Common myths in the renovation industry

Most of the time this space is an opportunity for me to uplift and share my joy with you on elements of design.

Today I am taking a detour from that path and focusing on sharing with you many of the myths (ok..lies) I hear every day in this industry. I am dumbfounded hearing what people have been told and I understand the frustration that causes when the outcome they expect doesn’t materialize. Here we go.

“You can install tile over vinyl.” Please don’t! Without the proper thickness or stability of an approved subfloor (either Ditra or 1 ¼” of Plywood) the floor has too much movement and sooner than later your grout or tile will crack. This is especially important with large tiles; the supporting underlayment MUST be firm enough to give the correct stability to tiles. Vinyl is cushioned and tile is not, it’s like trying to build a seven-tiered cake on a base of Jello.

Trackless Carpet. The only thing I have to say about this is – balderdash! There is no such thing! Some carpets have texture and secondary colours that may hide footprints better than others but no carpet is trackless. Even low pile firm commercial carpets will show footprints and vacuum marks. If you know footprints in carpet will bring you anxiety, go with a hard surface such as laminate or hardwood. Area rugs are always a stylish addition!

Scratch Proof Hardwood. This terminology makes me cringe, it is probably the biggest lie I hear from companies. No matter what they coat hardwood with or how many ways they layer, impregnate or bake on a finish it will NOT be exempt from scratches or denting. You may not always break through the tough finish but you will see depressions and marks in your floor. Clients often misunderstand the difference and are disappointed when their floors are marked up thanks to their Great Dane running through the home or their high heels leaving marks in the floor. Scratch resistant finishes are not scratch proof and will only prolong the inevitable – hardwood will scratch and dent…sorry about that.

Waterproof laminate. Yes, the surface of laminate is waterproof as is the backing, It is the core of the product that can get you into trouble. Most laminate cores are composed of sawdust, glue and resins – this is mixed into a gloopy concoction and compressed together with great force. The trouble comes when water slips in between the boards and reaches this core, the materials will absorb water and swell. When you see a water warranty on laminate it usually means surface water only, not moisture that can slip between the boards. Some cores are denser and more swell resistant than others but laminate cores are not waterproof.

This is buyer beware; find a retailer that tells you the truth and you will discover much more satisfaction in your renovation. If you are researching products on the Internet, opt for product approved or consumer based information. Yahoo discussion boards can be a good source of opinion but not necessarily information. Buy the best quality you can afford and the choices for better products will be something you look back on and say ‘I’m glad I did it!’

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at

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