We're in the process of choosing flooring for the basement. And by in the process I really mean we need to make a decision within the next two hours. DIY is so much better suited for hemming and hawing than this ;)

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?

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  1. My vote goes to the one on the right. Your last paragraph sounds like you are leaning towards it, too. It matches the rest of your house pretty well and it doesn't look like plastic, so it seems like a good choice. I also think it will look nice if your flooring matches throughout the house. It'll make your renovation look more original to the home. Anyway, that's just my opinion - I hope it's helpful! :)

  2. I've never installed laminate floors but I love the look of the center sample. Good luck!

  3. We've got ones very similar to the darkest shiny ones. We love them. However they do show dust very easily and muddy doggy paw prints. Also we have them in a room that gets LOTS of light which I think is another reason we love them. So For the basement I would probably go with the one on the right. They will be way lower maintenance. However if you do end up with the shiny ones, our shark steam mop is our best friend. Hmmm if you want pics, check out this blogpost: http://amysparkle.blogspot.com/2010/10/thousand-months-later-and-were-done.html

  4. Anonymous5/26/2011

    We installed laminate in our basement 6 years ago. It has held up beautifully and is so easy to clean. Personally I would go with the lighter sample on the right. I like the center one, but basements do get dusty and will show the dirt more.

  5. I ALSO knocked out a front tooth on tile and am leary of installing it anywhere - except maybe (MAYBE) the bathroom. And I agree with the recommendation of the one on the right. We had some very cheap matte laminate in a previous house and were very happy with it. Our dogs were able to scratch it a bit, but it didn't show as much as the shiny stuff would have.

  6. I think you should go with the one that matches the upstairs the best - I think that will give you the feeling that your whole house is finished the same (and same goes for potential buyers in the future).

    I'm with ya on the falling on tile and knocking out a tooth!

  7. hope i'm commenting in time :)

    I babysat for a family with twin toddlers who had floors very similar to the dark ones in the middle. They got dirty sooooo quickly and showed everything! especially with little ones (with snacks) running around- I was glad I did not have to clean that floor! their mom once told me to give them snickerdoodle cookies (I wouldn't just give toddlers cookies on an every day basis) and one dropped them on the floor- SUGAR EVERYWHERE! took me forever and a day to get it all up. Just something to think about. I do think I would go for that finish because its so nice had I not had that experience.

  8. the shiny finish is pretty, but it does show puppy prints. it does scratch, but unless you're down on your hands and knees, you don't really notice it. as Amy said, the steam mop does do the trick (for hardwood, too!) good luck with your decision,

  9. Anonymous5/28/2011

    After a lot of debate, we had our basement floor done with NatureStone. It looks like carpet, but is easy to clean and has no moisture problems. It was on the pricey side, but well worth it.

  10. Anonymous5/29/2011

    It sounds like you've already settled on one, but I'm curious to know the cost of each of your choices. Do you mind sharing? My husband and I are thinking about replacing the worn out carpet in our finished basement with laminate flooring and the prices seem to be ALL OVER the place, which makes it impossible to get my head around what we might be looking at.

  11. Alottalettuce - they're Robina laminate floors and we're buying them from woodfloorsplus.com (store near Baltimore). Their price beats everyone local by at least $1.50/sq ft! We're paying $1.99 sq ft for 12mm AC4 laminate. Apparently it's a very good quality floor. The people at wood floors plus are super helpful on the phone and in person - and shipping isn't too expensive.

  12. Anonymous6/01/2011

    Excellent! Thanks so much for the info. I'm definitely going to checkout that site.


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