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Installing laminate in a basement

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  • Dec 22nd, 2006 11:33 pm
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[OP]
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Apr 13, 2003
385 posts
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Installing laminate in a basement

Just wondering if anyone can give me some tips.

We currently have carpet over concrete. We'd like to remove the carpet and install laminate flooring. Do we just install over the concrete? What if the concrete isn't totally even? Do we need to install a subfloor first? Do we need a vapour barrier over the concrete and before the foam layer that laminate requires? How do we handle the stairs...we were told to glue down the laminate? Is 8mm OK to use?

Any help would be great.

Thanks
23 replies
Deal Addict
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Sep 30, 2004
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Firstly , gluing the laminate is a nightmare . Go with the locking laminate say something around 7-8 mil . A sub-floor is not necessary as they now sell a foam barrier you put down first that wasn`t available not that long ago .

The stairs could take some time and you may have to resort to the gluing method . I`d try to buy only gluing laminate in the same color and pattern for the stairs .I`ve done a few floors with this flooring and its pretty simple ...g/l.
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2005
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8.3MM is great - not sure on vapour barrier - I don't think so as long as you install the underlay or if the laminate already has it attached to it you should be fine - I'd check with a professional first though. I did my stairs with laminate and what I did was glue the laminate first then nailed it down underneath where the stair nosing was installed and corner nosing as well. Turned out great.
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
13306 posts
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Cannot add much as we opted for parquet glued down to the floor. Why? Easier to repair one small section if necessary. Could be glued directly down to the Cement. It should be noted that we have infloor radiant heating. As for the stairs, had them capped in Oak and stained to match the floor.
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Nov 16, 2003
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Toronto
we put one down in ours last year. I would get a vapour barrier underlay. You can find it at home depot etc... it's very easy, just snap it together and make sure u leave 1cm around the edges for shifting or expansion.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 1, 2006
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Muskoka
Try the joneakes.com website, he has written a lot about basement flooring with tips and tricks to avoid disaster. It's in his Nuts and Bolts database.
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May 18, 2004
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just FYI installing laminate on concrete will make for a very cold floor.

If you can afford/have time to, installing a subfloor may be a good idea.
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Aug 7, 2003
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Toronto ON
I have laminate flooring throughout my entire home.
It just sold, so you can still see the MLS.ca listing here:
http://www.mls.ca/PropertyDetails.aspx? ... ID=5270225

If you check the multi-media button, you'll see pictures of the basement, or lower-level as I call it.

First, 8mm is fine.
Secondly, you totally do not need a sub-floor. If you want a little extra warmth, you can add two layers of the foam that goes beneath. The underlay can also be used to accommodate for any uneven portions of your floor.

Third - you do not need a vapour barrier.

Fourth - do not glue laminate flooring, it is meant to float. This is very important. Only on a stair installation are the boards glued to the surface.

Fifth - Home Depot, and no doubt other major hardware stores, has a free, how-to-install session for laminate flooring. These are VERY informative. Even if you choose not to install yourself, you will have information that will help you understand the process, and the important things to consider if you're home when it's being installed.

Lastly, if you are doing stairs, you may want to hire a professional to do this. It's very complex, and even though I had mine (so called) professionally installed, I took the installer to court over the stairs. They were professionally, and properly installed a second time.

Depending on the set-up of your basement, you may not find them cold. I have an area rug in my family room, where we spend the most time. In addition, I have a gas fireplace in my lower level, which helps keep the whole area warm, not just the floors.
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Feb 1, 2006
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Muskoka
daisyville wrote:
Dec 11th, 2006 12:23 pm
Secondly, you totally do not need a sub-floor. If you want a little extra warmth, you can add two layers of the foam that goes beneath. The underlay can also be used to accommodate for any uneven portions of your floor.
You can only forego the subfloor if you're 100% sure there is no water penetration throughout all seasons.

You never want to use foam under flooring in a basement, it absorbs moisture and will go mouldy if there is any moisture at all that comes up through the basement floor. Many basements do have some moisture that comes up this way, so rubber is a much better alternative.
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Aug 7, 2003
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Bullseye wrote:
Dec 11th, 2006 12:41 pm
You can only forego the subfloor if you're 100% sure there is no water penetration throughout all seasons.

You never want to use foam under flooring in a basement, it absorbs moisture and will go mouldy if there is any moisture at all that comes up through the basement floor. Many basements do have some moisture that comes up this way, so rubber is a much better alternative.
right you are bullseye, I mistakenly called it foam, when it is, in fact, rubber.
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Feb 1, 2006
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Hey, congrats on selling the house, by the way!
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Sep 4, 2002
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I am a tad confused by the rubber/foam issue. Is it those 100sqft rolls of what looks like foamy underlay that home depot sells for $19.99 with the laminate flooring? or is that not what you are refering to? Is that only used on non basement floors? what should I be looking for?
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Sep 30, 2004
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Fraggle wrote:
Dec 11th, 2006 1:54 pm
I am a tad confused by the rubber/foam issue. Is it those 100sqft rolls of what looks like foamy underlay that home depot sells for $19.99 with the laminate flooring? or is that not what you are refering to? Is that only used on non basement floors? what should I be looking for?

The roll you are talking about is standard for any floor . There is also a new first underlay for croncrete floors , but i haven`t seen it so i cant detail it for you ....
Deal Expert
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Aug 22, 2003
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Niagara Falls
There is a underlay for laminate that is to be used on concrete installations, it's not "new", it's been around as long as laminate has. ;) It has a built in vapour barrier. HD and the like sell it, just ask for it. The brand that hubby uses is blue for concrete and green for above grade installs. It's absolutely necessary for any concrete installation, not just basements. If it's not used the moisture from the concrete will cause the laminate to buckle and delaminate which is not covered by warranty.

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