DEAR READERS: Your questions inspire and challenge me to find good answers to real problems. Thank you for reading my columns, writing the questions and for sharing your experiences.
Could you, ‘wood’ you use laminate flooring?/ May 5, 2011
DEAR DESIGNER: Just when we thought we had every detail finalized before purchasing the wood flooring we selected from the sample, we have had a setback with it.
On the advice of an installer we asked the flooring company to obtain two boxes of the selected flooring for our inspection. We wanted to ensure that the sample we selected was representative of the entire flooring we would see once it was installed.
What we learned was that in a larger sample of said flooring there was quite a variation in the flooring color and grain. The variations were so noticeable and numerous that we concluded it was not acceptable — and the sample really did not represent accurately the resultant flooring.
We want flooring with a rich, dark, fine grain wood that possesses consistent coloration throughout. We rejected numerous other samples for this very reason; now our selected sample has the same problem. Frustration!
Do you know of a solution to this problem with wood flooring? From the wood flooring sellers we have contacted, it is apparently very common. (This is a problem that laminate apparently does not have.) – Howard
DEAR HOWARD: Your flooring experts are correct. One of the beauties of real wood is the variation in grain and color which gives it character. Sometimes when you lay a large amount onto the floor, the overall effect is the goal. The varied colors of the wood and grain are secondary. Looking at the planks too closely will make you question your decision.
From time to time, there are bad batches of wood, so your initial order may not be representative of what is available. You can put in a request to have the least amount of variance, but it is never guaranteed while working with natural surfaces. Beech wood is the most consistent in grain and color, making it a contemporary choice.
One advantage that laminate has over real wood is the consistency in color and grain. Laminate is a picture pressed onto the wood, so it is repeated over and over across the entire floor. If the consistency is of most importance to you, it might be the best choice in your situation.
Vinyl makes ideal floor for high-traffic areas /July 28, 2011
DEAR DESIGNER: I read your article on vinyl flooring and it was very informative. We are considering doing our home before year-end and never even considered vinyl flooring. People we have spoken to only mention hardwood flooring. I have one question. Does having your home done in vinyl give it the same value as hardwood? – Wendell
HI WENDELL: I’m guessing, no. There is nothing like real wood. But, in today’s housing market, I’m not sure how much added value a true wood floor will give you. If you are looking for value down the road, use real wood. If you are going to enjoy your home forever, you might consider vinyl. It’s a great product.
DEAR DESIGNER: I am writing you after reading your article regarding vinyl floor. I love them, but … we put it in our kitchen in Las Vegas. We have a sliding patio door which we leave open so our dog has access to the back yard. Big mistake. Because we had no patio cover, the vinyl in front of the door is severely damaged from the sun. We now have a section of our floor that is no longer gray, but has turned burgundy. Please warn your readers, as this was not a cheap vinyl, and was a costly mistake for us. – Mary Ann
DEAR MARY ANN: Thank you for sharing your vinyl floor experience. Your incident may save another reader a costly mistake.
The sun in Las Vegas is truly a treacherous problem for many surfaces and worthy of an entire column devoted to only that. The vinyl flooring manufacturers know that direct sun can be a problem with their floors. I hope they find a solution for it.
In the meantime, it’s not a reason to shy away from vinyl. As with most surfaces, including real wood products and carpet, it is advisable to have your windows tinted and covered during the hours of direct sun. The only flooring surfaces I know of that don’t seem to have fading issues in our intense Las Vegas sun are tile and stone.
Cindy Payne is a certified interior designer with more than 25 years of experience, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, as well as a licensed contractor. Email questions to her at deardesigner@
projectdesigninteriors.com or send them to her at Project Design Interiors, 2620 S. Maryland Parkway, Suite 189, Las Vegas, NV 89109. She can be reached online at www.projectdesigninteriors.com.