Choosing Replacement Flooring
LESLIE: Well, our number one question here at The Money Pit is flooring and adding to that number one-ness of the topic we’ve got Donna in Tennessee. What can we do for you?DONNA: What I’m interested in, we had a house built and currently I live in a 30-year-old home. And I want to get the most bang for my buck, so I’m wondering whether I should refloor in carpet or laminate; if that would – with the housing slump the way it is, I want to make sure that I’m going to get interested buyers.
LESLIE: And what rooms would this be for? The entire first floor?
DONNA: Yes. I’m a ranch on a basement and the basement is finished and I have new carpet down there and I didn’t know whether I should go with the laminate flooring or recarpet the top floor.
LESLIE: OK, well Tom’s going to yell at you about the carpet in the basement but before he does, I think for the first floor of the home, I don’t know, I feel like carpeting is such a commitment. When you go wall-to-wall carpeting it’s a very stylistic choice – it’s an overwhelming color even if you go in a neutral tone; whereas if you do a laminate, which could be in the similar price range as a wall-to-wall carpeting depending on, you know, the type and the quality that you choose and with laminates it depends on, you know, a variety of things: the brands, the different levels of finishes on it. But a laminate can look like anything and you can really get some that duplicate the natural look of wood so well and that gives the buyer the opportunity to have a truly neutral, easy, cleanable surface that they can jazz up with throw rugs, area rugs and really make it their own.
TOM: And the reason that carpet is not a good idea in the basement is because the basement is so damp, carpet essentially becomes mold food. Not only will you get potential mold that will grow there but it also becomes a place that can harbor all sorts of allergens: dust mites and different types of fungus.
DONNA: Even if it has its own return for the basement area?
TOM: Absolutely. Yep. Carpet is just not a good thing for a basement.
LESLIE: A while ago, when I got my house, my husband and I moved in; there was carpeting in the basement and it was awesome and cozy and I loved it and we did everything to keep it dry and gutters got overwhelmed; downspouts not functioning; bad storm; basement flooded. That carpet was a disaster. And hopefully that never happens to you but it did happen to us and we put in a laminate floor and I love it.
TOM: And also there’s a lot of folks that, you know, have carpet in their basements and then they have kids that are crawling on the carpet and the kids develop respiratory issues. So it’s just not a good idea …
TOM: … for a whole bunch of reasons. Stay with a hard surface flooring.
DONNA: OK. Now, laminate, as far as for basements, if it gets wet – like, for instance, you said yours flooded – that damages the laminate?
LESLIE: Not at all.
LESLIE: It’s made for a moist environment.
TOM: And it’s easy to clean and it wears like the dickens, too.
DONNA: OK.TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.