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need input: hardwood v. engineered hardwood for condo

kikikay

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Don't get it done by the builder....the cost is usually close to double. I was quoted 12K for 900 sq ft (builders best upgrade option). I can get the job done for $7K (equivalent floor).
Almost everyone I know has been recommending outsourcing but I don't know a reputable floor guy and am thinking that an outsourced job would most likely not be covered by the Tarion warranty. And I've heard horror stories of leaks from improperly installed appliances damaging floors...which of course the builder replaced but those floors were installed by the builder.
 

taal

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We have engineered hardwood - this a resale unit so not directly from the developer. Does anyone else find it can get squeaky in places - we had a problem where it would actually go down a bit but the developer fixed that - still, in a few places now I find it somewhat squeaky to walk on, usually on a board or two (you don't feel like the wood is actually bending / sinking down though).

Anyone else experience this? Any recommendations - I've been told it can be fixed but isn't worth the money. That's my one gripe about it - I don't find it scratches easily but would take laminate over this if it doesn't have squeaking issues.
 

cdr108

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We have engineered hardwood - this a resale unit so not directly from the developer. Does anyone else find it can get squeaky in places - we had a problem where it would actually go down a bit but the developer fixed that - still, in a few places now I find it somewhat squeaky to walk on, usually on a board or two (you don't feel like the wood is actually bending / sinking down though).

Anyone else experience this? Any recommendations - I've been told it can be fixed but isn't worth the money. That's my one gripe about it - I don't find it scratches easily but would take laminate over this if it doesn't have squeaking issues.

it could be 2 possible issues:

  • uneven subfloor (ie. the poured concrete isn't level)
  • the engineered hardwood wasn't properly acclimated before installation
    (IIRC manufacturer's recommendation is to leave it in the area for at least 72 hours, but properly it should be left until the moisture content of the wood adjusts to "normal living conditions" at the site.
 
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marsh

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Can anyone make good recommendations for engineered hardwood products?

I put in engineered hardwood in my condo 7 years ago and was not happy with the results - it scratched and dented very very easily. Also it faded where I put area rugs down. I don't believe the claims that the engineered hardwood can be reinished - I think the layer of wood too thin.

I have had a water leak which damaged a substantial portion of the floor. I went back to the store where I originally bought from and they told me two things - first its old product which they no longer carry (they have some old stock but might not have enough) and in any event it likely won't match exactly to my current floor because of the oxidation process.

Also they said they would charge me $300 to $650 to come out and do an estimate! (This would be credited against the installation work if went with them). They said this was necessary because my insurance company would want a detailed quote even though I kept telling them that my insurance at this point is telling me I'm not covered for the damage. Is this practice normal for flooring companies to charge for providing an estimate? I feel I'm being ripped off. They didn't charge me for an estimate when I originally had the floor installed.

So consequently I'm looking at other engineered fllooring products. I would also like to know more about whether real hardwood can be installed in condos because that would be my personal preference. I was told originally "no" which is why I chose engineered hardwood.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

StacyK

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If you keep the humidity levels in your condo at roughly 40% to 50% it will give your hardwood a longer life, if you choose the hardwood. Also, if the hardwood is not installed properly, the floors may start to squeak a lot so if you have kids and pets that would be pretty annoying. From my experience i thought I had to replace the floors in my condo but i stumbled upon a company i belive it was called Silent Floor Solutions, they fix the squeaks without removing the floors and it was pretty cost efficient. That will be usefull once you decide on which floors you install and if you have squeaks in them.
Good luck!

I'm at the stage of having to decide on upgrades for my 645 sq ft condo. I'm looking at upgrading from laminate flooring in the living/dining and den and carpet in bedroom.

Here's what I've come across in my research:

- true hardwood may shrink or expand due to moisture buildup (especially if not installed properly, something which is impossible to supervise as the installation would be done by the builder)
- more susceptible to scratches/dents (although I don't have kids or pets)
- upgrade cost ~$7,000 v. ~$4,000 for engineered wood

Does anyone know the pros and cons of true hardwood v. engineered hardwood flooring in condos? (i.e. resale value, issues with long-term maintenance, etc.) Thanks in advance!
 

marsh

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I installed engineered hardwood in my condo and very dissappointed with it -scratches very easily, dents too if accidently drop something heavy and cannot be refinished unlike real hardwood (despite what some sellers of engineered hardwood will say - don't believer them). And mine has areas that have faded where carpets were laid. And it was expensive (not as expensive as real hardwood but real hardwood should last forever). Engineered flooring is also typically glue down application - so its going to a mess to pull up and redo (which is what I'm facing). Personally I think engineered flooring is the biggest scam going in the home reno business.

I hate laminite - it looks and feels fake to me - though I agree it is more practical and durable then engineered hardwood flooring and a lot cheaper.

I think in choosing what to do you need to consider other condos in your building and the overall prices in which they are selling versus the cost in installing engineered or real hardwood versus laminate . I could see in some buildings not getting your money back in terms of real sale value if you installed engineered hardwood or real hardwood ; but in other buildings it may be worth the investment.

The other problem with installing real hardwood is that you need to build a subfloor = you can't lay it on cement - which adds to the costs.

Lastly, you should check about condo rules concerning sound proofing; make sure you are complying with the rules - I know condos are getting stricter about this because of noise complaints.

I don't know about bamboo - I've been looking at bamboo flooring as a replacement to my engineered flooring. Some bamboo floors are floating; some are glue down and some are nailed in and so you need a subfloor. I've been told that you shoudl be able to resand them. I've also been told they can scratch easily. So I'm still on the fence but seriously considering it.
 

Ex-Montreal Girl

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I hate laminite - it looks and feels fake to me - though I agree it is more practical and durable then engineered hardwood flooring and a lot cheaper.

I think in choosing what to do you need to consider other condos in your building and the overall prices in which they are selling versus the cost in installing engineered or real hardwood versus laminate . I could see in some buildings not getting your money back in terms of real sale value if you installed engineered hardwood or real hardwood ; but in other buildings it may be worth the investment.

The other problem with installing real hardwood is that you need to build a subfloor = you can't lay it on cement - which adds to the costs.

Lastly, you should check about condo rules concerning sound proofing; make sure you are complying with the rules - I know condos are getting stricter about this because of noise complaints.

I don't know about bamboo - I've been looking at bamboo flooring as a replacement to my engineered flooring. Some bamboo floors are floating; some are glue down and some are nailed in and so you need a subfloor. I've been told that you shoudl be able to resand them. I've also been told they can scratch easily. So I'm still on the fence but seriously considering it.
We are in an older building, with that 60s-70s era parquet. I used to hate it back in the 80s, 90s etc. I thought it looked dated. But we stained ours dark and it looks amazing. Classic. Also, if it scratches, it's an easy fix. A brown crayon and some more of that stain/sealant.

BTW: It does not scratch easily. Even when the dog runs up and down the hall.

As for laying down new floors, we have a rule. Nothing on the concrete. You have to lay down some sort of soundproofing layer. That means the cost of laminate goes up. We've had noise complaints from people living downstairs from those who put in the engineered fake stuff, even with the soundproofing.
 

James

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We are in an older building, with that 60s-70s era parquet. I used to hate it back in the 80s, 90s etc. I thought it looked dated. But we stained ours dark and it looks amazing. Classic. Also, if it scratches, it's an easy fix. A brown crayon and some more of that stain/sealant.
...
I've also seen older parquet floors stained in a dark ebony or coffee brown colour and it does look really, really nice.

To address the original dilemma of the OP, I would definitely not put in the extra cost (and labour) of installing hardwood floors. When it comes to resale, the overall look and feel of the home will be a bigger factor than whether the floors are hardwood or engineered hardwood.
 

TheKingEast

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Laminate not as nice but durable. Engineered....looks and feels nice but not durable at all. Spill something and you’re done because cleaning it up may affect the finish of the floor.

I also wonder how both work in terms of sound dampening. I feel like laminate does a better job of blocking out floor steps from above but I may be wrong.
 

tripwire

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I was told that luxury vinyl is trending currently. I hadn't heard of it until a few days ago myself.
 

Wooba

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I recently installed vinyl planks in my home (I now live in Australia where it's quite popular, not sure about Canada) and it's absolutely awesome. So easy to install too, I did it myself in a few hours. Can't recommend it enough.
 

neuhaus

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There are some great quality laminate and vinyl flooring on the market today. There have much less repeated patterns -- what really bugs me with lower grade simulated-wood flooring is seeing the same grain or knots repeated often which looks like wallpaper pattern on the floor. Also higher quality flooring has a subtle texture that closely matches the grain pattern and the printing quality of the wood pattern is higher quality or resolution, making it hard to tell it's not real wood. Cheaper ones you could see a grainy or light pixilation in the woodgrain pattern which lacks the depth and is more fake-looking.

High-quality laminate or vinyl are actually better than lower grade engineered wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring will require more maintenance, are more prone to scratching, fading/discolouration, denting and nicks (depending on the species and quality of wood), and are susceptible to water damage. Laminate also has some limitations too, as like wood could be damaged by water & moisture.
Vinyl wood flooring could be laid in wet locations like bathrooms, laundry areas, etc., where engineered wood can't be laid.
With laminate or vinyl it's best to get the thickest flooring you can afford as it will feel more solid like wood and not hollow or tinny like cheap laminate flooring. Some brands have a built-in felt underpad for a better feel and better sound insulation.

Most condos have rules requiring a sound-insulating underpad be laid under the finished flooring to reduce sound transmission between units.
In my opinion, vinyl flooring has come a long way from the cheap sheet or 12x12" tiles from many years ago, they look and feel just like wood, is very durable, requires less maintenance, and could not be damaged by moisture or water. However, the prices could be as much as engineered wood or more, but it's worth it. Because of this more and more commercial spaces (such as restaurants and stores) are now using vinyl.

There is less stigma with vinyl and laminate flooring these days, and for good reasons.
 
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