Replacing floating flooring

I’m starting this blog with my first post being about replacing a floating floor (usually made of laminate, and popularly known as Pergo). The reason I picked this topic is because my daughter and her husband just bought their first home. They knew they needed to replace the flooring, however, until their phone call tonight, they didn’t understand some of the “behind the scenes” steps that they should take to ensure that their new floor doesn’t end up warping and with same issues as the flooring they are removing.

Here’s what I recommended for them to do:

1. Buy a wet/dry vac from home improvement store. Don’t ruin your good vacuum cleaner with all the debris that will need to be vacuumed up during a renovation (please note they are doing major renovations to their new home).

2. Pull up the existing floating floor – but take note of where the issues are on the subflooring (theirs is concrete) and mark it with a piece of chalk.

3. After all the dirt and such is vacuumed up, use a straight piece of lumber – a 2×4 – and lay it onto the floor on it’s side.  It has to be a nice long piece and needs to be straight. Why? Because it is going to identify any places that the concrete floor may not be level. If you have a gap underneath the lumber, then it will need to be filled. I recommended they check with the flooring material they are interested in purchasing to see what the specifications state on how much of a gap can exist. SIGNIFICANT DROPS IN THE SUBFLOOR MAY CAUSE WARPING AND SEPARATING OF FLOATING FLOORING.

4. They can either patch the floor to make it level or hire someone to do so.

5. Identify any stains on the subfloor. Water stains have a white edge to them from the minerals in the water. They are also a good identifier to look UP and see if there was any history of leaking from above the spot. If there were any animals living in the house, and there are stains on the subfloor, then spray with a pet enzyme, let dry, and paint over with kilz to block any odor from coming back up through the new flooring.

6. Once the floor is level all the way around, paint the concrete floor with some waterproofing paint. Just in case any moisture is wicking up through the concrete.

7. Purchase flooring that can be laid on concrete — this does make a difference and should be part of the product decision making process.

8. If your purchase didn’t include an installer, then either hire one or plan on doing the installation yourself.

9. Make sure you have the correct amount of underlayment/subfloor if necessary. If your new flooring is thin, it may need luan underneath it and not just concrete. I would rather spend additional money to have a sound subfloor than have issues in the future.

That’s it – well, sort of – but the key points here are that if the subfloor (concrete in this case) has stains, use that to identify where any problems in the ceiling may have occurred; make sure the floor is level before installing a new floor on top.