LESLIE: Heading over to Rhode Island to chat with Jeff about flooring. What can we do for you today?
JEFF: I’ve been replacing carpet upstairs in my bedroom and living room and underneath, there is this old flooring. I want to put in hardwood floors. I’m looking for the most cost-effective and best option. We’re not going to live there forever but we also have animals and pets to think about.
TOM: Jeff, what kind of flooring is under the carpet right now? Is it plywood?
JEFF: Yeah. Just old plywood. It’s actually like 1x4-inch boards.
TOM: Oh, it’s 1x4. OK. Alright, so it’s fairly old floor sheathing.
JEFF: It’s a hundred-year-old house.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Ah, it’s a hundred-year-old house. OK. Well, if you want to put in a hardwood floor, I think probably – and you would definitely want it to be wood – probably the most cost-effective option is to put in what’s called engineered hardwood.
Engineered hardwood is dimensionally stable because it’s made up of different layers of hardwood. It’s less expensive than solid hardwood and it can be absolutely just as durable and,in fact, it can look just like regular hardwood when it’s done.
Now, the thing is, in an old house you’re going to have to assess those floors and make sure that when you get that carpet up, that you take the time to secure each and every one of those old floorboards because you know when you’re going to find your first squeak – when you drive in the last nail.
LESLIE: As soon as everything is done.
TOM: Exactly. So make sure you take the time to secure any of those loose boards. I would do it with screws – not nails – but I would definitely look at engineered hardwood as the most cost-effective way to deliver a beautiful, hardwood floor to that house.
JEFF: Is that the same thing as laminate or is that something totally different?
LESLIE: No. Laminate is a manufactured floor that’s sort of made – it’s almost a composite; it’s made from a type of plastic and it’s made to look like a series of any kind of flooring. It can look like wood, it can look like tile, it can look like stone. And then engineered hardwood is like plywood; it’s different layers of wood at opposing grains, then with a veneer of the actual hardwood on top.
And a laminate’s great for basements, bathrooms – you know, high-moisture situations – and so is an engineered hardwood because of the way it’s manufactured. A laminate, though, is not the real thing.
TOM: And laminate is going to be less expensive than an engineered hardwood but I think in a bedroom situation, you would probably want to use real hardwood.
JEFF: OK. And is it a do-it-yourself project or do I sell to somebody else …
TOM: Well, actually, it is, Jeff …
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: … because the hardwood – the engineered hardwoods have become – gotten a lot easier to install and many of them today are locked together so they sort of snap together; you don’t even have to nail them in place anymore.
JEFF: Oh, wonderful.
LESLIE: And you mentioned you had pets; a lot of the newer products in engineered hardwood have a very, very durable top coat so you don’t have to worry about pets’ nails.
JEFF: That’s one of my concerns.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, exactly.
JEFF: (overlapping voices) Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, Jeff. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.