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Pictures of my main floor - need advice on new flooring!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Since I've been getting such good advice about colors to paint my boys' bedroom, I thought I'd ask for opinions about my main floor as well. 

 

Here's the link:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/44030825@N02/

 

Long story short, our dining area and living room entryway have hardwood floors with old vinyl glued down to them. The hardwoods in the rest of the living room are exposed. Our plan was to tear out the old vinyl, have the hardwoods refinished, and then add hardwoods to the kitchen area. 

 

However, we had the vinyl tested, and it turns out the backing contains asbestos. It is legal in our state for the homeowner to remove this flooring, but with three small children, we don't want to create a health hazard.

 

We will need to go over this floor with a new type of floor. To complicate matters, we do plan to sell our house in the next year or so. Our realtor has told us we should not have gotten the floor tested. Now we have to disclose this when we sell our house. The realtor recommends we go over the existing vinyl with the cheapest floor we can put in - just to make the house look good. He feels that the new owners will tear out all of the vinyl and restore the original floor.

 

Should we just put new vinyl over the old vinyl, or would it be better to go over the ENTIRE main floor (even the exposed hardwoods) with a high-quality laminate so that the flooring was all uniform?

 

I guess it comes down to this: If you were thinking about buying our house, would you rather have the flooring problem all taken care of (the laminate everywhere) or would you be up to tackling the old vinyl (and its asbestos) and eventually having nice hardwoods?

 

Thanks in advance for any insight.

post #2 of 15

Whatever you decide, I would NOT go over your existing hardwood with anything.  It is gorgeous and is going to be a big selling point.


The tile looks fine in the photos - is it photographing better than it looks?

 

Yeah, now that you've had it tested you are going to have to disclose that info.  That will put a lot of buyers off.

 

*wait, gotta go*

 

Ok, couple things to think about:

 

1. Is it in the budget to rip out the existing tile/hardwood and put in new hardwood?  Chances are, once the vinyl is ripped out the wood floors are going to be in sorry state and probably need either a professional job or to be ripped out. 

 

2. Are the floors flush now?  If you add a layer of vinyl you'll have a noticable bump between the flooring types.  Also if your current vinyl isn't nice and smooth/level your new vinyl will show the bumps and inconsistencies.

 

Personally if I was a buyer I would probably ask for a credit towards the removal of the vinyl and the repair to the existing wood.  I'm guessing this would be a higher cost than you just doing it yourself if you can get the kids out of the house and rent the proper equipment.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

The hardwoods are in OK condition. They are not so gorgeous in person! They will need to be refinished at some point. 

 

The tile in the pics is actually peel and stick tiles that are OVER the old vinyl with the asbestos backing. So those tile don't contain asbestos. We still need to go over those, though. They are starting to peel and get marks on them. Also, we removed a peninsula of cabinets between the kitchen and dining room, so there is a "hole" in the floor where the tiles don't line up properly.

 

 

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

ChristyMarie - Just saw the rest of your reply now. We do not want to rip this out. DH and I are not handy and have never done anything like this before. The hardwoods beneath the vinyl are probably ruined, so they would need to sanded and refinished or ripped out and replaced altogether.

 

The floors are not flush now. There is a slight threshold where the vinyl is over the hardwoods. It's not bad now, but going over with a new floor could add up to 1/3 inch in height. The flooring people would want to put down a luan board before installing new vinyl. This would create a very smooth surface so the vinyl would look good.

 

I like your idea of offering the buyer credit. Do you think that would be appealing to somebody just buying (probably their first) home? We could offer $4 or $5K, and then they could have this done professionally or do it themselves and pocket most of the money. I'm just wondering if the asbestos in the flooring would be a huge turnoff. There is asbestos likely in almost every type of vinyl flooring (or the glue) in anything installed up into the early 80s. But most people don't know that. It's different when you know for SURE that it's there.

 

But in the meantime, we have to live in this house until we move. The floor is peeling up and looks bad, and asbestos fibers could be escaping. For my own sanity, I would love to put down a new floor. But I suppose that might just end up being a huge waste of money, right? 

post #5 of 15

Just wanted to mention a couple of different flooring choices that I have been researching.  They are DIY and sound incredibly easy to do.

 

TrafficMaster Allure, which I believe is exclusive to Home Depot

 

The other one is called Konecto, but I don't know much about this one.  I believe it may be a higher end product.

 

Oh, also, I thought this was interesting....but pricey:  www.flor.com

 

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions, BCFD. I will check those out. We are also looking for something "healthy," or as healthy as flooring choices in our price range can be.

post #7 of 15

If it were my house I would rip up the section in the back of the living area and have the wood floor refinished. Then I would install some kind of floating floor that does not require another subfloor.- a perimeter glue vinyl or a tile look laminate-in the kitchen.The vinyl in the living area probably was installed over a subfloor. If you cut it at the kitchen door before you start prying it up it would come up mostly whole with the subfloor. If you remove the molding at the edge you could see if that is the case. You can remove the peel and stick with a heat gun to bring down the height in the kitchen.Just so you know , years ago, vinyl floors were sometimes sanded down to bring the height back down before installing another floor.Lots more dust and exposure and people survived , I think you could take out that one section with minimal risk and some effort.I do not think it is worth it to try to put wood floor in the kitchen.Good luck with your decision.  

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks, momct. Unfortunately, the vinyl was glued directly to the hardwoods in the living room. I have already peeled back a corner to check. So most likely those hardwoods will be wrecked. We would have to pull the hardwoods out to get down to the subfloor (which is plywood I can see from the basement).

 

We have thought about doing this, though. It would make the most sense. And I agree about not wanting hardwoods in the kitchen - although it does LOOK really good!

post #9 of 15

asbestos is not a huge hazard unless it is in small particles that you could breathe into your lungs.  as it is in the tiles, it is contained.  i personally would just hunker down and remove the tiles and refinish the floors.  get a pro to do the job and stay somewhere else for a couple days until it's done.  i would not cover the rest of the hardwood floors with anything like a laminate.  just my opinion.  :)

post #10 of 15

Can you get some professional bids to tear the tile out? Get a company that specializes in that sort of thing (proper safety and all that) and have them fix it while you guys stay somewhere else for a few days. I definitely wouldn't cover hard wood floors, and fixing it now would be more appealing to a buyer, imo.

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by homemademom View Post

Can you get some professional bids to tear the tile out? Get a company that specializes in that sort of thing (proper safety and all that) and have them fix it while you guys stay somewhere else for a few days. I definitely wouldn't cover hard wood floors, and fixing it now would be more appealing to a buyer, imo.

 

This. Our house most likely contains asbestos & I don't think I would have bought it if someone told me that straight-out. Most people (myself included) don't know much about asbestos but they know it's 'bad', 'scary', 'causes cancer' -- when (from my limited research) a single exposure to it during removal (mitigated even further if you have a professional remove it) wouldn't be likely to cause any real issues. So removing it now while you & the kids stay elsewhere for a day or two would probably make your house much more appealing to buyers as well as get higher bids.


If you decide to give the homebuyers a credit, definitely call around and find out how much it would actually cost for removal in your area. $4-5K sounds a little low for removal PLUS installation of new hardwoods but I really don't know for sure.

 

If someone was planning to renovate anyway, the vinyl floors don't look that bad from the pictures, so you could just do nothing to cover them.

 

Anyway. I hate vinyl floors and just having them there in the first place would be a turn-off to me as a potential buyer. Maybe another option would be to install hardwood floors OVER the vinyl? Then of course you'll have unlevel floors... hmmm... OH! You could cover it with wood-grain click-together flooring! It's pretty cheap, thin enough that it wouldn't cause much uneveness at the transitions, and looks actually very much like real wood. Ex: http://www.lumberliquidators.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=6200

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fancyoats View Post

asbestos is not a huge hazard unless it is in small particles that you could breathe into your lungs.  as it is in the tiles, it is contained.  i personally would just hunker down and remove the tiles and refinish the floors.  get a pro to do the job and stay somewhere else for a couple days until it's done.  i would not cover the rest of the hardwood floors with anything like a laminate.  just my opinion.  :)



The asbestos is in the backing of the sheet vinyl. It is not the same as tiles. It would probably NOT become airborne if we were to tear out the floor. However, it would be dangerous to sand the hardwoods. We are leaning towards leaving the exposed hardwoods as is and just going over the vinyl with a laminate. It does seem like most people want to see the hardwoods. Thanks!

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by homemademom View Post

Can you get some professional bids to tear the tile out? Get a company that specializes in that sort of thing (proper safety and all that) and have them fix it while you guys stay somewhere else for a few days. I definitely wouldn't cover hard wood floors, and fixing it now would be more appealing to a buyer, imo.



We did get quotes from asbestos abatement companies. They want $4K. This would be just to tear out the floors. The hardwoods would still be in bad shape and need to be repaired. I also contacted a flooring company. They will rip out the whole floor if they can take out the subfloor with it. But then they would also want to rip out the kitchen cabinets. They would do this for MUCH less than the abatement guys, though. Of course, we'd then have to buy the new floors through them!

 

If we were going to stay in the house long-term, I would have the flooring company tear out everything (including the kitchen cabinets) and then just start over from there. But this is way too much of an expense for a house that we will outgrow in the next year or two.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by homemademom View Post

Can you get some professional bids to tear the tile out? Get a company that specializes in that sort of thing (proper safety and all that) and have them fix it while you guys stay somewhere else for a few days. I definitely wouldn't cover hard wood floors, and fixing it now would be more appealing to a buyer, imo.

 

This. Our house most likely contains asbestos & I don't think I would have bought it if someone told me that straight-out. Most people (myself included) don't know much about asbestos but they know it's 'bad', 'scary', 'causes cancer' -- when (from my limited research) a single exposure to it during removal (mitigated even further if you have a professional remove it) wouldn't be likely to cause any real issues. So removing it now while you & the kids stay elsewhere for a day or two would probably make your house much more appealing to buyers as well as get higher bids.


If you decide to give the homebuyers a credit, definitely call around and find out how much it would actually cost for removal in your area. $4-5K sounds a little low for removal PLUS installation of new hardwoods but I really don't know for sure.

 

If someone was planning to renovate anyway, the vinyl floors don't look that bad from the pictures, so you could just do nothing to cover them.

 

Anyway. I hate vinyl floors and just having them there in the first place would be a turn-off to me as a potential buyer. Maybe another option would be to install hardwood floors OVER the vinyl? Then of course you'll have unlevel floors... hmmm... OH! You could cover it with wood-grain click-together flooring! It's pretty cheap, thin enough that it wouldn't cause much uneveness at the transitions, and looks actually very much like real wood. Ex: http://www.lumberliquidators.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=6200


Asbestos is basically EVERYWHERE! We're all living with it. I just happen to have an irrational fear of it! Most people would buy our house and then immediately tear out the floors themselves and not worry about it. I really with I hadn't had it tested! DH doesn't think we should disclose it, but I feel morally obligated to do so (not to mention legally obligated).

 

If I didn't have kids, I would tear these floors out with DH. But I really don't want to expose my kids to asbestos. 

 

One option would be for us to buy another house (when we finally find one we like) and then have the floors fixed after we've moved out. In the meantime, we could be living here for several more years. I'm thinking we should cover up the existing vinyl (which I don't like either and may even be more of a health hazard than asbestos) with a low-VOC laminate. We'd have uneven thresholds, but our hardwoods would still be visible, and the new floor would be easy to tear out somewhere down the road.

 

Thanks for your opinion!

 

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thinking about going over the vinyl with something like this. It's a low-VOC product and is Greenguard certified for indoor air quality. Unfortunately, it's neither cheap nor good for the environment.

 

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100523069/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

 

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