Floor not level under new vinyl click-lock laminate

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  #1  
Old 01-21-16, 03:07 PM
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Floor not level under new vinyl click-lock laminate

I recently installed some very nice vinyl click-lock planks (looks like laminate but is waterproof) in our family lake cabin. I put a 3 mil vapor barrier/felt type underlayment under it.

My dilemma.....the home was added on to, so where one of the additions matched up, the flooring was probably 1/8" off. After much discussion and thought, I decided to NOT pour the liquid floor leveler to account for the difference - and it was not quite consistent enough of a difference to screw down a 1/8" piece of luann or something similar. In short, I was advised, and figured, the the somewhat pliable nature of the vinyl would be OK with the slight difference, and I did not want to create a headache (floor leveler) for my kids/grand kids in case they went in later on in life and wanted to pull out the layers of flooring and subfloor and get down to the floor joists.

So....I installed the vinyl/laminate in the house, and it looks great. However....at the exact spot where the too additions meet up, there happened to be a seam between the tongue and groove of two pieces/rows of the laminate. The first time I rolled a dolly with an appliance over it, it snapped the connection down the 1/8" variance, and now a single piece of laminate moves up and down 1/8" when stepped on. I am so furious at myself for not leveling it out.....

Is there anyone that has any suggestions? I really don't want to rip out 50% of the floor in order to fix it, then reinstall. The piece is near a wall, so I have toyed with removing a piece of baseboard, and trying to reach onto the sides of the piece of laminate where the issue is, enough so that I could maybe pour, or use a funnel and tube to pour in some liquid floor leveler, and hope it travels to the low spot and fills the void underneath the underlayment, and then makes the problem go away. I think I could do this without pulling apart the seam of the two laminate pieces.

I have thought of just screwing it down to the floor right through the laminate, then filling in with a matching color wood filler. But I would still have a 1/8' low and a little lip since the tongue is broken off.

I have thought about a transition - but it would look silly and be a bit of a nuisance between a living area and kitchen (high traffic area).

I have thought about screwing in a drywall screw a little ways, and using that to pull up the piece in order to pour flooring leveler in the side of the floor...


Any pros or amateurs out there who have ever screwed up something like this and attempted to fix it? The whole project turned out great....aside from this little snag...


Help!!!!

THANKS

Nathan
 
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  #2  
Old 01-21-16, 03:21 PM
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Can you lift up one or two pieces to put in some underlayment?
 
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Old 01-21-16, 04:00 PM
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I'd hold on for further advice from some of the floor pros.
For me, I have 2 entryways into the kitchen, both high traffic and both have reducers.
The reducers are rather thin, match the floor, and feel comfortable when stepped on.
 
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Old 01-21-16, 04:56 PM
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The number one most important thing to do in flooring is proper prep. You knew, but you listen to someone else. The click lock on vinyl is fragile as you have found out. The installation instructions would have told you tolerances for acceptable subfloor prep.

Best you can do is take blue painters tape. Mark and label all the perimeter cut pieces so you can peel back the floor, repair the area and reinstall the flooring. Chalk it up to experience and move on. Don't look for short cuts as you will probably make the situation worse.
 
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Old 01-22-16, 04:35 AM
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I know, I know. I thought it was going to work, and was pretty close to the tolerance allowed. Trust me, I wish I would have poured the leveler.

I am not sure pulling it all out is practical, but I will consider it. It will really set things back a long way, and I am not totally convinced that it is needed.

I realize that is the preferred, tried and true method, but I came here looking to see if anyone had success with another method. I did try to slide a second piece of underlayment under this area before I laid the laminate click lock, but that made it feel noticeable more uneven that without it. That is why I figured I was OK. I think half the issue is that the connection area is almost exactly on the area that is different in height. For this reason...I am not sure the extra underlayment will work.

Anyone have any other ideas? I am really thinking that pouring the liquid leveler underneath the area will allow it to travel exactly to the low spot and build up the area needed way better than the extra underlayment. I am somewhat concerned about the seam between the two pieces, one with the broken young. But when the piece is pushed down (and leveled) it is perfectly smooth, without issue. I am thinking that the perfectly level floor underneath will allow it to be OK. That is really what I am looking for feedback on...am I totally in left field?

I am trying really hard to avoid the transition pieces, because it would not really be a step down, just a bump on an otherwise smooth floor.

Thank
 
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Old 01-22-16, 05:03 AM
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Under normal circumstances, you are not supposed to use self leveling compound on top of plywood or OSB. Wire mesh is supposed to be used to give the compound something to grab on to. Also, even if this was on a concrete slab, a primer would need to be applied to the concrete to make sure a good bond was provided between the SLC and the concrete. Further, it you have every used SLC, you would know that it is a mess to deal with and there is no clean way to inject some into your problem area. So, I can not think of an easy solution for you.

There also seems to be a general misunderstanding about self leveling compounds. They do not level themselves, they still need to be tooled and pushed into place. It really has he consistency of pancake batter in that it spreads out when poured but certainly doesn't completely flatten out unless you work it. It is considered self leveling in that it will never hold a "peak" and will always slump. But the name "self leveling" is, in my opinion, misleading

I am somewhat concerned about the seam between the two pieces, one with the broken young.
Assume you meant tongue not young. I would be concerned about his as well. This seam will open and close with the change of seasons and be a constant reminder of the issue you have here.
 
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Old 01-22-16, 05:35 AM
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I've used layers of 30 LB. roofing felt as a shim before and it worked out fine.
 
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Old 01-22-16, 09:49 AM
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thanks for the suggestions - Joe thanks, that seems like something logical to try before the tear out - exactly what I was hoping to learn here!

I know I didn't do it textbook, and there is a chance I will retreat and tear it out and fix it right. I guess there is no harm in trying this out prior - which is what I wanted to discuss here.

All in all - thanks for the discussion

Nathan
 
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Old 01-22-16, 12:42 PM
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I guess I am sounding defeatest, not my intent.

Just how do you propose to get this 30# felt paper under your flooring? Its one thing to shim before the floor goes in, as I'm sure that is what Joe is referring to. But with the floor down, a damaged tongue on one piece of flooring, I'm at a loss as you how you will shim your floor. If you do somehow shim your one piece, I fear that you will simply shift the weak spot to the next tile and they have tongue and groove issues on the next one over.
 
  #10  
Old 01-23-16, 05:24 AM
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I guess I am operating under the premise that the worst case scenario is that I remove it and install - so there is no harm in trying to fix it prior to that.

I have a gap on the side, that I believe I can get underneath and pry up a bit. Then my plan is to try and slide in a piece of felt along the floor - underneath the underlayment is linoleum, so I believe it will slide. I will just need to cut a piece of felt paper the proper direction, and try to keep some tension on it while it navigates the 90 degree bend going in. Call me crazy....we will see if it works.

In order to not shift the issue to the next piece/tounge, I will make a staggered stack of felt paper - kind of feathering the height difference out. I might even do this before hand and glue/fasten the pieces, then slide them all in together in a stack. For example - maybe a 5" piece, with a 4" piece on top, a 3" piece on top of that, a 2" then a 1" strip....feathering out the heigh difference, and hoping to make up the 1/8" difference near the broken tongue, and then gradually declining moving out to the next piece, where there is no issue. Hope that makes sense. It makes sense in my mind anyway.

I am clear there is a definite chance this will not work, in which case, thank you for the suggestion to mark the end pieces and them remove/reinstall. If it comes to that, at least I will not need to make any runs to the chop saw, so it should be easier than the first time.
 
  #11  
Old 01-23-16, 05:33 AM
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gradually declining moving out to the next piece, where there is no issue. Hope that makes sense.
It makes sense, I did this under my refrigerator, which I shimmed up much more than your floor.
The fridge hardly ever moves though.

Your seams are a lot more prone to separating than the floor I used, and probably will separate.
All you can do is try.
 
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