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What is the difference between a $1.99 laminate and a $3.39 laminate if they appear the same?

Ask your salesperson these questions.

Basement Floors

We’ve decided to refinish our basement. Typically, what type of flooring is best suited to this space, which is often prone to excess moisture?

First, let’s discuss the “excess moisture” issue you mentioned. If, by that, you mean that you have a recurring leak, or that your foundation walls or floors feel wet to the touch, then those issues must first be remedied by a foundation professional. No wood-based residential flooring products are designed to be installed in wet areas. If you have no current moisture issues, but are simply concerned about the higher humidity levels, often seen in basements then you’ll be happy to know there are many flooring products suitable for basement applications. Engineered hardwood, laminate flooring and cork flooring are three of the most common choices.

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For those who want the luxurious look and elegance of hardwood in their basement, then engineered hardwood must be used, not solid hardwood. Engineered hardwood is manufactured in a way that gives much more stability than solid hardwood. This means it will expand and contract less and won’t be adversely affected by the higher relative humidity you typically experience in a basement. Engineered hardwood can be installed in several ways: some are glued-down directly to the concrete, some are “floated” by either clicking together or gluing together, or some can be nailed down if you’ve installed a good plywood sub-floor.

Laminate is often chosen because it is extremely durable, in terms of dent and scratch resistance, even though it’s usually the lowest price range. Laminate is fully man-made and is an imitation of a hardwood or tile floor. Because they’re man-made, they are much more durable than the natural products they imitate. So for busy recreation rooms, children’s play rooms, spare rooms and storage areas, laminate flooring might make the most sense. Laminate is a click-together product and is installed in a floating method.

Cork flooring is very warm, quiet and comfortable, but at the same time very resilient and much more durable than most people expect. It makes a great comfortable floor for a home theatre room, recreation room, spare bedroom or home office. Cork is also very commonly used in kitchens and washrooms, for its warmth and comfort level. Most cork is installed in a floating method, but some are glued down.

In all cases, a “vapour barrier” must be created between the flooring and the concrete. This is achieved by the underpads used for floating floors or the adhesives used for glue-down floors.

Today we have many brands available to choose from, so it’s important to let your flooring store specialist know that you are looking for flooring for your basement that way they can guide you to the brands and floors that are suitable for the conditions in your home.

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Flooring Accessories

Flooring Accessories are often treated as something of an afterthought by both the homeowner and the installer, which is unfortunate because as with many home improvement undertakings, it’s the finishing details that really make for a superior job. Well-chosen and correctly-installed flooring accessories don’t just finish the job; they marry the new wood floor seamlessly to the rest of the interior décor.

Flooring Accessories come in many different shapes and sizes. Cove base, quarter round and base shoe are all types of trim for covering the gap between the floor and the wall. T-caps neatly bridge the gap between the wood floor and another flooring material of the same height, while reducers step between floor types of different heights. Stair nosings finish the front of stairs.

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Within each category, there are countless variations of profile and dimension to fit various different flooring styles. Whatever their specifications, accessories serve several important functions;

  • they hide the expansion space required for the wood flooring
  • they help to hold the flooring secure to the subfloor
  • transitions and reducers help smooth a change in elevation between the hardwood and the adjacent flooring
  • they create a clean and visually pleasing transition between two different flooring types or between the flooring and the wall.

Tip: To achieve a really smooth-looking transition, find a board of flooring that is a close match in color and grain to the transition piece and install that board on the edge where the transition will be placed.

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