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So, after a weekend of small projects, I figured it was also time to make some progress on the big To Do:  picking out flooring.

After weighing the options of hardwood versus engineered versus laminate, I made the first cut: engineered was not for me. While it may be slightly cheaper for rare wood choices, the price comparison (for most of the finishes that I liked) was not enough to make a difference between the engineered kind and the real deal. Plus, it seems too much of a coincidence that engineered rhymes with veneered:  I’ve seen how veneers look and last on my cheap apartment furniture, and the idea of shelling out thousands to have that all over my floor makes my inner cheapskate shout “no thank you”. In many cases, only one (if any) sanding and refinishing job can be done to it, and it’s not everlasting tough like laminate.

For the next cut, we looked at installation choices. Since I have a cement slab for our first floor, hardwoods would either have to be glued or clipped into place (click here for more info) and would probably require professionals. Laminate, on the other hand, could be easily click-locked into place, and seemed like a total do-it-yourself kind of job. Maybe not “easy” to a beginner like me, but certainly easier and less messy than hardwood.

Weighing hiring a professional versus the very budget-friendly do-it-yourself option, I decided hardwoods cost significantly more than laminate. And as I mentioned in a previous post, this is not my forever home, so I need only to consider the additional value added by getting rid of the carpet. Combine that with the idea of Colby and my boyfriend running around and scraping items across a new hardwood floor (I can just imagine the “pick UP the chair!” harping), I was left with an obvious answer:  laminate was durable, budget-friendly, and if I shopped around enough, I was sure that I could find something that didn’t scream fake floor.

Now comes the hard part.  Which finish do I choose? I always knew this would be the harder decision to make. I have already experienced freaking out at the wrong paint color, and that’s only a $25 mistake; trying to make a $2500 decision on my own will probably put me on the next season of The OCD Project on VH1.

Then, a brilliant thought came to mind:  I can get opinions on this! So, dear reader, I would really appreciate it if you would participate in my first ever blog poll. Which option do you like best, and why? Please vote for your favorite, and help a girl out!

Option 1: “Caribbean Rosewood”
Option 2: “Mayan Beechwood”
Option 3: “Exotic Walnut”

Flooring update:  Click here, and here for photos of the real deal of options 1 and 3, installed in an actual room! Sorry, I tried to find Mayan Beechwood photos, but came up empty :(

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  1. It's going throughout the house: kitchen, dining room, upstairs craft room, living room, etc. The only rooms getting re-carpeted are the primary and guest bedrooms.

  2. I am leaning towards the walnut :) Oh my gosh if this was my home, I would have the HARDEST time picking out flooring. No matter what you choose, it is going to look good.

  3. Hey! Thanks for stopping by. Your pics make them all look very red in tone, but the real life pic of Option 1 looks great to me, that you linked to. So that will be my vote!

    Good luck with your project.

  4. @Rhoda, you're absolutely right! They all DO have a bit of red in each stain, moreso than the real life pics.

    They are all pretty much the same hue, except they have different grain patterns and I guess that's the dilemma: do any of them look more realistic than the others? Hmmm… tough call for me, so I'm glad I'm getting the input!

  5. Hi Sarah,
    My husband and I have used all of these choices in one home or another and all were fine. However, remember that laminate is not indestructable. Once you put a scratch in it is always there. Where is with the other 2 choices you can sand down and redo. The “engineered” is the most recent one that we put down. We (my husband) did alot of research, because it also went over a concrete slab. I have this one on my blog, kind of step by step. Just make sure you put a vapor barrier under your floor.

    Your engineered or “veneered” wood has a wood layer on top, obviously there are different brands with different thickness. The laminate is just that, laminate that looks like wood, snapping together is not always fun, again depends on the quality of product. Of course hardwood is the same when it comes to quality.
    A hint: take a few pieces and put them together. Put them where the light bounces of it and see which one looks more “realistic” to you.

    Also, remember resale value, to you it is just getting rid of the ugly carpet. However, to a new buyer they are looking for “upgrade”. Believe me I have sold 5 of my own houses, these buyers are picking. Now, having said that don't overspend your neighborhood.

    Well, I didn't mean to write a book. I just wanted to share some of my “ugly” home renovation trials.

    Good luck, I look forward to seeing your end result.

  6. @Crystal, thank you for your input! I have considered each of the points you are making. I thought about hardwood for resale, but my neighborhood simply doesn't justify the greater cost for the value it will add to the home in this area. I would LOVE to have it though in my next home.

    As for engineered floors, I've seen a lot of mixed reviews. Some say it's better than real hardwoods for durability's sake (which is my number one concern); some say that all it takes is some high heels and a big dog, and it's ruined. Considering that real hardwoods could be sanded more than once if that happens, it seems like engineered is the least appealing option.

    “Pulling the trigger” isn't easy for me when there's this much investment on the line, so I sure hope I'm making the right decision!

    Thanks to EVERYONE for their input!

  7. Beautiful options there! Whatever you choose will be beautiful. :) We went with laminate for the same reasons you did, and installation wasn't much fun (oh, the memories, though!) but it was do-able and worth the money saved. And hey – 1 year later (and many dropped hammers, doggie playdates and broken glasses later) and the laminate still looks just as good as the day we installed it. Love that stuff <3


  8. My vote was for Exotic Walnut! I think I would be happiest with a laminate that has a fair amount of movement to differentiate between the pieces of laminate – a uniform look has always been kind of a hallmark of laminate for me, and I think the movement is gorgeous! (I'm also a fan of the 2nd option, but your installation photos of #3 really swayed me). :) Good luck, can't wait to see what you choose!

    ~ Liz

  9. It's almost a 3-way tie at this point. This is looking good; it would mean I can't go wrong with any option! Thanks for all the comments and advice everyone!