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Old 09-06-2010, 11:12 AM   #1
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Laminate floor in basement questions


I am looking to install a Pergo Laminate floor in my basement, but I want to make sure I do everything right to avoid future problems.

Here is my situation. I have a 900 sq ft basement that used to be finished until my sump pump failed last year. I do live in a high water table area, but I have never had a flood before until the sump pump failed. The basement does have a french drain installed. I do have a dehumidifier installed.

I am looking to reduce the potential of any water damaging the laminate flooring. I have read many posts that gave all kinds of hints, but a lot of it was contradicting. What do I need to do to the floor to make it less likely to have moisture problems? I am not as concerned about the cost, I want to make sure it is done right. The laminate is rated for below grade and does has the insulation on it. I also have a foam vapor barrier I will install.

Should I put down a water sealer?
Should I put down a subfloor that will take care of moisture and potential leveling issues?
Is there anything else I need to do?
I have read that you should not install a laminate floor on a floor that has a sump pump. Has anyone else heard this?

I know that ceramic tile may be a better choice, but my wife and I really love the laminate look. However, I do not want to be replacing the laminate in a few years due to damage.

I appreciate any help you can give me.

Thanks,
Bob

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Last edited by ryoung25; 09-06-2010 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 09-06-2010, 11:44 AM   #2
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Laminate floor in basement questions


First thing is to do a moisture test on the floor to see what you have to work with.

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Old 09-06-2010, 12:46 PM   #3
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Laminate floor in basement questions


JMHO I wouldn't do it. We have that in our living room and any moisture will swell the joints and any water will ruin in after a short while. If you do a search you can find ceramic or porcelain that looks like wood.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:45 AM   #4
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Laminate floor in basement questions


I just completed a 24 hr moisture test using the plastic bags taped down to the floor and no condenstation was noticed. However, this is a dry time of the year. The wet season here is March and April. Since I have a triple sump pump system along with a battery backup, I am not overly worried about a flood, I am more worried about the moisture from the concrete. I do have a dehumidifier installed that keeps the humidity around 50 to 60%. I do not know how much water I pull out from the basement since it drains directly to my sump pump basin.

Some posts have stated that putting a vapor barrier down creates a hydrostatic effect. Is this still true if I have a french drain installed?
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:50 AM   #5
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Laminate floor in basement questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by ryoung25 View Post
I just completed a 24 hr moisture test using the plastic bags taped down to the floor and no condenstation was noticed. However, this is a dry time of the year. The wet season here is March and April. Since I have a triple sump pump system along with a battery backup, I am not overly worried about a flood, I am more worried about the moisture from the concrete. I do have a dehumidifier installed that keeps the humidity around 50 to 60%. I do not know how much water I pull out from the basement since it drains directly to my sump pump basin.

Some posts have stated that putting a vapor barrier down creates a hydrostatic effect. Is this still true if I have a french drain installed?
I can't answer your last question as I don't know, sorry.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:30 AM   #6
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Laminate floor in basement questions


I would not recommend you install any laminate that is made with wood or any type of organic material.

I would also stay away from any kind of padding or sub floor that is either organic, has organic compounds or has the ability to absorb water, like the foam pads installed under some types of laminates.

Everything that is porous, absorbent and organic will soak up moisture and will eventually favor mold growth. Not to mention the buckling already mentioned by another forum member.

As for the vapor barrier consider two things:

1 - Conventional vapor barriers (poly sheet directly over the slab) simply trap the moisture underneath. There is no saying what is going to happen when the moisture builds up . The U.S. Department of Energy recommends not to use them at all. According to the Agency, basements slab and walls should be allowed to evaporate and dry into the basement.

2 - Conventional vapor barriers only address moisture from the slab. What happens to your floor if your sump pump fails, the water heater or a pipe leaks?

I am assuming that you are opting for laminates because it looks like hardwood.

In that case I suggest you to consider laminates that are specifically engineered for basements instead. They are floating, interlocking planks, that can be installed directly over the slab, no need for padding or sub floor.

A system of channels on the back of the plank, raise it from the floor allowing the air to circulate underneath and dry out the slab, as recommended by the U.S. Dept of Energy, and at the same time acting as a vapor barrier in keeping that moisture from entering the basement.

http://knol.google.com/k/new-basement-flooring-options#
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:11 PM   #7
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Laminate floor in basement questions


I put down a laminate floor over a year ago and haven't had any issues with it. It too was rated for below grade installation. I was worried about moisture and the temperature of the cold slab in the middle of winter here in Canada, so I decided on a sub floor. When looking at the options, the two most popular were DriCore and Platon with 5/8" T&G, which is basically the same thing. I chose the later because the cost was about half. The install was also pretty simple except for getting the 4x8 sheets into the basement. Once the subfloor was down, the foam pad was rolled out and the laminate was layed.
The advantage to the sub floor is that you do create a vapour barrier, with an inorganic material (no mold) and there is still air circulation because of the dimples. You're also not directly on the cold slab so the floor feels much warmer in the winter. We originally had an area rug over peel and stick tiles in one room and this new floor feels much warmer under foot.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:03 PM   #8
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Laminate floor in basement questions


Sounds to me like your just askin for it.

It flooded once. High water table. Triple backup cuz you know it's damp down there. What happens when you're away a few days and the dehumid stops working.

Your basement to no place for laminate of any kind.

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Old 09-15-2010, 11:33 PM   #9
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Laminate floor in basement questions


Home depot Has a product called Traffic master , It is just Vynil planks that have a self stick strip . But the best way to know Is use a calcium chloride test . It is not recomended to put laminate in a basement ,Read the warranty , there will likely be fine print that say;s ,Putting it in a basement voids the warranty ,
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