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The STILE House: Choosing Cost-Effective, Eco-Friendly and Durable Flooring

The STILE House: Choosing Cost-Effective, Eco-Friendly and Durable Flooring

Just like anyone else shopping for flooring, the WVU-UTV team had a variety of needs that the flooring needed to meet for the Solar Decathlon Competition. The hard part? There were more than 10 people weighing in on the final decision! Oh, and the home is being built in WVU, torn down, shipped to California and then re-built. Talk about a unique situation!

With everything in mind, the Bestlaminate team took a trip to WVU for their opening reception and to consult with the team on choosing cost-effective, Eco-friendly and durable flooring for their solar home.


Team Leaders Speaking at the Opening Reception

Here are the goals the flooring needed to accomplish:

  1. Durability: Durable enough to accommodate 30,000+ visitors that will tour the home and withstand being installed, un-installed and re-installed.
  2. Functionality: For occupants after the competition.
  3. Cost-effective: The homes are judged on appraisal values of the total home cost.
  4. Eco-friendly: The competition focus is on renewable energy innovations.
  5. DIY installation: The students will need to be able to install this floor themselves.
  6. Aesthetically Pleasing: Completing the Italian and Appalachian design along with creating a comfortable living space.

1. Durability

We don’t normally deal with situations in which the customer will be installing with the intent to un-install and re-install the laminate flooring. While it can be done, this makes the flooring decision a little more strategic.

Knowing that thousands of people will be touring their home, along with the installation challenges, we knew they needed a thick, durable laminate with at least an AC3 rating. After discussing the project with the interior designers, we chose a range of samples that hit their targeted look, as well as durability needs. We brought samples from 8mm to 12mm and floors that only had AC3 ratings and above.

In the end, the team was set on a 12mm, but decided against the AC4 style and went with an AC3 rated floor. As a heavy residential rating, the AC3 should stand up to their needs. Keep reading to find out which floor they chose!


WVU-UTV Team discussing flooring samples

2. Functionality

Aside from the competition judging, the home needed to have functional flooring, as the home can be sold or donated after the competition. To improve overall functionality of the home, the team decided to go with a moisture-proof vinyl for the bathroom. Although laminate can be installed in a bathroom, the vinyl will provide future occupants with a low-maintenance bathroom floor that will be completely moisture resistant.

3. Cost-Effective

Laminate and vinyl floors are one of the most versatile and cost-effective flooring options on the market, not to mention the money saved on a DIY installation. All of the flooring samples we showed the team retail for $2.75/sq. ft. or below, making it an affordable option. For the competition, Bestlaminate donated the flooring.

4. Eco-Friendly

The team chose a Quick-Step laminate product that is LEED certified, USA made and has a manufacturing process dedicated to recycling, reusing and renewing. The U.S. produced Quick-Step boards are made of 74% preconsumer recycled wood fibers and chips from sustainable sources. Also, these floors are rigorously tested for the CARB-2 Compliance and have passed the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) Certification Seal testing. Read more about Quick-Step’s sustainability here.

5. DIY Installation

The student team is installing this floor themselves, as well as potentially installing, un-installing and re-installing in California. With that said, the team needed a flooring solution that was easy to install and had the ability to be un-installed fairly easily.

With the easy click together locking system, laminate is a perfect choice for their needs. The vinyl flooring for the bathroom features a glue-less locking system and also has the ability to be installed and further un-installed for rebuilding. We will be following their installation progress in an upcoming blog post!

6. Aesthetically Pleasing

Merging the team’s cultures by creating a home with both Roman and Appalachian design elements has been a key to the home development. The team was looking for a floor that was a light maple or oak to coordinate with the modern feel of the interior design. The laminate samples that were compared included Kronoswiss Prestige Maple, Quick-Step Dominion Sesame Maple, Quick-Step Reclaime Veranda Oak and Quick-Step Reclaime Malted Tawny Oak.

The team was instantly drawn to the Reclaime collection due to the real-wood look and 12 mm thickness. These boards were sturdy and have a rustic, yet modern natural appearance. The planks feature all-natural textures with grooves and knots along with varying hues that compliment the overall interior. The team was in a great debate over the Veranda and Malted Tawny, with Veranda being an AC4 and Malted Tawny being an AC3 rating.


Assessing the flooring samples


The great flooring debate!

And the winner is: Reclaime Malted Tawny! They chose Appalachian Luxury Vinyl Linen for the bathroom. We can’t wait to see what it looks like installed.


The Winner: Malted Tawny Oak!

Read more about the STILE House Project:

About Alana Kane

Alana Kane
Alana is the Marketing Manager at Bestlaminate and a 200 HR certified yoga teacher. Usually found on social media sites or twisted into a pretzel shape, she is full of creativity, optimism, laughs and adventure. Some of her favorite things include: traveling, animals, yoga, trying new things and going to concerts. If you have any specific questions for Alana, you can contact her at

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