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Level concrete basement floor before laminate?


notsofast's Avatar
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06-02-12, 06:10 PM   #1  
Level concrete basement floor before laminate?

Had a flooded basement, caused by record snowfall here in Anchorage, AK. Pulled all the carpet/padding out and am now considering replacement options. Wife thinks I'm procrastinating; no, I'm thinking...

It appears that at one time the entire basement was tiled with, guess what, 9" tile (asbestos). One room was still tiled, so I got to see it, as well as remove it, carefully. Kept the concrete wet while we putty-knifed as much of the (2% asbestos, I'm told) mastic as we could. We got down pretty far--the swipe-lines are very visible and may be all the way through to the concrete. Rest of the basement has mastic remaining as well, a little heavier coat than the one I left in the one room. I don't really want to bring in a sander and make the mastic-asbestos airborn. The remaining mastic has left some texture to the floor that shows through a test section of 1st Kilz primer, then coated with Behr "1-part epoxy acrilic concrete & garage floor paint".

What other opions do I have for painting the floor that won't show the mastic-texture? Chemical remover? Sub-floor? A layer of self-leveling concrete or other such material? Stop worrying about the texture and just paint it?

Then there's the option of scrapping the paint idea and laying down "pergo". The sales person at Home Depot claimed I could just lay it down right on the floor, no sub-floor, no self-leveling material, don't bother filling in the little nail-pops left from removing the carpet tack-board. I'm skeptical, and, that'll cost me probably 2 grand for the easy snap-in tongue-and-groove she suggested. She also claimed I could easily remove it later if the basement flooded again and I could lay it back down after the clean-up.

What's true and what's fantasy? Any help is very much appreciated as I need to get this project going ASAP. Many thanks.

 
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pizzamike64's Avatar
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06-03-12, 04:17 AM   #2  
I'd never use laminate in the basement

We have a bilevel house, with our living room half below ground. When we moved in it was carpeted. 3 months later our area had tons of rain (very rare amount) and we got about 2 inches of water on the floor,actually a sewer-drain backup issue than actual flooding. The old floor was as you described yours: 9" tiles, with adhesive that was solidly stuck to the concrete. It was NOT the black cutback stuff (I have that upstairs in my house). Afterwards, our insurance paid a claim on the drain backup and we replaced 400 sq ft of room with laminate flooring. I did it myself (hence the forum!) and it looked great! HOWEVER: I would never ever do that again!! ANY water on the floor RUINS the laminate. It seeps into the seem and swells the joints and permanently warps it. Oh, and if you have pets, uggh, the urine will seep under the floor and stink. I wish I had put down nice vinyl tile to begin with. We had looked at some deluxe stuff that is extra thick and uses adhesive. Real decent looking. (although it was about $2 per sqft) After several years we had to rip up the floor and do it all over with vinyl. Its waterproof and looks pretty. Buy a quality tile, at least 99c per sq. And use area rugs as well for a warmer underfoot. (Hmm Alaska? howbout underfloor heating, with ceramic on top of it?) Thats what I would recommend for you. Sanding the floor, even scraping, is not a good idea. I thought about removing it and staining and sealing the concrete, but the mastic is a pain to get rid of.

 
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06-03-12, 09:41 AM   #3  
Welcome to the forums, both! I do everything in my power to talk clients out of installing laminate in below grade situations. Pizzamike said it all, IMO. If there is ANY possibility of flooding or even moisture on the floor, your best bet would be to install heated ceramic/porcelain tile or clean the surface and have it cut and stained.

 
notsofast's Avatar
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06-03-12, 10:15 AM   #4  
Hey! Did I get the attention of some who understands? My home is as you describe; split-level. So I want to twist your ear a bit more if you have no objection. Please, you others chime in if you have additional thoughts.

I have laminate upstairs, and I no exactly what you mean about water tolerance. Salesman made it expreedly clear that I not allow water to stand on it more than 20 minutes. Imagine what intrusion from below would be like!

Not to beat the horse too much, what's your take on the new Allure plank flooring, which is said to be. Your excellent advice is well-thought out, so I'd like to keep the conversation going. If the laminate you had put down had been solid poly, so would be immune to water damage, free-floating, so no glue, and "easily" removable, so you could remove it so you could get things completely dry (prevent mold) if there was another "flood"? I think you can see why it sounds attractive. The tile is a consideration, espcially if I can get it for $0.99/sq./ft. (the Allure flooring is $2.79 on sale; $3.59 regular price). You are referring to "vynal" (poly?) tiles, yes? I ask because my wife had considered ceramic tiles, which I think would require self-leveling cement layer, adhesive, and grout, if I have it right. Thoughts on that?

You implied I could glue tiles down over the existing mastic. That is attractive; I think encapsulation to be an acceptable danger-barrier to any toxins, which this would provide. One more question on the tile subject: is vynal tile better than roll vynal flooring, which I have in one bath that seem to be pretty durable and water can't seep in the way vynal gets sometimes when wet. We have vynal tile in the laundry, and the flood loosened several tiles and I can easily lift them out.
I'm guessing my idea of epoxy paint over Kilz primer is not too good an option?

Thanks again. I feel much better having this forum to go to as a resource. Sorry if I am too wordy, but I am a bit obsessed by this crisis. It has turned our world upside down, almost literally, as we now have the same amount of stuff in a one-story rather that 2-storey house plus a 4 year-old little boy who LOVES all the neat construction stuff to play with (Daddy's toys)

 
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06-03-12, 11:36 AM   #5  
Allure is a fine product, easy to install and is quite durable. The glue is not totally waterproof, so the problem still exists. Laminate is.....well laminate, and not a "solid poly" whatever that is. 12" x 12" ceramic tile can readily be bought for pricing about 58 cents each and up, so the choice is there. If you don't require under floor heating, it would cut your costs considerably. VCT will delaminate from your glue if water is introduced over time. Linoleum works if the water is from above. If from below or it gets in under the linoleum, then you will have the same problems in mold, etc. and it won't remove that easily. Unless your slab is terribly out of level, or has boogers in it, leveling can be kept to a minimum, as thinset will help with the forgiveness factor. A reasonable amount of scraping of the old glue would be advised, although a perfectly flat surface is not always attained.
Kilz is not used to prime concrete floors. I will, however, defer paint to our paint guru, who will chime in here shortly. He will have excellent advice for you to paint it with, if you decide to go that route.

 
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06-03-12, 07:17 PM   #6  
vinyl vs laminate

Allure looks interesting, but its new to me. I was talking about vinyl self-stick squares. They are cheap, but sometimes they look pretty good. They range in price from 58c to 1.59+ You get what you pay for there. As for water, they are meant to take a good water mopping, so they do stand up to water. But of course, as with anything, its not meant for a flood! I had a washing machine drain leak, and the tiles came loose from the concrete, but I placed them back in their spots, and they stuck back down after they dried. If your floor is bumpy with the old mastic it needs to be smoothed, mine had just a little grooves to it, so i used a razor scraper and knocked off the high-points. The tiles i chose were thick enough that no imperfections in the floor underneath have shown thru. But i also filled in the tack strip holes too, since those were much deeper than any grooves from the old mastic.
I guess i chose the 12x12 inch squares because they are easy to put down, and i have done it before. I have not done the large rolled sheet vinyl, but you're right, it is waterproof. I had it in my bathroom, and i took it up and laid cheap squares, which i regret doing.
BTW, what color is the old glue you scraped up? black? That cutback adhesive is horrible to remove.
I can't imagine trying to take apart a pergo floor, or any brand of laminate, after a flood and then trying to reuse it and having it look good. I think the saleslady was crazy on that. But then again, no finished floor can really withstand a flood, unless you have plain concrete. Have you seen pics of concrete floors professionally stained? those look cool too.
As for ceramic tiles, those are an awesome floor choice, very durable. Tiles after all were even used back in old Roman days, and are used all over the world. They are more difficult than the self stick tiles, but if you have that skill, then by all means, do those. I actually am going to do my bathroom with ceramic here in a week. First time for me and I'm 47! I hope i do it right!

 
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06-05-12, 08:27 AM   #7  
Black goo and tiling floor

The glue is black, and a booger to remove. We scraped down to a slightly perceptible textural feel. We are leaning to the self-stick tile you used/suggested. The tile that came loose during the flood did as you said; glued themselves back down and I can't budge them (tried to to get a 2nd look under them for inspection of floor condition and couldn't do it). Sounds like we'll need to finish filling the nail pops. I'd like to do ceramic, but worry about my meager skills in that (though I was a brick/block mason for a year or so in college). Does it require a layer of self-leveling cement; is that difficult? I'll search for it in the "how-to's" but it seems to be a horizontal form of bath wall tile that requires spacers and grout, then acid cleaning--am I right? On the other hand, I have a neighbor who loves his self-tiled ceramic tile basement, and braggs unceasingly of how easy it was! Suggested weekly visits to stores to look at the tiles on sale and grab the one(s) we like when on sale. Maybe I can enlist his help. Thanks for all the great information. I was very skeptical with the "waterproof" flooring the sales tried to sell me. Tiles sound more workable.

 
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