Need advice about flooring for first floor slab please!

Discussion in 'Help Selecting the Best Floor Covering' started by Lotto98, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. Lotto98

    Lotto98 New Member


    We live in the Chicago area in a two-story house without a basement, so our first level is a slab. One year ago we completely renovated our first floor. We used to have laminate on the first floor, but the pieces were separating from one another — we could slide them across the floor at least by a few inches near the old cabinets.

    When we redid the floor, we installed a stranded, waterproof bamboo with a rubber backing. Within a few months the bamboo was already splitting and some of the boards are popping up. We’ve replaced boards but it keeps happening. The contractors who installed the bamboo did not level the concrete first — they insisted that they did not need to.

    Now, only one year later, we are looking to replace our bamboo floors. I don’t know if the problem is due to poor quality bamboo or due to not leveling, or both. We had installed a plastic vapor barrier under the bamboo, with an underpayment on top of that.

    I am not struggling with what kind of flooring to install. We can’t keep replacing the floors — this is costing us a fortune. I was considering the luxury vinyl floors, but I worry about VOCs and chemicals. I am open to laminate, and was also considering engineered hardwood. We have kids and a dog so need something that is durable.

    Please send me your recommendations for the best flooring for a first floor slab, as well as installation recommendations. This will be installed on the entire first floor — kitchen, bathroom, living room, family room. I want the installation done right, so we don’t have to replace the floor a year from now again!

    I attached photos of the splitting bamboo.

    Thank you so much!

    Attached Files:

  2. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    I’d recommend coretec, and a pro to do the prep. A general contractor and a flooring contractor are two very different things but lines often get blurred in people’s minds when hiring.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I would find an NTCA Contractor in your area. And someone that knows Floor preparation specs and standards inside and out. Flooring should be replaced for limited reasons. Decor change, major damage like flood. Not from improper installation, ignorance etc.
  4. Lotto98

    Lotto98 New Member

    Thanks - is coretec a sealer for the concrete? I’ve had a couple flooring guys out and one guy said it was a bad product; another said the floor should be leveled. Another said only leveling where necessary. In the meantime, all of our new cabinets and countertops and in now so they will have to work around those ...
  5. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Are there gaps under cabinets? That “may” give you a tell tale sign if Floor is unflat
  6. Lotto98

    Lotto98 New Member

    They installed the floor under the cabinets. The floor is fine in some areas, but is splitting and lifting in other – some near the cabinets, and some not.
  7. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I saw installation related issues, at least in my mind. Only way to know for sure would be, upon demo of the flooring, to cut those areas out separate, and check for T&G damage. I would also have some moisture testing done, 3d party, before buying any more floor. Coretec is a WPC product, better around moisture, for me a better choice then laminate in a kitchen, too many ways for the floor to get exposed to leaks and spills.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Many reasons I don’t like flooring to go under cabinets. Floors get changed out more than cabinets so floors butt to cabinets. Movement will cause those issues in photos
  9. Lotto98

    Lotto98 New Member

    I had told them to level the floor and not to put it under the cabinets but they insisted it would be fine. And now the contractor is blaming the flooring. I just don’t want to have to do this again ...
  10. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Ok, so you’re engaging is what my wife says as a Realtor and she has a perspective(lead) buyer/seller email/phone/whatever. So let’s keep it real. I’d consult/find a flooring inspector(Steve I believe suggested it) Dan Shultz is a dam fine one for hardwood, there are others I think! you need to know exactly what occurred/cause. And I see a lot of customers getting rid of one type of flooring due to issues only to have different issues with other types of flooring. Basically trading one problem for another.

    Waterproof Bamboo? Never heard of it.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019

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