bonnie_riley

LVP or engineered hardwood in a fixer

Bonnie Riley
14 days ago
last modified: 14 days ago

We bought the crappiest house in the nicest neighborhood we could afford. We thought it was going to be a forever home 8 months a year (we go elsewhere in the summer - it's complicated). Now, we've come to find that we may or may not have to move in 3 years.

Husband hates ceramic/porcelain tile. Our choices seem to have boiled down to engineered hardwood or LVP. I need suggestions, thoughts, and advice on LVP versus engineered hardwood. This will go into the entire main downstairs - living, dining, kitchen, hallway, master bedroom. House is on a slab.

Is it true that one needs to be careful with high temps with LVP? We have Nest thermostats that we set to 80 when the house is empty.

We have dogs. We rent the house out in the summer to tourists (Our house is in a pricey resort community in Texas Hill Country, an hour west of Austin - think boating and golfing, and EVERYONE has dogs!)

We bought the house in early May, spent 3 weeks getting the popcorn removed, ripping our the bathroom carpets and having porcelain tile installed in the bathrooms, pulling down some of the wallpaper, and having the whole place painted basic beige. Then, we left for the summer and our rental agent rented it out almost ever week.

This is the house - we're going to significantly raise the rental price once we've redone the house. Right now, it looks like a party house. It won't after we've whipped it into shape - I furnished the entire place with Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist finds. They can all go! Kitchen is getting completely gutted and reconfigured. Soapstone counters are on the kitchen list! https://www.vrbo.com/9458580ha?adultsCount=4&childrenCount=4&noDates=true&petIncluded=true&unitId=8537683

Yes, it's awful, but believe me, the price was right! If anyone has other ideas for any sort of redos for the rest of the house - bring them on.

My big worry is that if we have to move on and sell in 3 years, will LVP hurt us so much that we shouldn't do it? Also, would it be a better choice, since dogs and kitchen floor are considerations.

Brands are welcome. My only wish is for flooring that is flat - no fake hand-scraped, no beveled edge boards.

THANK YOU!!!

Comments (24)

  • maifleur03
    14 days ago

    I would leave the flooring as it is for now but start placing the cost of replacement in savings. Currently it looks clean and not worn.

    However your ad needs some work. It mentions it sleeps ten then where you go to check what days available it states eight. $193 a night is a ridiculously low price. Even fully booked for the summer that amount would not cover any expenses when a guest breaks something along with the additional liability insurance that you need. That is a fine amount for a couple but you should be charging more or have a base rate plus additional for each person above a certain number.

    Bonnie Riley thanked maifleur03
  • SJ McCarthy
    14 days ago

    OK...Here we go. You need to DECIDE how you want to play this game (yes...it is a game with real 'chips' and real payouts).


    #1. How much will the 'crappy' house 'attract' from a buyer *IF it is COMPLETELY GUTTED and redone? That's your TOP price you can think of getting. Now we work DOWN from there (because I'm assuming you are NOT doing a full gut as your renovation).

    #2. How much are you WILLING to 'wager' (chips in the game) on a 'bet' with your flooring? In other words, how much are you willing to LOSE on flooring?

    #3. How much are you willing to LIVE with if you HAVE to move in 3 years?


    Right. So...take the TOP price you can ask for your home in 3 years (assuming there are NO MORE International Economic Collapses like 2008). Now reduce it SIGNIFICANTLY for every project you do NOT do.


    A floor is worth about 10% - 15% of your purchase price. How do we come up with that? Easy. If you purchased for $100K, your floors will only have cost $15k to install (ie. mostly carpet). If you purchased for $1.0M, your floors will have cost $100K (all hardwood, marble/travertine or cork).


    Now you figure out how MUCH your house *could make with your projects completed. And then give yourself 10% of that for your flooring budget. Now add another 5% that you will LOSE because flooring rarely gets full return on investment (paint does that, carpet does that...almost nothing else will).


    Remember: carpets HIDE some of the WORST subfloors in the building industry. You are on slab which means the subfloor is GUARANTEED to be ugly. That means you will HAVE to budget $2-$4/sf just for SUBFLOOR PREPARATION. That means grinding/filling (more grinding) and labour to do it. Now you can add onto the cost of your floors. A high-end laminate $4/sf has an installation cost of $1.50/sf. That means it will cost $5.50/sf PLUS cost of subfloor.


    Vinyl (low end starts at $3/sf...high-end goes to $7/sf) costs $3/sf to install (it is SUPER finicky). That's the floating floor. Glue down costs even more.


    A high-end laminate will look/perform MUCH BETTER than a low-grade vinyl. Just so you are aware. And if you MUST HAVE 'no bevelled edges' then you MUST work with laminate. Must.


    Engineered hardwood = 99% have bevelled edges (the other 1% look REDICULOUS when installed because the edges NEVER meet up properly). Vinyl planks = 99% have bevelled edges (the other 1% look rediculous when installed...blah blah blah).


    Laminate floors = 60-70% are NOT bevelled. And they look REALLY good when installed.


    Without knowing your budget it is impossible to tell you which way to go. But wood on slab gets TRICKY ... or you just float it (most people hate that). A glue down engineered = SUPER expensive. And a glue down wood that FAILS because of improper installation (soooo many ways it can go wrong...soooooo many ways) = the most expensive of all floors.

    Bonnie Riley thanked SJ McCarthy
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  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    14 days ago
    last modified: 14 days ago

    Thank you SJ McCarthy! OK - real numbers - I paid $260,000 for the house - it was seriously an amazing bargain - there's a very nice house directly across our little circle, about the same size, asking almost $700,000. I'm budgeting $10,000-15,000 for about 1000 sq, ft of flooring. I still have another nearly 2000 sq feet that I also need to deal with, but that's just for the first 1000 sq. ft. The other 2,000 sq. ft. will probably be some sort of carpet - decent, low-pile carpet - two more bedrooms (one bedroom is not in the rental photos- it's where we put our things when we leave and lock it up) and an enormous family room that would be like an echo chamber if we put in a hard-surface floor.

    The flooring store's head installer came out and measured, and I have an appointment to look at flooring on Monday. I'm trying to be prepared. They charge $1.75 a sq ft for floating and $2.25 a sq. ft. for glued. I'm comfortable with this store - they've done all the tile in our bathrooms, and they have a great reputation. I would never let Home Depot slap down a floor in my house.

    So, that's the scoop.

    I honestly don't know what a laminate floor is - isn't it like wood-look stuff of some sort on something like pressed board? Is there such a thing as decent laminate? All I know from laminate is that Pergo stuff people used to put in houses years ago, and the awful noise it made when you walked on it was just that - awful. .

  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    14 days ago

    Thanks, maifleur03 - I completely agree on the price and the discrepancy in the sleeping capacity. I've had to have our agent correct a few other things, and I'll remind her of this one - I thought she'd fixed it. After we spend the winter gutting and fixing, we're going to change to weekly rentals and at least double the price.


    We only had one problem with a renter this summer - their kid put some sort of object through the big-screen tv. Amazingly, they apologized, bought an identical TV, and replaced it themselves. We rent through an agent who gets a hefty deposit and a credit card in case anything gets seriously damaged, but I completely agree that the price needs to be increased significantly next summer.


    We're redoing the entire place, so it won't be the party house that it is now come next summer. The carpet looks decent in the pictures, but it's got some really nasty, permanent stains, and it's just plain gross in person. We had it professionally cleaned before we moved in, and it will never look good.


    We thought this was going to be a forever house when we bought it, but it may turn into a fix and flip, so I'm struggling with decisions and directions in which to go.

  • julieste
    13 days ago

    Ok--I'm kind of familiar with the Hill Country area having made many visits to Fredericksburg. As far as I can tell, the entire area is casual, not super fussy.


    We have a second home place in Florida we're re-doing so are familiar with the balancing act between doing it nicely to our standards and not over-spending and making choices based on if we'd want to or have to sell in a couple years. And, if it will make you feel any better, our place looks a lot worse than yours. We have a dog, a well-behaved dog that we don't allow on furniture and whose toenails we keep clipped (not all of your renters are going to have these rules for their dogs).


    We're on a slab too, with the second floor also having floors of poured concrete. When we pulled the upstairs carpeting up, the floor definitely needed work to make it level, and we paid extra for that. But, the cost was not nearly as high as what is quoted above. We haven't tackled the first floor yet but are assuming it will be the same.


    I didn't want to go with tile because I think it is too hard on your back and feet. I dislike laminate and can't stand that clicking nose when you walk on it. I absolutely hate heavily beveled floor choices of any type. I decided upon high end LVP that has a SPC core, and I managed to find some very nice high quality designs with only a micro bevel.


    Then, one day right before I was about to pull the trigger on the LVP I went back to the same flooring store where I'd be buying the LVP and inquired about the engineered hardwood because I was afraid that LVP might potentially be a poor choice for future resale. The sales person showed me various brands of engineered hardwood and also told me that I would have to significantly (like double) my per ft. price if I went to engineered hardwood. IMO unless I went with super top end engineered hardwood, the LVP was much nicer looking. I got LVP.

    Bonnie Riley thanked julieste
  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    julieste - Thank you! I'm eager to see samples on Monday. We have to look by appointment, which is fine with me. I have a feeling that LVP is going to be my choice, and if a buyer doesn't like it, they can tear it out.


    How do you like your micro-beveled edge? Is it a dirt-catcher? We have two dogs, a Frenchie and a boxer, and they both shed those short doggy hairs.


    Fredericksburg - my favorite needlework shop is in Fredericksburg, 203 E Austin St - Sandy Jenkins Designs. If you're someone who likes that sort of thing, check it out next time you're in Fredericksburg. Also, if you know the area, you may know where we are - Horseshoe Bay.


    Good luck with your re-do. Do you have pictures anywhere on Houzz? Maybe we could cheer each other on.

  • SJ McCarthy
    13 days ago

    As for laminate...Pergo is the Brand Name for laminate (in N. America). The 'horrible noise' and the movement come from two issues:

    1. Bad subfloor preparationg (ie. people ripped out carpet and put the floor down right away...no prep whatsoever).

    2. The wrong underpad (really cheap squishy stuff)


    So...all you have to do is pay the $2-$4/sf for the subfloor preparation ($2000 - $4000 for 1000sf of rigid flooring). That still leaves you with $6000 for the labour and the material. A floating floor will cost you (roughly) $2000. That leaves you with $4000 (or $4/sf) for materials.


    A lower cost vinyl = $4/sf. A HIGH COST laminate (amazing stuff out of German, Switzerland or Belgium) is $4/sf. The high-cost laminate will look and feel and wear better than a lower cost vinyl.


    Remember: vinyl does NOT like underpad = it must go straight down over the concrete (vapour barrier underneath of course). A laminate floor can have as much as 12mm of cork underlay used (assuming the laminate does NOT have attached underpad underneath).


    A rigid underlayment like 6mm cork makes a laminate floor FEEL very very solid. Vinyl won't let you use that type of product underneath.

    Bonnie Riley thanked SJ McCarthy
  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    SJ McCarthy - If you have any brand suggestions, I will gladly look at them. The store is by appointment only, and I'll be there at 9:30 Monday morning. Thank you!!! I really appreciate your advice.

  • acm
    13 days ago

    Soapstone is beautiful, but not necessarily right for a rental, as its surface is touchy.

    The blue flowered wallpaper must go.

    I don't really see flooring I'd rush to change, but LVP seems a reasonable choice for looks and durability. You'd need to ask a realtor whether it's considered declasse in your area -- that varies a lot.

    Bonnie Riley thanked acm
  • julieste
    13 days ago

    Bonnie--Sorry I don't have any photos of our untouched in 40 years Florida place. It's a work in progress, and we're not on site right now, and we haven't lived there since the upstairs floor has been installed.


    In Florida we went with Karndean (Rigid Core) LVP which is considered top of the line. Many people seem to like the Cortec line, but I couldn't find anything in their extensive line that was what I was looking for.


    In our primary home we installed Flooret LVP in our basement about 5 years ago and have been very happy with it. Unfortunately, their more premier line now has a very heavy painted bevel edge, and I rally didn't like it at all. Their more affordable classic line doesn't have the heavy bevel. Many people on this forum have liked Flooret. However, they are mail order only and don't have a presence in bricks and mortar stores.


    By the way, I have soapstone counters and don't consider them at all "touchy". It requires no special maintenance, and I have never even oiled mine. I consider it the perfect material for countertops.


    Good luck.



    Bonnie Riley thanked julieste
  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    acm - Oh, yeah! The wallpaper! We're pulling out the tub in that bathroom and putting in a walk-in shower, so it's definitely going, as is every other bit of "vintage" wallpaper in the place. We may replace it with something better looking or paint. I love wallpaper, and I'm really good at hanging it, but I may take the easy way out and strip the paper, scrub the walls, and paint. We're looking at new vanity tops, sinks, and faucets, too. The cabinets are plain, simple, and nice - need paint and new hardware. Every doorknob, towel rack, and toilet paper holder in the house is going, too. Baby steps!


    And soapstone - I'm getting one of the harder, dark varieties, and I'm pretty aware of the pitfalls of it. It's all part of the charm, and like julieste, I have no plans to oil them or do anything other than allow them to become what they want to be.

  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    julieste - I cannot find a place within several hundred miles of me that sells Karndean. I've heard such good things about it.


    It's great to hear that you are happy with your soapstone. I feel like people think I'm nuts because I want it. To me, one of its advantages is that I don't have to oil or seal or anything.


    Forty-year-old do-over - a real adventure, and I sure wish you all the good fortune with it. This one was built in 1984, so it's not quite that old, but it's still so in need of everything.

  • SJ McCarthy
    11 days ago

    Kahrs...Lico are two European Laminates. I think Patricia has the name of her German laminate on hand...somewhere on Houzz. If she drops by, she can offer the name of her laminate. Her's is more than 10 years old (two lovely large dogs to beat it up) and it still looks AWESOME.

    Bonnie Riley thanked SJ McCarthy
  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    Always something - went to the flooring store today, only to find that our appointment was cancelled - two staff members, including our flooring person, have tested positive for Covid, so we're going back tomorrow to try again with a different staff member. The store is strictly by appointment only, and I absolutely respect that, So, keep those brands and suggestions coming! Thank you one and all.


  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    TBL from MA - Thank you very much. I agree on so much of what you've said! The whole "fake" thing is a lot of what bothers me about getting LVP. You're right - short boards - I will definitely be sure anything I get had longer boards, not something I'd even thought to consider. We want light-colored floors - we have natural white oak real hardwood in our other house, including the kitchen, and if not for a lot of factors - cost, dogs, usage, kitchen - I'd get it in this house, too. Our dogs shed, but it's pretty unnoticeable on our light hardwood floors. I'm hoping that the flooring store has some suggestions and solutions and ideas for us. My neighbor just put LVP in her house, and it's quite beautiful, but when I look at it I can see the same pattern repeat in the boards, which kind of really bothers me. If I have to have edges, they'll be microbevel, with no added edge coloring. I'm not a big "grain" person, so they'll be some sort of quiet-looking, smooth-top flooring. It's bad enough that I'm probably going to get fake wood floors, but fake hand-scraped would put me right over the edge into "NO!" territory. Again, thank you.

  • arcy_gw
    11 days ago

    We went with LPV. We have no "clicking" issues. It has stood up much better than my sister's wood to dogs/scratches etc. Totally agree on the tile being hard on joints..and people she's replacing due to husbands preference not the floors appearance! I even have had friends saving for wood who come to an annual BBQ and forget year after year, ooh and awe over my "wood floors" and forget THEY AREN'T. They too finally heard me and put in LPV.

    Bonnie Riley thanked arcy_gw
  • julieste
    10 days ago

    This is what we put in, and it may come close to what you are looking for. Supposedly this line has very few repeats. I haven't yet seen it in person since it was installed. (Photo is a stock Karndean photo.)



    Van Gogh - French Oak (VGW85T) · More Info



    But, you said Karndean is not available anywhere near you. If you can't find anything you like at your local flooring store there is always the possibility of a mail order floor installed by local installers. We did mail order Flooret in the basement of our primary home (which has real wood floors everywhere else) and it worked our fine.

    Bonnie Riley thanked julieste
  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    julieste - Ooohhh - your floor is BEAUTIFUL! I love it! We think we found something we like - Cortec Norwegian Maple. I need to do a little more investigating before I take the plunge. I have samples, big samples, of several different LVP from the store, and it's the only one we can agree on. Here's a picture of it from the internet. It works with our overwhelming fireplace wall-o-rock that we have to consider with every living area decision.


  • Design Girl
    10 days ago

    I'd listen to SJ McCarty who is a flooring pro.

    Bonnie Riley thanked Design Girl
  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    20 hours ago

    Update - we looked at the three stores in our area (we are in the boondocks) that have flooring and do their own installation (been burned by Lowe's with their crappy installations on another project, so the chains are a "NO!"). Not one of the stores recommended laminates, and they had nothing but really cheap-looking ones in samples. I gave up and bought LVP. It'll work, and I'm sure, although I won't love it like I love my hardwood at my other house, I'll like it and it'll be easy care. After dragging home numerous samples, we finally settled on TruCor Blonde Oak. We need a light-colored floor in this house. We liked the sample better than anything else, it comes in 6' boards, and it doesn't have a whole lot of color variation. I'm going to request that as many of the darker and knotty boards as possible be saved for the closets. We had a good-sized sample board, and this is the manufacturer's view of the floor as a whole. This will be in adjoining and semi-open living/dining/kitchen/hall and in a bedroom - about 1000 sq. ft. in total.



  • TBL from MA
    17 hours ago

    Please post some before and after pic once it's in. Best wishes for a trouble free installation!

    Bonnie Riley thanked TBL from MA
  • dan1888
    14 hours ago

    Might be too late for this project. Flooret Modin is a direct to consumer product 72" x 9" rigid plank at $4 with a 40mil wear layer.




    https://www.flooret.com/modin-rigid-vinyl-plank/



    Bonnie Riley thanked dan1888
  • Bonnie Riley
    Original Author
    13 hours ago

    dan1888 - your flooring looks gorgeous. We actually thought about buying flooring online and having it installed. One of the problems with living in the middle of nowhere in Texas is that you cannot find people to install once you buy online. We called around, used the internet, etc., and finally found one man who came out, gave us an absolutely ridiculous estimate, and we resigned ourselves to using the local flooring store that will stand behind its product and its installer's work. The floor we're getting has the fairly standard 20 ml wear layer, and 7" X 6' boards. It was hard to even find something in a longer board. I hope we're happy with it, but it sure makes me nervous! Thank you!