Best Flooring Option Help for Mom
May 23, 2015 1:10 AM   Subscribe

The carpet in the downstairs family room in my mom's house needs to be replaced. I'm trying to figure out the best option.

A complicating factor is that she has osteoporosis and uses a walker so softer is better. I'd like to rule out carpet since my mom has spills, the cats sometimes throw up and the room is right off the garage so water gets tracked in. Even with trying to clean up, I'm growing afraid of the amazingly diverse ecosystem that's probably now growing in the carpet padding. The bottom floor of the house is on a concrete slab.

I've considered vinyl planking but have gotten overruled by my mom and co-adviser sibling who think it will be cheap looking. We were considering Shaw laminate but found some reviews complaining about bubbling. Laminate is the prime contender at the moment because of ease of cleaning, being softer than tile and holding up well in other parts of the house. The laminate (Pergo) in the other parts of the house was installed a long time ago and was glued together instead of clicking together. There's never been any bubbling with it but current reviews are mixed. Wood veneer planking with a good sealer on it has now also been brought up as a possible option.

At this point, I just really want the carpet out and some kind of decision made so I'm looking for more recent personal reviews of laminate or other flooring that might work. What brand did you use and how has it held up, especially in a similar situation.
posted by stray thoughts to Shopping (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about linoleum such as Marmoleum. We had linoleum as a kid and I remember it being nice to walk on and very easy to keep clean with kids, dogs, pets, defrosted freezers, cooking spills. I personally would choose it over vinyl or laminate.

Forgive me if one of the products you have mentioned above is a linoleum product.
posted by Thella at 1:48 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you considered cork planks? They offer a more premium finish than laminate, but with similar easy/quick install. Flat, easy to keep clean surface which has a bit of cushion to it.

Available in stock and special order (depending on pattern) at big box stores.
posted by walkinginsunshine at 4:16 AM on May 23, 2015 [4 favorites]

I was going to recommend cork as well! It is beautiful, easy to care for, and is very soft on the bones. We used it at a yoga studio that I managed and everybody loved laying down on it. It is more expensive than your other choices, though.

I used a peel and stick laminate that looks like real wood floor in my own home. It was cheap, easy to install, and is okay. It would probably be your best option since the cat pees on the floor. I wouldn't want to have to try and get cat urine out of an expensive cork or wood floor.

Go to Home Depot and purchase one square of 4 different peel and sticks and then bring them home to look at. Explain to the siblings that it is a waste of money to put down a wood floor until you figure out if there will be a problem with moisture and pee. Explain that this is temporary choice and is inexpensive enough that it can be replaced soon. And then never replace it. Once it is down, they will get bored with it and move on. Your mom isn't going to be walking on it enough that it will matter. You can get her a cork pad to stand on while doing dishes if you want to be nice.
posted by myselfasme at 4:42 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

You can get cork squares that glue down. If you use peel-n-stick, use extra glue. Cork and marmoleum are environmentally friendly, less so if the cork is on planks, but far better than vinyl. Both are warm underfoot and give slightly. The cork on planks is quite thin so will have less cushioning. Cork is cheaper.

Throw rugs will be appealing, but tend to cause less-steady people to trip.
posted by theora55 at 6:53 AM on May 23, 2015

My brother-in-law installed cork flooring in his kitchen about seven-ish years ago and it still looks great. Softer than laminate/wood flooring, too. So, another vote for cork!
posted by cooker girl at 7:17 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

We couldn't afford wood floors so we put in the plank vinyl - it looks great and it is very durable but I would not do it again because

the planks move causing spaces where dirt accumulates

a couple of planks have bent up causing a serious tripping hazard. will even more bend up over the years!?

the spaces that have formed would allow things like cat pee to seep to the subfloor. this would not be a problem with sheet vinyl

we put in sheet vinyl that looks EXACTLY like wood floors in our vacation cabin and it looks really good, 6 years later. I would put it in the new place I am working on but we want to step up the quality a little, to impress people so I am putting sheet vinyl in as an underlayment and then putting in plywood wide plank floors. The reason I am doing this is because all the medium priced wood floor samples I looked at looked like cheap construction - they were some kind of press board with a tiny veneer of wood on top. and then there are the formaldehyde issues.

But I wouldn't do plywood plank with an older person because of the possible tripping issues (some pieces might be uneven). I would just do sheet vinyl.
posted by cda at 7:57 AM on May 23, 2015

can you put a subfloor over the concrete to make whatever flooring you choose a softer landing if (when) someone falls?
posted by cda at 8:04 AM on May 23, 2015

Another vote for sheet vinyl. Head over to Lowe's or Home Depot or a local flooring store that sells vinyl. You will be amazed by how nice the stuff is now. Easy to install, easy to clean. Check it out.
posted by tuesdayschild at 9:14 AM on May 23, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas so far. Mom and sibling are anti-vinyl and linoleum so I'd have to find something really great to be able to sway them. Cork flooring seems promising. I'll research it online and see what available in stores so we can take a look.

Just to clear the cats reputations, there's no peeing on the floor, more like the occasional fur ball or cat food that's been eaten too fast. It's just between that and my mom carrying glasses that slosh over sometimes in the pocket of her walker pouch, the gets spills more than is good for it.
posted by stray thoughts at 1:42 AM on May 24, 2015

I have bamboo flooring and I like it. It hasn't dinged up like I'd heard bamboo would. My notes say it's Strand Bamboo -- I don't know if that's a brand name or a manufacturing style.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:49 AM on May 24, 2015

Cork! I have it in my apartment and it's great. The top finish is a little finicky - don't put anything rubbery on it long term (like anti slip mats, etc), which will damage the finish.

I also have to ask if you've conidered engineered hardwood.. It shouldn't be significantly more than the cork, but is pretty nice and easy to install.
posted by annie o at 8:54 PM on May 26, 2015

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