Friday, March 15, 2013

Floor It.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my lower level Media Room is on the books for renovation. The major player in this renovation will be the floor. Since my biggest worry is putting down major $$$ towards a floor that may be damaged in the near future by torrential floods... ok, ok, minor water seepage... my flooring options are pretty limited. Water does not play nice with wood or laminate, so that knocked those two out of the ballpark. Tile floors were an option, but there was still the worry that some water could come in and get waterlogged (ohhhh, so that is where that word came from...) and cause mold to develop. There was also the fact that my lower level is related to an igloo on the warmest of days, and tile is very cold. And obviously, while one could do underfloor heating, that would definitely not play nice with water.

Another option is carpet. Which is what I currently have downstairs. In fact, when we moved in, we paid extra to install new carpet in one of the rooms. Fast forward a couple years from moving day and with water coming into my lower-level with every rain, we had to pull the carpet up and let it dry out. (And did I mention, I have 3 bookshelves packed of books, so every time we had to pull the carpet up, we had to empty those shelves and move those books?! Torture.) So I knew I definitely did not want to do carpet again on the chance that water comes back in.

That leaves me with Vinyl. This is where I point out that one of the projects we completed when we moved into this house was to tile the laundry/storage room with vinyl stick-and-peel tiles. I don't have any pictures saved, apparently, of the floors in their completed (and new!) glory, but over the years the tiles have not held up well, particularly with water damage. I can't take any good shots right now, because I have crammed that back room full of stuff trying to clear out the Media Room for it's renovation, but I was able to scooch some furniture around to grab some shots for you. Here are the vinyl tiles from my laundry room:

The second picture tells the best story of the water damage. If you have boxes sitting on the floor, and water comes in and sits under the box... when you lift the box you also peel off the surface of the vinyl tile. Not a fan of Vinyl, am I.  So going into the search for my new flooring was a bit of a concern. 

My dad and I took an evening after work to go to a few flooring stores so I could see my options and price them out. Because I have good taste, I gravitated towards the more pricey vinyl flooring options. I was looking at vinyl options of $4.50-$5 a square foot. And since I needed roughly 360 square feet for the Media Room and hallway (not including the bathroom and back bedroom...), I was looking at roughly $1,900-2,200 for these flooring options.  

The first store we went to the sales man was not overly helpful. He directed us towards the sale vinyl. I wrinkled my nose at the options, so he then directed us towards the other vinyl, and I looked at a few options that were nicer on the eyes. We asked him a few questions and were told that we could just lay the vinyl planks on the floor for a floating floor. If water came in and damaged the plank, we could remove it.  Here's the thing though, these planks were locking, so that would be a little difficult to unlock a specific plank and replace it. The sales man then wandered off with a vague "come find me if you have questions."  Here were some options from that first store I was eyeballing: 

I wasn't in love with any of the options though I had my eye on the Heirloom Cherry option; and I was still looking at roughly $1,500. So we headed to Nebraska Furniture Mart to check out their options. The sales man at Nebraska Furniture Mart was much more helpful. He led us to our original option (they had the same brand in stock), and priced it out for us. It was a couple thousand more. He talked to us about leveling the floor (my eyes crossed seeing additional dollar signs, and my dad's eyes crossed hearing additional work...), and then he led us to an option that was relatively new to the market and that he had used himself. Karndean Flooring Tiles. 

This stuff is revolutionary for basements! It too is a floating plank floor vinyl product. The difference with this product is it isn't a locking product. This product literally floats on the floor, making it unique in that if a plank is damaged or water comes in, you can simply lift it up and let it air dry or replace it. I suppose the concept is very similar to carpet tiles. What really makes this product unique is the back of the plank tile. There are rubber strips along the bottom that allow water, if incoming, to flow between the strips and not damage the vinyl tile.

You can read more about the Karndean Flooring Tiles at their website if you're interested in the sales spiel, but here is an excerpt from their website that has me hooked: 
Practical flooring designed to last
Our flooring can cope with the daily demands of busy family life. Stain resistant and easy to clean, Karndean floors can handle water spillages  without warping, and a dropped mug or plate without chipping or cracking. Unlike carpets, our floors don’t harbor dirt, dust mites or bacteria.
Designed to last for many years, each floor is guaranteed for up to 20 years. Should any tile or wood plank be damaged, a spare can be fitted quickly by your installer. This is far more cost effective than damage to a portion of carpet or laminate, when the whole floor often has to be replaced.
With my basement, this product is sounding like gold. The price, definitely gold--as in hefty $$$. We were looking at a bit over $2,200 to do the Media Room and hallway (once again not touching the bathroom or back bedroom). But with all the benefits of this product, I am leaning heavily towards selecting this as my new floor.  We asked the sales guy a few more questions, "how level does the floor have to be--level-level?", "Do the edges stick up?", "Can the tiles survive an 80+ degree basement?" (I got a really weird look from the Sales guy with that question... but it did lead to an interesting discussion about the gas fireplace and how far from the floor it should be...) Really, the product sounded too good to be true. 
So I selected a sample tile to test--trying to match the color as closely as I could to my kitchen laminate flooring--and brought it home to try out.  

It is almost freaky how close the color is to my kitchen floor: 

So I might be sold. I just need to save up a few more buckaroos since I really want to get the same tile for the bathroom and back bedroom as well.  Select Flooring-check.

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