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What's the best flooring?

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Joined: Jun 28 2003

We just purchased an Eichler in Sunnyvale but haven't moved in yet. The house needs updating. They currently have carpets throughtout the house, even in the bathrooms, so we plan to do the entire floor.

What is the best type of hard surface flooring material for the radiant heat? We also would like to tile the atrium to make it appear more indoorsy, is that a good idea? Can tiled be laid right on top of the current concrete?

Joined: Mar 20 2003

There is a good discussion on this forum if you scrool down to "Ceramic Tile". You can lay tile on top of the existing concrete in your atrium. You will need to pay special attention to surface preparation of the concrete indoor and outdoor. If you decide on tile, you should decide on both your indoor and outdoor atrium tile so that they compliment each other.

Joined: Apr 13 2003

Large (bigger than 12x12) natural stones work with mid-century modern. There is an Eichler in Sunnyvale that was featured in This Old House magazine which showned a beautiful slate atrium. Also be aware of grout color and width. Its best not to choose a contrasting color or large width which will "read" as a pattern, which is antithetical to modernism. Additionally, ceramic tile (in my opinion) will just make the atrium look like a cheap shopping mall food court. There are many magazines and books devoted to modernism carried at large book stores, Builder's Booksource on 4th street in Berkeley, and ebay. Good luck!

Joined: Mar 20 2003

Here, here. Avoid ceramic tile in the atrium. Either keep the concrete slab (and you cold put seasonal sisal carpets on if it looks worn) or use natural stone, such as slate or sandstone.
As for indoors, correctly installed (moisture barrier) Pergo type flooring seems to work well with the radiant heating, and is less cosly than tile.

All the best,


Joined: Mar 20 2003

Real Linoleum would work very well, as would 1/4" cork, or any vinyl based tile.. None as well as stone or ceramic tile but still would be good.

Joined: Mar 22 2003

You are smart to do all of your floors at once - good move - especially for an Eichler, since the open floorplan just begs for one continuous flooring material throughout.

Some kind of tile or stone is best in terms of heat transferrence. You can also look at stained concrete, which is quite beautiful. Diamond D company advertises here and the owner, Dave, is very responsive and does amazing work. They are located in Capitola, but work throughout the Bay Area, I believe.

Sue Olsen, a kitchen designer with a great deal of Eichler experience, happens to like cork. It is soft underfoot, and quite beautiful. It is also good acoustically, dampening the echo and sound you can get with stone. It comes in large tiles and is available in different colors and textures. With cork, the heat transferrence is slower than tile, but it will get just as warm -- it just takes longer. And once warm, it will stay warm longer. With any woody type material, like cork or hardwood, you will likely need a moisture barrier as well. From a design point of view, some believe that hardwood is not a good choice, due to the potential to conflict will all the other wood in the house (walls, ceiling, beams).


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