Silly OT - Flooring with a PowerChair?

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BlsdMama

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It is a silly thing, but I'm wondering about flooring. I recognize it as a luxury to wonder about something so unimportant, but we also don't want to invest in something that won't hold up, kwim? I have wood plank LVT that I LOVE... But it's pulling apart as my wheelchair turns and pivots on it. We just widened the hallway and we need to decide on flooring.

What I've read so far (please comment and disagree!)

Tile: Great, a pain to DIY in a large space, holds up well to a PC but COLD and HARD.
LVT - holds up great appearance but can pull apart
Wood - nailed down / hardwood - pretty, warm, holds up well, needs increased care due to PC wear and tear
Sheet linoleum - less expensive, not hard, handles PC well... If there is damage it's difficult/impossible to repair and not as attractive
Carpet - turns/twists, cannot handle PC pivots without the pad twisting, wear and tear apparant, challenging to keep clean


Thoughts? I have one chair and I use it extensively outside. We live on an acreage in Iowa (four seasons including snow, rain, and mud) and my living room carpet is nasty IMO. We have it cleaned but the carpet looks 30 years old instead of the 7 it really is. I love wood look tile but my DH has an incredibly bad back and I think we'd eventually convert the whole house. I like him - not causing pain is a big deal. I want hardwood but I've been told that it can't handle a PC? I'd love someone to say this isn't true? Or Bamboo? Any feedback is helpful. I'm very slow progressing / UMND so I expect to last another 5 years so it really does need to handle this PC for a bit. We are also not convinced we will stay in this house. (Needing CNA / additional help and being 25 minutes from the city is not ideal.)
 

KarstBoy

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I just had our "engineered wood" flooring replaced with tile so that it would handle the weight and stress of a 415# wheelchair. I specifically chose tile because of it's strength. Yes, it is hard and cold but I was more concerned about its day to day function and how it would look five years from now when I sell the house.
 

lgelb

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Not sure where you live, Karst, so Iowa may have colder winters that make the tile less desirable.

I am not sure it is a rule that hardwood is impossible. It would probably depend on the strength of the wood selected, density per inch, finish, etc. A Swedish finish is pretty tough. Also, nail down is not the only option. I could see a floating floor doing fine depending on what it is. You would want a high density underlayment.

Likewise, I'm not sure I would agree that LVT, properly installed, is out.

I am pretty sure someone here has had bamboo. We have engineered bamboo (floating) and I think it would be tough enough, though there might be caster spin because of the wear layer. But when Larry was alive and using a power chair, our apt. then was mostly short carpet and it did fine -- much better than the walls! We had some caster spin during turns but nothing serious. We parked it at night on a mat on top of the carpet. Then again, carpet varies as well.
 
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pittsburghgal

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I would not advise going with carpet. We chose a very low pile commercial carpet for the master bedroom and family room, hoping that it would work with a wheelchair, but the wheelchair did a lot of damage to it and both rooms had to be recarpeted after my PALS died. I also found it very difficult to move the hoyer lift on the carpet and had to put down plywood over the carpet in the bedroom where the lift would be used.

The areas in our hose that were porcelain tile held up great with no damage at all from the wheelchair. They were also easy to clean from mud/dirt on the wheelchair wheels.
 

Larrytbm

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Take a look at NewAge Products, stone composite flooring (link removed). This is 1/2” thick crushed limestone/resin planks with 30mil thick top vinyl. It looks like wood planks. But it is intended for use as fancy garage flooring. It is rated for 30,000 lbs rolling weight. Joints are very tight and it will not separate or allow dirt to seep into the joints. It is thermally very stable. I purchased it about 12 months ago for about $3.50 per SF. Shipping was free then but probably not now.
 
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KenM

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We are completing plans to build an accessible home and the flooring expert we met with recommended laminate as the strongest and least expensive option for future power WC use. We looked at samples and they really replicate the look of hardwood. We'll use it over a slab foundation as that was also recommended given the weight of a power WC.
I appreciate the other options shared here and plan to look into them before finalizing our flooring.
 

avnl

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We just replaced our floor wide pine with an Cali engineered bamboo floating floor. Extremely strong.we did this 6 months ago and there have been no problems with the permobil chair or our 2 dogs
 

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Dwest

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Hi. We are in a 100 yr old home with the original hardwood flooring and trim. The floors are fine. We have a 420 lb permobil. I’d go with the hardwood.
 

Firefighter58

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I have hardwood and no problems after 5 years
 

BlsdMama

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All of you have been so helpful. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. @Larrytbm - thank you SO much for the link. When we redid our kitchen flooring two years ago, a fella helped us pick out Gravity tile - plank that has held up SO great. I've wished (often) that we had a choice in that same product for the rest of the house that looked like wood. I think you inadvertently found it for me!!! I am so grateful.
I adore hardwood and that was our natural inclination but I admit I am very wary of not being able to reach my bathroom for the few days it takes to stain, lacquer, and dry adequately. I don't mind not sleeping in my room, but my bathroom is the only truly accessible shower/toilet in the house and I am spoiled/used to independence for the time being and really not willing to relinquish it if I don't have to! ;)
 

Firefighter58

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Now you buy the hardwood all prefinnished you just have it put down
 

wmilo

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I can only testify to our experience, which is that our hardwood flooring (3/4 inch oak, pre-finished, nailed down) has performed very well with the PWC. No special maintenance needed. Easier to maneuver on with the PWC and Hoyer, and easier to keep clean. Some of the tiled areas have had the grout start to fail, I think because of slight shifting of the tile under the weight of the chair.
 

lgelb

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Whatever you select, make sure your threshold transition pieces are robust -- they can make for a rough ride.
 
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