So, we have laminate hardwood flooring throughout our house. It's pretty nice. Real hardwood would have been best, engineered hardwood would have been better, but the laminate hardwood is good. We've had two problems with it, thus far: it hurts our feet and it gets all streaky when I mop.
The mopping problem will be an ongoing series of experiments that will eventually lead to a brilliant solution. For now, I'm using a spray bottle of vinegar and water and a microfiber mop. As long as I mop in the direction of the wood grain, it seems to do pretty well. The floor isn't as shiny as it was when we moved in, but it is clean and not covered in greasy little footprints.
As far as the floor hurting our feet...we're spoiled. Our apartment had wall-to-wall carpet and we got soft. The abrupt change left us kicking our feet up at the end of the day, wondering out loud what would possess a person to choose something other than superplush carpeting with extra padding underneath. I guess the third problem we've had is that we have to tiptoe down the hallway when the Biggest Girl is napping and that has wreaked some havoc on our calves (though it has also increased muscle tone, as well).
For the achy, breaky feet and calves, we found a solution: FLOR. We'd seen this carpeting on HGTV a couple times and we knew we wanted to use it. The company has a great environmental ethic and, in fact, is working to eliminate any negative impact they have on the environment by 2020. Aside from their do-good efforts, they have some fabulously funky designs with combinations that are limited only by your own design needs.
Here's what we did...First, we scoured the website, looking at designs. Once we had a good idea what we were after, we order a couple samples ($5 for three samples with free shipping). We were certain the samples were the carpet we would end up with, but things changed when we finally got into the house and attacked the walls with brightly colored paint. In light of our new colors, we headed to Eugene to visit Modern--they are the only local(ish) FLOR distributor we could find. There we were able to actually feel samples of the carpet we were leaning toward and, once we decided which direction to go, they helped us figure out how many tiles we'd need. By working with Modern, we saved 15% on the carpeting (just happened to be on sale!) and 50% on shipping (that's a great deal). We paid in full and waited patiently for our order to arrive. They said it would take two weeks, but they called less than a week later. Hooray! One last field trip to Eugene to pick up our carpet and we were good to go.
The toughest part of the process, it turns out, was deciding which carpet we liked best. Installation is a breeeeeze.
The tiles arrive in an extra large pizza box. The box will look nicer than this, but I couldn't resist the urge to tear into it the moment we got home.
We laid the tiles out to get an idea of which direction we wanted them to go and settled on horizontal for the big pieces.
To fill in the gaps, we cut the remaining tiles to size by measuring (half a tile is 9.875")...
...and then using a metal-edged square to guide the cut. We used a burly Stanley box knife for the actual cutting part. There are no pictures of that process because I only have two hands.
Next, we filled in the gaps with the pieces we had cut. This was a little challenging. Once we got them on the ground, we realized the options are limitless. We could throw them down willy-nilly or we could create a more controlled pattern. We went for a controlled pattern of alternating stripes on the outer and inner edges of the vertical pieces (does that make any sense at all?).
Make sure the pieces are lined up straight (use the square to accomplish this, if need be), stick a FLOR dot under the corner of the adjoining pieces to hold them together and you're done!
Shirt Stripe in Stripe A Pose
If you click on the picture to enlarge it and look closely at the pieces, you'll see the alternating colors I tried to put into words earlier.
Between the Lines in Red
Easy as can be and so much fun. If you need a new rug, this is definitely the way to go. Make sure you either find a showroom or order samples, though. The descriptions of the carpet texture are pretty right on, but there are no words that can substitute for actually getting the samples in your grubby little paws.