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Pros and cons of laminate/timber overlay/solid timber flooring

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  1. #1
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    Default Pros and cons of laminate/timber overlay/solid timber flooring

    I need to put down a new floor in the kitchen/living/dining area of my 1880s Victorian. The rest of the house has original baltic pine floorboards which have been polished and came up really nicely. In the living area, the previous owners had put down cork floor tiles on top of the original subfloor. These were trashed after 40 years, so we pulled them all up. I was hoping to find more baltic pine ideally, but instead there is a mix - one half of the space has more old baltic, and the other half has new radiata pine. There are several areas that were cut and patched when the hydronic heating was put in, plus other damage, so polishing this is not desirable. Options we are considering instead include Quick-Step laminate flooring, a thin timber overlay floor (14mm, laid as a floating floor), or pulling up all the existing floorboards and replacing them with new solid boards.

    One shop offers the Quick-Step and timber overlay flooring. Their guy thinks the timber overlay is the better choice for an older house like ours. But then he said it will last 15 years or so if you take care of them. After that you're looking at replacing it. That didn't seem too desirable, as we're hoping to live in this place for 30-40 years or more and I like things that last. It sounds like this will cost around $6k to do, just laying the new underlay and flooring and any tweaks or repairs to the skirting, etc.

    The guy who polished the floors in the rest of the house will do the solid timber flooring if we want to go that route. Obviously that will last many decades, but will also cost double or more, $12-15k depending on the choice of timber. That's to pull out all the old stuff, lay the new floor, and then sand and polish it.

    I guess vinyl "planks" are another option, but they seem cheap to me. Then again people have vinyl/lino floors in their kitchens that last ages. But is that going to look good in a living and dining room too?

    I think I'm personally leaning towards the solid timber floor, because it feels like the right bet for quality and longevity, worth it if we want to invest in the house for the long haul. I know that cost and aesthetics are subjective and up to me, but I'd be interested in any opinions about the cheaper options, things to look out for, etc. Thanks!
    Owen in Melbourne

  2. #2
    Je pense, donc METRIX's Avatar
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    If the house has any value, such as period features still intact etc, I would go for new solid flooring, I say that because a lot of period style houses in Sydney have been destroyed by owners who don't understand the value of a period style house.
    Such as rip out the double hung timber windows and replace with aluminium sliding type, then usually throw shutters on them, render over the exterior walls to give it a modern look which doesn't work on older style homes.

    Or tile over everything in the front entrance, doing things such as this de-values the house.

    I think you answered the question already if you want to stay there for 30-40 years then why put down a floor that might last 15 years, put down a floor that will add value to the house.

    I would get other quotes for flooring install, the sander may not be the best guy to do this work, most likely he will farm it off to another crew to do the work and simply take a cut from the work and do the sanding for you.
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

  3. #3
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    I've been given another option here: we could do solid timber flooring, but glued down on top of the existing timber. The new planks will be 14mm thick, come in whatever species you might want. Glue is troweled down and once the boards go on top, they are stuck fast. Then they are sanded and polished as normal, and will last. This is cheaper than replacing the old floor, as no labor to remove the old stuff etc. The only downsides seem to be that there will be a step up from the hallway into the living room, and they will have to cut the bottoms of the skirting boards and put quads around then afterward.
    Owen in Melbourne

  4. #4
    Je pense, donc METRIX's Avatar
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    I would option for the skirtings to be removed and replaced after the new boards are laid, the quad / scotia look is cheap and highlights something has been changed. it will cost more but worth it in the end.
    If the step up is only 14mm, a board that has a 1mm to 14mm transition slope will fix that.
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

  5. #5
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    Yep, agree on the quads, we had that done in the other part of the house and realized afterwards that it wasn't the best solution. I have since found a supplier of replacement skirting which matches the profile we already have.
    Owen in Melbourne

  6. #6
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    How do they lay the boards, surely crossways to what is there!

  7. #7
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    Default Pros and cons of laminate/timber overlay/solid timber flooring

    Is the house level? Stumps etc in good nick?

    atalk

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    How do they lay the boards, surely crossways to what is there!
    I forgot to mention that in addition to being glued, the boards are secret-nailed to the joists. I think they are laid in the same direction as the old boards, this was discussed here: https://forum.homeone.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=32931 But I can ask to make sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redfin View Post
    Is the house level? Stumps etc in good nick?
    It's a 140 year old Victorian, so I mean, "level" is relative. Had a look under the floors in this room last week when plumbing was being done. The newer part is posts in concrete. Then there is a strip of bluestones supporting one part, and then some brick stumps in another part. All of it feels totally solid, that's all I can say. In one of the bedrooms the floor has a bit of bounce, but this room has nothing like that.
    Owen in Melbourne

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