Flooring options for unheated summer cottage


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Old 04-13-12, 03:10 PM
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Flooring options for unheated summer cottage

I built a summer cottage in northern wisconsin. The cottage is locked down in the winter, so there is no heat for 5 winter months. I would like the same flooring in both the kitchen and living room as it is an open floor plan. The wife wants to have a wood looking product such as laminate or vinyl planking that clicks together. Both being floating floors i'm a little leery of these because of expansion and contraction. Moisture should not be an issue as there is a cement basement under the main floor which seems to be pretty dry. Is there anything i can do to use one of these products or should i look at other options.

Joe
 
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Old 04-14-12, 03:24 AM
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Joe, welcome to the forums! You definitely don't have the benefit or normalcy without temperature and humidity control over the winter. In a nutshell, dissimilar materials will expand and contract at different rates. Tile, although it will be installed over a backing, could possibly tend to crack due to extreme cold and humidity loss. Products as mentioned (Allure) will possibly lose their tackiness and delaminate with the same situation. Nail down wood flooring will be stable, but it has to expand and contract against a kazillion staples installed through it. Oddly enough, IMO, your best bet would be a 5/8" or so click lock engineered wood product. Your fear of expansion and contraction would be the opposite as the entire floating floor will move at once and won't tend to crack or warp, provided the necessary edge spacing is attended to.
I would not be too concerned with humidity......but the lack of humidity during the winter. You come back in the spring, and everything changes, so would your flooring. Just food for thought. Others may have better answers, especially for your area, so stay tuned.
 
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Old 04-14-12, 06:36 AM
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I was kind of thinking the same was Larry was, that with the temperature swings, a floating floor is probably going to work just fine, since it will shrink a LOT when it gets cold. I'd just be very sure that nothing gets nailed through the floor around the perimeter that would pin the floor in place. If you trim the floor perimeter with base shoe or quarter round, for example, be sure that it all gets nailed to the base, not down through the flooring.

The only concern might be the sheer size of the area. I really don't know how much it would shrink given the cold Wisconsin winters, and the larger the floor the more shrinkage there will be. That's probably the biggest concern, and the mfg would probably have the best answers.
 
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Old 04-14-12, 09:21 AM
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My boss has a cabin in northern Minnesota that is unheated in the winter except for one weekend he has a snowmobile weekend up there. He has 3/4" solid oak wood flooring that he put down in the main area and bedrooms when he built it about 20 years ago. This floor has no cracks, splits, or other defects, other normal wear and tear on the finish which is polyurethane.

In the "sun room", which is an addition he put on about 5 years after he built, he had carpet until one of his dogs started ripping it up. They decided to put down 12" tile flooring. He did put down some Hardi board underlayment and then used a modified thinset. It has been down for at least 5 years and again, no cracks or loose tiles.

My in laws have a cabin on the same lake and they have vinyl flooring in the main and carpet elsewhere. No issues and this has been down for 20 years.

I am no flooring expert, this is just what I have seen and experienced. Hope this helps.
 
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Old 04-15-12, 06:40 AM
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Flooring options for unheated summer cottage

Thanks all for the info. I'm going up north this weekend, I'll check out some flooring shops to see what is available and affordable.

Joe
 
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Old 04-18-12, 11:24 AM
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This thread is timely; i was about to post a similar thread.

I have the same situation and have come to a similar conclusion - floating vinyl plank flooring. I've been evaluating Allure Ultra and Swiftlock (Novalis). I think i'm going with Swiftlock due to cost. Both warranties are silent on temperature but there is an "extreme conditions" clause.

The frustrating this is that I've been getting different answers from different people. Some say vinyl is ideal (there is a linoleum floor today) - others say no, but they seem to be CYAing.

Any more advice would be appreciated.
 
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Old 05-01-12, 06:33 AM
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My 2 Cents

There are quite a few viable options here. The quality of the product used will have as much to do with how it handles extreme temps as the type. In my experience a floating floor will have more of a tendency to come apart over time (I installed a click n lock variation at a rental 3 years ago and it needs replacing already). I think your best bet would be something moisture resistant like old fashioned tongue n groove hardwood with plenty of nails and a poly finish. The moisture change seems to be the biggest factor in expansion in contraction from my experience. Hope that helps. Good Luck!
 
 

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