LESLIE: Ellen in New York is on the line and has a flooring question. What are you working on?
ELLEN: It’s a sub-basement and it has a cement floor. And years ago, I – the floor is really – the cement was poured new about 15 years ago. And I put a 12-inch vinyl flooring on top. It’s still there and in really good condition but I want to put something to warm up the area. And I was thinking of maybe an engineered-wood floor?
So two questions: one, do I have to take up the tile and two, what is the best product to put over a cement floor?
TOM: Well, you have a lot of options. First of all, you do not have to remove the tile before installing engineered wood. You’re probably better off just leaving it alone.
ELLEN: Yay. Oh, I was hoping you’d say that.
TOM: Secondly, good options for basement flooring are pretty much anything but carpet.
LESLIE: Area rugs OK but not wall-to-wall.
TOM: Engineered hardwood is an excellent choice. Not solid hardwood, because solid hardwood will buckle and twist. Engineered hardwood is made up of – kind of like plywood: different layers of wood that are glued at 90-degree angles to each other. And so they’re dimensionally stable, so they’ll stay flat without buckling or twisting. Another good choice might be laminate floor, for the same reason. You can get laminate floors that look like hardwood or look like tile or look like vinyl. And they lock together.
And both of those floors will float on top of the old floor, so they’re not physically glued down or connected. They kind of float. There’s usually an underlayment material that goes underneath them. And then you add some baseboard molding or shoe molding along the edges to cover the gap.
ELLEN: That’s fabulous. Now, can I put a radiant flooring under – over the vinyl tile and under the flooring?
TOM: Yeah, a radiant flooring underneath engineered hardwood is perfectly fine. Now, there are products that are designed specifically for that. In fact, there’s one that’s on the market right now called Perfectly Warm. And it’s a radiant-floor heating that is designed for products like engineered hardwood and laminate. It basically lays underneath it. It’s surprisingly affordable and energy-efficient.
ELLEN: Oh, great. Thank you so much. I love your show.