Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses...

Okay, I really don't want your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

I really just want your feedback.

John and I have a couple of home improvement projects slated this summer. One is to landscape our backyard (finally!) and the other is to replace the white vinyl flooring in our kitchen that I'm so tired of looking at, that never looks clean even when it is, that shows every spot and smudge and is the bane of my obsessive cleaning disorder that was original to the house. Who puts white flooring in a kitchen?

John told me to do the research, figure out what I want in the kitchen, and we'll get it installed. And by installed, you should know John means he'll write the check to the floor guy. He's good at a lot of things, but he'll readily admit that home improvement projects aren't his specialty. 

So. I'm conducting a research experiment and would love for you to offer input on the type of flooring you have and why you love/hate it.
This is not our forever house so I'm not interested in putting a ton of money into the flooring. Therefore, I'm NOT investing in hardwood. I think I've narrowed it down to laminate, tile, or vinyl. 

I'm open to wood laminate but wonder about Jack-the-Fat-Beagle scratching it. I also have a few friends who don't like theirs because it's hard to clean, shows dust/dirt, and can't get wet. Opinions on that?

I'm open to ceramic tile but wonder how cold it will be in the winter and how hard it is to clean. Does the grout look gross after awhile? 

I'm open to vinyl flooring, maybe even something that looks like tile. I know it's easy to clean and as long as it isn't white I think I'd be okay with it. 

Opinions? I'd really love your thoughts!


Sheila said...

Given that it isn't your 'forever' house, I would go with vinyl. The problem I have with ceramic tile in the kitchen is that anything you drop (of course maybe you don't!) is going to shatter. It's also hard for standing on for long periods of time. I like it for other rooms in the house, but not the kitche. Make sure you post some before and after pictures!

Jennifer said...

My vote is tile - great for resale, too. With minimal research, you can find outstanding deals on nice looking tile - esp if you are just doing one room. I did dark grout in TX and it never looked dirty. What fun! said...

I have hardwood. It's hideous to clean and if it gets water on loses it's finish. I don't care for it in the kitchen. That Mother has it in her kitchen too and LOVES it. I don't think she is as hard on hers as we are on ours.
I like the look of manufactured wood but don't know anything about the durability.
When I replace my kitchen floor I'm going with tile. We have tile in our bathrooms and entryway. I love it and because it's kind of a terazzo tile with brownish grout, I don't think the grout lines ever look dirty.
Good luck! I hate making choices in home decor...everytime I make one...I change my mind. :)

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Meh on the tile if it's not your forever house. If you drop anything, be prepared to be cleaning up glass smithereens for a week. :) (And yes, it's cold.)

We have, I dunno, vinyl linoleum in our kitchen (it looks like a tile) and it's super easy to clean... a dark gray color. I pretty much spot mop it after a sweep or vac where stuff got dropped but it hardly ever looks dirty. (Which goes well with my obsessive-things-LOOKING-clean-but-I'm-too-lazy-to-do-much-about-it-otherwise.)

And also? Cheap and lasts forever.

Lindsay said...

I have absolutely no expertise in this area but the post interests me. Why you might ask? After almost 10 years in my house, I'm either going to get new carpet or another type of flooring. I have an adorable dog, Bandit, who has had far too many accidents over the years. Since this deviates from Mer's post, please e-mail me privately at

Thanks, Lindsay

O Mom said...

We put laminate flooring that looks like hardwood in our kitchen/Dining room. I really love it and it is very durable, doesn't scratch like real hardwood and you can definately choose any darkness to lightness to go with your kitchen, lots of choices.

Jeanne in NC said...

The original flooring in my kitchen was parquet - Horrible! Couldn't wait to get rid of it. Now I have a white/gray tile in its place. Its cold in the winter but I use rugs where I stand the most. I have laminate in my living room - love it! I have dogs, a son, a husband - much ends up on that floor - and its no worse for the wear. My parents have some sort of laminate in their kitchen that looks like tile - the best of both worlds in my opinion. I got my laminate at HDepot for $1/sf ft - its an off brand but works fine for us. If it has to be replaced, I'm not out a ton of $$. I've had it for 2 years and it still looks new, there's not scratches from the dogs paws. I swiffer it every day - my dogs shed like crazy - and hit it with a damp mop every week or so. I vacuum it (and the kitchen) often.

I hope this helps.

Elizabeth said...

We've always had tile and I love it. It does get cold in the winter, so I just wear socks! No biggie. Our grout is starting to look crummy, but I think it just wasn't done well in the first place and would be easy to fix. I think the key to tile is getting the right color tile and grout. It's so easy to clean, just vinegar and water on ours.

I want wood throughout the house, but since this isn't our forever house either, we'll wait. We have looked into poured concrete though. It's not super expensive and looks really nice.

The Bowden's said...

Ok, let me give you my two cents about wood laminate. We have it here in our place and I despise it. You can only use hot water on it so I bought the Bissell Steam Mop and I love it! It cleans the floor like a dream, and I only have to use it about every 2 weeks. And my floors just shine with it. I can really tell when it is time to use it again because the floor starts looking dull in the high traffic areas. It was recommended to me by others who moved here before us and I had to go right out and buy one. Also, the floor scratches easily. My dining room chairs have to be picked up, moved and set back down instead of being scooted in. Ours is a light color and it shows every piece of dog hair our dog loses. :) If you use anything but water on it, it gets gummy and streaked and really doesn't look good. But....other than looks great. :)

Leah said...

When we remodeled our bathroom and laundry room two years ago, we went with the "peel and stick" vinyl tiles. It's a high traffic area in our house, and I don't have one single complaint about the flooring AT ALL. I love it for several reasons: 1) it was cheap, 2) looks somewhat like tile, 3) it's easy to care for, and 4) it was a quick, easy install. Even your husband could do it! The color we chose does a great job at hiding dirt and hair, too. Here's a link to the pictures I posted back then:

Good luck!

*carrie* said...


I skimmed the comments and noticed some other people don't like their wood laminate, but I like ours. I actually think it's pretty easy to clean, and just use a regular broom and mop.

OhioFamOf4 said...

I don't personally think that there is any great floor, but I do miss the wood laminate we had at our old house.

I can't speak for tile because we've never had it due to my husband being clumsy and fearing for all of our breakables.

In our current house we have vinyl and while it's easy to clean it tears easily. If we ever move our appliances or kitchen table we have to be extremely careful it pulls on the floor. We've also (my husband, not me) punctured holes in it by dropping things so dirt gets into those little slits where it's punctured and you can't get it out. The other thing I don't like about it is that when it's hot I feel like my feet stick to it. We love the pattern we picked though, as it looks like tile.

We loved our laminate. It was Pergo brand and a contemporary pattern that was cream, tan, gray and black. Never had any trouble with liquid on it or with scratches. They actually sell a special cleaner for it so you don't have to worry about cleaning it the wrong way or with the wrong type of water (which I'd never heard of until I read one of the posts above). I did dent it once when I dropped something really heavy, but you could only tell if you knew where it was, it wasn't obvious at all. We are actually looking at laminate again for our current house.

So I guess my vote is for laminate, although if you don't care so much about the durability I'd say vinyl. It's definitely easy to clean and can still look good if you pick the right style.

Deidre said...

Meredith, my family owns a flooring business so I've had every kind of floor imagineable. My favorite is hardwood, but if this isn't your forever house, you're right to not go that route. I currently have ceramic tile in my kitchen (inherited it from previous owners) and loathe it. The grout is impossible to keep clean and it's so HARD to stand on for any period of time (and cold!). Eric and I both complain of back pain when cooking a meal.

In this house, we have replaced carpet and ceramic tile with a wood laminate. It is super easy to clean and looks like hardwoods. You can choose from a gazillion colors and even width of the boards. My personal fave are the wider boards. Here's what they look like in the girls' bedrooms

Plus, the warranty on this floor is great.

Hope this helps!

Michelle@ Lemonade Life said...

In our entry, kitchen, pantry, and guest bath, we have the laminate floors that look like tile.

I LOVE, LOVE them! They came with the house, and I had never seen them before. I cannot tell you how easy they are! For most cleanings, I simply sweep, then wipe the spots with a wet paper towel. They seem really durable and I love the look!

Kendra said...

People like to buy houses with upgrades. Vinyl is not an upgrade, just a cheap alternative. With the right type of wood floor, it could come out unscathed by doggie. I was glad I didn't have tile here because I think it's ugly and most people pick the cheap Texas Bisque that I HATE and the wrong grout color. You could seal it so the grout won't get funky, but it's still cold and easy to shatter things.

Canadian realtor said...

Ceramic tiles look good and are easy to clean. A special,nice feature would be the installation of electric heating panels under the tiles - it feels sooooooo good to stand on the heated tiles in the winter!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

We've lived in 8 different homes so far during our married life. I vote for vinyl, if you're looking for something that's looks nice, is easy to clean and stand on and won't break the bank. It's what we have right now (disclaimer: not our decision; it was installed when we bought the place), and it works wonderfully for this time and this place.

That said, I would put tile at the bottom of my personal list. It's cold, hard, the grout gets gunky (I'm OCD about grout) and it can crack, leading to costly repairs.

Lisa said...

We had hardwood in our old house. Our dog's nails scratched it and we had to have the wood floors refinished. So in this house we put in wood laminate. It is AWESOME! No dog nail scratches and has endured 2 kids since they were born (now 9 & 7) without any issues. Love, love, love the wood laminate.

Robin said...

We love our tile and it is on the top of my list as long as we live in the HOT south. It does help to get darker colored grout because light colored is a pain to clean. The downside is that it would be very cold in Winter. Even here I have Ugg slippers (thank you mil) that I wear all.winter.long. The other thing is if it cracks it is hard to repair.

So that is my input on tile, I wouldn't chose it in your situation.

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

We have laminate in the kitchen. It looks nice, but is not as easy as vinyl to keep clean and nice looking. Also, I get a little OCD about the water dripping down from the sink (5 y.o. in the house). I can see where those areas near the sink will eventually need to be replaced b/c they are getting a little "gappy." Our dog and cat have done it no harm though. My vote = vinyl.

Melissa said...

My vote is for tile, especially since you're not laying it yourself! We just replaced the 30 year old vinyl in our kitchen with tile and we love it. It's cold, but I wear slippers year round anyway.

I love, love, love my steam mop for keeping the grout clean!

whimzie said...

We move. A lot. So I've had the opportunity to experience many, many types of floors.

I echo what everyone said about the tiles. If you choose the right shade of grout (i.e., definitely not whitish), cleaning is a snap. That said, it's prone to chipping, it is cold, and anything breakable that you drop is a goner.

Vinyl is probably the least expensive. That said, if I went this right I'd invest in the sturdiest possible because it does have a propensity for tears, especially if you move something heavy across it. And I'd do some research on which color doesn't show dirt. The stuff we have in this house ALWAYS looks dirty.

We HATED the laminate that we put in one of our houses. When I was barefoot (which is always), it showed every footprint. Since then I've decided that the brand we chose was not a good brand. My mom and several of my friends have laminate and absolutely love it.

I think even after you decide which you want, the brand of whatever you choose can make a big difference on whether you're happy with your choice or not.

ChristinaLynn said...

You've been given the Honest Scrap blog award!

Gretchen said...

White carpeting?

Jennifer said...

LOL re: the white carpeting!

His Girl said...

I have laminate 'wood' flooring. not hard to clean, can get it wet (though not standing water), looks clean always, and my beagle's nails sound like tap dancing whenever she's all riled up, but they do not remotely scratch.


Becky said...

I'll throw in my opinion! We LOVE the tile in our kitchen but I don't have a dog or wet snow tracked in most of the year! Also, don't live where it gets really cold.

I think wood laminate would look awesome in your kitchen esp since you have a fireplace. It would give a warm & cozy feel which is more you & John to me.

Gina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gina said...

We have hardwood, and I find that it shows mess very easily- especially around the dishwasher where things get dripped in transit from the sink. I also would not put anything other than wood in our kitchen because A)it is huge and gets used for other activities in the house, and B) because EVERY room in our house is wood, so it was the natural decision when we remodeled.
That said, if I ever got to build a new house, I think I would try cork since I do stand in my kitchen for a huge portion of the day.

A. Nonny Mouse said...

We have tile in our kitchen and I mostly like it. It's a sort of beige color, so it hides most of the dirt (YAY) and is pretty easy to clean (not that I actually clean it all that often). The one thing I've noticed is that nearly everything that is dropped on the floor SHATTERS. You know those Corelle dishes? The mostly unbreakable ones? They aren't unbreakable here. I've lost at least 2 of those. But, as long as you are careful about not dropping things, tile works really well.

The floor is somewhat chilly in the winter, but it's totally bearable and not much worse than our hardwood-floored dining room.

Good luck with the choosing!!

sanjeet said...

love the wood laminate.
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