeowners a comparable wood flooring when hardwood was not in their budget. That said, here are the 5 things I consider when choosing laminate flooring.
Ugh! I really don’t like that word, do you? 🙂 But, like any DIY or renovation project, it’s one of the first considerations you must keep in mind. You wouldn’t think there would be a major difference in total pricing between flooring that cost $1.89/sf and $3.39/sf. I mean, there’s only a $1.50 difference right? Until you multiply that by 1000+ sf. Like any project, you need to break down the costs of the total renovation and decide what percentage you can dedicate to each category. To a new homeowner, it seems logical that you would spend as little per square footage as possible. I mean, savings is savings. Here is where I will a huge and loud NO! Savings is always a good thing, but not when it comes to the item that will receive the most wear and tear in your home. Don’t be fooled into thinking that flooring is flooring is flooring. Especially when it comes to laminate. I would suggest spending a little more and getting a better product that is within your budget’s means.
#2.) Durability and Use:
Think of all the foot traffic your poor floors will see during it’s lifetime. Muddy shoes, dogs and cat paws, bouncing balls and legos. Okay, maybe that’s just in MY home. 🙂 We learned the learned way many years ago that choosing the right type of flooring for the home was key to how long said flooring would last. The good thing about much of the newer types of laminate flooring is it is virtually resistant to most scratches and impacts. Best of all, most manufacturers offer fantastic warranties against stains, fading and moisture damages. What I love about using wood laminate flooring in our flip homes is the installation is quick and easy and does not require staining, waxing or varnishing once installed. Manufacturers use an “AC Rating” when it comes to durability, from 1-5. The higher the AC rating, the more durable.
#3.) Looks and Style:
Just like with other types of flooring, the variety of laminate flooring on the market now is almost endless. That is why I love to change up the design when choosing a flooring for a new flip project. Besides the paint choices, the flooring is one of the elements that literally set the design tone of the entire home. If you want to go Farmhouse, there are endless choices for old barn wood style floors. Coastal? I love the driftwood look. Contemporary, classic, rustic? There is a flooring for you which will meet your budget demands.
Another thing I love about laminate flooring is the ease of installation. It is a doable DIY project that almost any homeowner can tackle. I was petrified the first time we installed laminate flooring ourselves. We had been hiring it done in the past, but because of a tight budget in one of our renovations, my son and I decided to tackle the job to save money. We asked lots of questions at the local home store, we watched youtube videos, and we asked more questions. And we did it! And darn it – it looked amazing! 😀 The glueless options of laminate flooring totally changed the process. When the interlocking systems were first introduced, I will be the first one to admit they were not very good. I will say THIS is where the budget plays a big role in the type of flooring I choose. I will not buy a laminate flooring less than 8mm thick, and prefer to have a flooring at least 10mm thick. The better quality of flooring will have a better and more durable interlocking system, which is key to installation. Laminate flooring is a “floating” system which can be installed over virtually any type of existing subfloor. One of the mistakes that DIY’ers make is they forego the use of the underlayment padding because of cost. BIG mistake. Don’t skip this step, UNLESS the planking already has the padding on the bottom. Even when it does, I often add the padding anyway for extra, well, padding which eliminates that hollow sound when you walk across the floor. One final thing about installation. We found that sometimes, you can spend as much on the transitions (thresholds) as you do the flooring. There are three types of transitions: laminate to carpet, laminate to tile and laminate to vinyl flooring. These thresholds allow a seamless transition from one type of flooring to another. They can be a little difficult to install as they require some angle cuts. So, I recommend practicing on inexpensive molding or wood if angle cutting is new to you.
I try to avoid placing laminate flooring is “wet areas,” meaning bathrooms and laundry rooms. Until now. Shaw Floors has just introduced a brand new type of flooring that is completely water resistant and it is absolutely stunning. I learned about it at a recent Blog Conference and was absolutely “floored.” (see what I did there?) 😀 This new technologically-advanced flooring has now revolutionized laminate so that it can be used anywhere in your home, without having to resort to different types of flooring in the different areas of your home. (this will also save you time and money on those transitions I mentioned above.)
So there you go!
Now you know what runs through my mind when making laminate flooring decisions. If you are still unsure what type of flooring s best for your individual needs, Shaw Floors is a great resource to answer all of your questions. They invite you to explore the process of selecting new floors and the beautifully positive impact they can have on your home’s overall style and design. In three recent surveys conducted by three different flooring trade publications, Shaw Floors was named #1 in all of them, including in the categories of quality, service, support, price, availability, training, and consumer preference.
“Awesome Happens On Shaw Floors.”
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