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Five ways to save when installing a new floor

Consumer Reports News: June 01, 2012 05:08 PM

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When Consumer Reports tests flooring it mimics the comings and goings of a busy household with repeated passes under an abrasion machine. We do this with solid wood, engineered wood, linoleum, vinyl, plastic laminate and ceramic tile. The best in every category were also the best overall in our simulated foot-traffic tests. If you're making an investment in new flooring, buy one that lasts. Here are five other ways to get your money's worth.

Save on retailers' mistakes. Discounters such as iFloor ( and Lumber Liquidators ( buy directly from manufacturers and sometimes offer deals on overstocked flooring.

Turn damaged goods into an asset. You can often save on opened or damaged boxes and flooring with minor flaws.

Don't overbuy. Determine the room's square footage by multiplying length by width. Then keep to 10 percent the extra you buy to account for the unexpected.

See it in person. Paying for samples costs far less than buying flooring that looks great in a catalog or online—and miserable once it's installed in your kitchen.

Prep it yourself. Even if you hire a pro, you can save hundreds by tearing off old flooring, leveling the subfloor, and removing any baseboard that's in the way.

For more on flooring, consult our buying advice and new flooring Ratings and recommendations.

Ed Perratore

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