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Save the magic carpet ride for later, and invest in floating floors

March, 2010

Floating wooden flooring has become the answer to everyone’s decorating do-over. How did this come about?

The product took off with condo development, where a floor was needed that could be laid over cement and still be viable with our huge climate variations, humidity, electrical heating and air conditioning factored in. For these solutions, some need no glue and others can be snapped together like Lego.

There are different kinds: wood-laminated floating floors (photos of wood), wood-engineered floating floors (for condos and basements) and real wood planks. Even good old wooden strips have been upgraded in that the wood is pre-finished and no longer needs to be sanded and varnished after being installed.

Remember when you used to have to move out for days?

Floating fibre flooring is another option that could have on its surface a digital photo of anything (instead of a photo of wood). Your floor could look like metal, cork, or have wild, colorful ’70s designs. The finish withstands wear and tear. It needs no glue to install, so it’s great for apartments and it’s waterproof for kitchens and basements. Fibreglass gives it its stability.

The price of wood floors is affected by the quality:

• Kind of wood (maple, Brazilian redwood, etc.)

• Grade of wood (select, rustic, etc.)

• Thickness of top layer (could be one-quarter inch or half inch)

• Length of the pieces of the planked flooring (18-inch lengths are called shorts)

• What the core is made of (wood dust laminate or plywood)

• Whether it has it been dried properly for our climate; those made in other countries may not hold up.

If this is confusing, choose to shop at a family-owned business that has been operating for 30 to 60 years, where service is No. 1 (that’s what has kept them around all these years) and prices are always competitive. Feel free to ask questions, and you, too, will become part of the generations that shop here.

Tapis Lanctot

Don’t be put off by the store’s location – it’s only 15 minutes across the Mercier Bridge and the sheer volume (100,000 square feet) of merchandise is worth the ride.

The Lanctots have been around for 125 years selling floating and hardwood floors (look for the bargain bins starting at 89 cents), including condo solutions, ceramic tiles (starting at $1.25), about 500 area rugs, carpeting and vinyl flooring (lots of remnants too). They’re known for choice and service and their prices are low all year round. Other vendors are inside their building selling wallpaper, paint, bedding, blinds, furniture, kitchen cabinets, plumbing, windows and doors.

Tapis Lanctot, 148 Boyer, St. Isidore (Châteauguay) St. Regis. Hours: Regular plus Sunday 11am-5pm. Phone: 514-875-1954; 2025 Chambly Rd., Longueuil, 450-647-1571,

Million Tapis et Tuiles

This third-generation company has been selling flooring since 1937. An unbelievable 21 family members are working in the business, which offers wood floors, floating fibre floors (great for apartments), carpeting (in any width), rugs (width to 4 metres) and tiles. Grandpa Skoda Joseph started out working in the coal room of Congoleum and convinced them to sell him their seconds. He then installed Stephen Skoda at the tender age of 14 in a store on Bleury, without knowing English or French, Stephen managed to make a go of it. Besides making your selection from sample catalogues from every major mill in North America, there are ends of rolls and ends of lines. The prices are usually discounted.

They’ve been in business a long time, so there are many satisfied customers.

Million Tapis et Tuiles, 15 Bernard Ave. E. at St. Laurent Blvd. Phone: 514-273-9983. Monday and Tuesday 9 to 6, Wednesday to Friday 9 to 9, Saturday 9 to 5, Sunday noon to 5. Shop at home: 514-273-9983. Other locations: 175 de la Concorde E., Laval, 450-663-9870; 170 St. Jacques, Ville St. Pierre, 514-365-1652,

Normandy Carpets

For designer products, this boutique-like carpet showroom is known by word of mouth – and that’s a good sign.

For 40 years, this family-run business has been selling quality carpeting from major Canadian, American and European mills. They also carry wood floors, wood laminates, runners, area rugs and exclusive designer lines and can do custom bordering and create designer rugs.

Since they buy in volume for their commercial sales, they can meet and beat the prices of their competitors. Once you’ve entered, expect the friendly staff to give you an education on flooring.

Normandy Carpets, 950 St-Jean Blvd. at Brunswick Blvd., Pointe Claire. Phone: 514-426-7847. Hours: Mon. to Wed. 10am to 6pm, Thurs. & Fri., 10am to 8pm, Sat, 10am to 5pm, Sun, noon to 5pm (seasonal).



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