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Favorite type of Flooring in a Florida home? (and with large dog and kids?)
I am wondering what kind of flooring people like here in their homes. Most of the homes we are looking at have carpet and vinyl flooring, but I feel like the builders did that because it was cheap to install (we are looking mostly at homes built after 2000.) We are thinking we'll either look for an upgraded home or change the flooring ourselves when we buy.
We are buying a home soon and we prefer solid floors... wood and tile. I am doing a bunch of research and with a large dog and kids, it seems we might be better off looking for wood laminate in a home (or installing it), because it might hold up better. Also, I am reading humidity can warp wood even more than the wood laminate. Any experience with this? I would love recommendations for good types of flooring in the climate here, as well as what goes with the style of homes here.
I am concerned about floors that off-gas, however. We have a baby and I know that some of the flooring gives off some really nasty chemicals when it is new and even afterward. I am trying to find "greener" versions of different types of flooring because of this, but I need the flooring to be durable, too, so I may need to compromise.
I know in South Florida a lot of homes will have tile throughout the entire living room / kitchen area, but I see that less here.
As far as resale value goes (maybe 10 years from now or something, in this housing market), what do you think the taste of home buyers in North Florida is as far as flooring choices go? I do want to think about resale value or what renters might like since we may eventually want to sell or rent out this first starter home.
There are a lot of homes in NE Florida that have tile in both the living/family room and kitchen, so it's not just a South Florida thing. I guess you also have to think about how old and often your kids fall, because tile floors aren't that forgiving with a fall. As for wood, I've seen a lot of wood floors get scratched from dogs. There are a lot of different qualities in both laminate and wood floors, so the more expensive you go, the better scratch resistance you'll get.... but it also depends on your dog.
I guess I should also consider the type of area I am in and what future buyers would be willing to pay for? This will be a starter home... not too pricey or anything. We are looking in neighborhoods that are full of young families with kids.
What about the engineered wood flooring? Maybe a nice balance between the more expensive hardwood and the wood laminate? We have heard some nice things about the engineered bamboo flooring.
I am really concerned about scratching and stuff. I like to be able to live in my house and not feel too stressed out about scratching things up or ruining them. My parents live in a high end home here with all the granite counter tops, real wood floors, expensive rugs, etc. I feel stressed out when I stay over because it seems to be very high maintenance. For a home in their price range, people expect these kinds of upgrades, but again, I don't know that it would matter as much in a starter home.
Also, do you like carpet in bedrooms? I have really bad allergies and if we stay in this house for 5-7 years the wood laminate (or maybe engineered wood?) will be throughout the house, including the bedrooms. I don't know if that will hurt resale value...
I guess I am at this point a pretty unsophisticated home buyer... because when I look at pictures online or even go in homes I honestly can not tell if the homes have real wood floors or wood laminate most of the time. Most of the homes are pretty much alike and cookie cutter and if they've been upgraded with some kind of wood looking flooring I just can't tell if it is real or not. Or maybe they are all laminate haha. I do think the newer wood laminates are a lot more realistic than some of the stuff they used to sell, though. My childhood home was filled with real wood floors, too, so you'd think I'd be able to tell.
Originally Posted by fsu813
My heart of pine floors have survived 100 years, literally, and look great.
I do have good sized dog, as well (as i'm sure plenty of previous owners did).
Do you have to refinish them often, or do they have an antique look to them at this point that looks good?
They were refinished a few years ago. I bought the house just over a year ago (the previous owners had 2 dogs), we have a ways to go to see how they'll look once the finish start to wear. I suspect we'll just refinish them (a long weekend job), but who knows.
bsgm - don't feel unsophisticated! Some laminate wood floors, especially the lighter colors, look like real wood at first glance. Sometimes a simple tapping of the bottom of your shoe will give off the "plastic" sound, but other times you have to get down and look closely at the seams and run your hand over them to see and feel that it's laminate and not wood.
We have a wood laminate in our family room, but I'm guessing that either it was a cheap version or the underlayment was too cushioned (to deaden the "plastic" sound) because I can see many dents from dog claws and stiletto heels. It's been very easy to keep clean though (we have a small 'zoo' and all that comes with having a 'zoo'.)
The rest of our house is mostly ceramic tile with some of the separate rooms having wall-to-wall. Tile is far and away the easiest to care for except the grout. Our dog groomer runs her business out of her house and had all her floors retiled, using a construction-grade epoxy instead of grout. The epoxy is not porous like grout which will make her cleanup even more easy.
As for the Florida climate and wood floors, they can live together if properly installed (use of the correct underlayment, moisture barrier, etc. - standard stuff). A near-future project for us is to take out the carpet and replace with wood flooring. Although more messy and expensive, we'll install unfinished wood and have it finished on site. Previous experiences with prefinished flooring left us less than satisfied (finish just didn't seem as durable as onsite finishing).
Prior to Florida we had wood floors (pine in our first house, white oak in the last house). Both the pine and the oak were the better surfaces than laminates and vinyl for a household with kids, dogs, cats, and high heels.
I think when it comes to flooring - it's the old saying - you can't have it all. There are always trade-offs. The floor that may resist canine scratches may make for an uncomfortable fall for a kid - or will cause a plate to smash into a lot of pieces. The carpet that feels warm in winter may seem hot in summer. Etc. Etc. If you're not planning for sell for 10+ years - I wouldn't worry about resale. Buy what you like - want - meets your needs now.
One idea for both kids and dogs in certain areas is this floor system or perhaps something similar:
Squares that are easy to replace when there are accidents.
Just FWIW - I have real although contemporary linoleum floors in my kitchen - laundry room and pantry. Tile in baths and carpet elsewhere. The linoleum is a real PITA to take care of. Don't recommend it for dogs - but it's wonderful on the feet if you work in the kitchen a lot. Tile is great - although I recommend a grout color that doesn't show dirt (like gray). I happen to prefer carpet in living areas. I like to walk barefoot a lot - and don't like the feel of dust/grit between my toes. But your mileage will obviously vary. Do what works best for you! Robyn
You had asked about bamboo.... it's nice looking, but it will scratch. To figure out if something will scratch, buy one piece of it and try to scratch it with your nail or even try with a fork (if your dog has sharp nails). This will tell you right away if it will hold up. If you're thinking strictly about resale, look at the flooring in the other houses in your potential neighborhood and use a similar product.
We have tile in the kitchen and foyer, and put Kahrs flooring in the family room, dining room and all of the bedrooms. Kahrs is Swedish and a better quality engineered flooring which can be sanded and refinished several times. It is much thicker so you won't get those hollow sounds when walking across it like other laminates (this engineered). We had it installed about 8 years ago and it still looks great (3 dogs and 4 kids).
We have tile and hardwood throughout our whole house.. we are not carpet people.. Carpet just seems so gross with all the bare feet on it, not to mention it soaks up spills and since we have two dogs, they prefer carpet for play time (better traction..) Our hardwood is applied right over concrete, or so it feels. It's really durable and has held up to our dogs.. We have tile in all the common areas of the house, as well as the bathrooms, but have wood floors in all the bedrooms and dining area.
We're from South Florida as well... both of my previous homes (that I owned myself) I had completely tiled. One I had done in entirely saltillo tile (mexican tile) and the other I opted for 18" ceramic tile with a saltillo look. Its just so much easier to keep clean..
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