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Old 09-07-2011, 08:33 PM   #1
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Raise cement floor and put on sheet vinyl

I need to raise a concrete entryway floor to bring it close to even with my kitchen floor, and then I need to put sheet vinyl on both floors. There is a 1 1/2 inch difference in height between the two floors, and the cement entryway has radiant heat water tubes embedded in it, so nailing is not possible. I have heard many suggestions - Hardie backerboard (although the Hardie company does not recommend installing it over concrete), plywood, two layers of ceramic tiles, and self-leveling underlayment. I am very concerned that whatever I use might not stay in place, so I would welcome suggestions on what to use, and how to make it adhere to the concrete. Thank you.


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Old 09-08-2011, 11:13 AM   #2
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Why is there a height difference in the floors? What flooring is currently in the kitchen? Does the kitchen also have the hydronic heat?

Sorry, but I'm afraid I have more questions than answers for you.

I also have hydronic heat, and while not an expert, I will tell you wood, or wood products are not your best option. Not only because of moisture issues, but wood is a good insulator so you will lose some of the effect of the hydronic heat.


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Old 09-08-2011, 11:43 AM   #3
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There is nothing you can use to build up that floor that would guarantee it would stay if you can't use mechanical fasteners...with one exception.

That exception is cement.

The existing concrete is an integral component of your heated floor in that it is the thermal-mass necessary to hold and transmit the heat. If you don't want to compromise the efficiency of the heat source you will have to use cement/concrete.

There are two ways to accomplish this.

1. You can use Self Levelling Compound but it gets costly quick. To reduce that cost you can expand the SLC with pea gravel to add bulk. This is really the easiest and your best bet.

2. You can order a quantity of "grout" from your local ready mix plant. This isn't tile grout but rather a bulk mixture of sand and cement mixed in the delivery truck and used to cap the area. But, it could easily cost as much as the SLC if the quantity is small and its installation would be more labor intensive.

How big is this area?
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:05 PM   #4
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Who knows why the floors are different heights. The entryway is new and the floor was not poured high enough. A mistake was made, and it was made by everyone in attendance, including my husband who I gather signed off on the height of the cement. This is a log home, and they poured to the level of the first log, not realizing that in the adjoining kitchen, there are two layers of plywood under the kitchen floor. I guess no one looked at the kitchen. Duh.

We are not contractors are not doing this work ourselves, but the contractors and flooring guys that we've consulted all seem to disagree on what we should do. The kitchen has a wood subfloor with sheet vinyl already in place. Hyponic tubes have recently been added in the cellar between the joists beneath the kitchen. I am concerned now that those two layers of plywood will interfere with the radiant heat. Not an easy project.

Thank you, Bud. What you say is what the flooring folks at Congoleum told us. The space is 7 1/2 x 8, and we figure that self-leveling compound will easily cost $300. Maybe it's time to bag the already-purchased $33/sq ft vinyl in that area and go with ceramic tile - 2 layers??
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backerboard , plywood subfloor , raise concrete floor

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