LESLIE: Next up, we have a flooring question from Donald in Virginia.
Donald, what are you working on?
DONALD: When they built this house, when they did it to code, it was particleboard that was put down. Then they went ahead and they put vinyl tiles over it. From all the cleaning that has been done, I mean obviously I have to replace it. But the problem is, just from the girl coming over and cleaning every week, the tile is coming up off the floor. So my question is, do I have to tear all of this out or can I just go over it with like pressure-treated plywood and then go ahead and put down real ceramic tile?
TOM: Well, there may be another option to that. I’m thinking that you’re an excellent candidate for a laminate floor. What do you think, Leslie?
LESLIE: Laminate floor is a great choice just because it gives you so many options and so many different choices and so many different looks.
TOM: Yeah, like Pergo. Yeah, exactly. But it’s not just strip flooring; it could look like ceramic tile. And it’s a floating floor and as long as you have a flat surface, you basically put down a very thin underlayment which is rolled out like foam or cloth.
TOM: And then the flooring gets assembled right on top of that. It’s all locked together and it’s really tough stuff and you just install it …
LESLIE: Oh, it’s super-durable.
TOM: … to within 1/4-inch or so of the wall and you put some shoe molding over it and you’re done.
DONALD: This particleboard is expanding because of …
LESLIE: The detergent getting in between the vinyl tile.
DONALD: That’s what I’m figuring. I want to know, do you think I need to remove this? I’m a contractor.
TOM: Is it swollen?
DONALD: Yes it is, sir.
TOM: Because I’m all for doing as little as possible here, Donald. I’m not going to suggest you rip up your floor. If the edges are swollen a little bit and you can sand those edges down and get it to where it’s reasonably flat, the laminate floor is 1/4-inch thick and it’s pretty durable stuff and it’s going to lay down and cover a lot of sins in that floor. As long as it’s flat, you’re going to be OK. Now if you’re telling me it’s really buckled, then you’re not going to be OK. But if you have some raised edges or something, then you can sand that and make it flat; you’ll be OK.
DONALD: No, but I mean it’s really buckled.
TOM: Well, if it’s really buckled, then I would cut out the buckled areas.
DONALD: Cut out the buckled areas?
DONALD: Would you suggest that I would put like a primer down; maybe something oil-based; the KILZ or a shield-type product to seal it or …?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Nah. Nah. No. No. Nope, nope, nope. Wouldn’t do it. I would just repair the deformed flooring, put the laminate right on top of that. That’s going to be an easy, inexpensive way to go with this and you’re going to be really happy with the way it comes out.
DONALD: You have no idea how much you just helped me.
TOM: Well, we appreciate it.
DONALD: I was going to tear this whole floor out of here. And since you told me, good.
TOM: Alright, Donald, well we’re glad we helped you out, saved you some time, saved you some money. Thanks again for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
See, we are also in the money pit avoidance business here, Leslie. (Leslie chuckles) Sometimes we will stop you from making that critical error. And I’m glad Donald called us before he had the floor all torn up to ask that question because sometimes there is a simpler solution than what you all might be thinking about or what maybe all your friends told you about.
LESLIE: And I love it when we get the call and we say, “You don’t have to do that,” and the guy says, “But I already tore out half of my shower.”
TOM: (overlapping voices) “Really?” (chuckles) I remember that guy. (Leslie chuckles) Yeah. He still hasn’t told his wife that he called us. (both laugh) But fortunately, Donald, we caught him soon enough.
Donald, thanks again for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.