Vinyl plank flooring

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cubbies

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I have a finished basement and recently had a leak down there. I had to remove some drywall and tear up some carpet, plus I have been wanting to remodel down there anyway, so I am going to do it.

My situation is kind of hard to explain, but I will do my best. The finished part of the basement is one big room, pretty much the size of the whole basement. The steps come down sort of in the middle and then off to either side of the steps is two large alcoves. It was the alcove to the left of the stairs that had the carpet tore out. We have decided that instead of re-carpetting the whole area that we would tile the alcoves and then carpet the rest. However, SWMBO ran across vinyl plank flooring that supposedly looks like hardwood flooring, but is obviously vinyl.



I haven't actually gone to the hardware store to look at it yet, but I am very skeptical. Vinyl always looks like vinyl to me, and I don't particularly care for it. However, I know that a bunch of folks here at HBT are DIY guys and I am sure someone, if not most of you, have heard and/or used it.

So, those that have seen/used it, what do you think? Is it something that I should look into or is it just a cheap knock off and tile would look better?
 

rdwj

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I think your first impression is correct. I've seen some vinyl "hardwood" displays and was less than impressed. On the other hand, there do have some very thick vinyl on the market today that looks like tile. My uncle did it in his basement and it looked really nice.
 

Orfy

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I've seen it. It depends on the substrate.
It still looks like vinyl, good vinyl though. I use laminate it's cheaper than carpet and requires less preping than laminate on an iffy floor.
 
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orfy said:
I've seen it. It depends on the substrate.
It still looks like vinyl, good vinyl though. I use laminate it's cheaper than carpet and requires less preping than laminate on an iffy floor.
Well, it would be laid on concrete, it is in my basement. I like the look of the laminate...how does it do with moisture? Do you think it would work well in a basement?
 

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I had laminate installed in my place, and I love it. It's essentially scratchproof and holds up to moisture quite well. Plus, it's a floating floor, so it's simple to put down.
 

rdwj

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Professor Frink said:
I had laminate installed in my place, and I love it. It's essentially scratchproof and holds up to moisture quite well. Plus, it's a floating floor, so it's simple to put down.
there are some very nice laminate floors available. I was going to put that in my basement, but they DO require expansion joints every so often. I didn't want to have those, so I went with slate tile and carpet instead.
 

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rdwj said:
there are some very nice laminate floors available. I was going to put that in my basement, but they DO require expansion joints every so often. I didn't want to have those, so I went with slate tile and carpet instead.
I just leave gaps around the edge and use beading. It is cheap, hard wearing, looks good, easy to lay, it can be laid over imperfect bases (with underlay), comes in 100s of finishes. It is cleaner and more hygienic than carpets.

In short.....:rockin:
 

rdwj

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orfy said:
I just leave gaps around the edge and use beading. It is cheap, hard wearing, looks good, easy to lay, it can be laid over imperfect bases (with underlay), comes in 100s of finishes. It is cleaner and more hygienic than carpets.

In short.....:rockin:
Ya, you need that, but if the area is more than a certain length (20-30 ft), you need to break up the sections. That's what the instructions and my buddy the carpenter say anyway.
 

Professor Frink

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rdwj said:
Ya, you need that, but if the area is more than a certain length (20-30 ft), you need to break up the sections. That's what the instructions and my buddy the carpenter say anyway.
I've heard differing things on that. My living room is probably about that, but I didn't need any. But I've talked to people who said you do need it. I wonder if it depends on you subflooring, I'm on the second floor, so I wonder if it may be less necessary.
 

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Personally I would never install laminate in a basement but if that is what you really want make sure to install a quality vapor barrier. I would be leaning towards ceramic tiles or vinyl tiles/planks or even possibly stained concrete depending on the condition of your floor. If laminate gets wet you will be ripping it back up not to mention it is noisy even with a good underlayment.......
 
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wihophead said:
Personally I would never install laminate in a basement but if that is what you really want make sure to install a quality vapor barrier. I would be leaning towards ceramic tiles or vinyl tiles/planks or even possibly stained concrete depending on the condition of your floor. If laminate gets wet you will be ripping it back up not to mention it is noisy even with a good underlayment.......
So, if it were you, you would go with the vinyl planks if they look alright? Are they moisture-resistant enough to handle a basement?
 

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wihophead said:
Personally I would never install laminate in a basement but if that is what you really want make sure to install a quality vapor barrier. I would be leaning towards ceramic tiles or vinyl tiles/planks or even possibly stained concrete depending on the condition of your floor. If laminate gets wet you will be ripping it back up not to mention it is noisy even with a good underlayment.......
There are lots of waterprof laminates these days specially made so they can be installed in kitchens, bathrooms and basements.

As far as noise-- I have tile, wood and laminate in my house. The noise difference between them is negligible.

No more vapor barrier in basemensts is needed for laminates than there would be for carpet. No mater what flooring you re putting down you need to make sure that the basement isn't leaking or leeching water out of the concrete or you'll get moldy smells.
 

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The "water proof" laminate I have seen were only guaranteed against topical water damage. If you have a sump pump that fails will it stand up to it? Supposedly Mannington iCORE is completely waterproof since it does not have a wood core but I would still like to read the warranty. Vinyl is definitely waterproof but I would have to look at it to see if I like the look. I have used laminate in the past (it has been 3 years) and personally I would only use it in rental property not in my home. I guess it comes down to personal preference and your budget and make sure you read the warranty.
 
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I appreciate everyones help in this thread. Please feel free to add more if something else comes to mind.

I think the way I am going to handle it is I want to get a good look at the vinyl plank. If it looks 'good enough' for me, then I will go ahead and go with that. Seems like it is a good product for a basement and that the only real downfall may be how it looks. Should I not like the look of it, I will probably just resort back to what I had originally planned and do a nice ceramic tile.

Again, thanks for all the replies and help. HBT is freakin awesome.
 

wihophead

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cubbies said:
Should I not like the look of it, I will probably just resort back to what I had originally planned and do a nice ceramic tile.
Now you're talking, you can't go wrong with tile and if you do it yourself you will probably end up cheaper and have a much better product for your basement. You may want to think about radiant heating also. We just tiled my father-in-law's kitchen, it turned out beautiful. I try pushing radiant heat but he didn't want it.......

Another thing that worries me about floating floors in the basement even if they are "waterproof" is that water can get trapped between the concrete and the floating floor. This is an invitation for mold.

Good luck with your project
 

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What was the leak you had? Was it plumbing, sump, foundation wall? Not that it matters for your flooring decision... I'm just curious. Part of my job is helping homeowners with water/mold issues and how to resolve them. As others have said, tile is the best bet in a basement. It's the only non-organic flooring that will allow moisture to evaporate through it. Basements generally have a higher relative humidity than the rest of the house and often have unseen water infiltration. If tile is not an option, the other options are virtually the same as far as moisture is concerned. Vinyl would have luan underneath and hardwood, whether solid or laminate can really soak up moisture. So, a good vapor barrier is necessary. Above all, make sure you remediated any potential water intrusion sources and mold. Missing those can lead to much worse problems later. Also, a dehumidifier is great for a basement. Good luck!
 
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Well, tile is my choice as is. It was SWMBO who apparently saw the vinyl plank and wants to do it. I told her I would look at it and see if I liked it.

The leak wasn't major, but it was a PITA because it was in the finished part. It was just a small crack in the foundation. However, on that side of the house my gutters were clogged so excess water was collecting on the ground right by that crack, and also my down spout was draining directly into a flour bed (i.e. not enough roots to soak up the water). So, I cleaned the gutters, attached drain tile to the downspout to whisk it away from the flower bed, and epoxied the small crack. We have had some very hard rainfalls since then and have not had a drop inside. So, I am not too worried about water getting in. If you think there is anything else I should do PLEASE, don't be afraid to suggest them. I like to think I am at least somewhat handy, but in reality, I am probably the least handy person you know. So I am always open for suggestions.
 

menschmaschine

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cubbies said:
We have had some very hard rainfalls since then and have not had a drop inside.
... that you can see. The nature of your leak leads me to believe infrared imaging would show different... at least residual moisture from your leak. As a precaution, if you've not already done so, I would run a dehumidifier down there for a week or two. Concrete/block tends to hold moisture in higher humidity environments (basements) and any residual moisture left in your concrete/block will get pulled out with dehumidification.

PS: Clogged gutters and mulch against foundation = bad.:)
 
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Well, it is kind of hard to explain without you seeing. It was right on a corner. The clogged gutter would overflow the side of the house, and the mulch is on the front, so the gutter didn't leak into the flower bed. Also, the mulch is not up against the house. Like I said, it is hard to explain, but that shouldn't be an issue.
 

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I was looking at the same vinyl at home depot last week. I thought it looked as much like real wood as the laminates did. My Uncle just put it in a bathroom and he said it was really easy to install and he recommended it to us. I had good laminate in our kitchen for 3 years. Our dogs scratched it and the joints opened near the doors due to moisture from shoes, etc. I still have the laminate and it's stacked in the basement. We had a flood and some of it got pretty wet, it swelled up where it sat in water for awhile. I wouldn't put it in a an area that could ever get wet. The bad thing about the vinyl is they only stock 3 colors, the other colors are all special order.
 
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nyer said:
I was looking at the same vinyl at home depot last week. I thought it looked as much like real wood as the laminates did. My Uncle just put it in a bathroom and he said it was really easy to install and he recommended it to us. I had good laminate in our kitchen for 3 years. Our dogs scratched it and the joints opened near the doors due to moisture from shoes, etc. I still have the laminate and it's stacked in the basement. We had a flood and some of it got pretty wet, it swelled up where it sat in water for awhile. I wouldn't put it in a an area that could ever get wet. The bad thing about the vinyl is they only stock 3 colors, the other colors are all special order.

I'm confused, dont put the vinyl in a place where it could get wet? My understanding was that was one of the benefits. I am definitely not going to do laminate down there. It is either vinyl plank or ceramic tile.
 

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I wouldn't put laminate where it could get wet. I think the vinyl would probably work great in your basement.
 

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I just left the floorcovering business last Sept. after 21 years. I've laid over 300,000 sf of vinyl tile, 1000's of sf of Durstone, Duraceramic, vinyl and "wood" laminates. I do not recomend the wood laminates as that I've seen too many problems to list. Between Durastone/ceramic I've found Duraceramic to be better in the long run. The vinyl composition tiles are a very good product for your situation. That wood tone vinyl tile planks are easy to take care of and very durable. If you put down a vinyl tile just be sure to give it a good cleaning, some need to be stripped, and seal it with a floor FINISH or POLISH. NEVER use wax! Two or three coats. This seals the lines and eliminates any problems if water sits on it for hours or days. I had a floor survive the flood of 93 at a convenience store that was under water for about a month!! Let me know if I can be of more help.
 
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I appreciate the help Brewman, but we went and looked at it over the weekend, and I was less than impressed. Plus I talked to a buddy of mine in the flooring business and he said if the money is there he would do ceramic 100 times out of 100. We havent picked our tile yet, but we are definitely doing ceramic tile. Again, thanks for the help.
 

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cubbies said:
I appreciate the help Brewman, but we went and looked at it over the weekend, and I was less than impressed. Plus I talked to a buddy of mine in the flooring business and he said if the money is there he would do ceramic 100 times out of 100. We havent picked our tile yet, but we are definitely doing ceramic tile. Again, thanks for the help.
Not sure if you like the look or not, but Lowes has rough cut slate at a real reasonable price. I did it in my basement and it really turned out nice.

They also have a 10% moving sale price that is referenced in another thread. With a big purchase like tile, that would make a big difference.
 
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I've gone back and forth on the slate. Slate looks awesome, I agree, my buddy did his kitchen in his old house in slate and it was pretty wild. However, I think I prefer the "clean" look. What I mean by that is slate is all slightly different color, and typically not perfectly flat etc. It looks awesome, and I am not completely ruling it out, but I dont think that is the way I am going to go. We just got the wallpaper off and started painting though, so we have at least a couple of weeks to make a decision.
 

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:rockin: For the money, ceramic is the best investment. I used to hate ceramic till I spent a week in Cancun.:rockin:
 

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cubbies said:
I'm confused, dont put the vinyl in a place where it could get wet? My understanding was that was one of the benefits. I am definitely not going to do laminate down there. It is either vinyl plank or ceramic tile.
Typical vinyl installations have sheets of luan (a type of mahogany from the Phillipines, I think) underneath the vinyl to soften the floor you walk on and to smooth out any imperfections in the floor substrate. Basements have the potential to wick water from the ground through the concrete... creating a highly humid environment. This could create a mold problem later on. You would of course have vapor barriers in place, but if money wasn't the primary issue, I definitely wouldn't put vinyl in a basement... or anything involving organic materials. Tile is really the only one without.
 

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Luan is used as an above grade sub floor generally over wood. In the case of a below grade concrete floor you would install it directly on top of the concrete. If there are imperfections in the concrete you would use a leveling compound....
 

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have you looked into finished concrete at all? you can make some pretty sweet designs with the rubber stamps they have available. it would be cheaper and easier than tiling.
 
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jbreiding said:
have you looked into finished concrete at all? you can make some pretty sweet designs with the rubber stamps they have available. it would be cheaper and easier than tiling.
No I havent. Is that anything like stampcrete? I thought that stuff was outrageously expensive?
 

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