We hesitated though because LL has such a horrible return policy. We decided to wait until we close, just in case. Which was smart, because now we don't really want laminate. Plus I wasn't really in to the whole red oak color.
On Sunday, we went to a small flooring shop in town called Rite Rug. I was frustrated at looking at just Lowes/Home Depot and Lumber Liquidators. Rite Rug had a wonderful salesmen that we really bonded with (he flips houses for a living, well, beyond what Rite Rug can give him). And then we got some schooling on flooring by him.
He told us that if we went with laminate we would have to buy laminate without the pad attached, and lay down the pad first before installing the laminate, because laminate flooring with the pad already attached still void their warranty if you don't lay down a pad underneath it still. Why is that? Because the pad that is attached doesn't cover the particle board click lock sections of the flooring, which means that the flooring is weakest to moisture, at the weakest point.
Weakest point in ugly blue flooring.
So if you spill your mountain dew or alcohol onto the floor, it would pool at the joints and then seep under the flooring with no moisture barrier to stop it.
Pad attached flooring being laid down without an under pad. Tsk.
Meaning that if you put down flooring with pad attached and do not add a second layer of moisture barrier underneath that still, then you don't get your fancy 15-25 year warranty. No bueno, that's a lot of effort for first time DIY-ers like us.
All is not lost though! We ended up really liking resilient vinyl floor planks instead.
Sounds weird and looks similar to those tacky peel and stick linoleum tiles I know, but, they've come a LONG way.
Look at these rooms:
via google images
Looks better than most laminates do to us! Plus they're in the same price range as laminate flooring and are completely impervious to moisture... if the house flooded, our floors would still be purtiful. And they're much harder than most laminates and hardwoods, so they are scratch proof (to the point that the 25 year warranty on them covers all scratches). Not only that but they have more realistic wood grain images, which are printed "deeper" in (won't wear away like laminates do over time), and the actual grain against your bare feet is much more life like than the laminates we could afford-- I know there are killer sexy laminates out there, but we are looking to spend less than $1.50 a square foot.
The thing about them that completely sold us though is that they are so easy to install yourself. Just peel the side sticky parts away, line up the solid tile edges together, and then press down. After three days the glue is stuck permanently. And since they're glorified rubber you can score them with a utility knife and snap them instead of using a table saw to make cuts around corners and edging. Win!
Oh and if you're confusing resilient vinyl planks with that cheapo foam vinyl faux wood that comes on the giant carpet rolls at Lowes then please don't. It's very different. I had assumed they were the same as well.
We're excited about our decision, and excited that we can meet our deadline of getting the house liveable before Rob's parents fly in to stay with us from England in mid-October since the floor is so easy to install!
Oh and here is the pattern we're planning on buying:
It's called Classic Chestnut and it's at Lowes. It's 3.5 mm thick and is $1.43 a square foot (after 10% off coupon and 5% on the card)-- which when added up to the 800 square feet we need equals out to around $1300.
Now we just need an easy way to rip UP the carpet. :(