01-26-2012 12:38 PM
We recently purchased a new tri-level home and need to put in new flooring in the bottom level (not quite a basement, but the floor is below ground). The problem is that during the summer when it is humid, condensation builds up on the current floor, which is tile on top of cement. The previous owners had put carpet with a foam pad over the tile, but that was just plain nasty after years in the damp environment.
So my question is, what are my options for what to use for our new floor to put on top of the existing tile?
I've looked at vinyl plank flooring (click together, not sticky-back), which looks like a good option, but do I need to put down a vapor barrier too? I've also looked at additional sub-floor products like Dri-core, but I'm not sure about their effectiveness in my situation, plus the addition of almost an inch of height may not work for us.
I just want to do this right and not spend a lot of money on something that ends up going bad.
Thanks for any suggestions.
01-27-2012 01:45 PM
Hey there Habes630,
Thanks for joining our community!~
Sorry to hear about your condensation conundrum...but let's see if we can't get your lower level back to good working order.
The first thing that I'll point out and what should really be the major focus of this project, is that the humidity problem needs to be addressed.
A new floor, even one as wonderful and resilient as Allure, won't fix your issue. Your condensation issue is one of simple science. You have hot and humid air meeting up with your colder tile, thus causing the change from gas to liquid and *boom* condensation!
To rid yourself of the excess moisture, you have a few solutions at your disposal:
First off, a de-humidifier will be your new best friend. An acceptable and widely comfortable humidity level within a home is anywhere between 35-60%...I would hazard to guess that yours far exceeds this rating. Placing a dehumidifier like this KUL 30 Pint Dehumidifier will help out quite a bit in the removal process, along with a hygrometer like the Essick Air Products Digital Hygrometer to tell you your current readings. Keeping your AC at a decent temperature will also help quite a bit, because I imagine it's quite hot down there to be causing that condensation.
Alternatively, if you really wished to stay with the tile look, you could remove your existing tile and install a radiant heat element underneath the flooring, much like the SunTouch Radiant Floor-Warming Mat. This way you can keep the tiles warm enough to remove the chance for condensation. It's more work, yes, but it may wield a more desirable look for you. You can read more about it in our Project Guide.
If you did want to change up the floor and eventually put down the Allure flooring that you mentioned, then you may or may not need to skimcoat the surface first. Since the Allure Ultra is so thick (20mm), it technically doesn't need to be skimcoated when going over tile, provided that your grout line is relatively flush with your tile (1/8" in or less). If it does exceed that, then you will want to skimcoat it with a self-leveler. I would recommend doing this regardless however, as it will provide a solid and even base for your new flooring.
As you noted, you want this to be a project that goes smoothly and doesn't end up wasting time or money. I would highly suggest fixing the moisture problem first and foremost, then worrying about what type of floor you're putting down. As you saw by the previous owners mistake...just covering it up won't fix it with this project.
I hope this helps you out!~ Keep us informed on how it goes and let me know if you have any further questions.
I’m a Home Depot Store Associate, trained and authorized to help people on the Internet.
02-06-2012 12:38 PM
Thank Mr. Jay for the detailed response. We will definitely work on tackling the humidity problem. Part of the issue is that we have baseboard heating, so we don't have A/C. We'll have to rely solely on a dehumidifier.
Assuming that the humidity problem is conquered, we would be safe to even do a laminate floor, right? That would require an underlayment - something like a Roberts 3-in1, if I'm not mistaken.