Help!! Flooring for basement. Looking at LVP

Discussion in 'Vinyl Flooring Q&A' started by Sheri, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. Sheri

    Sheri New Member

    Please help. We are moving into a house in two weeks and need to remove the carpet that is in the basement. I have contemplated between replacing it with carpet or luxury vinyl plank. We have three kids and a dog and I imagine we will have children running through the basement from outside frequently.I am leaning towards the vinyl planks. I received an estimate to install at two dollars a square foot which I think is high. My husband and I are very handy and have laid tile before and am thinking it is a project we could conquer ourselves. Approximately 900sq feet. My questions:

    1) glue down or floating? Not sure if there are any moisture problems with the current slab.

    2) is this a project moderate do-it-yourselfers can accomplish. How much prep work needs to go into the concrete once we tear out the carpet?

    3) I have seen some floating floors that have a cork backing or thicker plastic. Is that necessary and what purpose does it serve?

    4). If we do floating, do we need to use any type of product under the planks?

    Thank you.
  2. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Sorry you haven't gotten a reply sooner.
    I prefer glue-down. Either way you go, the slab should have moisture testing done.

    We don't know your skill level. We've all seen work done by self-described skilled DIYers that look like it was done by a not-so-skilled person. Every product has instructions though, so follow them and do your best. Those instructions will also tell you what the substrate must be - usually flat within 3/16" in 10', clean, smooth and dry.

    If there is movement in the underlayment, the attachment mechanism may break. Flooring with attached cork or other firm material should be fine.

    Maybe a moisture barrier, like 6mil plastic sheeting, overlapped and taped. Floating floors are harder to repair than glue-down (non-locking) planks. Use the proper adhesive. Don't take shortcuts.
  3. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    A really common myth in our industry that is perpetuated by many under-trained sales people is that floating floors can handle higher moisture levels. This is completely untrue. If you read the installation instructions it will state what the Rh (relative humidity) or MVER (moisture vapor emission rate) should be. You will find that even floating click products will want the Rh 85% or less and the MVER below 5lbs. / 1000 sq.ft. / 24 hours.

    The reason is because as the moisture vapor emits from the slab it brings alkalinity salts with it. If you've ever seen the white crystals form at tile grout joints or on the outside of a block building - these are alkalinity salts left behind after the moisture evaporates. This alkalinity can effect the backing of the material. Additionally the flooring itself, while made from vinyl still has a certain amount of permeance or the ability to allow water or water vapor to pass through it. These two conditions can then effect the dimensional stability of the product over time and eventually lead to a floor failure even in a floating system.

    Jim hit the nail on the head when he said proper moisture testing should be conducted.

    In our market $2.00 / sq. ft. installation is on the lower end of the spectrum. Here, Indiana, it's normally $2.50.

    Good luck with your project and your move. I'm sure your going to be busy. :yesss:
  4. casemill

    casemill Pro Member

    Ok, to answer the first question, carpet or something that can be cleaned, I would choose something that can be cleaned. 3 kiddos, dogs, basement, it's a no brainer. Carpet is out, resilient is in. Now, next question

    "Can resilient flooring, which will trap moisture and eventually come loose from the subfloor be installed in this basement?"

    As you have seen in some of the replies to your message, you have to know if your basement slab has a moisture problem. You have carpet now, if there is a moisture problem, carpet is pretty good at evading it. It's really porous. So, before you all go and buy some flooring at a DIY store and try to install it, you absolutely have to know if this slab of yours is dry. If it's dry, then what you are talking about doing will be a couple of great and memorable weekends that you shared together.

    Also, I agree with the previous post. $2 per square foot is a little low. You might have a contractor that is not that knowledgeable about slabs and vinyl and he might be thinking that the job is easier than he believes. He may not be very experienced with this type of install.
  5. Love the two answers above. The $2/sf for a floating vinyl is low in my area as well (Canada has higher rates = same as "expensive" areas of USA...Like NY).

    Let's pretend you go with the "easier" to deal with floating floor (glue down takes so much technical know-how that it might be outside of many floor layers skill sets). Floating vinyl requires doesn't like humps or bumps. It must have FLAT.

    Carpet HIDES nasty subfloors. Humps and bumps with low/high spots all over hell's half acre. Now the carpet is gone, you discover the basement needs work. Sanding/grinding and then more self leveler in the nasty areas. This is where the "concrete testing" comes will hear that SLC doesn't like moisture. To deal with moisture you need to know what type/level of moisture you are dealing with...This level is needed just to get the floor flat...forget about the install of the floor itself. We haven't gotten there yet.

    Once the floor is flat/level (and all the ugly nastiness that entails) you can now add vapour barrier (6mil poly is suggested by just about all vinyl plank manufacturers). Then the floor is clicked together. Vinyl is funcky because it is normally quite thin. It is fiddly. Finicky. Some professionals avoid it like the plague because it can be tricky/time consuming to install.

    The concrete (and fixing it) is going to be your biggest stumbling block. In my neck of the woods, the cost to "fix" basement concrete can be $1-$3/sf. And that may or may not include materials. Really rough slabs in old homes can be $4/sf to deal with. If you have the skills and the knowledge about concrete, moisture tests/pH tests/RH tests and you are skilled enough to pick the right SLC to go with the test results you have produced, then you can save your self a tonne of money.

    I would ask for another quote from someone else...and ask about the hypothetical requirement for fixing a basement slab. Ask them their range that they have "seen" in the past. Ask about an "easily fixed" slab and then the "worst case scenario". That will give you the price range. If they look at you funny; walk away...quickly.:cool:

    Good luck.

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