DIY LVP Prep/Install & Material Questions

Discussion in 'Vinyl Flooring Q&A' started by Italiano86, May 1, 2019.

  1. Italiano86

    Italiano86 Member

    Hello everyone,

    Just signed up to ask some questions after reading tons of posts about installing LVP and what materials to use. Looking forward to hearing from the pros! I'm going to do all the install and finish work, but will most likely hire a pro for leveling the sub floor if need be.

    Background: I live in a second floor condo, with neighbors above and below me. I currently have carpet in all rooms except bathrooms and kitchen, which has sheet vinyl I believe. Condo is 3 bed, 2 bath and about 1400 square feet. I will be installing LVP in the entire house, mainly for cost/waterproof reasons.

    I have my eye on Cali Vinyl Pro which I can get for about $3 sq/ft. I was looking at the Coretec but can't justify the higher price since I will rent this condo out in a couple years, unless the quality/scratch resistance/longevity is truly worth the upgrade. Thoughts?

    My biggest concern at the moment is choosing the BEST possible underlay to reduce as much sound/noise/impact as possible for the neighbors. I am looking at Cali Complete and Quiet Walk at the moment, and would like to hear your opinions on these, and any other recommendations. Would like to keep this budget at less than $1 sq/ft.

    I just took a look at my subfloor, and am not 100% sure what type it is. Poured Gypsum perhaps? I attached a couple pics for clarification. The floor sounds like typical plywood when tapped and does not seem solid like concrete. The condo was built back in 06 and I'm in Southern California.

    Any ideas what I might expect to pay to level this if it needs to be done? I could attempt myself, but realize how crucial it is for how well the flooring ends up.

    Any help and feedback is greatly appreciated! I tried to keep the wall of text to a minimum, haha.

    20190501_080613 resize.jpg 20190501_080711 resize.jpg
  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Probably Gypsum, you probably need to get a copy of condo docs to see what’s authorized and go from there. Also what you put under floating vinyl has to be recommended by the finish material manufacturer.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Pioneer Carpets

    Pioneer Carpets Pro Member

    Like Mike said, your condo association can be quite particular about what can and can not be used.

    As far as the leveling. You just need a flat floor. Most floors are flat once you scrape all the existing flooring up. You can check with a long straight edge or level to see if there are low spots. Small divets can be spot filled.

    But to answer your question, how much to pay a pro to prep 1,400 sq ft for floating LVP, anywhere between $250 - $700 if no major issues in the floor are found such as crumbling gypsum or low spots greater than a half inch. But if the floor is in decent shape you could probably handle the prep yourself.
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  4. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    Uzin makes a self leveler for that. I should have used it on the job I'm on, it would have been quicker.

    Last edited: May 2, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Italiano86

    Italiano86 Member

    Appreciate all the feedback so far! I requested documentation on the construction and whatnot, but the people in the HOA office seem rather inept unfortunately and everyone I have talked to doesn't seem to know much about it. I'll keep digging.

    Does that look like sheet vinyl, or sheet linoleum? Will it be somewhat easy to get all the glue up without ruining the gypsum?

    I will be doing the rooms in separate projects, simply because I have to move all my stuff around and knock out one at a time. Could this cause a problem since I don't plan on using transitions at doorways? Cali Vinyl says the SPC flooring doesnt need it for less than 40 foot runs.

    Really hoping I don't have to mess with the prep, but if I do then I will look into UZIN. But again, if I do one room at a time, could that be problematic for leveling?

    Would the Cali Vinyl pro be a good option for $3 sq/ft tax free? I'm open to better brands that are still decently priced.

    If the floor is most likely gypsum, what do you guys recommend for the best soundproof underlay, and will I need a moisture barrier/seam tape for the gypsum?

    Thanks again for the help!
  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    If it’s Gypsum then it is already a sound reducer. Slow and steady before you make any decisions to fully grasp what you’re doing. And to absorb much more info.
  7. Graeme

    Graeme Pro Member

    I believe the pricing in our market (Vancouver) would be similar to Southern California (Don't get caught up in the currency exchange - a sandwich there is $10 USD, and $10 CAD here)

    We often quoted $2 per square foot for leveling to 1/8" over 10' (the standard for most floating floors, give or take) using that Uzin product (and other comparable SLU's from other manufacturers) That amount would cover materials and labor. If the floor was in decent shape, we would be under that amount. If the floor resembled a skate park, the price can go up from there. It was usually a good reference point for budget purposes. You can usually get an accurate estimate once the floor has been inspected and measured.

    Hope that helps. Best wishes on your project!
  8. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    2$ a ft seems absurd to me. Not sure how you get to that # including material.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Graeme

    Graeme Pro Member

    A few years ago (when I got off the tools) rates were $90-$120 per 50 lb. bag installed. I think that is a little high, as there is more competition today, but not much different.
    Keep in mind, this was prep for hardwood or floating floors, so it was not a skim coat of feather finish. We would diamond grind / prime / SLU and get better than 1/8" over 10'.
    If you can do that for less, come up here, you will have more work than you can handle.
  10. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    You could put cork or rubber down for sound also. We did one in a condo with cork and then LVP.
  11. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I think it’s too low! But there’s too much detail left out and every situation is different. Was wondering if grinding was included. I think the bag labor is a bit more within parameters. Right off the bat if you need leveler your behind the 8 ball as we always arrived into the unknown. I usually carried primers onboard to get at least started. I removed my flooring, ground the slab but am clueless how unflat it is till I get a straightedge.
  12. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    i was at 4.50 a foot. No quibble, take it or leave it. I didn't much care one way or the other.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Italiano86

    Italiano86 Member

    What sort of pricing could I be looking at for that? Also, because my floor appears to be gypsum/gpy-crete, what would be best for floating LVP?

    Do I also need to put down a moisture barrier, or tape the seams if the underlayment is waterproof?

    I don't mind doing the entire house, unless I only need the kitchen and bathrooms to have plastic/seam tape used.

    That's pretty expensive! But I'm sure the work isn't very fun to do. I can only hope the floor is relatively level, but I won't know until I pull up carpet, and even then, I'm only doing one room at a time because of so much stuff in my house.

    Can I safely demo one room and put the floor down before going to the next, or will I risk uneven floor transitions?

    Also, Cali Vinyl advertises that no transitions are needed for less than 30 foot. Should I still use a transition at each doorway, or just go from one room to the next?

    Thanks for all the info!
  14. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    Im just going to say it out loud, i have never in all my experience come across a condo/apartment floor constructed out of gypcrete in a timberframe that is not 100% completely horrible. I would pick a room, and before you get all crazy find out what it looks like. Every time i walk into one of those situations i end up walking out again because the amount of prep required to level a floor to the tolerances for a floating floor is usually more than the floor covering itself costs. That would be my first concern. As for doing it room by room it is very possible, just takes a little more planning because you need to know the plane of the floor on the other side of the door.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    No on the moisture barrier and it depends on your installer and floor company how much it would cost.
  16. Italiano86

    Italiano86 Member

    Oh jeeze. That bad huh? The one upside perhaps is the previous owner was insanely meticulous and clean and left the place immaculate, so maybe in the past 10 years she owned it since it was built the floor didn't suffer any damage. Or does the floor just fall apart on its own? I'm still waiting for an answer on how the condo was constructed, and how the floor was designed.

    I can take out a good section of flooring in the future rooms to get an idea.
    How far into the next room do you think I need to check?

    So even in the bathrooms and kitchen, I should still just use an underlayment with no barrier?

    I'll be doing the entire install as I'm pretty handy and extremely patient. Depending on how bad the sub-floor may be though I may turn to outside help.
  17. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

  18. Italiano86

    Italiano86 Member

    Appreciate the response. I merely thought you treated a concrete-like subfloor (gypsum/gyp-crete) the same as concrete and put a barrier down, and it made no mention of floor levels either. I read the directions previously but wasn't sure about my situation, especially because the directions dont mention gypsum.

    So even though I read that I DO use 6mil plastic/seam tape, I don't need to on the second floor? And if not required, I won't need it in the kitchen or bathrooms in case of possible leaks?

    I don't mind going the extra mile to protect my subfloor from water if I need to. Just making sure this gets done right. Thanks!
  19. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    I’ve done some floating floors that specified using a vapor barrier over gypcrete. I saw no mention of it in the instructions for your product. Might be worth calling technical services for clarification.
  20. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    Only thing that would help would be to silicone the edges of those areas you are worrying about. The product won't care either way as its vinyl. Not a big deal.

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