P.O. Box 82 | Fitchburg, MA 01420
Sweat Equity & the New England Patriots of Flooring
Preparing your house for the spring market? Looking to buy a fixer upper to meet your budget? Maybe, you're just looking to spruce up your current decor. Installing new flooring can go a long way towards building equity in your home. There are many types of flooring to
consider; hardwood, laminate, luxury vinyl plank, tile and carpet to name a few. Whichever flooring category you choose, will come in many different styles and will range in cost.
Today, I want to focus on what I believe to be the best sweat equity option, Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP for short). In this case, sweat equity means that the homeowner is going to do the work themselves instead of hiring a contractor to install the flooring. New Englanders are not afraid of rolling their sleeves up and putting in a little hard work! This can be a huge savings because contractors usually charge per square foot to install the flooring.
For example: Let’s say you just bought a 1500 sq ft home but want to update to seamless flooring for your open concept kitchen and living room area and the combined square footage is 500 square feet. You have to purchase the flooring at $4.50 per square foot ($3000) and then pay $2.50 per sq ft ($1250) to a contractor to install. That adds up quickly and that's just the kitchen and living room, forget about the rest of the home! If you want the same seamless flooring throughout the entire home then that could add up to a labor cost savings of (1500 x $2.50) $3,750!!!
The reason LVP is the winner for sweat equity is because just about anybody can install it! You will need some basic hands tools, a scoring knife, a square, a tape measure and a rubber mallet (although power tools help make it easier). Most of the LVP uses a lock and click system, so all the pieces fit tightly together. This is one of the biggest differences I see in cost and quality! The cheaper options tend to have less than desirable lock and click systems that work but can be very frustrating to work with. I would suggest spending a little more per square foot in order to get a better lock and click system that provides ease of install as well as a smooth, tight surface when you're done!
Okay, now we arrived at the real debate in LVP….Which side is the GOAT? Be very careful when choosing a side, there is no turning back once you do (especially if you listen to the local sports radio stations).
Another thing to consider when purchasing LVP is what is on the back; Let’s call this side the Bill Belichick of LVP! This part of the flooring works behind the scenes and ensures the flooring does its job and helps it achieve the highest possible level. You may think that you'll never see it again once it's installed, but it makes a HUGE difference on feel and sound absorption when walking on the floor. On the lower price range the planks usually don't come with a backing on them, instead you have to put a padding fabric down on the entire floor prior to installation (which costs money). You could opt to higher the Adam Gase’ of the world and end up like the lowly Jets, or pay for the GOAT of coaches. The mid to higher priced options usually come with a backing that is attached to the plank itself. This can vary to a cork backing, a rubber backing or some other synthetic material. I have found that the softer rubber or cork tends to be easy to work with as well as providing a nice feel when walking on the planks.
Speaking of walking the plank. The top of the LVP plank is basically Tom Brady! This is the portion of the floor that is out for everyone to see. For most, the aesthetics, longevity and performance of the top of the flooring is what matters. There are hundreds of different colors, grain patterns and textures to choose from. Personally I like the classic stained oak look, like Brady in the classic red jersey with the Pat the Patriot logo on the helmet. Some prefer a more modern look, Brady in slate Buccaneer gray (makes me sick to my stomach). The thicker in MM of the top layer, the more durable to scratches and less color fade will occur. In my humble opinion, the best choice in LVP combines the thicker top layer with a visually appealing grain look and the best click and lock system that also has the backing attached to it. In other words, why choose one over the other? It’s pointless to debate which is more important in the scheme of things, they need each other. Sure, individually they would have success but to reach the absolute pinnacle of dominance for the better part of two decades, THEY NEED EACH OTHER! Unlike our beloved New England Patriots, you’ll never have to lament the break up. Floors don't have feelings and most come with a residential lifetime warranty, something I bet Mr. Kraft wishes he had for the two GOATS.
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