Category Archives: laminate wood floor

Laminate vs. Luxury Vinyl: Which floor is right for your home?

laminate vs vinyl flooringOur “aha!” moment came when we got fed up with the last food stain on the off-white carpet under our dining room table. While we’re sure that the carpeting worked great for the last homeowner, it wasn’t working for us. We were tired of carpet cleaning, sick of worrying about spills, and just done. That spring, the decision to remove the carpet was made, and a new decision presented itself: what was the best flooring option for our space? We knew right away that real hardwood flooring was not the right flooring for our space, because we didn’t want to worry about water or maintenance.

At Y’s Way, we see other homeowners who have to make that decision every day. They want the look of wood without being concerned about water or upkeep. The answer: laminate or luxury vinyl flooring. So what’s the difference between these two types of flooring? And what’s the right floor for your home: laminate or luxury vinyl flooring?

Laminate Flooring Pros

Price. Laminate flooring prices can’t be beat in price per square foot. Have a large amount of square footage that needs flooring? Laminate is beyond affordable, even for the largest spaces.

Durability. Whatever you throw at laminate floors, they can take: high foot traffic, pets, absolute craziness. These floors are built to last in even the most high-traffic areas of your home (even in commercial applications!).

DIY Installation. If you want or need to install laminate flooring, you can. Laminate flooring can easily be installed with the right equipment and a short tutorial. Because laminate flooring is a floating floor, no glue or adhesives are needed.

Easy to clean. With regular sweeping and felt pads on all your furniture, laminate flooring is easy to clean and maintain. Laminate flooring does not require any upkeep or maintenance.

Laminate Flooring Cons

Water can warp your laminate flooring. Water can be your laminate floor’s worst enemy; if water sits on the floor for an extended period of time, the spill can warp the floor. To minimize the risk, use rugs in any entryways and high-risk areas.

Scratches. Even with the strength of laminate floors, they can get scratched. To prevent scratches, add felt pads to the bottom of all your furniture and keep gravel, small stones, and sharp objects cleaned up.

Luxury Vinyl Flooring Pros

wood and vinyl floor

Can you tell which sample is vinyl?

Indestructible. Luxury vinyl flooring is durable and tough, making it ideal for homes with pets and kids. Because it’s so tough, luxury vinyl floors can be installed in high traffic rooms such as living rooms, family rooms, kitchens, mud rooms, foyers…the sky is the limit with vinyl floors.

Affordable. Luxury vinyl flooring is one of the most affordable flooring products in the market, especially when compare to real wood floors. Make sure you do your research when selecting the vinyl product right for your home; there are many different levels of vinyl flooring, or ask the experts.

DIY Installation option. Many luxury vinyl plank products snap together, making it suitable for DIYers who want new, durable flooring they can install themselves. Luxury vinyl flooring can also be glued or installed with grout.

Easy to clean. Have a spill or pet puddle? Wipe up your luxury vinyl flooring with a rag, and mop your messes away. These floors require literally no maintenance. As a bonus, luxury vinyl flooring can handle any kind of water spills, and has even been known to withstand some minor flooding.

Works in a basement. Because luxury vinyl flooring can handle water, such as the water seeping through your basement concrete and humidity, luxury vinyl flooring can be installed in the basement (perfect option for a man cave!).

Luxury Vinyl Flooring Cons

Price (compared to laminate wood floors). Luxury vinyl flooring is more expensive than laminate flooring.

Scratches. Just as with laminate, there is a small chance that luxury vinyl flooring may scratch.

If you have any questions about vinyl and wood floors, ask us via email or on Facebook. Or experience the difference between wood and vinyl for yourself at any Y’s Way Flooring in Watertown, Oconomowoc and Lake Mills. The good news is that no matter what flooring you choose, wood or vinyl, your flooring is going to perform well, and look even better.

Are you (and your floors) ready for the spring mud?

After days of sub-zero temperatures and biting Wisconsin cold, we’re ready for spring. (For Wisconsinites that’s any time the temperature hits above freezing.) What we’re not ready for is the mud. The mud that our kids, dog, pets and guests track all over our carpets, laminate, vinyl, tile and wood floors. The muddy footprints and puddles that cause us to leap into action, just short of a panic attack, and scramble to find a towel to clean our very loved floors—or at least floors that we want to stay looking loved for a long, long time (even if we really don’t love that carpet, laminate, vinyl, tile or wood floor). So how do you stay ahead of the mud in your home?

  • For wood and laminate floors, clean up any mud as soon as you can with a towel, and keep your wood floor clear of any puddles that might damage your wood floors. If you need to use any liquid to clean up a particularly dirty spot, dry the floor as soon as you are done. Sweep up the pebbles and stones often to avoid scratches on your wood and laminate floors.
  • For carpet, test an area of the carpet with your carpet cleaner for color fastness first. If your carpet cleaner has tested safe, apply the carpet cleaner to the mud and blot gently with a soft cloth working from the outside in. Avoid scrubbing as that might damage the carpet. When done, apply a small amount of water to your cloth and blot again. When the mud is out and the carpet is drying, vacuum the area. Make sure your carpets are professionally carpet cleaned every 12-18 months to keep them looking their best. Check our Facebook page for carpet cleaning discounts.
  • For vinyl and tile floors, a wet cloth or mop works best. Make sure you get the dirt out of the grout so it doesn’t stain.

Have any questions? Stop in at a Y’s Way Flooring in Watertown, Lake Mills, or Oconomowoc and ask one of our experts how to get that mud out of your carpet, laminate, vinyl, tile or wood floor or contact us with your floor cleaning questions. You’ve waited for our Wisconsin spring for a long time—don’t let a little mud on your floor ruin your spring.

Feeling cold…inside? Warm up with radiant flooring.

20150108_104624We’re not going to lie to you, or try to tell you that our current Wisconsin wind chills aren’t FREEZING! But when your interior rooms feel as cold as the outside, it’s time for a change. In addition to the usual suspects to warm your home like replacing a furnace, drafty windows and doors, consider radiant floor heating. Why?

  1. It’s warm under your feet.
  2. It can be controlled by a thermostat to increase efficiency.
  3. It’s perfect for a small room that you can’t run ducts to, like a bathroom.
  4. Water spills dry extremely fast in a room with radiant floor heating.
  5. Did we mention it’s warm under your feet?  Because that needs to be mentioned twice!
  6. It can be installed in a new home build or retrofitted for an existing home.
  7. You don’t need hydronic heating to install radiant heating. (An electric mat works too.)
  8. You can lay almost any kind of flooring over the top—-but not every kind of flooring.

Have we sold you? If radiant floor heating sounds like an excellent choice for your home (or you just want to warm up from these freezing cold wind chills!), now move on to the next question. What kind of flooring can I install over radiant floor heating? Good question, and the good news is you have numerous flooring options that can be installed over radiant floor heating:

  1. Carpet. That soft and cozy flooring not cozy enough? When installing carpet over radiant heating, talk to the experts to make sure that you use the right pad and carpet.
  2. Laminate. Think beyond laminate wood flooring. Laminate flooring comes in a variety of styles, and can have the look of stone, tile or even concrete. Whatever the look, laminate flooring is a floating floor, meaning it can be installed over a radiant heating system.
  3. Tile—any kind! If you are laying a tile that can be cold to your toes, such as porcelain tile, radiant flooring is your answer. Tile conducts heat naturally, leaving you with an even heat that is easy-to-clean and mildew resistant. Tile is also one of the easiest floors to install over radiant flooring.
  4. Engineered hardwood. With the look of real wood and the floating floor properties of laminate, engineered hardwood is an ideal floor for homeowners that want wood floors and the warmth of radiant heating.

For specific products and recommendations, visit our flooring experts at any Y’s Way Flooring in Watertown, Lake Mills or Oconomowoc. We can tell you what flooring we’ve seen work at other Wisconsin homes, and give you tips so you don’t feel left out in the cold in your own home.

5 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Buy Flooring

It’s easy to fall in love with flooring. We understand, we’ve done it (yes, we’ll admit it!). However, when you have to have that particular kind of flooring, or look, without giving a second thought to how well that flooring fits your home and traffic patterns, you’re just setting yourself up for buyer’s remorse. So we’re here to help you avoid that love-at-first-sight-buyers-remorse flooring purchase. The first step is to ask 5 simple questions:

  • Is there a chance of a water spill (or many spills) in this room? An educated decision now can save you the headache of a warped floor later. Water can be your worst nightmare on laminate and wood floors, so a bit of planning now eliminates the hassle of replacement or repair. If you have a room where water may splash or form puddles, such as a bathroom, mudroom or kitchen, plan ahead. Consider vinyl plank flooring which has the look of wood, or any kind of tile floor which handles water like a pro. A room with the chance of a spill doesn’t mean you can’t get a wood floor—it just means being mindful of wiping up the water as soon as possible.
  • What kind of traffic does this room get? Is it a busy walk through? An area where your family plays, runs and tromps? Is it a room where your pet spends most of their time? Is the traffic that comes through full of mud, snow, sand and lord-knows-what-else? Use that knowledge to determine what kind of flooring would work in that particular area.
  • What kind of maintenance does this type of flooring need? You don’t want to purchase a floor, have it installed and then end up with damage because you don’t care or clean it properly. Find out what kind of cleaning and maintenance the floor needs, what products you need to purchase to keep it in great shape—and realistically how much of that maintenance you can take on.
  • What is my budget? If you have a small area that needs carpeting—a small office, hallway or bedroom—consider purchasing a carpet remnant. Because there is a limited supply, a carpet remnant is discounted. Know the square footage of the room you need flooring for and the price you can afford per square foot. Factor that into your purchase decision.
  • What is under the flooring? Are you installing radiant floor heating under the flooring? Read our post about what kinds of flooring work over radiant floor heating. Are you installing this flooring over a concrete slab, like in a basement? Here’s information on what floors work in basements. Sometimes knowing what is under the floor is just as important as knowing what is going to be on top of it. Make sure you mention what’s under your floor to your sales professional when you get to step two of your flooring purchase.

The second step is to ask the professionals. Stop in at Y’s Way Flooring in Watertown, Oconomowoc, or Lake Mills and ask them the hard questions: what would you recommend? What have you seen work in local homes? What is the price? What is the cost of installation? Once you’re confident you have the ideal flooring that looks good and works in your home, ask for a quote and schedule installation. The last step is to enjoy your flooring, free of buyer’s remorse, and know you made a great flooring purchase decision that works and looks great.

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

wood floorsIt’s time to set realistic New Year’s resolutions that you can (actually) stick to.  While everyone else is making plans for their new workout schedule or starting their diet, you’re looking for New Year’s resolutions that you can fulfill. Look around you. What better resolution to make than to improve the functionality or aesthetics of your home? Resolutions like:

  1. I will get my taxes done. The sooner you get your taxes done, the sooner you can get that tax rebate to get your carpets cleaned or replace the flooring in your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom…
  2. I will get my carpets cleaned. Even if you have a stain that you are sure can’t be cleaned, give it a try. Call the professionals and watch them get those carpets looking like new again—saving you the cost of new carpets and removing allergens from your carpets.
  3. I will not worry about water damage. Are you terrified of water hitting and damaging your wood floors? Replace those wood floors with vinyl plank flooring, which looks like wood but can withstand any water that spills.
  4. I will get new window coverings so my toddler sleeps in. Desperate for a good night’s sleep without your early morning toddler wake-up call? Have custom blinds installed in your toddler’s room that darken the room, look great and can give you the sleep you desire.
  5. I will house train my puppy. The sooner you finish house training, the sooner you can have those carpets cleaned or replaced and those stains gone forever.
  6. I will stop ignoring that nasty hallway. If the carpeting in your hallway is stained, or the wood flooring is buckling, look into a remnant.  Remnants are carpet that is left over and bargain priced. And while you can only buy what’s left on the remnant, it’s enough to replace the carpeting in your hallway, office or spare bedroom for a low price.
  7. I will finish my basement. Give your family another space for fun as a cold, wet Wisconsin winter sets in. Use our blog post to decide what kind of flooring works in your new basement space, and get the ball rolling on your new space.
  8. I will get my mudroom organized, and ready for nasty Wisconsin weather. Give your mudroom a face lift. Install new flooring that can handle sand, mud and snow.
  9. I will update my kitchen. Updating your kitchen doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. Update your countertops, and install a new backsplash for a new look. Once you’ve decided on your new countertop surfaces, choose a backsplash that fits your taste—and your budget.
  10. I will give my wood floor a face lift. Making your wood floors look new doesn’t always mean purchasing new wood flooring. Find out if your wood floor can be refinished so it looks like new again.

Studies have shown that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually fulfill them. Don’t be like the 92%. Head over to Y’s Way Flooring today to start researching what floor works for your project, so you can get started—and get done—with your New Year’s resolution project.

The BEST Floor for Your Kitchen

What's the best floor for your kitchen?

What’s the best floor for your kitchen?

The kitchen is the heart of the home—and better be, if you want to eat. Even if microwave cooking is more your chef style, with today’s open home designs, your kitchen needs to look like the heart of your home.

Start with your flooring. Why? It covers a majority of the surface area, is a major part of your kitchen design and it’s important. Whether you have kids running through, dogs begging at your feet or a spouse sneaking late night snacks, you need a durable, beautiful floor that can withstand continual traffic, food spills and puddles. The good news: you have a lot of options that fit the criteria. The bad news: there are a lot of options.

Wood flooring

Pros: Beautiful, durable, easy-to-clean, long lasting. We’ve all seen century-old hardwood floors that held up through the ages. With a variety of finishes, wood flooring is stunning and easy to clean.

Cons: Water & scratching. If you’re a messy cook or dishwasher, think twice. Any sitting water on hardwood flooring can cause damage and staining. Have a high traffic home with kids or pets (or both)? Consider hand-scraped hardwood flooring, which hides the dings and scratches that come with busy households.


Pros: Beautiful, durable, easy-to-clean, loves radiant floor heating. Available in almost any color, tile is a beautiful option just begging for radiant floor heating. Easy to clean, tile flooring requires only a daily sweeping and an occasional mopping. You don’t have to worry about standing water with tile flooring, as most tile floors are mildew and water resistant.

Cons: Cold without radiant floor heating, hard to stand on, can be prone to dings. Many kinds of tile can take anything you throw at it—except your dishes. Because of the hardness of tile, any plates or cups dropped on the floor are prone to shattering. The hardness can also be hard to stand on for long periods of time, and tile can feel cold to the feet without radiant floor heating.


Pros: Tons of options, durable, easy-to-clean. The days of your grandmother’s boring laminate flooring is gone, replaced by laminate flooring in almost any color that can fool your visitors. While laminate flooring may look like wood, laminate flooring is tougher while still boasting the easy-to-clean quality of a wood floor.

Cons: Water & scratching. Homeowners with laminate floors have to be on the watch for water; any standing water can warp laminate floors. Laminate floors are tough but can scratch, leaving visible damage on the floors.


Pros: Indestructible, beautiful, tolerates water well. Vinyl floors can take standing water without any problem—even if you have a foot of flooding in your kitchen. Today’s vinyl floors have the look of stone, wood, any look you would want.

Cons: Scratching & glue. Vinyl floors can be scratched, leaving your floor with visible damage. Do your research when shopping for vinyl floors; there are many different quality levels of vinyl flooring. Vinyl floors also are glued down, making it a long-term flooring solution that is difficult to change frequently if you tire of your flooring.

So what’s the BEST floor for your kitchen? The answer is different for every home. Do your research, and talk to your local experts for flooring recommendations that have worked in local homes. If your kitchen has an exterior door, take that into account when selecting your flooring, or find a rug that won’t damage the floor.  Looking for the warm benefits of radiant floor heating? Tell your sales associate so they can show you flooring that works with radiant flooring. If you are still undecided about what is the best option for your family, visit your local flooring experts and talk to your friends and family.  Find out what flooring they would (or wouldn’t) recommend for one of the most important rooms in your home.

Why wood floors?

Start your wood floor research here, and enjoy the benefits of wood later!

Start your wood floor research here, and enjoy the benefits of wood later!

Hand-scraped. Engineered hardwood. Oak. Bamboo. Cherry. Dark. Light. There are so many beautiful wood flooring options that can enhance your décor, but there are reasons beyond looks that make wood floors an excellent option for any home. It may not be the start of school yet, but let’s put on our glasses and research our wood flooring facts and advantages:

  • Durability. Want long lasting? These floors can take it and make it for a long time. Some wood floors have even celebrated century birthdays. If you have kids and pets, hand-scraped floors can hide the wear and tear that come with an active household, and laminate wood floors are known for their durability. When solid wood floors or engineered hardwood do scratch or fade, they can be refinished and look like new—for a long, long time.
  • Easy to clean. Forget about pulling that heavy vacuum cleaner out. Don’t invest in a carpet cleaner. Wood floors are easy to clean and require few cleaning products. Beware of steam cleaning your wood floors, though, as there are some definite reasons to proceed with caution.
  • Ideal for allergy sufferers. Because they are easy to clean, it’s easy to clear the dust out of your home—a clear advantage for those allergic to dust and dust mites. Carpet can also work well for allergy sufferers, but they need a deep clean on a regular basis.
  • Eco-friendly. Bamboo and cork flooring, for example, are a renewable resource. Unlike other woods, cork is not harvested and the bark grows back in less than a decade. Bamboo is also considered a green product.
  • Warmth. Hardwood floors can not only bring a warm and cozy look to your home, but engineered hardwood and laminate can also be installed over radiant heating. Radiant heating is energy efficient and gives any room an even heat, along with other practical advantages.
  • Increase the value of your home. Because of all the advantages listed above, wood floors are highly sought after by buyers and can increase the value of your home.

Wood flooring is not invincible (watch out when humidity and water are involved!), but they are great option for any home. Choosing the option and price that’s right for your home and lifestyle takes a little homework, but the benefits (and look!) are well worth the research. And just like school, don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!