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Vinyl over concrete - just do it or add DMX 1step 2.0?

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  • Feb 28th, 2021 9:48 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 3, 2004
516 posts
31 upvotes
North York

Vinyl over concrete - just do it or add DMX 1step 2.0?

Replacing carpet in my basement and now have this dilemma. Reading the forums it looks like that lots of people just install vinyl planks directly on the concrete floor. That’s enticing cause it’s the easiest and cheapest route :) However two main concerns would be trapping the moisture and temperature of the floor.

In my case after I removed carpet I didn’t see any moisture anywhere but who knows, that’s just what I see. I got lifestepp 8mm planks with 1.5mm ixpe underpad if that matters. Looks like dmx version 2 was specifically designed to work with vinyl planks if they are over 4mm or so. But it’s additional ~$1k expense... Oh, can’t go with anything thicker due to very low ceilings in some spots (and price) :)

So I guess I have 2 questions:
Anyone used version 2 with vinyl planks? I’ve seen someone had bad experience with airflow product but nothing about 1step v2

In terms of temps, will it help a bit? Right now concrete is around 16-17c, planks over concrete are at 17-18 and original carpet was around 18-19 or something like that.

Thanks!
28 replies
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Dec 10, 2008
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I don't understand why people think vinyl planks on concrete traps moisture. It's not an airtight system. Use a dehumidifier and you won't have problems unless you have an excessively damp basement - and at that point, maybe you should address that issue before installing flooring. Worst case, you have moisture issues and have to pop up the floor, clean it, and start again.

It's colder, for sure. There's no getting around that without $$$ and a loss in headroom. I have vinyl + concrete on 50% of my basement and engineered hardwood + 1-step in the other 50%. The hardwood is about 1-2*C warmer than the vinyl. That's noticeable if you're not wearing shoes/socks. But sitting areas have rugs, at the end of the day is it a big deal?

If I wanted to install 1-step with vinyl, I'd want to put down some 5/8" OSB as well (to help level everything out). That's a lot of money for a slightly warmer floor. It's also slightly more comfortable if you're standing, as the OSB and 1-step will provide some give.
Let's hug it out
Sr. Member
Jan 7, 2013
776 posts
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Oshawa, Ontario
I recently redid a workout room in the basement from carpet.

I leveled the concrete with LevelQuik from Home Depot.

Then put down the newer DMX Airflow LVT 2.0 from Lowes (thinner than the old DMX 1-Step, and designed purely for LVT). Apparently Airflow LVT and 1-Step 2.0 are both 4 mm thick.

In my case the room was only 150sqf so the cost of underlayment wasn't much. The floor seems solid.

I really recommend leveling the concrete whatever option you choose.
Last edited by Shaidin on Dec 28th, 2020 9:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Deal Addict
Nov 9, 2008
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Toronto
Vinyl straight on the concrete. Get planks with a built-in underlayment. If you've got high moisture levels then 6mil poly between the slab and vinyl planks.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 3, 2004
516 posts
31 upvotes
North York
RCGA wrote: I don't understand why people think vinyl planks on concrete traps moisture. It's not an airtight system. Use a dehumidifier and you won't have problems unless you have an excessively damp basement - and at that point, maybe you should address that issue before installing flooring. Worst case, you have moisture issues and have to pop up the floor, clean it, and start again.
Yeah, that would be problematic cause kitchen cabinets would be on top of it :) So need to get it right from the get go.

I don’t know whether it will trap moisture, that’s true, just kinda makes sense that dmx layer will provide much better airflow.
It's colder, for sure. There's no getting around that without $$$ and a loss in headroom. I have vinyl + concrete on 50% of my basement and engineered hardwood + 1-step in the other 50%. The hardwood is about 1-2*C warmer than the vinyl. That's noticeable if you're not wearing shoes/socks. But sitting areas have rugs, at the end of the day is it a big deal?

If I wanted to install 1-step with vinyl, I'd want to put down some 5/8" OSB as well (to help level everything out). That's a lot of money for a slightly warmer floor. It's also slightly more comfortable if you're standing, as the OSB and 1-step will provide some give.
I see. In my case no osb, just don’t have energy for that. Will be either vinyl on concrete or vinyl on dmx.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 3, 2004
516 posts
31 upvotes
North York
jacquesstrap wrote: Vinyl straight on the concrete. Get planks with a built-in underlayment. If you've got high moisture levels then 6mil poly between the slab and vinyl planks.
Yes, I have 1.5mm underpad on the planks. I think you are the one who had issues with airflow product, right? I wonder if 1step will be better in this regard.

If there are no issues with moisture then the only concern is cold floors. I guess the question is whether +1c is worth $1k...
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 3, 2004
516 posts
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North York
Bought one roll, going to see the difference in temperature tmrw.

Can hear some creaking when vinyl is on top of dmx, not sure if it will get better when it’s installed properly and not just a narrow strip... Knowing my luck most likely not.
6B82F5B4-96E8-4F57-9911-3C62DA250701.jpeg
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Jan 1, 2007
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Soulcatcher wrote: Bought one roll, going to see the difference in temperature tmrw.

Can hear some creaking when vinyl is on top of dmx, not sure if it will get better when it’s installed properly and not just a narrow strip... Knowing my luck most likely not.

6B82F5B4-96E8-4F57-9911-3C62DA250701.jpeg
Have you considered Dricore or the R+ version above the concrete, and then Vinyl on top of that? Is your basement framed and drywall?
[OP]
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Dec 3, 2004
516 posts
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North York
engmsf wrote: Have you considered Dricore or the R+ version above the concrete, and then Vinyl on top of that? Is your basement framed and drywall?
That will be 2x price of dmx and way taller. Have constraints in both dimensions ;)
Deal Addict
Aug 16, 2005
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North York
This is a copy and paste of my response from a previous vinyl on concreate thread I posted in a few weeks ago:

I thought my basement floor was dry too and I put vinyl plank directly on concrete without subfloor. Then I noticed some spots there was some moisture seeping up between where I would step. Lucky my basement isn't really finished so I was able to peal up the problem area but I couldn't find any leaks or cracks where water was coming up. It has been 3 years since I put the floor down and never had this moisture seeping through issue. I thought maybe there was a leak from drain from my furnace or hot water tank but nothing. I wiped floor dry and left two random pieces down in middle and after few days underneath them it felt kind of tacky and moist. Meanwhile exposed concrete around it was dry to touch.

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I used Dricore after I ripped up the old vinyl plank. I tried to save it but it was so hard not to rip the connecting seams and mold was starting to grow which would have been a pain in the ass to clean too with bleach. It also didn't help that I had to do all this shuffling around of my pinball machines not once to remove old flooring, twice to install dricore but a third time to install new vinyl plank flooring.

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I considered the DMX underlayment as mentioned by exrcoupe above but after reading some reviews people who put laminate on top of this and had their flooring shift or unclick over time. I slide my pinball machines around to work on them and they weigh on average 300-350lbs each which is way below the DMX rating but was worried the floor would shift. The savings going the DMX route over Dricore would have been like $300-350 overall. Also with Dricore it allowed me to do my subfloor in stages of shifting my games around where as the DMX i would have been tougher to install since it unrolls like carpet. Anyways, I would advise against installing without some for of vapor barrier or breathable subfloor.
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Apr 26, 2003
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GTA
Soulcatcher wrote: Bought one roll, going to see the difference in temperature tmrw.

Can hear some creaking when vinyl is on top of dmx, not sure if it will get better when it’s installed properly and not just a narrow strip... Knowing my luck most likely not.

6B82F5B4-96E8-4F57-9911-3C62DA250701.jpeg
Did you get the WPC or SPC vinyl? I got the SPC vinyl as it's much more rigid than WPC vinyl and on our basement floor feels fine with the DMX v2.0 with 8mm SPC vinyl planks.
Deal Addict
Nov 9, 2008
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Soulcatcher wrote: Bought one roll, going to see the difference in temperature tmrw.

Can hear some creaking when vinyl is on top of dmx, not sure if it will get better when it’s installed properly and not just a narrow strip... Knowing my luck most likely not.

6B82F5B4-96E8-4F57-9911-3C62DA250701.jpeg
This will not go away and is one of the primary reasons why i ripped it out and will never recommend this underlayment for vinyl planks. The creaking is because the vinyl plank needs a solid/firm subfloor. The DMX product will NOT offer that. It will continue to creak and the joints will fail as there is too much "give" in the floor. Rip it out and go no further, save yourself the headache.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 3, 2004
516 posts
31 upvotes
North York
Ok, so DMX isn’t that bad, i think creaking is mostly from vinyl planks cause concrete is not level. It creaks even when I put it directly on the concrete. However DMX seems to amplify any dips so it feels pretty spongy when walking in some spots.

Sigh, not happy with current state. I think I’ll have to level the floor after all. That’s another 1k in the worst case. Stupid floor is becoming the most expensive part of the basement reno ;)

Will see how dmx will feel like after leveling. I think I’ll feel better with it after all, just don’t want to worry about any potential moisture issues down the road.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Dec 3, 2004
516 posts
31 upvotes
North York
exrcoupe wrote: Did you get the WPC or SPC vinyl? I got the SPC vinyl as it's much more rigid than WPC vinyl and on our basement floor feels fine with the DMX v2.0 with 8mm SPC vinyl planks.
WPC I think. Did you level your concrete? When you walk, you hear absolutely no creaking/cracking at all? That’s awesome, I’m jealous :)
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Dec 10, 2008
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I think you're overthinking this. I wouldn't put any money into self-leveling concrete unless your slap is really bad. Not sure how big your basement is, or what you plan on using it for, however. You seem to be on a budget, so I'm assuming this is not a high-end reno.

DMX + 5/8 (or thicker) OSB/Ply will eliminate any minor undulations. Tapcon or ramset it down if you feel the need.
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Apr 26, 2003
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Soulcatcher wrote: WPC I think. Did you level your concrete? When you walk, you hear absolutely no creaking/cracking at all? That’s awesome, I’m jealous :)
I did a lot of research when I was deciding on vinyl in the basement as I knew there might be issues with the quality and type as it's so thin relative to other flooring options like laminate or engineered hardwood. I had my contractor specifically install SPC vinyl as it's more rigid than WPC vinyl. In my old place, I had 12mm laminate flooring installed and even at that, it felt spongy in spots as our floors weren't 100% level - talking about the 2nd floor, not basement.

I'll admit, the basement floor isn't level in some spots and the SPC + DMX is spongy in certain sections, but that's just how it is with basement floors. There are a few specific spots that do creak/crack when I step on them, but it wasn't worth the additional cost to install OSB under the vinyl to completely eliminate that. And as well, I didn't want wood on the basement floor so I had to make concessions.
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Mar 25, 2006
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You need to pay particular attention to what the manufacturer of the vinyl plank indicates as an acceptable underlayment, and many will indicate that no underlayment is to be installed.
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Dec 10, 2008
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Revisiting this as I just bought a new house with an undeveloped basement. This one is a new build with a VB under the slab. Looking to do around 800sqft, not factoring in taxes or waste.

Base cost: LVP 6mm = $2.43/sqft (Costco) = $1,944

Option 2 - 1-Step
1-Step = $0.80/sqft = $640
5/8" OSB = $1.33/sqft = $1060
Total = $3,644 or $4.56/sqft

Option 3 - Drycore
Drycore = $3.24/sqft = $2,592
Total = $4,536 or $5.67/sqft

Option 4 - 1.4" XPS
Owens 1.5" XPS = $1.28/sqft = $1,025
Total = $2,969 or $3.71/sqft

Still going LVP directly on the concrete, unless someone from Green Building Advisor can convince me otherwise. Just seems like the bulletproof approach and doesn't introduce more problems.
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Feb 11, 2018
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I have not tried 1-step, but dri-core with plastic is a terrible product! Dri-core was fine at first then it started developing bouncing spots/premature wear within a year. I'm currently doing my own basement with a sleeper floor. It consists of a vapor barrier with 2x4's tapcon'd into concrete 16 inch on center with xps inbetween and 5/8 plywood on top. According to my research the sleeper subfloor system is the only one that will last indefinitely. After my experience with dri-core I did not want to try out other methods like xps with osb due to mixed reviews. My choice of plywood vs osb again came down the longevity as I don't plan to move anytime soon.
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RCGA wrote: Revisiting this as I just bought a new house with an undeveloped basement. This one is a new build with a VB under the slab. Looking to do around 800sqft, not factoring in taxes or waste.

Base cost: LVP 6mm = $2.43/sqft (Costco) = $1,944

Option 2 - 1-Step
1-Step = $0.80/sqft = $640
5/8" OSB = $1.33/sqft = $1060
Total = $3,644 or $4.56/sqft

Option 3 - Drycore
Drycore = $3.24/sqft = $2,592
Total = $4,536 or $5.67/sqft

Option 4 - 1.4" XPS
Owens 1.5" XPS = $1.28/sqft = $1,025
Total = $2,969 or $3.71/sqft

Still going LVP directly on the concrete, unless someone from Green Building Advisor can convince me otherwise. Just seems like the bulletproof approach and doesn't introduce more problems.
Here are some completely unscientific Flir results. The room was 19.0°C at head height and the outdoor temperature was -1°C.

Concrete - 13.4°C
6mm LVP on concrete - 14.4°C
1-Step + engineered HW - 15.6°C
2" XPS + LVP - 17.0°C

I'm going to look into the pros and cons of foam more. Based on this, I don't think it's worth the added cost of 1-Step + OSB, when foam (2" XPS $$$$), is cheaper and performs better.
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