Flooring options rival hardwood's pizzazz
By Bob Karlovits
Published: Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 7:36 p.m.
Interior designer Marc Scurci knows there are many aspects that come into play when choosing a floor, but he says the best part in the selection is that price is not as big a matter as it once was.
Joyce Salerno from the Wilkins Home Depot agrees flooring has become less demanding, less costly and less difficult to install.
“We've come a long way,” she says.
While flooring experts agree hardwood is the most popular material, some joke about it as having a “bit of a snob appeal,” in the words of Patrick Molyneaux, head of the like-named flooring chain with eight stores in the area. It is rivaled at the upper end by cork and bamboo.
But Molyneaux, Salerno and Scurci all mention such alternates as laminates and what is known as luxury vinyl tile as options that are good-looking and less costly.
“You really have to see it installed,” says Molyneaux, adding five of the eight stores have done so in their show areas.
The options provide “a great value story,” says Mara L. Villaneuva-Heras, vice president of marketing in residential flooring of Lancaster County-based Armstrong Floor products. She says laminate products cost about $4 to $5 a square foot as opposed to upper-end hardwood, which can go to $14.
Those laminates also have striking design, she says, far from the laminates of past. For instance, she says, the “Ore” line has a look like a “reclaimed metal from the ocean floor pitted with age for a rich patina.”
It also is made in a floating, no-nail design that can be installed by a “solid do-it-yourselfer.”
Molyneaux and Salerno see luxury vinyl tiles as durable, reasonable in price and rather easy to install.
Armstrong's Villaneuva-Heras calls the tile “engineered stone” and says it is “stylish, unique, family-friendly and durable.”
Those seem to be large factors in some choices in this area.
Strength and installation were two crucial elements when Eric Schuman of South Fayette used a luxury vinyl tile product to replace an older tile surface in his home about two months ago.
Schuman says Molyneaux representatives urged the floating tile system they said was stronger than wood, a benefit when a dog and cat is present in the house.
The dog is a shih-tzu, a small dog, “but they take 50 steps before they go anywhere.” As a result, scratching is possible, but he has not seen any, even though the floor has been down for two months.
He also says the no-nail installation was a big benefit.
“They were able to come in and get it done in one day instead of having your whole room torn up for a week,” he says.
That type of tile also was the choice of Leslie and Kurt Olson, who used it on their kitchen between two rooms with hardwood floors.
“Putting down more hardwood that wouldn't match didn't seem right,” she says. “Besides, this is an older house and nothing is quite even, so this went down well and has been really good. It doesn't mark, and I clean it up maybe twice a week.”
Basic forms of vinyl tile can go as little as $1.99 a square foot and then move up to $3.50 or $5. Villanueva-Heras says the higher-end line is “softer and warmer than traditional ceramic tile and natural stone, but looks just as great.”
She and Salerno also mention those types can be grouted or not, providing another design aspect at little cost.
Hardwood lives with the constant compliment of imitation.
There are laminates that can be laid down to provide a hardwood look for $3 to $5 a square foot, flooring representatives say, as well as engineered hardwood that can be “put down by a good do-it-yourselfer,” says Home Depot's Salerno.
Engineered hardwood is made up of a thin layer of wood on top of a composite core. It generally is tongue-and-grooved, so it can be put down without nails.
Some engineered hardwood can sell for $3 a square foot, Salerno says. Villanueva-Heras says Armstrong has a new product called American Scrape in solid and engineered hardwood. It has the fashionable scraped look for $4 to $5 a square foot.
Molyneaux says resale value can emerge as a reason for a flooring decision, but warns that installation is a bigger matter than flooring type in that regard.
A luxury vinyl tile or laminate floor can provide a tempting look in a home, he says, but can play a negative role if it is badly installed.
“If you try to save some money with the installation, a potential buyer is going to see it as a problem,” he says. “They might walk away because of that.”
Laminates have gained some popularity in their increased strength and reasonable price, Salerno says. Some can be had for as little as 99 cents a square foot or move to a reasonable $3.45, she says.
Villanueva-Heras says Armstrong's Ore line costs $4 to $5 a square foot, but she is willing to put it up against high-end surfaces that can sell for $14 a square foot.
Scurci says the best part of the reasonable prices is that flooring becomes “really not such a huge investment.”
Villanueva-Heras agrees and says the variety “provides choices the consumer seeks and offers real value.”
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt rallies in final seconds of regulation en route to OT win at Clemson
- Man injured in fight outside South Side bar
- Greensburg woman accused of assaulting nurse in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital
- Penguins notebook: Fleury feeling sharp entering tough stretch
- Ganassi celebrates 25 successful years with Target
- Pirates notebook: Liriano looks to complete consecutive quality seasons
- Fuel spill discovered on Loyalhanna Creek
- Penguins stave off Ducks’ shooting barrage to win in shootout
- Led by Kittanning’s Nolf, 3 locals win Class AA state wrestling titles
- East Hills brawl involves 50 people, nets at least 1 arrest
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career