Laminate Floor Over Concrete Slab
LESLIE: Michael in Georgia is calling in with a flooring question. What can we do for you?
MICHAEL: Yeah, I’ve got an issue in my house where I have laminate flooring and the whole downstairs flooded, so I’ve got puckering and just – you know, it’s a mess.
MICHAEL: And I kind of wanted to know what to expect when I rip this stuff up. I’ve laid laminate flooring over subflooring before but not on a slab. This is sitting on a slab, so …
TOM: Yeah, actually, I think that you shouldn’t have very many surprises at all. I mean if it was over subflooring, you’d find rotted, warped flooring; but because it’s over a slab, you should find the same slab that was there when it was originally put down.
Now, getting that flooring up could be a bit tricky because the floor probably locks together. What I might suggest is that you use a circular saw and set the depth to the thickness of the laminate floor – like 1/4-inch or whatever it is – and then go ahead and just cut right across the floor and try to take it up in pieces that way.
MICHAEL: OK. So it’s not going to be glued down or anything like that?
TOM: It shouldn’t be. Laminate floor is not designed to be glued down.
LESLIE: No, it’s usually a floating floor system.
MICHAEL: So it’s going to be sitting on a pad just like what I’ve done upstairs then.
TOM: Absolutely, it should be.
LESLIE: Should be. Or the pad might be on the back of each plank; like attached to it.
MICHAEL: Right, right. I understand.
TOM: But that’s the way it’s normally installed.
MICHAEL: I just wanted to get an idea of what to expect before I started ripping it up, so that helps me a lot.
TOM: Yeah. Well, I mean if everything goes the way we’d expect it, that’s what you should be finding; laminate floor that’s on top of some sort of an underlayment pad sitting on top of the concrete floor. So it shouldn’t be that crazy a project for you to have to replace.
By the way, do you have – did you call your insurance company, Michael? Because you may have – do you have flood insurance on this?
MICHAEL: I did not.
TOM: Yeah, well are you in a flood zone or was this sort of the result of a broken pipe or something?
MICHAEL: It was the result of a broken pipe, yeah.
TOM: Well, that should be covered by homeowners insurance.
MICHAEL: Well, see I wasn’t quite accurate there. It was the result of a broken washing machine and the washing machine was – the pipe that comes out of the bottom of the washing machine was destroyed by a rodent that got into my house.
MICHAEL: And my insurance doesn’t cover any damage caused by any animal.
LESLIE: Oh, wow.
TOM: Oh, that’s kind of tricky. Hmm.
MICHAEL: Yeah, I asked and that was the answer I got.
TOM: You know what? I bet you can fight that. That’s kind of debatable as to what came first; the animal or the broken pipe? (Leslie chuckles)
MICHAEL: (chuckling) Right.
TOM: Yeah, you might want to call an insurance adjuster and let them negotiate because it sounds to me like there ought to be some coverage there.
MICHAEL: That would be great if there was because it’s a lot of flooring.
MICHAEL: So one last question. So there’s no waterproofing or anything that I need to do or prep work that I need to do to the slab before I start laying stuff back down on it then?
TOM: No, just make sure it’s nice and dry.
TOM: I mean it wouldn’t hurt for you to put a layer of epoxy paint down there that will stop some of the natural humidity from coming up through it, but I don’t consider it critical.
MICHAEL: Oh, OK. Well that sounds great. Thank you for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Good luck with that project. Sorry that happened to you. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Give an insurance any way – speaking of animals – to weasel out of paying a claim (Leslie chuckles) and they most certainly will.
LESLIE: That was a good choice of an animal there, Tom.
TOM: (chuckles) Seemed very natural.