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Laminate/Engineered on Concrete Subfloor??

2161 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  HarryJ
I'm a damnyankee who's somehow found himself in the deep, humid south, where they have only slab-on-grade construction. I'm not too familiar with what my flooring choices are here besides tile and carpet, and I don't want to go with carpet because I have dogs and allergies. Tile is a no-brainer in the entry, bathrooms, and kitchen. The living/dining room, though, seems to scream for wood.

I've found a Pergo color that's perfect for my living room floor. (A mix of walnut and teak furniture with cedar trim in the room is hard to match...)

The problem: It's Pergo, it's cheap, it's a floating floor, and I'm not sure exactly if that's what I want. Pergo doesn't have a wonderful track record when exposed to water, but I'm not in a flood zone... the problem is that it's a dining room as well. Oh, and I have dogs, who like to make their re-entry into the house via the pool. :furious:

The slab also isn't precisely level. It's out about 1/8 of an inch in various places, high or low. I can grind down the highs without an issue. The lows I worry about, but I'm planning to do a bit of a water test after I'm done painting (gotta get up all the drywall dust anyway...) We're talking about 550 sq ft of wood and another 200 sq ft of tile.

This house is mine for now, but will become a rental in short order due to changing living circumstances.

I've been told five different things by five different flooring contractors:
- No, you have to lay a subfloor with drainage underneath it before any wood or laminate flooring.
- You should lay a plastic vapor barrier, but that's all you need.
- Don't worry about self-leveling or anything, we'll put down a nice thick pad underneath the Pergo or Hardwood and install it floating.
- Glue the hardwood or Pergo directly to the slab (Contradicts Pergo's installation instructions...)
- All the above materials are crap, and I should go with vinyl planks. (Which are fugly and repeat too often for my taste when you look at them down a 30' span.)

Main questions: What kind of material should I look for given my desire for a hard-wearing material that will stand up to wet dogs and renters?
What kind of installation + surface prep/underlayment in a slab-on-grade situation should I look for given some drastic variations in temperature and humidity?
What's the best way to keep from creating a huge height difference between the tile I'll be installing in the kitchen (which is installed with DITRA, so I'm estimating about 3/4 of an inch when all's done) and the wood floor?

I'm not too keen on the porcelain tile that emulates wood; I'm trying to go with something that will feel warmer as opposed to cooler underfoot.

The Pergo's nice and cheap at a max of $1.29/sq ft ... it's tempting, but I'm not sold on it.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. Yeah, that's why I'm "tempted, but not sold" -- I could handle it, but I'm really afraid of what renters could do to it.

Any suggestions on what material you WOULD put down in here? And if I went with a hardwood, what janka rating will withstand dog claws?
 
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