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Old 01-26-2009, 07:42 PM   #1
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


Okay, I am about to order 500 sq feet of lamiante flooring for my basement floor. But I have a few questions and concerns, so I am leaving it to you pros.

1) Does the floor have to be 100% leveled?
2) Does the cement floor have to be sealed? If yes, with what type of sealer?
3) Recommendations on some Brands wood be great.
4) What type of underlayment is needed?

Thanks to all

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Old 01-26-2009, 08:26 PM   #2
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


It only has to be level one way or out very little(1/4 inch) over 10 feet and the other way it can be unlevel but it has to be even. It can't be level, unlevel and then level again. There can't be any change in slope. As for sealing-yes it does have to be sealed. If there has been no moisture ever then you could likely use the foam pading that goes under all laminate with sticky strip on one end and a 3 inch piece of very thin plastic. If there is any moisture that comes in after storms I would put down a solid piece of plastic if you can find something that wide. If you have a local co-op (rural areas) you could see if they have some bunker silo plastic at close to the right width. I have no recomendations for a paint on sealer. If you have small puddles you could put Dri core or a similair product but again it has to have the same slope all the way across the floor. Like mentioned you put a foam underlay under the laminate floors. Comes in 4' x 25' rolls (or maybe longer) rolls. If this is going to be your sealer you should get the sticky strip+ plastic one

http://www.efloors.com/prodimages/2in1underlay.jpg

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Old 01-27-2009, 10:19 PM   #3
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


Check your product warranty. Laminate is not generally under warranty if installed below grade.

My advice (and I've been selling flooring for a long time) is don't do laminate in a basement.

If you take a plastic bucket and stick it partway down into a tub of water, you wouldn't expect it to leak. If that bucket has one pinhole, it will leak and eventually fill up.

Your basement is not like an unperforated plastic bucket. There is water there... always. The floor can look and feel dry but the moisture is just evaporating off from a little below the surface.

Putting a sealer on the floor doesn't solve the moisture issue. The moisture will just migrate to the wall-line and find it's way out... So instead of the floor failing from the center of the room, it will fail from the edge.

Carpet and non-moisture barrier pads breathe and are generally okay. Ceramic tile lets moisture evaporate off from the grout lines.

Laminate and wood aren't recommended.
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:30 PM   #4
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


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Check your product warranty. Laminate is not generally under warranty if installed below grade.
Maybe 8 years ago. I do not know any major brand that does not warranty below grade.
Does floor fade, stain,or wear worse under grade?

As far as water, that is why the manufacturers can provide a moister barrier with the pad.

Not recommended? wierd...which brands?
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:56 PM   #5
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


Floorwizard -

I'm at my store so I went and pulled the warranty sheets on Quickstep and Mohawk laminates. Neither specifically states "not below grade" but both throw out "moisture content must be less than 2.5% (CM method) or less than 5 lbs/24 hour per 1,000 sqft (Calcium chloride method ASTM 1869)."

Interesting that both should have exactly the same wording.

Anyway, if one randomly tests 100 basement floors, I'd bet that at least 70 exceed the recommended moisture limit.

Moisture barriers are fine, but keep in mind that they are usually 3,4, or 6 feet wide. Yes, Quickstep's foam has a plastic sandwich and adhesive strip to minimize the transmission where the rows of foam meet up, but not Floor Muffler and some other brands.

I've read enough of your posts to know you know flooring, and so do I.

What happens under the moisture barrier on a basement slab if there's a decent bit of moisture coming up through hydrostatic pressure? It builds up and collects and eventually migrates out to the wall line.

What did the installer have to do to the planks at the wall line? Cut 'em.

In the process of cutting them, the plank's perimeter treatment for moisture that most manufacturers advertise as a selling point got cut off, allowing moisture to get to the fiberboard core from the side.

If the installer silicones the entire perimeter, the moisture is still there and will do something to the floor eventually.

I'm not saying that every laminate basement installation will fail, but I am saying that if one installed laminate in 100 basements today and waited 3 years, a good percentage will have failed from moisture issues. Whether its 20% or 50% or more is debatable, but it will be a significant percentage.

And if the owners that had those issues went to the store with their receipt and went through the process on a claim, they'd all get their claims denied because the slabs test high for moisture.

Last edited by Mudd; 01-27-2009 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:54 PM   #6
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


Quote:
And if the owners that had those issues went to the store with their receipt and went through the process on a claim, they'd all get their claims denied because the slabs test high for moisture.
Hey, i am not going to argue that. I am only stating that all major manufacturer reps state very clear it is for below grade....
If you were in the business 10 years ago you will remember them all stating very clearly not for full bath's or below grade. You do not hear that anymore.
Now in 12 years I have never been on a claim for all the hundreds of thousands of lam below grade. So I think it's pretty safe.
What you may be saying is tile or commercial glue down carpets are the best for below grade, and maybe a bit of that is true.
But I would put it in my basement even if the moisture levels were a bit higher than what the manufacturers super tight rules are. They cover their butts for sure.

It's a numbers thing.
12 years....not 1 issue brought to my attention. And I am a full service store with high end clients...believe me, they would find me.

Quote:
I've read enough of your posts to know you know flooring, and so do I.
I know, I can tell by your posts....but so few...keep it up!

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but not Floor Muffler and some other brands.
Floor Muffler on concrete? ouch...never. Not without 6 mil poly first.

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Whether its 20% or 50% or more is debatable, but it will be a significant percentage.
I must be the luckiest man alive or my clients all move within a year or forget about me.
Seeing how I send letters every year to my clients to make sure all is well, I would say it's safe.

But your a pro and I cannot argue your professionalism...good job.
Looking forward to more from you.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:44 PM   #7
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


First, let me say thank you to Mudd for all your posts. I've been researching what flooring to put in our relatively dry basement, and your posts have been very informative.

One of the reasons we left Alaska (my home state) was because of how dry it is there. Here in the Midwest there is a lot more moisture in the air.

The Best Practices guides published by the US Dept of Energy give a very comprehensive explanation of how moisture moves through concrete.

I really don't know, but I'm guessing there's much less movement of moisture through concrete in AK than there is in states without permafrost.

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/building...lications.html

Just food for thought.

-MCDI
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:58 PM   #8
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


Your probably correct.
I just wanted to make it clear that it has been around 8 years since lam manufacturers started recommending their product below grade.
All of them.


No matter where you live, if you install over concrete, you need a moisture barrier.
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:03 PM   #9
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


I believe you. I checked Shaw and Mohawk, and they both have products that are for below grade. Care to give an opinion on a product line to use in a high-traffic area (exercise room used daily)?
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:32 PM   #10
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


not an import that's for sure.
if you have weights you will need to consider a high pressure laminate.

www.wilsonart.com
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:28 PM   #11
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


Thanks Floorwizard
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:03 PM   #12
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


Just make sure you read all the fine print on the product you buy. I read one recently where the edges can curl within 3/16 and it is considered acceptable. They will not warranty it. One customer had curling and it was considered the cleaning product she was using that caused it. This was in her back rooms that were not near water. So just be careful and read all the fine print before you buy. Warranties are not what you think.

Make sure the retailer you choose is a "good retailer" one that will stand behind you.
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Old 02-19-2009, 04:33 PM   #13
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Laminate on Basement Cement floor...


True, read the fine print for any warranty on any product anywhere.
I am not familiar with curling issues...never heard of a "curling" claim.

Either the lam is delaminating due to defect or moisture, or there is seam peaking.
Now there is a tollerance for "seam peaking"

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