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Old 05-10-2016, 02:18 PM   #1
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2016 30' International
Woodstock ON , North Fort Myers FL
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Smile Vinyl vs Laminate vs Engineered Wood?

We are about to replace the OE vinyl sheet flooring in our 2015 AS. We expect to lay a floating floor of click planks over the OS sheet, not under furniture except where visible.

There are at least 3 possible floating plank flooring replacements that would satisfy our need. As an AS owner, I know I will suffer a water leak sooner or later.

What follows are three common flooring products found virtually everywhere. There may be other alternative products we are not aware of. If so, please tell us. What did we overlook?

1) Laminate: According to flooring specialists we speak to, all laminate planks are subject to damage caused by water intrusion. Even small amounts of water can cause damage which could be somewhat mitigated if plank edges are glued. Fiber and/or wood materials supporting the laminate surface are by their very composition subject to absorption of liquids and this is the primary reason these products should never be used in a bathroom for example.

Click laminates whether bevelled or not, are said to be tolerant to humidity and seasonal changes which could range from full summer use to full winter in storage.

Laminates are attractive for an AS because of their appearance and ability to resist scrapes, sand and gravel which are almost certainly tracked into an AS no matter how this floor is carefully protected.

2) Wood / Engineered Wood: As with laminates, wood products whether solid wood or wood veneer on a supporting fiber material will suffer from water intrusion. While these products might be less susceptible to water damage than laminate, if not caught quickly water will be absorbed by these products and subsequently damaged. This flooring would not be used in a bathroom for obvious reasons.

These products are very attractive and in most applications will last many years with moderate care. However, this flooring will scratch, and particles such as sand and gravel often found on AS floors can and will leave their mark.

As with laminate, wood and engineered wood products are said to tolerate use in humid locations and weather cold sub-freezing winter storage.

3) Vinyl: Vinyl click planks contain no wood, fiber or any absorbent substrate that can suffer water damage. Some premium grades of this product even have fiberglass materials that add to strength and rigidity. Water intrusion might require cleanup but there will not be obvious damage to the plank. Like the laminate, wood and engineered wood products, if necessary vinyl should be lifted to dry the subfloor of water. Vinyl planks, tiles and linoleums are used in bathrooms and places subject to water because they tolerate damp / wet locations.

As with laminates and wood / engineered wood products, vinyl is said to tolerate use in humid locations, hot and cold and even subfreezing winter storage.

We are seeking your experience and advice. All three of these products meet our requirements in terms of cost, quality and appearance. As this will be a "floating floor", not glued, planks must survive travel without coming apart or losing their place on the floor. We are the first owners of this AS and while we have no children a subsequent owner might. We do have a dog.

This is a serious decision to for us to make. We need your advice. We need to hear from AS owners who have already made this decision, and experienced the result.

Thanking you in advance for sharing.....

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Old 05-10-2016, 03:05 PM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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Here is a thread that goes into a lot of options:

I used Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) planks made by Tarkett. The one thing I found with my research is that not all LVT is created equal. The "homeowner" variety of stuff that is sold at the big box stores just doesn't hold up (according to Consumer Reports and customer reviews) as well as the commercial quality stuff. Yes, the commercial quality stuff will cost more, sometimes 2x, but I only want to do the job once.

good luck!

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Old 05-10-2016, 03:14 PM   #3
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When I researched my choice, 11 years ago, I decided on Armstrong Laminate for a couple of reasons. The color was the best match to my cabinets. The connection system was the best for working in a small area, very important. Some systems require heavy tools that use the flooring weight to work against. Won't work in a small area.

You mentioned you are going to work around the furniture. I strongly suggest you reconsider. It only took an hour to remove all the furniture except the kitchen counter. Doing this makes the install much easier. At those point where I had to screw things to the floor I drilled a 3/4 in hole to allow the screws to float. After 11 years i see no evidence that any movement has ever taken place.

As you can see a good assistant helps.
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Old 05-10-2016, 04:09 PM   #4
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We just recently laid down Plyboo Stiletto Strand flooring - which is 100% bamboo, built up in layers as a plywood with grains going in opposite directions on each ply, to minimize expansion / contraction.

They claim it is 300% harder than red oak flooring - and an excellent application for commercial use (so surely it should hold up in our little trailer right?).

Here is the specific product we had installed.

We had the couch, dinette and bed removed to minimize all the little cuts that would otherwise be necessary, and to make for a seamless final product. Flooring was stapled and glued down directly onto the plywood subfloor to eliminate the potential for any movement. It can also be applied as a floating floor.

Finished product looks awesome....
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Old 05-10-2016, 04:23 PM   #5
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I just completed this process of researching, purchasing and installing. My opinion is that there is only one choice in your options. I highly recommend LVT and, there is a product specifically designed to have almost no expansion or contraction, fully waterproof and made of PVC and fiberglass in Belgium. It is sold under several names but I am told is the same stuff. It is click-lock and tough. Several that I looked at in Home Depot had cores that were like pressed board and though the exterior was water resistant, the core was not (read fine print). Another consideration is the thickness. This is 4.5mm thick with a 22mil wear layer. The parent product is called Moduleo made by IVC. The specific line I purchased was sold as Invincible Aspen Plank from their embellish modules line Castle Oak:
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Old 05-11-2016, 10:37 AM   #6
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Just installed Shaw Forte LVT. Love it so far.Click image for larger version

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Old 05-11-2016, 12:05 PM   #7
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My Daughter had Vinyl Click planks installed in her bathroom. Looks good and has tight joints. This is certainly better than laminate and I found bamboo and other engineered Hardwood to be extremely heavy... over 500 lbs for a 25 foot trailer. The vinyl does not require expansion room around the edges (at least I don't think so) and probably could be put down without 1/4 round or shoe mold if carefully installed. I would be considering this for eventual replacement of the laminate in my trailer.
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Old 05-11-2016, 05:48 PM   #8
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I went with the "Luxury" vinyl tile in "wood" planks from Homey D, and I've been pretty happy with it. The "click together" part is optimistic at best, but other than a few open joints, it still looks good.

If I were a perfectionist, I'd take up the open joints and fix it.

But I'm not.
"Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?" - E.C. Bentley, Trent's Last Case
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:19 PM   #9
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Used thick Armstrong vinyl click planks but even though the joints were very tight and looked great, over the winter they would separate and most of them you could not get put back together unless you took up the floor and put them back together. The following winter I superglued the joints which helped, but again some joints separated due to cold. Overall was disappointed and would not recommend if temps fall below 45... unless there's a product out there rated for such.
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Old 07-04-2016, 04:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by sheriff1 View Post
Just installed Shaw Forte LVT. Love it so far.Attachment 262319

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Really looks nice. Just curious if you used moulding and how did you trim around the sink peninsula?

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Old 07-04-2016, 05:26 PM   #11
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Vinyl vs Laminate vs Engineered Wood?

Originally Posted by Hans627 View Post
Really looks nice. Just curious if you used moulding and how did you trim around the sink peninsula?


Pulled all cabinets except the floor to ceiling ones. That left mostly straight lines. In a few areas I used a similar color calking, others just reinstalled the factory grey plastic trim. The cabinets don't attach to the floor from the factory, just to the walls and each other. So far we love it!
Of course that led to new counter tops...

2015 F350 CC 4X4 6.7 Diesel
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