leveling floor for laminate

Discussion in 'Floor Preparation' started by New Jack, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. New Jack

    New Jack Member

    I am in the process of leveling my 3/4" T & G Exp 1 plywood over 20 inch Silent Floor engineered I-Beam center for laminate flooring. The floor is relatively flat but there are a couple of troublesome areas where the adhesive undoubtedly began to set and the deck was nailed down on the joist anyway resulting in a slight rise in the sub floor on either side of a joist. I initially went the route of using asphalt shingles to level, but despite different arrangements--gravel face up, down, in coordination with 30 lb felt, there was a distinctive crunch when test driving the laminate placing the foam pad and laminate down and walking on it. I have removed the shingles and opted for the 30 lb felt solo having only a max correction of 1/4". The problem now is when I use more than one layer of felt, walking on the laminate has a sticky sound to it where the layers of felt are sticking together. I tried sweeping some of my shop vac fine dust over the felt to help in the release of the layers, but to no avail. Perhaps stapling more or anticipating over time that the layers will "bond" and decrease in sounds of a potato chip bag crinkling. Any ideas?
  2. JetSwet

    JetSwet Pro Member

    @ New Jack, that post was quite confusing?...I can tell you that roofing felt does not belong under any laminate floor let alone...shingles?!.. Under laminate?
  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    This is now a NEW topic, not replies to someone else's topic.
  4. New Jack

    New Jack Member

    I am using the felt only to level the valleys on top of the plywood subfloor. I am placing 3 in 1 foam underlayment over the plywood and felt and the laminate on top. When I walk on the laminate, the felt has a crinkling sound where it has more than one layer. My question is if there is a way to eliminate the crinkling sound. There have been a few posts here that reference using asphalt shingles and felt to level a subfloor.
  5. JetSwet

    JetSwet Pro Member

    If your subfloor is that uneven then maybe pull it all up and sister the joists to level.
  6. New Jack

    New Jack Member

    I am doing the entire second floor in laminate @ 1200 sq ft except for the bathrooms. I an trying to avoid any issues down the road. The high traffic areas are the main concern which is where the valleys are. I've sanded as much as I can where needed, but now I am at the point where I need to add. Tearing up the whole floor is not an option with Silent Floor I-Bead construction. Sistering is a small nightmare. Nor do I believe this is needed in my naive opinion ater talking with a few folks. I would lay 3/8" plywood down over the felt, but I'm trying to avoid that $1200 price tag if possible. The flooring experts in my area told me to just sand and add Henry's Portland cement product. I'm almost at that point, but I'm paranoid about the PS fracturing over time. The felt is easy to control and is dimensionally stable. Unfortunately it crunches and crinkles when in more than one layer. I'm thinking of using some newspaper between the felt layers. What do you think Jim? I read that you liked that idea in a previous post.
  7. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I don't think I have ever advocated the use of newspaper as a leveling product. Newspaper is bug food.

    There are better quality leveling compounds and additives that adhere well and are flexible enough to withstand slight flexing of the subfloor. The directions for your laminate product should have that information and state what the flatness tolerance level is (3/16" in 10'?). What laminate product is yours?

    Thirty-pound roofing felt is sticky and will make a kissing sound when you walk over it on a floating floor that is not perfectly flat.

  8. New Jack

    New Jack Member

    I am not using the newspaper as a leveling agent. I am asking if it can be as an agent that can be used between the layers of felt to prevent the "kissing"-good term to describe the de- adherence of the layers when walking on them. I was hoping to find another way to level vs the SLC or Portland cement products. I am installing a 25 year, 12 mm laminate with a tolerance of 3 mm per 1 meter. That seems almost too forgiving. Given that, I probably don't have to do anything to the subfloor. The brand is from TriWest Flooring Industries aka made in China. I chose it because the photo quality of the laminate was nearly indistinguishable from the real wood product. I appreciate any comments you have.
  9. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    It's bug food. It will deteriorate and rot away long before the warranty of your flooring expires. I wouldn't suggest putting anything under your 25-year laminate that won't last 25 years.

    The only TriWest I am familiar with is Tri-West Ltd. which is a flooring wholesaler. The laminate products on that page are all brand name products. Please don't be secretive about the brand of flooring. We can help much better if we know what the material is and what its specifications and installation requirements are. It doesn't matter to me if it was made in China; only that it has information available so that we can offer the best guidance for the DIYer. Flooring is not one-size-fits-all.

    There are many laminate products that have a very realistic appearance. That is not all there is to the quality of a laminate floor though. And I caution you and others about placing a lot of faith in very long warranty periods when the manufacturer is as far away as China.

  10. New Jack

    New Jack Member

    Sorry. I'm was not being secretive. I couldn't remember the brand. 3 mm discrepancy over 1 m seems a bit generous doesn't it? R Paul

    Category:Laminate Flooring
    Collection:Kauai Collection
    Name:Acacia Spirit, Kauai Collection
    Uniclic System lock
    Floor Type:Laminate Floors
    Length: 48"
    Thickness: 12.3 mm
  11. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Yes, it does. I spoke with the installation manager at Tri-West; Ltd. and he said they would enforce the industry standard of 3/16" in 10'. He was answering from an airport and gave me the number to another person at Tri-West. I left a message with my number and email address and hope to hear from him soon.

  12. New Jack

    New Jack Member

    Thanks, Jim. So much information out there.

    Attached Files:

  13. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    He called me and sent me a copy of the installation instructions (apparently the same as you have): Kauai Laminate Installation Instructions :pdf:

    The instructions are not clear what an "appropriate filler" is for flattening the floor. But it does indicate that they consider 3mm equals 1/8" and 1 meter equals 3'2" - that would be 3/8" in less than 10'. The installation manager suggested that the industry standard would be their guide, which is 3/16" in 10'.

    It's unfortunate that you have been given a set of instructions that are different than industry standard. Although Tri-West is the distributor, "Gemwoods" is the manufacturer and the company responsible for the warranty. Tri-West did tell me the product is private labeled though, so I don't know who the actual manufacturer is, or who would be responsible for claims. This gets into that whole sticky mess about private labeling and responsibility.

    Following the industry standards for installation of laminate flooring would be my recommendation: NALFA Laminate Flooring Installation Guidelines :pdf: There they specifically state Portland cement based patching compounds. Although it does refer you back to the flatness guidelines of the manufacturer, I hope you understand that those limits were too extreme for any laminate and you should use 3/16" in 10' as your goal.

  14. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Use the Portland cement based "filler" which is just another way of saying floor patch. Henry's/Ardex is a good name. MANY others are more than adequate for your purposes. If your structure is moving so much that a 1/4" of GOOD QUALITY, properly applied floor patch is fracturing or coming loose of the substrate you'll have a list of 50-100 issues more pressing than concerns about tiny crackling sounds under your laminate or slight gaps here and there. Pictures will be falling off the wall and the couch will be sliding off to the center of the room. The entertainment center will be so crooked you'll have to hire three chiropractors to get the crook out of your neck from looking at the TV sideways.

    I promise with all that pain and aggravation you won't even notice the laminate.
  15. New Jack

    New Jack Member

    Thanks, Jim.

    I'll give the Portland Cement a try. I don't think I could live with the felt crackling under my step.

  16. New Jack

    New Jack Member

    I've never used the stuff, but I read a few comments about the Portland cement breaking down over time. The felt seemed like a good alternative until you start stacking it and it crackles under foot. BTW, I don't have an entertainment center.
  17. brett chaltry

    brett chaltry Pro Member

    Go to your local flooring store and buy a vinyl remnant.cut into different size strips and staple thim into low spots
  18. New Jack

    New Jack Member

    That's a good thought.

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