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Hardwood floor

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Joined: May 22 2004

Hi all,
we're thinking of replacing the carpeting in our future Eichler with hardwood floor. The current trend seems to be bamboo, but we can't seem to find a color that we like. The natural bamboo is too light and the carbonized bamboo we've seen comes in the right darkness, but the color is fairly "cold", i.e. greenish, while we're looking at something warmer (i.e. more yellowish I guess).

An example of something we'd like (for the general color) is in Jerry's "Eichler Homes" book pp114&117.

I'd also like to get any feedback on happy or unhappy hardwood floor experience with respect to:
- discoloration
- compatibility with radiant heating
- shape & visual texture of the flooring vs. Eichler modern style
- brands, resellers (web sites?), installation types...

I have read through most related thread on the forum, but couldn't quite find what I wanted.

Laurent

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Joined: Nov 21 2003

Unfortunatly I don't know about the radient heating properties as when I moved into my Eichler it was a thing of the past, but I did replace all carpet and the 12" Italian tile with pergo and cork. If we could do it over again we would have included more cork. Natural hypoallergenic(spelling?), cushions and just feels good. I am sure that it dosen't conduct the heat transfer as well as some of that hardwoods, but it also dosen't get as cold as the wood can get as well. Cork also comes in a variery of color patterns as well. I have some pictures as well if you are interested in looking.Good luck with your decision.
chrishansel0@yahoo.com

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Chris,

I'm interested in your experience with cork. What shade did you go with and did you have the bleaching/uneveness that some people have commented on? Also, did you research and install it yourself, or did you have the particular cork manufacturer and installer recommended?

I think a lot of people would go for the cork if it's practicality was more certain. Your insights and recommendations would be valuable.

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Nov 21 2003

We have had some bleaching, no unevenness and have been so happy as to the overall performance of the cork. We purchased it on-line and it is a floating floor, and I installed it. E-mail me for pictures, before during and after.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Sue Olsen has a lot of experience with cork flooring -- as well as bamboo. Bamboo can be seen in her new Menlo Park showroom. I love cork, but we decided against it, due to the fading problem and the fact that once faded, you cannot refinish it.

Cathye

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Joined: May 20 2004

How does bamboo hold up? We've got 3 dogs and 2 kids...so I was planning to replace the cracked vinyl tiles in our place with ceramic tile.
I'd decided against hardwood due to advice about it and radiant.
Sally (sallyha at pacbell dot net)

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Joined: Apr 8 2004

We've just bought an Eichler in Castro Valley, and are considering bamboo/wood flooring. Is "Sue Olsen" the name of a flooring company in Menlo Park? If anybody in the East Bay has had experience with local installers and/or suppliers, I'd much appreciate any information you can pass along. (Please send recommendations directly by e-mail to btsoapATsbcglobalDOTnet) The radiant heat is working, the house has carpet in the living and bedrooms, tile in the kitchen/multipurpose. We'll probably keep a mix similar to that, replacing the carpet with bamboo or wood.

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Sue Olsen is the name of a kitchen designer. She used to have an showroom in Sunnyvale--not sure if she's still at the same location. She can order various materials needed for kitchen renovation (including flooring like cork, etc.) She's a designer by trade so the actual installation work is subcontracted out.

Since flooring is your focus, looking at retail outlets and sales consultants who specialize in flooring is probably a good idea. Not always, but sometimes dealing with flooring-only shops also gets you a lower price because of the volumes they deal in. Expect to a bit of research yourself re: flooring types that work with concrete/radiant heat. A know a number of people on this board have installed cork, bamboo, and hardwood. Bamboo has the advantage of being a "green" (sustainable resource) vs. the hardwood. I think Cathye also wrote on flooring in one of the 2003 Newsletter editions.

I word of caution about hardwood on a functioning radiant heat system--be sure to have the system checked for leaks before installing and be sure to order extra for eventual repairs.

Cheers.
Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Apr 8 2004

Thanks for the clarification on Sue Olsen, and the tips on the floors.

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Joined: Jan 4 2004

I've run several projects in which bamboo, hardwood, laminates (i.e. pergo), has been installed over radiant heat. The myth about it impacting the effectiveness of the heating system so far has been all speculation (we have heard no adverse reports of the effects on the heating system, and I've been involved with 7 such projects, and have remained in contact with all the owners). One thing to note, though, some flooring product manufacturers will not warranty the product if it is applied over a radiant heat sytem (hydronic or otherwise). Flaoting floors are probably better than gluing to the slab, because it is better to have a moisture barrier present, but certain types of adhesive will also function as a membrane.
The problem with cork that we are running into on the X-100 project is that there are very few adhesives on the market that will bond when subect to the temperature range created by radiant heat. I will post a product when we find it (we are currently researching now).
Last thing, I strongly suggest (as Jake mentioned) that a pressure test be conducted on the radiant heat system. I've heard horror stories from owners that Have skipped this step. Bamboo is very durable (like any type of hardwood flooring, and special clear coating containing aluminum oxide can be applied by some maunfacturers for more protection. Happy hunting

renman

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Joined: Apr 8 2004

Hi Renman,
Thanks for the post. Here is the situation on my house: (If you'd rather take this offline I'd be happy to e-mail you)
I had the radiant system inspected and the seller repaired two leaks, it now passes pressure testing (Franz Rogman's company provided excellent service).
In the multipurpose room, the tiled floor (not original as far as I can tell, but the pattern looks like it's from the late '60s/70s) has long cracks--some extending nearly across the room. The entry and kitchen areas also have cracks. The areas I plan to put bamboo are carpeted, so no surface problems show. I assume this means that the slab has shifted/settled.
Should I be worried about putting new wood or tile in this house?
Would the floor prep make a difference in the likelihood of future cracking?
What are the key questions I should ask a flooring contractor?
What are some red flags to identify a contractor whom I shouldn't use?
I understand this is a lot to ask, if you can point me to a previous post or some other source, that would also be appreciated.
Thanks,
btsoap

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