Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Flooring choices run the gamut

Local firms offer alternatives for show home

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WHEN A&S Homes created its show home in its bungalow condominiums at 27-600 Dovercourt Dr. in Linden Ridge Estates, it hired Curtis Carpets Ltd. to do the flooring.

As a result, it ended up with polyester fibre carpet in the 300-square-foot great room and maple hardwood in the 265-square-foot kitchen, both manufactured by Canadian companies.

While the A&S show home is dressed to sell, what if the same rooms took on a new look with alternate products? We asked a few local companies to provide readers with some alternate flooring choices to explore some other common products in the world of flooring.

Richard Shore, a sales representative with Curtis Carpets, said the company chose a frieze-style carpet, or so-called trackless carpet made by Peerless Carpets in the A&S Homes great room, partly because of its ability to resist track marks such as vacuum lines.

"That's because the carpet tufts are 'non-directional,' which means they face in different directions as opposed to saxony carpets where the fibres are 'one-directional,' " said Shore. Made in 30 different shades, the product will cost buyers $3.50 per square foot, a price that includes the installation, underpad and the carpet itself, said Shore.

In the kitchen and other main areas, the company chose pre-finished maple wood floors with boards that measure 3.5 inches wide and .75 inches deep. "Maple is one of the hardest woods made," said Shore, of the product made by Lauzon Wood Flooring of Quebec.

Homeowners who choose the maple floors will pay $12.50 per square foot, but will be charged an additional $3 per square foot for Curtis Carpets to install the product, he said.

One product gaining greater acceptance is laminate flooring, said Bill Knight, of Bill Knight Flooring & Carpets Ltd.

"The growth has been phenomenal, because of the price, because of the durability, and because of the ease of installation, especially now because it's easier to install than it used to be because there's no glue," said Knight.

What is laminate flooring? "It's basically a photograph put onto a board," said Knight, noting the core is made of wood products. But it's a product that appeals to those who want a very durable hard surface at a reasonable price.

Laminate flooring will cost on average $2.50 to $7 per square foot at his outlet, said Knight, but that was just one of the reasons Winnipegger Ken Giesbrecht chose the product for his own home recently. "We have a dog and even his claws don't cause scratches or anything," said Giesbrecht. Knight said there are less expensive laminates but his company sells a higher grade of laminate.

"The more expensive ones have more selection, they have more patterns, more colours, more everything available," he said.

Giesbrecht chose a darker, textured wood-grain pattern for his floor, but Knight said that's just one of a multitude of finishes available for the product. "There are a lot of laminates today that if people stand on them, they don't know if they're on laminate or wood," he said, noting buyers will even find finishes that resemble ceramic tile or marble.

Harry Ross, of Harry Ross Area Rug Store, said his choice for an alternate product for the great room would be a "click-together" laminate, made by Kronotex, over a foam acoustic underlay. The product will cost buyers a total of $4.69 installed, which includes underlay and labour. Paired with the laminate, Ross suggested an area rug. While the company sells several brands of rugs, it can also custom make a rug for buyers.

Homeowners can come in with samples of colours they want duplicated or design ideas of their own.

When it comes to carpets, it is important to choose the right carpet for the job, says Jeff Byckel, carpet manager with Carpets for Less Inc.

"For example, a room such as the featured great room will probably see a lot of traffic in and out, and further will be concentrated to specific pathways such as the entry point of the room and around the coffee table," he said, referring to the A&S show home.

"Due to this fact, the carpet you ultimately choose should be one that is built to take a fair amount of abuse, and Berber carpets can fit this bill nicely, since they have a looped pile, and not a cut pile.

This means that the surface is more solid, and thus will take wear better and make it harder for dirt and debris to work their way down into the carpet and resist vacuuming, he said.

"The carpet I have chosen for this room is called 'Santa Cantarina,' a dense, 52-ounce level-looped Berber manufactured by Mohawk Industries. This carpet is well-suited to higher-traffic areas."

Installing the carpet into a 300-square-foot room would cost homeowners about $1,000, including carpet, underpad, installation fees and all applicable taxes, he said.

Byckel said "one slight drawback" for those who would do the installation themselves is that the carpet has a zigzag pattern, making it difficult to line up the two sides of the seam.

"If the seams are done properly, however, they will be virtually invisible, since there are rows to follow." He added that the Santa Cantarina is offered in nine different colours, seven of which would go nicely with the colour scheme of the featured room.

Vinyl tiles, on the other hand, have grown up and some are sophisticated enough to have finishes that resemble wood grain, ceramic tile, stone and even marble, so they could go into any room today.

Domitala Payment, an install co-ordinator with RONA Home & Garden, said her company sells at least two different styles of vinyl flooring: peel and stick and vinyl sheet goods.

One peel and stick tile, a method often used by do-it-yourselfers, is Chesapeake, a grey-tone .08-gauge tile made by Armstrong Flooring. Price of the tile alone is $2.33 per square foot, but labour to install the flooring (without any floor preparation) would be $1 per square foot, said Payment.

However, seldom is a tile put down without the installers having to do some preparatory floor work that would add to the cost of the project, said Payment. "With using vinyl tiles you will have less wastage, but you must use a plywood subfloor."

Peel and stick tiles can range in price from under a dollar per square foot to more than $5 per square foot, and better grades generally have a thicker gauge, Payment said.

Sheet vinyl will cost homeowners from $2 to $7 per square foot at RONA, said Payment. One way to recognize a good quality sheet vinyl is by the thickness of the surface, said Payment. "A good quality sheet vinyl will have a pattern practically through the whole thickness."

Bob Pastrick, owner of A&R Carpet Barn, said any tight low-profile saxony carpet would look good in the great room. Exploding a common misconception, Pastrick said it's not the ounce weight of a carpet that's important, but the materials and how it's made.

"What you have to look at is how tightly it's stitched together, and just the way it's put together than the ounce weight, for the reason being they use 28-ounce carpet or 30-ounce carpet for a lot of commercial applications.

"So why do you need a 65-ounce product in your home, when they use 30-ounce carpet in schools? It doesn't make sense. Why would you use a heavier weight in your home than a school where you get 10 times the amount of traffic or 100 times the amount of traffic?"

Homeowners who want good carpeting should look at density, fibre quality, and what kind of texture-retention warranty and stain-proofing warranties exist. "That's what's important, nothing else."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 2, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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