House on concrete slab - wood or wood laminate?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Kung, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. Kung

    Kung Administrator Staff Member Supporter

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    I have an 1800 sq ft house that we plan on installing wood floors in quite a bit of. (At least the living room, dining room, kitchen and possibly our bedroom.) However, our house is built on a concrete slab, and it is not 'perfectly' leveled. This being said, I know that one can install a 'floating wood floor' - we've got one in the kitchen now.

    What I want to know is whether or not it makes more sense to install wood flooring or wood laminiate flooring. If I install wood, I'm going to make darn sure it's a hardwood, like cherry or maple or such. I obviously want it to look good, but I also do not want to have to perfectly level the whole floor if I do not have to. Any suggestions?
     
  2. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    Laminate will be the eaiser install. It should be able to go right over the slab with just a slim mat or moisture barrier under it. A real planked wood floor will require a subfloor to be laid over the slab so that it has something to be nailed to. You also will need to check for moisture coming up thru the slab.

    If you go to the various wood flooring manufacture or retailer websites they should all have instructions.

    If you want the look of real wood but want to put down a floating floor, go with the engineered products.
     

  3. Kung

    Kung Administrator Staff Member Supporter

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    That's kinda what I was thinking....and trust me, we're checking for moisture, considering a) we just pulled up the carpeting in our old MASTER BEDROOM and discovered my uncle neglected to tell me he had installed NO MOISTURE BARRIER in there - GRRR - and b) the foundation in our computer room is leaking just a bit. Right now we're sealing the floor, and afterwards we are going to put down a moisture barrier and a mat, and then lay the wood laminate down.

    That's what I was thinking. I know that there are parts of the house that I want REAL wood flooring, no matter what, but I'm specifically talking about the parts of the house that would have to have a bit more leveling work done.
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you allow any moisture to get beneath the laminate floors they will buckle. The same goes for hardwood. If you read the fine print on the laminates, you'll see that the warranty is void if moisture gets beneath the product..... must have been a problem with the installation. I've heard claims that its almost impossible to patch a section of laminate that has buckled.

    I installed Pergo in my kitchen several years ago. I like it, but my dishwasher had a slow drip leak that went under the kickplate and beneath the Pergo. Dealers rep said "so sorry, your fault." So, don't put it in the kitchen or bathrooms.

    Consider bamboo. It looks like a hardwood floor and its truly a renewable resource, unlike hardwood. It also is nearly waterproof. It comes in the sizes and shapes as hardwood flooring. I've had some in a bathroom now for three years and I love it. Its warmer on the feet than the laminate.

    I've installed all three and will install bamboo throughout my house early this summer. gobug
     
  5. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Gobug, where did you find bamboo flooring? I've only seen bamboo mats/rugs used at the beach and in homes when I was in Japan. I'd really like to see that in person! Thanks --
    BW
     
  6. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    The first time I saw a bamboo floor was being marketed at the "Ecco Expo" in Los Angeles about 5 or 6 years ago. Very pretty!

    Have you looked at the in floor heating system? heating coils are set in a glue?? and the floor is then placed over the top. I have been so interested in this kind of radiant heat.

    As to which floor is best? in my house one that can with stand my kids, husband and dogs, the occasional goat, turkey or rooster that wanders in.
     
  7. Kung

    Kung Administrator Staff Member Supporter

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    Which is exactly why I'm having the foundation of the house, as well as the floors, sealed and treated to ensure that they've got a moisture barrier. We've only had that problem in two rooms, and the causes were obvious - both were patched incorrectly when cracks appeared, and they were allowed to go untreated. Till I moved here, that is. :D

    I've already got a floating wood floor in the kitchen; it's been there for 20 years, and it's just fine. But the actual installation of it is what I have a problem with....it was done fairly loosely. I want to do another wood floor, BUT my father and I are going to install it so that it's STRAIGHT. *LOL* However, I'm not putting wood flooring in either of the 2 rooms that were subjected to water damage. One's getting wood laminate AFTER sealing, and the other is getting nothing but a paint job. :) I will definitely have to look at that bamboo floor though. Can you post/take pics?
     
  8. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    I have hardwood floors in my living room and hallway, and under the carpet in the 2 bdrm's. The wood is easier to maintain, with kids and pets and dh's construction-debris covered work boots, but the carpet sure does make it warmer, thats why its still in the bdrm's. We put in a floor rug which helps, but its still chilly. But I tell you what-I sure don't miss that nasty carpet.
     
  9. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I will if someone will tell me how. I have "clicked" the icon above with the mtn that says "insert image", and I have copied a jpg and tried to drag or paste without luck. You can go to ebay and search on bamboo flooring. You can buy it with some variety in finish and grain for about 3$ a sq ft delivered. The finish is guaranteed for 25 yrs I think. Check it out. gobug
     
  10. Leigh*

    Leigh* Member

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    No vapor barrier under your slab? The stuff you're painting on to "seal" the floors and create a barrier won't do it (these after-market "barriers" are like condoms, dams, and fences--a little bit sometimes still gets through). Mostly designed for leaky basements and intended to keep water from actually dripping and pouring in, but not able to keep all moisture out. If the house were new, I'd sue the builder. Assuming it's older, well, the only permanent solution is to strip off any old flooring down to the concrete, go ahead and put down the vapor barrier that should have been there (heavy-duty pool-liner or whatever) and then you really should place a new subfloor over it, being careful not to pierce the barrier--which is difficult, which is why the vapor barrier is supposed to go UNDER the concrete. You need to be sure before you floor, so do your own test. After you've painted on your moisture barrier, put a plastic baggie loosely on the bare floor and place a heavy glass mug on it. After 24 hours, lift the plastic. See any moisture?

    You've got two problems: the moisture and the uneven floors (find out who the builder was and spread the word). Folks feel more comfortable with laminate I guess because it comes in a nice plastic-wrapped package with instructions. I've done both and the laminate is no easier, and can be actually less forgiving. Though it's true it doesn't need a subfloor, it needs a level (but not smooth) surface. I agree with the above posters that if you DO have a moisture problem the laminate is actually much less forgiving.

    But don't put down anything until you solve your moisture problem.
     
  11. Kung

    Kung Administrator Staff Member Supporter

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    Yes, I know this. If I didn't specify above, I should have....my UNCLE put down flooring with NO vapor barrier at ALL. I, however, am NOT making the same mistake. I'm sealing/priming the floor just to 'prepare' the concrete; and am then putting at least a vapor barrier down. :)

    I've done that...and there was no moisture problem. The 'problem' is NOT from a lack of sealing the concrete itself (or under the concrete). The problem is that there was/is a small crack in the foundation. That is being repaired as I speak. :)

    The builder was my uncle. :p And like I said, my quarrel with him wasn't that the concrete wasn't sealed; it's that there was no vapor barrier ON TOP OF the concrete - no plastic, no subflooring, no primer on the concrete - to provide a barrier between the concrete and the carpeting.

    Really...I will definitely keep that in mind. It's seeming more and more like bamboo is the way to go.

    I won't. :)
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey, I happened to be walking through Home Depot yestrday, and can across a pallet full of a basement subfloor material. It had the word 'core' in it's name - DriCore, something like that? It was 2x2' pannels of a partical board on top, and thicker black plastic with dimples on the bottom. Said it was for putting on concrete basement floors & laminate flooring over, made claims about keeping the floor dry & uneven flooring.

    Don't know anything about it, but wanted to mention it?

    --->Paul
     
  13. Kung

    Kung Administrator Staff Member Supporter

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    Hmm....I'll have to check that out. :)