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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking at houses for a while and there's one I am interested in that has carpeted 2nd and 3rd floor and I really would like to rip those off and replace them with hardwood / laminate flooring.

What's your view on hardwood vs laminate?
How much do you think it would cost (material + labour) to replace 2 or 3 floors, totalling about 1,500 Sq Ft ?
Recommendation on contractors I should look at?
 

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What's your view on hardwood vs laminate?
I'd go with hardwood any day.
Even the best quality laminate doesn't come close to a moderate quality hardwood.
How much do you think it would cost (material + labour) to replace 2 or 3 floors, totalling about 1,500 Sq Ft ?
Labour should be in the range of $30/hr. - $40/hr.
Materials really depend on the quality of hardwood and laminate that you select.
Laminate ranges from $0.99 - $5 and hardwood ranges from $2 - $8.
Multiply that with your sq. footage.
You'll need misc. materials like underpadding (for laminate), nails, etc. for hardwood.
If the baseboards crack while removal, you may want to put in new baseboards as well.
 

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Is this your primary residence or a rental/flip? Do you have kids/dogs/do lots of entertaining?

IMO, nothing compares to the look of hardwoods. Unfortunately they are nowhere near as durable as laminates when you have kids running around, dogs chasing balls and friends who wear heels and spill red wine!(ok--maybe that's me!) I have 2 kids and 2 dogs and the top-of-the-line laminate floor in our great room area (kitchen, living, dining) still looks new 12 years later. (and requires zero maintenance.)
There is a HUGE difference between the cheap laminate and the top quality stuff though...if you go that route buy the absolute best you can afford.
 

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Definitely go with hardwood...for looks, style, durability, as well as for resale value.

Prices can really vary though. You can generally find some on sale though...just keep checking with storesin your area. The bigger stores have rotating sales every week where one kind of hardwood or another can be found at a discounted price.

You can also check out bamboo...has the same resale value, hardness and cachet as hardwood, but is more environmentally friendly/green (since bamboo can grow back in about 6 years compared to hardwood, which takes about 20 years). The wood has a very interesting look to it - more striations in the wood itself. It's all about your sense of style though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have seen units with laminate flooring that looks really great - hence I was considering to just put laminate because they look just as great (prob just very slightly less if you psychologically know it's not hardwood), and I heard it's lower maintenance.

ie. If you pay for something that's more expensive (hardwood) and for whatever reason it got tear and wear ... you kind of end up more sad than something cheaper but more durable. Just a thought ...

This will be primary residence ... no kids, no dogs (yet - considering if we have the time to take care of a dog)
 

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just approx, how long would it take them to new flooring in?
(eg. 2 days or 20 hrs for a 500 Sq Ft or something like that, just an estimation)
Depends on how many guys are doing it.
For 1 guy, doing 1,500 sq. ft. of hardwood would take 1.5 - 2 weeks.
If there are 2 or 3 guys, the whole thing can be done in 1 week.
You could help speed things up if you rip out the carpet and baseboards yourself.

Laminate would be faster by a few days at least.
 

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I put in laminate flooring in one room a few years ago. It's a pain- I am using vinegar/water to clean it, as cleaners can be too strong. In order to get rid of the dullness and splotchiness that occurs when it dries, you have to dry it immediately. That means going over it twice.
 

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I love hardwood. I have two larger dogs and they don't damage it at all. However, my hardwood was installed in the 1950s.

My sister-in-law has manufactured hardwood, which she also purchased to replace carpet and withstand 120lb+ dogs and a myrad of excessive partiers. They were able to install ~800sq feet of manufactured hardwood in a weekend once they got a good system going. It looks fantastic, easy to clean, and withstands a lot of abuse. They did pay a premium for it, but from what I understand they feel the overall cost was worth it.

I've had laminate in a place I used to rent and loathed it. It was bubbly, damaged easily, and required twice the amount of work to stay clean. Pretty much what happening to Stardancer is what I experienced.
 

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There's a big difference in laminate quality. My neighbours installed a beautiful laminate floor that the wife still thinks is hardwood (haha). It's held up beautifully over 3 years of kiddy-cars. My parents put down some cheap laminate that looks horrible.

I'm not a huge fan of pre-finished hardwood floors - it seems you get the worst of both worlds: lower durability and cracks between the planking.

I do like the high-end installed hardwood, where it's installed, sanded and then stained and lacquered. Sure, the durability isn't there unless you go super-high-end wood (still not as durable as laminate), but they're super gorgeous. No cracks. Purely an aesthetic thing, though - it looks really luxurious.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am wondering if there's a showroom in Toronto where I can check out the different kind of flooring and their color, and prob get some sampling of those?

Thanks!
 

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I don't know about showrooms, but the best place to buy flooring is often at auctions. Here in Vancouver, there is a place called Able Auctions that has great hardwood and laminate flooring sales (http://www.aleauctions.ca). You can often get flooring that would cost $10 per sq ft in a store for $2.50 per sq ft at auction.

I found one place near Toronto that does flooring auctions (http://www.principalliquidators.com/). I don't know anything about this place, but there are probably others as well.
 
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