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Last major update this page: 2/20/2006

The floor

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When we were first planning the office area the contractor gave me his list of standard flooring grades. I didn't like any of them. We were looking for a commercial grade vinyl or extra smooth carpet, but that was way out of the allowance. 

I decided I could buy vinyl tiles for his allowance and then install them myself. We chose a grade for about $1/sq ft and started looking at patterns. I found exactly what I wanted ... in a solid vinyl that would require a thinset adhesive. 

OK, let's look at self-stick tiles. They're about the same price and there are a few satisfactory designs (most are appropriate for a trailer's kitchen). I bought a few single tiles and brought them home to think on. We were finally going to make a decision "this week", so we went to the store and took pictures of some masses of likely candidates.

But we're still not convinced because the self-stick tiles will need a Luan (1/8" plywood) underlayment, even on a pristine particleboard subfloor. That would be easy enough to put down, but would add 50% to the cost of materials.

Selecting vinyl in the store.
1/6/2006 That weekend, Patricia saw an ad that Lowes had some "wood" laminate on clearance for about $1/sq ft. I looked at it and we read the installation instructions. Some places recommended a felt or kraft underlayment, others implied we could put it straight on a good surface. That sounded better. 

This laminate comes in 5-1/2 foot "planks" that lock together in a unit without nails or glue and the whole floor floats. This sounded good and we decided to go with it.

Now that we've decided to get laminate, we have to shop for the best deal. Saturday morning we go to Lumber Liquidators, but they don't have anything in stock and seem geared to mostly a higher grade than we're looking for. So we head to Lowes where I'd looked at the samples a couple days earlier. But that store was down to two boxes, and we needed 22 boxes. The salesman found another Lowes that showed 56 boxes and called to verify the computer inventory was close. Now we've driven half the circumference of the city and are ready to buy. 

It's 31 lbs / box and I load them out of the warehouse onto the cart, then from the cart into the truck. Of course, we still can't drive to the garage, so when we get home, I carry the whole load in and stack it in the living room. In all that's about a ton of lifting and carrying for me in one afternoon. (Patricia's leg is not strong enough to carry the load.)

Now I have to do the same thing again to carry the whole lot up to the second floor of the garage.

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Last updated Tuesday, February 21, 2006 10:28 AM


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