I've had a couple requests for information about our floors so here it goes. I'll start out by saying that I adore hard wood flooring. I would have it throughout my whole house if I could. I love the look, and while it's not as cozy to the feet as carpet, it's much easier to clean. I'm certainly grateful it's not carpet every time my four-year-old and two-year-old spill juice, popsicles, etc on the floor.
Initially I was a bit of a wood snob and wasn't interested in anything but solid, high-end wood floors. I wanted the real deal. I was used to seeing earlier versions of laminate that looked cheap and fake, and I wasn't a fan. However, I have a sister living in Washington who got new floors prior to us, and they ended up choosing laminate flooring. She loves her floors and convinced me to at least check out laminate. I'm glad I did.
We debated a lot on what to get, but ultimately decided on laminate floors because of their durability, ease of installation, and most of all price. We looked multiple times at several stores including Lumber Liquidators. Hands down, they had the best quality/options for the price. We bought our flooring on sale for $1.99/sq ft. I was initially very skeptical about the floors, but I love how they turned out. Can I tell it isn't wood? Yes, but you have to look close. If price weren't a consideration, I probably would have chosen wood but for our starter home the laminate is perfect.
Here is the exact flooring that we installed.
The hubby and I installed it ourselves. It was pretty straight forward and relatively easy. It took longer that we were hoping, but we also have two youngsters that we had to tend to while trying to work. It's a floating floor so the boards don't get glued or nailed down. The boards click/snap together and they come with their own pad attached to the back so there's no need to purchase separate padding.
The photo below shows how the boards fit together with the padding attached to the bottom.
We only used a few tools, but we did end up buying a jig saw to help cut out areas around the kitchen island and openings for the heating vents. We already had a miter saw which was very useful for making cross cuts.
These pictures show the transition pieces that we used in the bathroom/bedroom doorways, around the base of the banister, and on the end/nose of the top step.