hardwood floors -- deciding on options

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I am near the end of having a 2 BR apartment remodeled in a building that I own. The 2 bedrooms had old wall-to-wall carpet in them and I took that up. The living room had a Pergo laminate floor in very good condition, but I had to take that up because the remodeling changes resulted in the Pergo no longer covering the full size of the room.
What I am now left with is 2 bedrooms and a living room with old red oak hardwood floors in mediocre shape -- there are paint splatters and oversprays on the floor, some pieces would have to be replaced or filled in with hardwood (where closet walls were, etc), and there are some gaps between some of the existing hardwood boards.
So, I am thinking my choices are:
1) wall-to-wall carpeting throughout; 2) new laminate/Pergo-style flooring throughout; 3) replace the missing pieces and fix the existing hardwood floor, then sand and refinish it; 4) add all new unfinished red oak (or similar) hardwood flooring throughout, on top of the existing hardwood flooring, then sand and apply finish coats of polyurethane, etc.; 5) add all new pre-finished red oak (or similar) hardwood flooring throughout, on top of the existing hardwood flooring, and then maybe add a coat of polyurethane to seal the cracks between the pieces.
The 2 bedrooms, living room, closets, and small hallway area add up to about 440 square feet. If I do add a whole new hardwood floor on top of the existing one, that added 3/4-inch plus underlayment in floor height will not present a problem. I have a person who can do the work regardless of which option I end up choosing. I have been reading, researching, watching YouTube videos, etc. to learn as much as I can before going ahead.
Any thoughts, suggestions, recommendations, etc. would be appreciated.
If I do decide to go with installing new unfinished hardwood (instead of pre-finished hardwood), I assume that some quick sanding will need to be done -- but not a lot -- before adding a polyurethane finish. Is that correct?
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Go with tile or vinyl in high traffic areas. Go with good quality carpet in the hallway and living room. Go with matching (but lighter quality) carpet in the bedrooms.
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BetaB4 wrote:

I'd vote for the laminate. Perfectly adequate laminate from Lumber Liquidators can be had for 75/sq ft, about the same price as medium carpet. But when the tenants move out, you probably won't have to replace it.
If you do decide on laminate, check back here for installation tips.
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HeyBub wrote:

Interesting. Thanks. I didn't realize that laminate could be purchased at anywhere near that price range. I've mostly been checking places like Home Depot and Lowes, but I have a Lumber Liquidators store right near me.
The laminate that I took up really did look good, and it apparently held up like iron because it looked brand new -- not a mark on it. Here's a link to a Lumber Liquidators page that I just checked out:
http://www.lumberliquidators.com/catalog/product.jsp?productIdg34&categoryIdA8&sectionId=4&subCategoryId=0
I'll go in person to the store and see what they have, and what the variuos grades and thickneeses mean, etc.

I'll definitely do that if I end up deciding on laminate.
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looks great and is REAL easy to install...Also have the same stuff that looks like tile...Available at Homedepot and other places I'm sure...Good luck...
Trafficmaster Allure, Oak 6 In. x 36 In. Resilient Vinyl Plank Flooring (24 Sq. Ft. Per Case)
Easy GripStripT installation - Lays directly over your old floor; no floor prep or messy glue needed! Looks and feels like real wood. feel the knots! Completely waterproof. Perfect in high moisture areas. basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. Warm comfort and quiet under foot. Install an entire floor cleanly, easily in just a few hours. 25 year residential warranty.
a.. Oak Finish b.. Super durable and completely waterproof c.. Unique interlocking-edge design for simple installation d.. Simply lay overlapping GripStripT of one plank on adjacent plank and press together. No other adhesive required. Minimal trimming involved. Just score and snap! e.. Sold by the box, each covers 24 Sq. Ft. http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId051&langId=-1&catalogId053&productId0592904&N000003+90112+500335
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As someone who is a landlord and deals with tenants, let me share thoughts on your options. My wife and I pulled up the carpet in the house we rent out because it was 30 years old; we elected not to replace it but leave the hardwood floors because we knew they would be more durable than carpet. What we didn't realize at the time is that prospective tenants see hardwood floors as a luxury addition to a rental, and are willing to pay a bit more in rent as a result.
Carpet may be the most cost-effective option up front because you don't have to worry about matching or replacing the oak flooring, but you'll end up paying more over the long-term (10 years or more) as you replace worn carpeting. And it could end up costing you depending on your tenants: if they have lots of parties and alcohol is repeatedly spilled, or maybe a tenant leaves their wet SCUBA gear (had a roommate like that and the hall stank for a year after he moved out) or oily, greasy parts from their car's engine on the carpet, or if you allow people to have pets you have no guarantee the pet(s) won't pee on the carpet.
STAY AWAY FROM LAMINATE! Laminate floors, including the Trafficmaster Allure recommended by /benick/, are simply a paper or vinyl image of wood over particle board or some such, and will NOT handle being scuffed, scratched or dinged. They're fine for light traffic areas like in your own home where you can care for them, but you have no control over how your tenant(s) take care of the floors. The same can be said for some engineered flooring, which is a thin-thin-thin layer of the real wood over particle or fiber board and any damage cannot simply be filled in or buffed out.
"Hardwood" flooring is your best option because it will withstand abuse better and light wear or damages can be dealt with easier. I put hardwood in quotes because, in my experience, dollar-for-dollar bamboo is a better investment than oak flooring, simply because it is harder (20-100% harder than red oak on the Janka scale - http://www.buildinggreentv.com/4861 ) and therefore wear better.
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Hardwood can be noisey, if the apartment your reding nhas tenants below stick with carpet to minimize noise.
my wife wanted hardwood, so we pulled up the carpet its very noisey, i want to go back to carpet
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Kyle wrote:

You're correct about laminate being essentially wallpaper over a backing stock. But it's then covered with - I don't know - ballistic polycarbonate, Lexan on steroids, or somesuch.
And it will hold up. We've experimented.
We attacked CHEAP laminate with a pointy-nail, a wood rasp, a hammer, an orbital sander, and other violations. I asked my local femme-fatal to prance around on it with spiked heels. Dog-claws don't scratch it. I put strips of it in a glass of water for a MONTH with no detectable distortion or swelling. It does, however, burn.
That stuff is almost impregnable! You could make bullet-proof vests out of it. It doesn't rot and termites won't eat it. It'll be around long after cockroaches are extinct.
I evem took what I had left over from doing two rooms and covered the 60's-era Formica on the kitchen counters. Looks double-swell (like butcher-block) and is holding up as well as the Formica (of course I don't have 40 years of use on it yet...)
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You obviously don't know what you are talking about...The flooring I talked about is VINYL..It is NOT paper over wood , partical board or plastic....It is VERY durable and flexable , almost rubbery ,with adhesive edges that when put together form a WATERPROOF floor..It can even be used in GARAGES.....It is nearly indestructable which makes it perfect for an APARTMENT , in case you've forgotten what this thread is about...GESH , atleast TRY to find out about what you're talking about BEFORE you spout off at the mouth , lest you make as ass of yourself as you just did.......
Trafficmaster Allure Commercial Diamond Plate Graphite Vinyl Flooring (24 Sq. Ft. Per Case)
Model 840224
$3.09/Sq. Ft. Price includes shipping
$74.06/CA Case Covers 24 Sq. Ft.
a.. Diamond Plate Graphite Pattern a.. Super durable and completely waterproof a.. Unique interlocking-edge design for simple installation a.. Ice, heat, and road salt resistant a.. Sold by the box, each covers 24 Sq. Ft. a.. This is a little more and is FOR GARAGES....LOL...IDIOT....
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benick wrote:

Good comment, but poor aim.
I, for one, not only know what I'm talking about, but know to whom I'm responding.
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reason (WLM) and only showed up in your response so I used that one after removing your comments...Sorry about that...Next time I'll cut and paste....I seem to lose a few posts...Sometimes the OP starts out with just the responses and I have to read the OP in one of the responses...Why I don't know...
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...

Bullshit. The stuff is incredibly tough, tougher than hardwood.
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AZ Nomad wrote:

Unless it gets standing water on it, true. But personally, I can't get past how damn ugly it is. Like walking around on kitchen counter. The only kind of snap-together floor I would even consider is the type with real wood on the top.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

Almost any flooring with standing water will suffer. Some will even moan.
As for looks, well, beauty is what it is.
You evidently haven't seen the new "cloud design." Makes you feel like an angel!
Or the tableaus that looks like you're standing atop the Washington Monument or floating above the Grand Canyon.
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: STAY AWAY FROM LAMINATE! Laminate floors, including the Trafficmaster : Allure recommended by /benick/, Traffimaster Allure is a peel-and-stick vinyl strip flooring, not a laminate.
are simply a paper or vinyl image of : wood over particle board or some such
True.
, and will NOT handle being : scuffed, scratched or dinged.
Absolutely false. Laminate flooring is harder and GREATLY more scratch- and dent-resistant than hardwood is.
: "Hardwood" flooring is your best option because it will withstand : abuse better and light wear or damages can be dealt with easier. I put : hardwood in quotes because, in my experience, dollar-for-dollar bamboo : is a better investment than oak flooring, simply because it is harder : (20-100% harder than red oak on the Janka scale - http://www.buildinggreentv.com/4861 ) : and therefore wear better.
You're wrong on that. Try a simple experiment: take a car key and try scratching a sample of bamboo; hardwood; engineered hardwood; and laminate.
They'll all suffer visible damage except the laminate.
    -- Andy Barss
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This would be my favorite. Hardwood is impressively durable and, if you keep some of the finish, easily repaired when needed (not often).

I don't see the advantage of this.

No, it takes some pretty heavy duty sanding to even the floor out.
-- Doug
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Thanks to everyone for all of the feedback and suggestions.
Just to follow up, here's where I am with this so far. I checked out Lumber Liquidators since I didn't realize that I could get laminate for as low as 78-cents a square foot. They have it, and that became one option. I do like how durable laminate is.
At the same time, I discovered that Lumber Liquidators has prefinished 3/4-inch red oak hardwood for as low as $1.99 a square foot. It's a lower grade of wood with more defects etc. but it looks like it would be okay for the type of older style apartment that I am having redone. They also have a slightly better grade of unfinished 3/4-inch red oak hardwood for $1.59 per square foot. I started out by buying a small amount of that and am using that to fill in some pieces in the existing hardwood floor, and then will probably try having the existing floor sanded and refinished. But, the unfinished $1.59 red oak hardwood actually looks pretty good now that I see it in place. So, if refinishing the existing floor looks like it will be too much trouble or won't come out too well, I may decide to just buy enough of the $1.59 unfinished red oak to put down a whole new floor over the existing one and go with that.

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adding a floor over a existing floor changes the height of steps and may put you at risk if someone falls.
check with local code enforcement officer before proceeding
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That's not a problem in my sitaution. It's a one-floor apartment with no steps. It has a living room and 2 bedrooms, plus a kitchen and bath -- all on one level. The kitchen and bath are being completely redone, including the floors -- so those floors will be raised to the level of the new hardwood in the adjacent rooms if I go that route.
adding a floor over a existing floor changes the height of steps and may put you at risk if someone falls.
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BetaB4 wrote:

Consider this is a seller's market in the rental arena, what with all the foreclosures going on.
Have you considered straw?
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