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Old 12-23-2008, 08:26 PM   #16
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


I agree with what Manolok said. I am leaning toward ceramic tile for my basement remodel because thet definitely would add value down the road if/when I sell, although I am also considering Konecto tiles because they are dog-friendly and I have seven of those to consider.

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Old 12-25-2008, 10:55 PM   #17
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


If you decide to go with large (18-20") tiles flatness is very important. That is my experience. The smaller the tiles, the more leeway you have in flatness.
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Old 12-25-2008, 11:57 PM   #18
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


After having installed many floors, vinyl, tile, laminate and wood I would have to say that your best bet would be VCT, vinyl tiles. The problem with laminate as has been mentioned here before is that should it get wet it will be ruined. Being that we are speaking about a basement, I would not take the chance. The problem with the sheet goods vinyl is that you are correct you will see the imperfections in the concrete, that is unless you do level out the floor. Not really a big deal, but it can get costly and is kind of annoying. You also have to deal with seams and cutting takes a good deal of skill. One of the nice things about tile is that if you should make a mistake while cutting you can just throw away the tile and replace it with the new one.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:02 PM   #19
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


1. How you'd do this with VCT tile:

A) If you use a floor finish:

I probably have more VCT tile experience than most people, and even thought the previous posts are correct in that it will last longer than most other floorings and will conform to a contoured surface, it simply isn't practical for residential purposes unless you're willing to maintain it.

Unlike most other flooring materials, there is a definite technology associated with maintaining VCT floors. There are different ways of maintaining them, but the most common one is called "scrub and recoat".

In the "Scrub and Recoat" method, you apply MANY coats of acrylic floor finish to the VCT tile floor after you install it. For a 14 by 14 foot floor, I'd probably apply one gallon of sealer followed by a gallon of finish. That'd work out to be about 7 or 8 full coats of each (not counting the coats applied running the mop out with water).

Then, once every several years, you use a floor machine (or hire a janitorial service with a floor machine) to scrub off the dirt embedded surface layer of floor finish. This is done with an abrasive plastic pad (like a giant 3M Scotchbrite pad) and a liquid cleaner on the floor so the stuff that's scrubbed off remains suspended in the liquid. You then vaccuum up that dirty cleaner with a wet/dry vaccuum, and then go over the floor a second time with clean water. This is what a floor machine looks like:
http://www.mercuryfloormachines.com/...s/hercules.htm

Then you apply several coats of new finish to bring the floor back to it's original appearance.

Therein lay the secret to the longevity of VCT tile floors. Shoe leather SHOULD never come into contact with VC tile. It only comes into contact with acrylic floor finish, which you continually replace. So, a properly maintained VCT tile floor will outlast grandma. It's like asking how long a floor will last if you keep replacing the carpet. Almost indefinitely.

And, it's that business of removing all the furniture from the room and scrubbing the floor and recoating it that makes VCT tile floors somewhat impractical for residential applications. Businesses with VCT floors will hire janitorial firms to come in and do this work at night.

B) If you don't use floor finish:

The requirement to remove all the furniture, scrub the floor and recoat with more finish only arises if you apply acrylic floor finish.

Instead of using 1 gallon of sealer and 1 gallon of finish, you can also choose to apply 2 gallons of sealer and NO finish.

Sealer is VERY MUCH HARDER than acrylic finish, and dirt doesn't get embedded in it the way it gets embedded in finish. Instead, acrylic sealer will just gradually be eroded off the floor by foot traffic without ever looking "dirty". It's only when the dirt starts to get embedded in the VCT tile that the floor starts to look dirty. Sealer is also very much harder to remove than finish.

Once the VCT tile starts to look dirty because dirt is becoming embedded in it (cuz the sealer is worn off), you simply clean that area with a Magic Eraser (to remove the dirt embedded in the surface), then scrub any scuffs or scratches with a soapy steel wool pad (to scrape the dirt out of them and make the surface of the tile smooth there). Clean up the soap with water, allow to dry and apply more sealer only in that area. Thus, you maintain only the high traffic areas as necessary, and you do it by hand.

I installed VCT tile in my sister's kitchen with sealer only on top about 10 years ago now, and I cleaned and applied the first coat of sealer as a repair to a high traffic area of her floor yesterday (Christmas Day) when I was at her house.

2) How I'd do it if I wanted to install sheet vinyl:

Forget about the price of floor leveler being high. It might cost $27 per bag, but you should be able to do a 14 by 14 foot concrete floor with no more than half a bag. Remember, you don't pour floor leveler on and let it find it's own level to form a perfectly flat floor; you trowel it on with a plastering trowel. You can buy self leveling floor cements, but they're not often used even by pros.

If it wuz me, I would have a bright light laying on the floor to exagerate the roughness of the floor and make the dips look like Meteor Crater and all the bumps look like Everest. Just fill in the dips with the floor leveler slurry, and use a cold chisel to chip off any bumps.

I've used Mapei Planipatch over concrete. At the time they said it was OK to use it over concrete without adding any of the "Planipatch Plus" additive. Now, installers are telling me to always mix the first coat with a solution of Planipatch Plus diluted with 3 parts water over wood or concrete. That Plus "additive" is best thought of as an "adhesive". It makes the Planipatch stick better, gives it a bit of flexibility and makes it dry harder. But, it costs about $30 per quart too.

After the first application of Planipatch is dry, I'd put my bright light back on the floor and scrape off any Planipatch sticking up with a paint scraper. Planipatch shrinks as it dries, so you'll probably need to go over the floor a second time just to fill in the shrinkage.

I wouldn't "float" the whole floor; just the depressions in the concrete, or the depressions you create by removing anything sticking up with a chisel.

And, for an even smoother floor, you can sand down the Planipatch instead of scraping it.

Once you've gone over your concrete floor like that, if you can't see anything with the aid of a light shining at a critical angle, there's no way there'll be anything on that floor that will show through the sheet vinyl.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:20 PM   #20
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nestor_Kelebay View Post
The requirement to remove all the furniture, scrub the floor and recoat with more finish only comes about if you apply acrylic floor finish.

Instead of using 1 gallon of sealer and 1 gallon of finish, you can also choose to apply 2 gallons of sealer and NO finish.

Sealer is VERY MUCH HARDER than acrylic finish, and dirt doesn't get
Do you always use a sealer & acrylic? I just use acrylic on VCT, is this a bad practice? I put down about 350sqft of the Armstrong commercial VCT this summer, I still need to clean up and apply polish to half of the room - it looks pretty miserable right now I might have to get out a black pad. The other side of the room I applied like 4 coats of a arcylic to it, but again no sealer.

I did appear to damage a couple VCT's on the side with the arcylic on it. I spilled some "purple PVC primer" on it. I tried scrubbing it off by hand with several detergents (Buckeye workout, bleach, etc.). I was kind of supprised it got right through the acrylic. No big deal I will just replace the tiles if the Advance can't get it off. Just kind of intresting, sounds like sealer would have helped, unless something in the purple prime breaks the bond in the sealer as well?

Jamie

p.s. All of your posts are a great read, lots of wonderful technical information. Thank You!
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Old 12-27-2008, 10:30 PM   #21
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


I Am Also Looking To Put Flooring Over Concrete. I Have Researched Many Products. Kardean Is A Great Product, Although It Is A Glue Down. Possibly That Would Be An Option For You. I Am Looking For A Floating Floor. I Have Looked At Konecto, However I Am Not Sure After Reading The Horror Stories. I Am Now Researching Foresta Flooring And Flexitec.
I Do Not Feel Laminate Wood Is An Option Over Concrete.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:09 PM   #22
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
Do you always use a sealer & acrylic? I just use acrylic on VCT, is this a bad practice? I put down about 350sqft of the Armstrong commercial VCT this summer, I still need to clean up and apply polish to half of the room - it looks pretty miserable right now I might have to get out a black pad. The other side of the room I applied like 4 coats of a arcylic to it, but again no sealer.
In my building, I ALWAYS put a gallon of sealer down in every apartment I install VCT tiles in before putting a finish down.

It's standard practice for contractors to simply apply acrylic finish over VCT tile floors, but they're going on the normally wrong assumption that no one is ever going to spill anything worse than milk, orange juice or water on the floor, or at the very worst, the dog have an "accident" on the floor. If that's the only kind of stuff you might spill on the floor, then you don't need a sealer.

But, in the real world, where you may spill Easter Egg dye, liquid shoe polish, PVC primer, alcohol based wood stain, ink jet printer ink, wood end cut preservative, and stuff like that, then I'd definitely put down a sealer first. I wish I had a nickle for every time I removed a stain from my floors by stripping off the floor finish. The sealer stopped the stain from penetrating further. Without that sealer, the stain would have penetrated into the tile.

The problem, however, is that retail floor stores charge so much for Armstrong and Mannington acrylic finishes that people tend to skimp on how much they use. And, it's entirely because the retail store knows that their customers down't know what else to put over their Armstrong or Mannington vinyl floors, so they're pretty well over a barrel, and the retail stores charge as much as they think they can get. That just encourages poor floor maintenance. The customer would do MUCH better by using any sealer and acrylic finish from any Janitorial Supply store. That's cuz the sealer and finish would cost 1/2 or less of what Armstrong or Mannington products cost, so the customer will put PLENTY of sealer and finish over his new floor to protect it properly.

Quote:
I did appear to damage a couple VCT's on the side with the arcylic on it. I spilled some "purple PVC primer" on it. I tried scrubbing it off by hand with several detergents (Buckeye workout, bleach, etc.). I was kind of supprised it got right through the acrylic. No big deal I will just replace the tiles if the Advance can't get it off. Just kind of intresting, sounds like sealer would have helped, unless something in the purple prime breaks the bond in the sealer as well?
If removing the finish doesn't remove the stain, then remove the tiles. Do this with a heat gun to warm the tile. Use strips of 3 inch wide by 1/8 inch thick steel strapping to protect the adjacent tiles from the heat. As you heat the stained tile, gradually pry it up. When it's hot, the adhesive under the tile will let go of the tile easily. If you don't heat up that adhesive before pulling the tile off, then pieces of whatever floor leveler you have under the tile will come up with the tile, thereby requiring that you get that floor smooth again prior to replacing the tile.

Buckeye makes good products. I'd strip off the finish you have on your VCT tiles and put down a gallon of Buckeye FirstDown sealer and a gallon of Buckeye CastleGuard acrylic finish. Keep the finish mop wrapped tightly in a clear plastic garbage bag (for leaves) between coats so the finish in the mop head doesn't dry.


Quote:
p.s. All of your posts are a great read, lots of wonderful technical information. Thank You!
Oh, heck, I don't really know anything about this stuff. But I've never let my not knowing anything about a subject stop me from speaking authoritatively, and often at considerable length, about it. Thanks for taking the time to read my posts. Otherwise it woulda been a complete waste of my time.

PS: just kidding.
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Old 12-29-2008, 12:56 PM   #23
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


Nestor,

First I have to say that I have been working on vinyl tile for close to 20 years and that was one of the best explanations that I have heard to use sealer. Although I do use it, many don't and probably should.

I got to disagree with you though that vinyl is impractical for a residential basement. Yes, it does need to be maintained and getting the machine in there is challenging, but how much traffic do you think that it is going to get. Personally I like ceramic, but cost wise vinyl is your best bet. Laminate or ANY floating floor is a no go in a basement.

Scott

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Old 01-01-2009, 01:28 PM   #24
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


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In my building, I ALWAYS put a gallon of sealer down in every apartment I install VCT tiles in before putting a finish down.


First off, thanks for all the great information. It sounds like I do need to have a sealer down on this floor.

Are there products other than buckeye that you like? I think buckeye stuff is great, the problem I have is that the closest distributor is about 60 miles from me and like to sell at full retail price.

I've used the acrylic called Proforce from Sams club and the Rubbermaid one as well. The finish is never quite as hard as I think it should be, but maybe that is because I am not using a sealer, and I tend to put it down on stuff that isn't designed for polish like inlaid vinyl and vinyl tiles. Do you ever use a sealer on things like inlaid or vinyl tiles?

The acrylics are easy to get at a good price, as mentioned the Proforce is about $25 for 2.5 gallons. I wish I had a good cleaning products distributor around here. I might have to order some products one of these days, (I use a fair amount of Big-d Enzyme-D which isn't the easiest thing to find) but no one seems to sell buckeye online.

Jamie
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Old 01-02-2009, 12:21 AM   #25
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


Onlinehandyman:
In my humble opinion, using finish over VCT tile in a residential setting is inapproprate cuz few, if any, homeowners have a floor machine to maintain the VCT tile with. In a residential setting, the more appropriate way to maintain the VCT tile floor would be to use sealer ONLY on the floor, and not top coat with finish. Sealer is much harder than finish, and won't get embedded with dirt, and therefore won't need a floor machine to scrub that dirt embedded surface layer off. Sealer just wears off gradually underfoot without ever looking "dirty" because of the dirt embedded in it. If and when you see part of the floor looking dirty, it's cuz the sealer has worn off, and dirt is starting to get embedded in the surface of the VCT tile.

In that case, remove that dirt by cleaning with a Magic Eraser, and scrub out any scuffs or scratches with a wet soapy steel wool cleaning pad. Rinse clean, towel dry, and apply another dozen coats of sealer to the area with a rag or mop (depending on the size of the area affected).

But, if the Jones's have to remove all their furniture and machine scrub the floor down to remove a dirty surface layer of floor finish, and then mop on another few coats of floor finish, it's just simply never going to happen. They won't buy a floor machine. If they rent one, they're as likely to smash it into a coupla walls before they figure out how to use it, and then they won't know what kinda mop to use to put what kind of finish back onto the floor. There's just so many things the Jones's won't know how to do in that scenario, that they simply won't maintain their VCT tile floor, so it's impractical for them to choose that kind of flooring if they're totally lost on how to maintain it. If they do choose VCT tile flooring, my recommendation is to he11 with putting finish over it, just put twice as much sealer and maintain the traffic areas by hand as described above.

JamieDolan:

It doesn't have to be Buckeye. The only company's sealer that I've tried and don't like is ZEP. Don't know if they're available in the US. I like Johnson's Wax "Technique", which is highly stain resistant and dries very hard. If Swish is available in your area, then their "Dynasty" sealer contains resins made by Rohm & Haas Co. Ltd., and it's even more stain resistant than Technique, but not by much, and I expect it would depend on what you spilled. Buckeye First Down is great, too.

Here's a web site that caters to the Janitorial sector of the economy:

http://www.cleanfax.com

ANY company advertising it's products on that web site is well respected in the Janitorial Service Sector, and you should have no problems with their products.

Be leary of any local Janitorial Supply company that seems to sell it's own brand of products. Often these janitorial supply stores will buy the concentrate resin off of the chemical companies that make the resins and simply mix, dilute and bottle their own sealers and finishes in a back room. Often they don't clean their equipment properly between batches, and you get "blobs" of partially dried sealer or finish in the jug of sealer or finish you buy, and those "blobs" that show in the glossy reflection on your floor make it look like you waxed over a dirty floor.

But, if you go to any of the Janitorial Supply outlets in your area, and they're selling a name that's sold nation-wide (as evidenced by them advertising on the Cleanfax web site), I think you won't go wrong buying their products. They might very well be buying their resins concentrate from exactly the same chemical company as Buckeye, so you might be getting First Down, only sold under a different name.

As regards putting sealer down on other flooring, I put sealer down on every sheet vinyl bathroom floor in my building. Since I started doing that, I no longer have stains on my sheet vinyl bathroom floors, and I recommend it for everyone. Both VCT tile and sheet vinyl will stain if you spill the wrong stuff on them, and I feel that a protective coat of sealer over both kinds of flooring is cheap insurance against stains. That is, I put sealer over my VCT tile floors and my sheet vinyl floors in my own apartment block, and if I owned a house, I'd do the same. So, I'd recommend multiple coats of sealer on any vinyl or VCT tile floors in your house, too. Who's sealer you use is much less important than the fact that you've got a sealer on that floor to protect against stains. My guess is that the differences between the various sealers available is small, and all provide good staining resistance.

PS: Also, in my last post in this thread, I suggested storing the mop in a garbage bag between coats so that it doesn't dry up. That would be a CLEAR garbage bag... the kind used for leaves so that anyone dealing with those bags can see that there's just leaves inside it and no household garbage. The coalescing solvents in the sealer or finish can dissolve any ink on any plastic bag you store the mop in, and that will tint the colour of the finish you're applying to the same colour as the ink that was dissolved off the surface of the bag. So, try and get a clear bag, or one with no printing on it, or clean any printing off the bag with acetone before using it.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:58 AM   #26
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


Oh my lord! Why not use a laminate floor, such Mannington makes. Its not that expensive, and in the event of the remote possibility of a flood, its easily replaced!
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Old 01-02-2009, 10:11 AM   #27
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


Cuz the original poster is concerned that the basement floor isn't flat enough to install laminate.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:43 AM   #28
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


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Oh my lord! Why not use a laminate floor, such Mannington makes. Its not that expensive, and in the event of the remote possibility of a flood, its easily replaced!
Don't a lot of these laminate floors still have problems with moisture? It seems to me like some damage to these in a basement would be more than a remote possibility.

I installed a laminate floor in my first floor bed room 2 years ago and just from dog accidents and light clean up of the floor (no flood mopping) there are multiple areas where the edges of the laminate are damaged. It was not a dirt cheap laminate either. Around $1.80 /sqft. The only laminate that I have been somewhat impressed with was some of the old pergo from years ago that was glued together at all seams.

I will eventually switch my bedroom to Konecto Prestige, It has been holding up well to abuse. Only thing I have seen is some small scuff marks where a dining room chair went back and forth on it and they don't want to buff out for some reason. I was even thinking maybe I should put a sealer and acrylic on my Konecto.

Jamie


P.S: The easy way to clean the heck out of your floors; My Floor Machine:

Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?-img_5146.jpg

Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?-img_5147.jpg
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:53 PM   #29
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


Nestor Kelebay,

First I have to say that I am extremely impressed with your knowledge of flooring. I have been servicing VCT for many years and guess I just take the attitude that when it gets bad, you just call in a pro. I also do not think and this is depending upon the tile itself that there will be that much wear on a residential floor. i also never realized that you could just use sealer like that.

Personally I like porcelain tile on the basement floor, but that can get costly. My other choice would be glued down low level loop carpet. VCT is not the best answer, but knowing that there will be maintenance it is an OK choice. NO way would I ever consider using laminate with any chance of water. I know water can happen anywhere but the chance of it in a basement is always greater.

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Old 01-02-2009, 09:57 PM   #30
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Laminate or vinyl on a concrete basement floor?


Advance is a well respected name in janitorial equipment. That's a well built machine you have there.

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