Because of my nearly-new job, I needed home-office space in a hurry and without spending a lot. A few weeks ago I spotted some stick-down vinyl planks at my local Lowe’s store, sold under the Style Selections brand and priced at 98 or 99 cents per square foot, so I picked some up.
For the money, I think they’re very good.
The nice thing about planks, as opposed to tiles, is that you can get away with an occasional gap in them. I have real wood floors in several rooms, and believe me, those 50-year-old floors have an occasional gap too.
I bought a box of roughcut oak and two boxes of golden oak. Mixing them up helped break up the repetition. Roughcut pieces look a bit faded and worn next to the goldens, but on my real floors, I have the same thing going on. Not every board took the stain uniformly, and after three families grew up in this house, some boards took more abuse than others.
One thing I wish I’d done is open up all of the boxes and sort the planks. Each box was prone to repeat one pattern that had a knothole in a particularly obvious place, and if I’d sorted those particular planks out, it would have made mixing them up throughout the room much easier.
The golden oak boxes were heavier on the grains and lighter on the knots, making them less prone to obvious repeats.
For some reason I couldn’t source a floor roller locally, but I got one from Amazon. It cost as much as a box of planks, but I’ll use it again.
One thing I don’t regret doing is buying a quart of Armstrong vinyl adhesive. I spread a thin layer with a 3″ paintbrush, then when a line of it was dry enough to be tacky, I’d stick a row of planks down on it. My experience is still fairly limited, but the biggest problem I’ve seen with off-brand vinyl is the adhesive. The surface holds up fine, but the tiles shift around more than they should, or worse yet, come up at the corners. I had Armstrong tiles in my entryway that were installed in the late 1970s–based on the bits of newspaper I found on their undersides– and they only started to fail a year ago.
I’m not sure these planks will last 35 years, but they’ll do for now, and the price was right.
Oh–and using the adhesive, I was able to lay 15-20 square feet per hour.
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