We initially thought we would use Allure flooring. It's a vinyl peel and stick plank flooring that's supposed to be well suited for basements. It looks like wood rather than vinyl tile and was within our budget.
After deciding on a color S picked up a box of planks so we could lay them out and see how it looked in real life v. on a 4x4 sample. And that's when we started to waver on our decision. The stuff stank. Like a cross between walking through a chemical plant and the schnastiest BO I've smelled since riding a un-air-conditioned bus after a high school cross country meet.
We went online to look at reviews and found several people ended up having to remove the flooring because the off-gassing never stopped. A few too many reviews for our comfort level.
With wood out of the question because it's not suited for basements and carpet off the list because of a severe phobia of carpet in basements, we turned to tile and laminate.
I have a weird fear of falling and knocking my teeth out. It might stem from when I fell as a kid and, you guessed it, knocked my front teeth out. But I can't be the only person with this fear, can I? I just imagine going to sell our house in a few years and having people with kids cringe at tile in prime playroom space. Remember that we put hook-ups for a gas dryer in the laundry nook even though we have an electric dryer? We're trying to appeal to the masses.
With tile out (much to S's chagrin since it's kind of perfect for basements) we started looking for laminate. My main criteria was to find a brand within our budget created with materials (glue, etc.) that meet or exceed the EU chemical standards. The EU excels really well in a few areas of consumer protection and their chemical standards are usually quite a bit safer than the US. Our contractor recommended Robina floors for their price, durability and thickness of the floor, which means a bit more warmth. They met our chemical requirements and the samples didn't stink.
Of a dozen samples, we've narrowed the color down to these three.
The two on the left are super shiny and smooth. I had to use the point of scissors to make a scratch (it's pretty hard and keys didn't work) but once scratched, it was noticeable. On the right is a "deep emboss" sample, which is less shiny and has wood grain like textured lines in it. It's the only of the deep emboss samples that doesn't look like plastic. The color on the right obviously matches the floor upstairs the best, but we're just not sure which one to go with.
Anyone with laminate floors have any thoughts or advice for us?