Monday, April 25, 2016

Vinyl Flooring That Looks Like Wood (for the Basement)

So a couple weeks ago a reader on Instagram commented that I don't have any "close the door" rooms.  It made me laugh out loud -- I know those rooms too well. We've had them in the past but over the last few years they have dwindled. It's taken a long time to get to that point (we'll be in the house 12 years this week!) but there is still ONE room. 

We don't speak of this room. Only one man dares to enter and that's my husband. OK, I go in to grab clothes because that's where our laundry chute is. But that's it! It's always been a very scary place, especially for me because it was a MESS. 

This pit of despair is my husband's office in the basement. He can function in disorganized spaces (he's a creative type -- he plays, writes and teaches music) but the longer I'm on this Earth the less I can handle it. We were just talking the other day how we're both "right brained" but I need much more order than he does. 

My husband was a band director for 30 years and he recently retired from teaching. He's actually busier now than he was then, which is why the boxes and piles and items that filled his school office for those 30 years have been an unorganized mess in his basement office since he retired. He simply hasn't had the time to dedicate to going through everything. It makes me twitch a little, but I simply close the door

Well, a water leak a few weeks ago was a blessing in disguise. We were away for spring break for a few days and the day we got home I heard water running in our utility closet. I knew the sound well -- it has happened for 10 years now. Our humidifier in our HVAC system gets filled with lime and then the connections come apart and the water just sprays out…and then leaks to the basement. 

The damage was so much worse than usual because it had been going for days. Our new heating and cooling company replaced the old system and then installed a drip pan directly underneath -- we're praying this eliminates the water issues we've had over the years. Finally a company came up with a plan to help prevent it from happening again!

Because my husband's office is under this spot, it's had the brunt of the water for years now. It wasn't as big of a big deal before we finished the basement. It's happened since we finished it but since we usually catch it so fast we just put industrial dryers in there and it's done. This time we weren't so lucky. 

Bottom line -- we decided it was time to rip the carpet out of that room (it was soaked and the padding was a mess) and replace it. I've been researching the best options and found this stuff: 
Vinyl flooring that looks like wood, water resistant

It's vinyl flooring from Allure and it is water resistant. We had carpet installed throughout the basement years ago when we finished it and I quickly realized it was not the best idea. It's our kid zone (and also big family space) and the kids spill stuff all the time. Also, our animals have destroyed parts of it. Our old cat found a spot and if you know how that goes if you have kitties. 

It's just kind of gross already and as comfy as it is, we know the carpet needs to go. This stuff will go throughout the whole basement eventually, but for now we focused on this room. They have a ton of color options, but only four in the store that you can purchase. (I got ours from Home Depot.)

I prefer a slightly darker floor but when we go this home and saw it down there I knew this was a great pick -- it's not too dark and it's really a beautiful color. It truly looks like wood: 
Allure wood plank flooring

It has a some slight texture to it that I love too: 
Wood flooring for basements

We had to pick it out quickly and get moving because the contractors we use had offered to do it one day last week when they didn't have work. They offered us a crazy good deal. They had already taken out the drywall (where the water had leaked) and replaced that for us, so they threw this flooring in for a little more. I've never laid this stuff (I did install similar vinyl tiles in our mud room as a temporary fix years ago) so I wanted to have them do it so I could watch and see how it was done. 

It's a floating floor and there are sticky sections on the sides and underneath each board (see above -- the gray parts). You lay them down (it's a floating floor) and the sticky parts go together. The guys ran out of flooring (more on that in a bit) so I had to run and get another box and wanted to finish it myself: 
Wood lookalike for basements

I laid a few and thought, this will be quick! It was SO easy. You know how saying that always bites me in the butt though. It was easy to install -- ridiculously easy. But there was a little strip at the end that the quarter round wasn't going to cover, so I had to cut thin pieces to fill it: 
Vinyl flooring that looks like wood

I didn't have a good way to score such long pieces to fit in there so I sat and looked around at all of the scrap and got an idea. I used my favorite scissors (these are AWESOME and I use them all the time) and just cut strips from the sticky part: 
Installing vinyl flooring

There's a sticky part that faces up (the gray) and a sticky strip that faces down with the wood look on top. That's what I cut to make this work. 

I cannot tell you how thrilled we are with this room and the flooring!! It looks SO GOOD: 
Allure flooring review

It's so warm and clean and I just love it. I can't believe how much bigger the room looks now. Part of that is that we took all of the piles out too -- I have sorted and filled 14 boxes so far. They aren't huge boxes, but still…14 people. And I'm going to get two more today. When my husband's schedule dies down here soon we will sort through it all. For now my next project is to paint the walls and get the room set up again.

I was sure this room was around 9 by 9, maybe 10 by 10 at the most. It's not a big room -- at least I thought. When we actually measured we realized it's nearly 12 by 12 -- that shows you how much stuff was in here! I really should have taken a before picture but then I'm sure you'd never talk to me again. ;) 

It's going to be such a great, organized space for my husband when we're done with it. We're both so excited to be able to leave the door open to this room now. Ha!: 
Allure vinyl flooring
Here's some quick things to consider if you are looking into this floor: 

1. It is VERY easy to install -- there is no underlayment needed and very little tools (you score it and snap it or use a saw but it will wear down your blade quick). 
2. It is a floating floor and it does have that laminate sound when you walk on it (the hollow sound). Not a big deal to me as we don't even wear shoes in the house much and really, this is the best option for a basement that has possible water issues. 
3. The price was around $40 for a box and it covers 25 square feet. 
4. My only complaint is there is some waste that can't be used -- you have to place the sticky parts together in such a way that when you get to the end and have to cut a piece, you'll have a decent amount left that looks like it's usable, but it's not. You cut off the end with the sticky part to use and the rest won't work. So you will need more than the square footage of your room. 
5. When I read up on this Allure stuff a couple years ago (soon after we realized the carpet wasn't going to work) many of the reviews complained of a heavy plastic odor from it. I have haven't noticed anything like that. You'd think it would be even worse in a basement with no windows but I don't smell it at all. 
6. My main concern was that it would be cold underfoot, like tile is over concrete. It's obviously not as warm as the carpet but I'm pleasantly surprised with it. It's not freezing cold by any means. 
7. As with any flooring, it does need to acclimate in the space where you are installing it for at least 24 hours before you put it in.

I hope this helps if you are considering something similar! Because it's water resistant this is also a great option for bathrooms (and would be warmer than tile). I plan to do the rest of the basement myself -- that's the plan now anyway. It's going to take me awhile but it's so easy to do, I kind of hate to pay for it. Have you installed this flooring? If you have any questions, please let me know!

Affiliate link included for your convenience! 


  1. I am considering this flooring for my house. I live in a tiny 1200 sq ft ranch, and so I wanted the same flooring though out to make it flow and feel bigger. We definitely live in a starter home neighborhood, so real wood seems too much for this price range. Laminate seemed tricky to do in every room because of the water issue in the bathrooms and laundry room. Would you think this would be okay for the whole house, or is it better for more "leisure spaces"?

  2. Have you ever thought about putting in a water alarm? They're super cheap and will tell you when your new drip pan has water in it. I use them in my attic because my water pipes are up there and I'm always scared they're going to spring a leak (I live in a wonky old house). I think you can get them at places like walmart. Good luck with the new system!

    1. I was going to suggest this too! My dad & stepmom got some for their patio, which is on a steep hill and kept flooding their living room in the torrential rains we had last year here in Texas. They really work, plus they got cute little froggy ones. :)

    2. I had one in my last house under my reverse osmosis system in the kitchen. It saved me from a big mess when it sprung a leak. Definitely worth the money!

  3. I put a similar vinyl plank flooring in my flood-prone basement (just the "kitchen" and bathroom) as an inexpensive way to cover up the horrible white and hunter green sheet vinyl. Mine was probably less expensive than yours - the planks stick straight to the floor. Because it doesn't float, there's no noise, but the planks do separate a bit as seasons change. I'm tempted to fill them with a fine brush and dark paint. Other pros, they are super easy to install, I can replace damaged planks (presumably), and it has already survived another small water incident. Cons, mine at least is a bit soft and I have to be careful not to dent or scrape it, but that's similar to a pine floor. Years later I'm still thrilled with the decision. It was the best solution for the space.

  4. We used this exact flooring in our main bathroom almost five years ago. We love it and plan to use it in our basement someday. It has worn well and is easy to clean. You can't beat it for the price!

  5. That looks great! I actually just did this a couple of weeks ago in our guest bathroom and am so happy with how it turned out.

  6. We used this for in 2 bathrooms in our previous home and loved it. The color we used for the powder room is now discontinued, but we got so many complements on it when our house was on the market.

  7. I used this in my son's bedroom. He has a door to the deck, which means there's lots of traffic. He and I installed it in a day, he was 9 at the time. We love it! No click-clack sound when you walk on it, it's warm in the winter, and easy to clean. I used double sided carpet tape on the spots that required a small piece along the edge.

  8. This product looks GREAT! I'm wondering how well it would hold up to 4 kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats! I need to replace a carpeted room and this looks like a great alternative!

  9. I used this in two small bathrooms and an entryway in my house. It was so easy to install and despite my brother-in-law's doomsday warnings has worked well in high-traffic/high-moisture areas. :)

  10. Your floor looks pretty. I used similar planks made by the same manufacture and had problems with the sliding apart. I wished I had read the reviews on it. I had a contractor put them in over a new subfloor he installed. The company did give us new ones to have reinstalled for free and the contractor took the planks up and put the newer ones back in. So far the newer ones are not sliding apart. Hope you do not have the same problem.

  11. We put the traffic master vinyl plank in saw cut Dakota in my husbands office and in our boys bedroom. I love it! I put a sample through some major testing before we installed it to see if it would hold up to 3 little boys. I ran over it with a truck, hit it with a hammer, ran it across sandpaper, etc. and it held up to all of it. I love how it looks and hope to change out the whole second story. Everyone always asks about it an says how much they think it looks like wood.

  12. We have this in our 2 bathrooms and the Allure "Plus" in our kitchen and laundry room. Super easy to install but we did have a kitchen flood and had to tear it out and redo it because water got under it and since its "floating" it was trapped between the 2 floors. It was a nightmare but it was our fault :-(. We do have some scratches after about 6 mnths from our kitchen chairs(even though we use the felt pads on the bottom) but its minimal. Overall we are happy with it. Oh and we had to cut skinny pieces near the wall too, lol. Not fun!

  13. We are in the process of laying something similar down in our kitchen. I think it is Allen Roth brand? We really like it! It has the padding attached to the bottom of it and we had installed it in our bathroom a few months ago and LOVE it. My sister bought some when we got ours and we will be installing it in her house, too!

  14. We used the Trafficmaster Allure click flooring in honey maple- it's one step up in quality; they claim it's waterPROOF! And it has a lifetime residential warranty. We are using it in our living room and I love the way it looks. I wanted something that was extremely durable, waterproof, and easy to clean. I am past 50 and I want to live in this house until I'm ready for the nursing home or the looney bin, whichever comes first. So I have to be able to clean it easily. So far, we think it's a winner!

  15. what color of vinyl tiles did you buy for this project?

  16. My mom put this down. She recommended buying a few boxes of their sticky strips just for that reason! Really, just the piece that sticks them together!

  17. My mom put this down. She recommended buying a few boxes of their sticky strips just for that reason! Really, just the piece that sticks them together!

  18. The product looks great! We always shut off the water to our house before leaving on vacation. My husband owns a property management company and that is his #1 tip for homeowners. If it's summer and the garden needs to be watered he will turn off all the sinks and toilets by hand (although the water source in a fridge can still leak then).

  19. The product looks great! We always shut off the water to our house before leaving on vacation. My husband owns a property management company and that is his #1 tip for homeowners. If it's summer and the garden needs to be watered he will turn off all the sinks and toilets by hand (although the water source in a fridge can still leak then).

  20. I used allure Traffic Master flooring in my old house and loved it! I did it there about 2 years ago and used one that looked like stone. Everyone thought it was until much closer look! Great flooring!

  21. We installed the Allure a year ago in our upstairs bathroom and we love it! Very easy to lay down and it looks really good, so happy with it! I wish I had put it in the kitchen instead of laminate, so much easier to take care of and I wouldn't have to worry as much with the fear of it getting dirty like I do with the laminate.

  22. Don't get in to the same bind I did. I installed Pergo in my kitchen years ago with the plans to install it in the adjoining family room when the budget allowed. A couple years later I went back to the store and purchased the Pergo in the same color and had massive amounts shipped to our house. Guess what? In the couple years that had gone they changed their interlock system and I couldn't match up the two seamlessly. I would have to put a transition strip between the two. (I was particularly concerned about that because as the time my elderly mother-in-law would shuffle between the rooms and it seemed a real trip hazard.) If you can budget it I would highly recommend buying the product now for the entire space even if you don't install it right away. In the end we ended up ripping out the kitchen store and starting over. Love your blog - fun ideas and great tips.

  23. I have this flooring, in a different color, throughout the majority of my home. Everyone thinks it's real wood (even the real estate appraiser!) I installed it all by myself. It's in my living room, dining room, master bedroom, en suite master bath, and kitchen with a slate look vinyl tile as an accent. I live in an upper level condo. This flooring is quiet and makes the neighbor below me happy. It's pet proof, nearly scratch proof, and absolutely perfect. I've recommended it to friends who are equally satisfied.

  24. I have this flooring in three rooms of my house and LOVE it (2 baths and laundry). Comments: 1) The slate look that was in stock looks great down; 2) If you have time to order some styles are slight "upgrades" and are even nicer quality - very worth it; 3) the strip in front of our shower has started to separate slightly even though we are very careful with water spills; 4) darker colors go down much nicer than lighter tile looking styles - seams barely show.

  25. I had Allure installed in one bathroom 5 years ago when we did a complete renovation on it. (I initially learned about Allure on a post Layla @ The Lettered Cottage did.) I absolutely love it but then I've always loved vinyl, even when vinyl wasn't considered "cool." It's budget-friendly, durable, soft to walk on and so easy to care for, which makes it great for homes with children and pets.

    In the meantime, since my Allure was installed, TrafficMaster has come out with a waterPROOF version of the Allure called "Ultra." Instead of using the adhesive strips, it snaps together like laminate flooring. It's a bit more expensive than the regular Allure but when my budget allows, I plan to have all the awful, super water-sensitive laminate in the other parts of my house replaced with the Allure Ultra so I can run the steam mop over it without worrying about the steam loosening the adhesive strips the Allure uses.

  26. Thank you for your thorough review. We are remodeling our kitchen and were planning on using this.

  27. We used this same flooring when we remodeled our second floor. I still love it and it is easy to clean. We have 2 dogs and 2 cats - our children are grown and gone.

  28. Wow, what a truly stunning transformation!! You are so talented! I love how the same palette just flows from room to room. The space looks large and bright. Now are you going to have to move to another home and start over for the sake of continuing the blog? ;)

  29. We've used the Allure in our entry way and master bath. While we do like it, we hate the sticky stuff! For our basement, we found that Lumber Liquidators (as well as a few other places like Home Depot and Lowes) sell the same product but with an actual click & lock instead of the sticky. It looks fabulous and it's been perfect for our basement!

  30. What color did you use? My sister used this recently in the downstairs of their beach house. They used the gray color. It looks great. Thinking of using it in my house.


I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!