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Old 06-14-2009, 11:03 AM
 
9 posts, read 38,842 times
Reputation: 10

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First of all, this forum is so great and we learned a lot from many posts. We are lucky to find this place.

We just bought our first house in Avery Ranch, and the price range is between 230k and 270k. We are considering installing hardwood floor on 2nd story and some area (guest bedroom, formal dinning and living room) on 1st story (slab).

After researching and reading many posts here, especially the following one:
Stained-concrete floors vs. laminate
Laminate is out since most people hate laminate, and it could be a turnoff for re-sell. (We may not live here for a very long time, and when we move out, we may re-sell it or turn it into a rental property. )

We can not decide whether we should choose engineer wood or solid wood (Brazilian cherry), and we really appreciate if someone could provide some suggestions.

Here are our concerns:
  1. Is it a waste to install solid wood considering the price range of the house?
  2. We heard that engineer wood would be better for Austin due to the humidity. Also, engineer wood is cheaper than solid wood and cheaper to install. However, we can not find many posts about engineer wood. Is it a turnoff for re-sell?
  3. If the solid wood is installed on the 2nd floor, will the humidity be a problem?
  4. We plan to install engineer wood on the first floor and solid wood on the second. Does that look weird?
  5. In one post, someone said his rental property had solid wood cherry, and he only need to refurnish it once in 10 years. That is really amazing. We were told engineer wood can be sanded once or twice, but we don't know if it's a good idea to install engineer wood for a potentially rental property in the future.
  6. Finally, engineer wood has plywood (thus chemical materials) underneath, is that a concern for health?
Any suggestions or guidance would be great. Thank you!

Last edited by blahula; 06-14-2009 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 45,795,780 times
Reputation: 9452
One of the problems often encountered with putting a hardwood floors on a second story is the sound transmission of someone walking can be very loud on the floor below.

For a future rental property I'd stick with carpet. If you are going to stay in the house for 10 years then it might be worth your while to install wood floors for your enjoyment.

Our 1 story house has ceramic tile in most rooms and we love it, so durable and easy to clean, and relatively quiet compared to a wood floor.
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:02 PM
 
9 posts, read 38,842 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
One of the problems often encountered with putting a hardwood floors on a second story is the sound transmission of someone walking can be very loud on the floor below.

For a future rental property I'd stick with carpet. If you are going to stay in the house for 10 years then it might be worth your while to install wood floors for your enjoyment.

Our 1 story house has ceramic tile in most rooms and we love it, so durable and easy to clean, and relatively quiet compared to a wood floor.
Thank you for your suggestion. We also considered ceramic tile. One problem is that we are not sure if it's easy to match the original ceramic tile in the hallway and the kitchen. Also, does it feel cold in the winter?
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:08 PM
 
7,589 posts, read 13,518,879 times
Reputation: 4144
Quote:
Originally Posted by blahula View Post
First of all, this forum is so great and we learned a lot from many posts. We are lucky to find this place.

We just bought our first house in Avery Ranch, and the price range is between 230k and 270k. We are considering installing hardwood floor on 2nd story and some area (guest bedroom, formal dinning and living room) on 1st story (slab).

After researching and reading many posts here, especially the following one:
Stained-concrete floors vs. laminate
Laminate is out since most people hate laminate, and it could be a turnoff for re-sell. (We may not live here for a very long time, and when we move out, we may re-sell it or turn it into a rental property. )

We can not decide whether we should choose engineer wood or solid wood (Brazilian cherry), and we really appreciate if someone could provide some suggestions.

Here are our concerns:
  1. Is it a waste to install solid wood considering the price range of the house?
  2. We heard that engineer wood would be better for Austin due to the humidity. Also, engineer wood is cheaper than solid wood and cheaper to install. However, we can not find many posts about engineer wood. Is it a turnoff for re-sell?
  3. If the solid wood is installed on the 2nd floor, will the humidity be a problem?
  4. We plan to install engineer wood on the first floor and solid wood on the second. Does that look weird?
  5. In one post, someone said his rental property had solid wood cherry, and he only need to refurnish it once in 10 years. That is really amazing. We were told engineer wood can be sanded once or twice, but we don't know if it's a good idea to install engineer wood for a potentially rental property in the future.
  6. Finally, engineer wood has plywood (thus chemical materials) underneath, is that a concern for health?
Any suggestions or guidance would be great. Thank you!
Solid wood on the first floor can be tricky to install because it has to be put down right onto the concrete slab which can have a lot of moisture. Several wood installers I talked to prefer engineered on the first floor because it doesnt expand and contract as much as solid wood. We put down 1/4" solid brazilian cherry on the first floor which was the thickest our installer was willing to put directly onto a slab (thicker has a lot of risk for expansion problems).

Engineered has different types it can be completely fake or it can have a real wood veneer. I assume you are talking about a real wood veneer. Refinishing takes off the top so if you get engineered you want to make sure you get the wood veneer thick enough that you could potentially refinish a few times - 1/8". Since our solid is only 1/4" I would think there really isnt that much difference in refinishing capability between it and 1/8" engineered. You can get engineered with up to around 1/4" veneer.

Engineered with a wood veneer doesnt have a stigma in my mind. It actually is better because the engineered part keeps the wood from expanding too much.
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 45,795,780 times
Reputation: 9452
Quote:
Originally Posted by blahula View Post
Thank you for your suggestion. We also considered ceramic tile. One problem is that we are not sure if it's easy to match the original ceramic tile in the hallway and the kitchen. Also, does it feel cold in the winter?
It is cold on bare feet in the winter, I have to remember to put my socks on. But it also makes the room feel cooler in the summer which is a plus.
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
326 posts, read 721,483 times
Reputation: 183
The guy we talked to suggested handscraped engineered. The handsraped doesn't need refinish. I'm not sure about this claim though.
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Old 06-14-2009, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Avery Ranch, Austin, TX
8,941 posts, read 15,749,660 times
Reputation: 3948
Gotta throw out a vote for cork flooring on the second floor. We will switch to cork when we remove the original carpet. We replaced the carpet in the first-floor master when we moved in(last summer) and are very happy with the cork. It's an engineered system so there are no problems with shrinkage, etc and the floor is quiet and somewhat cushioned...great for a bedroom...no need for slippers or socks in the winter. The bottom layer is raw cork so there is no click/bounce like other floating floors can exhibit.

On the subject of wood, engineered wood makes sense in flooring the same way it does in other building systems...better control of shrinkage, warpage, etc...fewer natural 'flaws'. But, I really have to think that nothing will say 'my house was built in 2005-2009' faster than 'Brazilian cherry'. For those worried about 'dating' a house, this will be the Pergo/Corian of the '90s fast forwarded to now.

Pretty sure that refinishing a 'hand scraped' wood surface would be a real pain...IF that's a main concern. Unless I found a compelling financial reason NOT to use wood/engineered wood, I think that is the safest option and would stick with something traditional unless it's in an 'accent' room.

BTW, the cork planks could be removed/reused 'fairly' easily if you think you might want to change the floor if/when you move.
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:56 PM
 
2,184 posts, read 6,017,987 times
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The builders in Avery Ranch are either track or semi-custom. They won't install hardwood on the second floors. I'm guessing that you would be hiring someone to do this yourself. For the price range and community, resale, etc., I would stick with carpet on the second floor.

There is nothing wrong with engineered wood, you could go either way downstairs. My next home will be a large one story in order to put in wood throughout. I really can only picture hardwood upstairs in the older homes of central austin where it was originally.

Of course it's your home and you should do what you would like. If you have kids, the noise will be a factor. We skipped the tile in our current home first floor because we had it before and thought it was hard and cold and everyone has it. We wanted a different look which I believe we achieved plus it's softer on your feet. I hate cleaning grout in tile.

Engineered wood floors will run you 50% cheaper than real wood, unless you are building a true custom home, stick with the more affordable option.
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Old 06-14-2009, 05:06 PM
 
1,961 posts, read 5,750,341 times
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If you get engineered, make sure you get something with a good wear layer. We got ours with a 1/4" wear layer so we can refinish the floors if necessary.
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Old 06-14-2009, 05:38 PM
 
9 posts, read 38,842 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all for the suggestions!

My wife is allergic to carpet, thus there is no way for us to live with carpet. We have no kids yet. If we have one this year or the next year, it would be years before we worry about scratches etc, right?

We may not use solid wood on the first floor due to the humidity and higher installation cost. However, we can't decide which material to use on the second floor. Right now, Lumber Liquidator has some solid Brazilian cherry for sale, which makes us hesitate whether we should go for the solid one on second floor for additional $1k or $2k material cost. Also since it's second floor, the installation cost should be less, right? Does anyone know generally the difference of installation cost between solid and engineered wood on a second floor? (I know I should call some contractor for the price, but today is Sunday ).

We may also consider cork.
I did some research, and it seems the advantage of cork is eco-friendly, cheaper price than solid wood (but comparable to engineered wood), and the possibility of DIY, which could be additional $1k - $2k cost saving. However, I don't know the durability of cork. Do they last long enough? Is cork vulnerable to dent? Is the surface still smooth after few years? Also, I could be wrong but I'm afraid that the house looks cheap with cork (?).

Ceramic tile could be another good choice for the first floor, and cooler in the summer is a real plus in austin. Is it weird to have different ceramic tile on the first floor for living room and hallway/kitchen/breakfast area?
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