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Old 08-05-2015, 10:12 AM   #1
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New question - vinyl planks and sqeaky floor.


Please forgive me, I've done a lot of research and read tons of posts of vinyl plant (click in place) flooring, but can't find the answer to this question.

Background: Our current dining room/kitchen has tile. We had sheet vinyl in the kitchen, carpet in the dining, and had it tiled several years ago. The tiles are 18" and the installer put down cement board (my guess is 1/4") but he did a poor job. Within 6 months the grout started popping out of his 1/2" grout lines (which I hated from the moment I saw them - I wanted narrow lines but he just did what he did) and then tiles started cracking. We've come to the conclusion that the subfloor is not rigid enough. The fact is, walking across the tiles, we have floor squeaks. If I'm correct, squeaks are caused by movement and there should be no movement under tile. Hence the breaking and grout popping. Needless to say, the installer never made it right.

Now: We plan on selling in a year or two (keeps getting moved back) and we can't sell a house with a floor looking like that! So, we plan on ripping the whole thing out and putting in a new floor, DIY. We were going to do laminate, but after consideration have decided on the wood-look vinyl planks.

My question is: I keep seeing that you have to have very little movement in your subfloor or the "click together" joints will come apart. How much movement is too much? The subfloors appear to be 3/4" (possibly 1/2" but I think 3/4) plywood. We can definitely make a dish rattle in the china cabinet if we bounce...but we're big people. They have squeaks, which hopefully when it's all pulled up we can screw down better. Is that too much? How do you tell?

Question 2 - there's 2 layers of vinyl in the kitchen. If I take care of the edge between it and subfloor in dining room, feather it out) will that be okay to go over? Or do we need to rip it out too?

I don't want to replace this flooring a 3rd time!

Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:59 AM   #2
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Nobody? I did read a ton of other threads on this...but never saw an answer to my main question...

How much movement is too much movement? Will a squeaky spot make the floor come "un-locked".
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:18 AM   #3
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Any movement over 0.002" is too much in my opinion.

The odds of me out running a bolt of lightning may be better than you choosing the correct flooring for the next potential purchaser.

You've found that the floor doesn't support segmented flooring so in my opinion that would be a poor choice to put it down again.

It originally had carpet and sheet vinyl without the problems you describe so the sheet vinyl ( of your choice ) would go back into both rooms if it were mine. Either that or sell as is with a floor condition discloser in the contract.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:24 AM   #4
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We need clarification of a couple of things---

Are you planning to use a click lock laminate floor or those vinyle tiles with the locking edges?

When you remove the bad tile--will you also remove all layers of old flooring to expose the sub floor?

How is the floor built? Wood frame? If so how long are the joists (foundation to beam)
How big? and how far apart?
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:32 AM   #5
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I am not familiar with vinyl plank flooring. I looked up a few products that say they are vinyl plank flooring on the internet, and was unable to determine the required floor stiffness for correct installation of the product. In case you are not familiar with the concept of floor stiffness, it refers to the amount of deflection you get in the joists based on the standard room loading. Room loading is typically code mandated, it is often 30 pounds per square foot live load in living rooms, and 40 pounds per square foot in bedrooms, but the exact amount varies with your local code.

In any case, the stiffness of the joists is usually presented as the L/D ratio, where L is the span length of the joists, and D is the computed deflection. So for example, if the joist is 10 feet long (120 inches), and the deflection at the center is 1 inch, the L/D ratio would be 120. The bigger the L/D ratio, the stiffer the joist. For small tile, you want an L/D ratio of at least 360. For natural stone, you want 720. I don't know what you need for vinyl plank flooring, but your manufacturer should list it, or at least should be able to give you a reference.

To calculate the L/D ratio for your room, you need to know the size of the joists, the span of the joists, the species of wood, and the grade. Grade is the least important, span and joist size are critical. If you do not have access to at least one joist, you may need to cut a small hole to measure the depth and width of the joist.

Once you know these parameters, you get on a website like the John Bridge website that has a free deflection calculator, and you see what the L/D ratio is. If it is not high enough, you are likely going to have problems with cracking and joints opening. See http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/deflecto.pl

Notice that the deflection ratio is not driven by the type of subfloor you have, it is a function of the size and span of the joists. You cannot stiffen a floor that has inadequately sized joists by adding additional layers of subfloor, you have to either sister additional joists together, replace the existing joists with deeper joists, or add joists between the existing joists. Or select a type of flooring that can be used with lower L/D ratio.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
We need clarification of a couple of things---

Are you planning to use a click lock laminate floor or those vinyle tiles with the locking edges?

When you remove the bad tile--will you also remove all layers of old flooring to expose the sub floor?

How is the floor built? Wood frame? If so how long are the joists (foundation to beam)
How big? and how far apart?
The vinyl plank like Allure Ultra - not necessarily that brand though. They are the size of laminate, like 4" x 3', but thinner. This type of stuff... http://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMA...6411/202352551

We do plan to take it back to the subfloor...unless we can't get the sheet vinyl up or get the subfloor smooth enough. I actually don't think he put a mortar layer under the cement board, so we might not have any problem getting that up...but if we can't get the vinyl up or if the subfloor is torn up, we'll either go over it or put down another layer of underlayment, whichever is best. I have read of people putting down 1/4" underlayment when they can't get the floor smooth enough. Makes sense to me.

The joists are visible in my laundry room and garage, which are under the kitchen, and are 2x10. They are on 16 inch centers and the span is 9 to 10 feet...not that easy to measure because there are ducts under the floor next to the I-beam.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
In any case, the stiffness of the joists is usually presented as the L/D ratio, where L is the span length of the joists, and D is the computed deflection. So for example, if the joist is 10 feet long (120 inches), and the deflection at the center is 1 inch, the L/D ratio would be 120. The bigger the L/D ratio, the stiffer the joist. For small tile, you want an L/D ratio of at least 360. For natural stone, you want 720. I don't know what you need for vinyl plank flooring, but your manufacturer should list it, or at least should be able to give you a reference.
Is this English? I'm sorry...I totally don't understand this.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeniorSitizen View Post
The odds of me out running a bolt of lightning may be better than you choosing the correct flooring for the next potential purchaser.

You've found that the floor doesn't support segmented flooring so in my opinion that would be a poor choice to put it down again.

It originally had carpet and sheet vinyl without the problems you describe so the sheet vinyl ( of your choice ) would go back into both rooms if it were mine. Either that or sell as is with a floor condition discloser in the contract.
I really hate sheet vinyl and have to live with it myself for the next couple years...so I'd like something I like. I'd do wood actually, or laminate, but our two dogs make it unlikely to not be scratched badly very quickly. Not to mention we're just not that neet and I need something that cleans easily. Vinyl is best. Vinyl that looks like wood is the best of both worlds.

As for it not supporting segmented flooring....the big 18" tiles were installed by a very poor installer. I've discussed that a lot (even on this site) and I think the problem is movement, but that maybe if he'd done a better job or we'd used a smaller tile it would have been okay.

Also, as soon as the grout started cracking, the dogs started eating it. :p That might have helped it come up too.

Last edited by Lilion; 08-11-2015 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:34 AM   #8
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OK, let me make this easier. Based on 2x10 typical fir joists, 16 inches on center, 10 feet long, the John Bridge deflection calculator gives L/D = 857, which means your floor is stiff enough for any kind of flooring. So if the dimensions you listed are correct, the problems you are having with the existing flooring is not a joist deflection problem, must be the installation, maybe improper installation of subfloor, wrong type of nails or screws, bad installation of tiles, etc. So if you rip out the subfloor and start over, installing subfloor correctly, you should be fine with the vinyl plank flooring.
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
OK, let me make this easier. Based on 2x10 typical fir joists, 16 inches on center, 10 feet long, the John Bridge deflection calculator gives L/D = 857, which means your floor is stiff enough for any kind of flooring. So if the dimensions you listed are correct, the problems you are having with the existing flooring is not a joist deflection problem, must be the installation, maybe improper installation of subfloor, wrong type of nails or screws, bad installation of tiles, etc. So if you rip out the subfloor and start over, installing subfloor correctly, you should be fine with the vinyl plank flooring.
Oh thank you! That makes me feel better. I'm sure the dimensions I gave are correct.

It's close to a 50 year old house and I don't think the builder believed in screws...everything from the floors to the cabinets to the drywall is nailed. When we pull up everything, we plan on screwing any squeaks down as good as possible. The floor squeaks everywhere...under tile and carpet alike.
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:08 PM   #10
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At 50 years old, you might have 1x6 tongue and groove pine with plywood over that--

It might be just plywood----after you remove all the layers and reach the subfloor--you might try screwing the existing down and see if the squeaking stops--if it does,you can then add a layer of 1/4" underlayment--stapled with small crown staples---

Completely replacing a subfloor is not always needed---
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
At 50 years old, you might have 1x6 tongue and groove pine with plywood over that--
You know, I looked over the joists and measured them...and never even thought to look at the floor over my head. Feeling kind of stupid right now. I'll look it over better tonight. But I feel much better about the ability to put the flooring in.

Thanks gentlemen!
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:35 PM   #12
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What year was the house built?

In the 1950s and into the 1960s----electrical conduit was often sandwiched between the sub floor and the finished floor--using 1x2 furring strips to form the gap---

These floors were really prone to squeaking--and a bit tricky to work on,due to the possibility of driving a nail into the conduit.
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:42 PM   #13
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Did you put ceramic tile over a vinyl floor? You first said the kitchen had ceramic tile. Then later you said the kitchen had 2 layers of vinyl.
What was the structure you put the tile on?
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Did you put ceramic tile over a vinyl floor? You first said the kitchen had ceramic tile. Then later you said the kitchen had 2 layers of vinyl.
What was the structure you put the tile on?
Originally, there was carpet in the dining room and linoleum in the kitchen. When we pulled out a cabinet, we found the original linoleum from the 1970's, so apparently there are two layers of linoleum there. The tile installer did not remove any of that, just the carpet in the dining room.

So, he put cement board on top of plywood subfloor in the dining room and two layers of linoleum in the kitchen.

We talked about the "edge" formed by the linoleum and whether that would be a problem, but he didn't feel like it would be saying he'd "feather it out"...or something like that. We weren't home when he put down the cement board. From what I can see and feel where the floor vents are, there is very little, if any, mortar under the cement board.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:48 PM   #15
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Came home and looked. There's only plywood over the joists.
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