Rated 4 out of 5 by 1
Rated 4 out of 5
by Eric1245 Overcame initial hesitation
I went to the local showroom from Armstrong's website (Mercer Carpet One) . They had a hard time finding it because they are independent and renumbered / renamed all the products which is insane. I confirmed with Armstrong customer support that indeed the two products are the same, just different labels. BTW, I recommend getting estimates in writing as the price changed when I came back to finally order it. I paid about $2.15 / SF without tax or gas to pick up and bought vinyl double sided tape at big box for about $10. Note, not all adhesive will work--read container closely.
The actual color will never be as bright as Armstrong's website and depends on the type of light. The blue can be more grey-aqua. At first I was disappointed but actually, I think the slightly muted colors is an asset when matching room colors. Tile pattern I believe is 4' with each individual tile size is 4"x4", 4"x8" and 8"x8" respectively. NOTE: The pattern repeats itself every 4 feet and in general the prohibits cutting and piecing with a seam to optimize space. So although I only needed 6 x 5', I ordered the full 12x5' and will use it in another bathroom.
Be careful when installing it so as not to kink it (sharply fold greater than 90 degrees especially from two sides) as it could leave a mark on the topside. It's somewhat forgiving but it can tear when trying to maneuver around / under door jams. If you cut or tear it tape or glue will hide most of it and it won't be obvious if not too big. For loose-lay you probably don't need to cut a full 1/4" from the wall, I think 1/8" is probably more than enough. Definitely dry fit before installing with tape or glue. We'll see how well the tape works but so far so good as the edges are under quarter round. My wood sub-floor was prepped very smoothly.
I think this is a very good selection for a full bath as the feel is similar to smooth sandstone so it's grips well and apparently is highly water resistant (not all vinyl is). It's definitely softer (but and warmer with more grip than the old linoleum however, it's not as soft as I had initially expected. That's because Home Depot has their own Armstrong model (with comfort core) which is much softer than the cushion step and super durable.
I took a sanding block with some warn 80-grit to both samples and although it took the shine off the satin finish (which probably could be restored with wax/polish), it didn't mare the pattern or color--very impressive! HD has UGLY flooring and as long as you don't stand on it all day I think you'll be very happy with it. I gouged both the G3113 and HD CleanSweep Ultra with Standard and Phillips screwdrivers and both were susceptible to permanent marks. Light to moderate pressing was ok as long as the blade didn't pierce the top layer. I dropped screwdrivers from about 2' and if the bade hit square, it would gouge the vinyl and pierce the top layer to reveal the fiberglass backing and/or make a divot. So, I would not recommend for rough use. Although my medium dog doesn't visit the bathroom much I think it would be pet friendly. Small, gouges probably wouldn't be too noticeable but over time, they could add up. An ice cube did not take out the divots and a very hot object will mar the surface! Warming and cooling (say hair dryer and ice pack did reduce the size of small divots but not eliminate them. Definitely order a sample and abuse it and see a local dealer in person.
As for look; you can tell that it's sheet vinyl but it doesn't scream cheap. However, I'm sure Armstrong could make it look more realistic but they would try to charge you more too and this might compete with their vinyl tiles. I had the option of putting in porcelain tile ($0.75/sf less mud & backer board) but I wanted a softer and warmer feel so the higher price was extracted from my tight-fisted fingers. BTW, you must measure joist width, height, length and spacing to determine if tile or stone is appropriate.
My initial thought was to put in a heated floor because I haven't gotten around to insulating around the joists and it's drafty. I decided against a heated floor because of expense, and pain if it breaks with the very small chance it could also cause a fire. In the end, I didn't need a heated sub floor.
My recommendation for the following is based upon taking out the old linoleum. Apparently the toilet had over-flowed at least once if not multiple times and you could see marks on the plywood and smell it faintly. So, I recommend using silicone caulk around all the edges of the toilet bowl and under the quarter-round along the walls. I'm not sure if Silicone will discolor or waken the vinyl but since it's under the quarter-round I didn't worry about it. This saved me from having to Kilz and seal the sub-floor seams although I did put bleach on the old spot to remove the odor then puttied, and sanded it smooth to remove the old glue.
Overall I'm happy I got the Distant Valley Inspire and happy with the product (I have exacting and high standards). I just wish Armstrong would have a more aesthetically pleasing and realistic sheet vinyl that is more affordable and has a little cushion. My preference would have been a look of tiles about 3x6" with retro feel of 1950-60s (with rounded corners and brighter colors) or something along the line of hand-made/glazed tiles (which I could have ordered for $1.10/sf). Best wishes.
P.S. Holy Cow, I've spent a lot of time on this...maybe I should do product reviews professionally. What do you think?? A viable career for a recent vet?
February 5, 2014