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Slab Floor Q's & A's

Subfloors | Evening Slab | Adding Height to Room | Cracks | Flooring Options | Finishing
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Laying Subfloor in Basement

I am putting a sub floor in my basement . I am using 1 inch stapling 5/8 good side up plywood . the area that I am working in is a large area . About 21 feet 14 feet wide . When I am lying the stapling down should the plywood be layed going is the same direction or across the stapling.

You should lay the plywood the opposite way (turned 90 degrees) This will keep the seems from being aligned and be more stable and secure.

Plywood Subflooring on Slab Foundation

I have a slab foundation levitt home. I pulled off 4 layers of flooring and got down to the bare slab. I want to put a subflooring of 1/4" plywood under vinyl tiles.what's the best way to do this without nailing and also having some kind of vapor barrier between the concrete and the plywood ???

You can use mastic to glue the plywood down. (It will never come up for the next time though) Check where you buy it, but I think you can put a coat down, put the plastic down, and put down another coat and lay the plywood on top of that.

The cost is more, but if you go with ceramic tile they will last much longer than vinyl and you don't need to put down the plywood, they will go right on the slab.>

Evening Slab Floor

I'm in the process of renovating my downstairs bathroom and the slab floor was uneven. I purchased some "self-leveling" compound (cement) and the product didn't perform as advertised. Now I'm still left with an uneven floor. I want to lay some ceramic tiles (12x12) and was wondering just how even the floor has to be. Can I add more mastic in order to fill in these gaps? The floor is not too bad (maybe 1/4" fluctuation at the most).

Yes you can buy a thick bed mortar which will allow for your 1/4 inch fluctuations. Even thin set mortar will allow for some unevenness.  Explain what you need when you buy the mortar and tile and they should recommend the correct mortar.

Adding Height to Room

I am looking into options for expanding a family room into a 25 x 25 garage. The framing for the garage walls rests on a concrete foundation approximately 6 to 8 inches above the concrete garage floor. The garage framing is of 2 x 8 construction.

If I use 2 X 10 or 2 X 12 floor joists and place them on top of the existing concrete foundation ledge my ceiling height will be about 7 to maybe 7 and a half feet high, with an underfloor crawl space of 6 to 8 inches for wires/piping etc. I am looking for other options so I can try and achieve as close as possible to an 8 foot ceiling.

Why don't you build the floor right on top of the concrete flooring? If you rest the floor joists right on the cement floor, you can save the height. The joists by no means need to be 2x12's or even 2x10's if they are resting on the cement across their span. In fact they could be 2x4's, just thick enough for you to nail into. Even if you insist on resting the floor the foundation's ledge, you can use 2x4's just support them every 2 feet from below.

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Flooring Choices for Slab Foundation

I'm trying to evaluate flooring choices for a house I bought that has a slab foundation. The current carpet is moldy. I have been told a thermal barrier might help prevent mold in the future.  Can we put in hardwood floors? If we do carpet, what type of carpet and pad would be best to prevent future mold problems. Any other suggestions?

I would suggest ceramic tile for your floor and not just because I sell the stuff. If the is moisture coming up through the slab, hardwood would not be a wise choose unless some sort of vapor barrier were installed. Hardwood takes very little moisture from underneath. Prego may also be a good choice. But anything you choose, a vapor barrier is a good idea. Tile adhesive manufacturers make liquid paint on barriers. Check them out.

Crack in Slab Floor

When we purchased our 25-year-old house, it had a crack in the foundation. The crack goes through our dining room and kitchen. In places, the crack is 1-1/2 inches wide. It is currently covered with carpet in one room and linoleum in the other. We would love to put ceramic tile in these rooms. Is there any way to "fix" this crack?

I believe you should be able to tile in spite of this crack. When you say the crack runs through these rooms, do you mean the floors in these rooms are on the slab which is cracked? If so, has the crack widened lately, does it move with the seasons? Is the floor on either side of the crack at the same level, or is the floor on one side higher than the other?

If the floor is level, and the crack stable and doesn't move with the seasons, you can fill the crack with a cement based crack filler. Then you can apply the mortar which will be the adhesive.

If the crack is stable (no movement) and the floor is relatively level you can still use the mortar to even out the floor. A thick bed Mortar can be used to even out very rough or uneven floors and can be applied up to an inch thick.

If the crack is not stable and opens and closes with the seasons, which probably does not happen or you would notice it in the drywall etc, you can cover the floor with tile backer board known as a cementitious backer unit or CBU. Covering the floor with this will allow the cement underneath to move slightly with out cracking your tile along the grout lines.

Finishing Concrete Floors

I am moving to a new condo soon and have decided to remove the carpet and vinyl and leave the concrete floors bare. What are the steps I should take to finish them? First remove the glue from the floor, but with which type of product? Then acid wash? How exactly? How long should I allow it to dry? Also, there are lots holes caused by the nails used to keep the carpet down. Should I fill these first? If so, how? What's next? Seal it? Or is this unnecessary? I've read that concrete stain exists, but that in time, it too may peel. Is wood stain better/appropriate? Also, is it possible to "polish" the floor for a smoother look? Finally, is there a book that someone knows of that would guide me step-by-step through this process?

I don't have good directions for staining the floor, but it is process that is within the ability of most people willing to do the work. Stains today do a marvelous job of coloring the floors and I have seen examples of floors stained to look like brick.

Click here for our Plans For A Concrete Slab Article
Click here for our Want To Keep That Basement Dry Article
Click here for our Moisture In The Home Article
Click here for our Interior/Exterior Home Improvement Costs Article
Click here for our Flooring Tips Article

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