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Thread: Help with laminate floor + water

  1. #1
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    May 2007
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    Help with laminate floor + water

    Guys I need some advice & info on this. My SIL has a Ranch house but hers is on a concrete slab. The house was made in late 1950's No idea of the thickness of the slab She has never had a issue with any of her floors getting wet, her kitchen has wood laminate floors that were put over linoleum. Her living room has a fireplace & she had a rug that was taken up & my wife says a plastic sheet (used as a vapor barrier) was put down then laminate floor over that. This was done in Feb, now she has water coming up through the laminate floor one place is where the laminate touches the porcelain, ceramic tile??? (not sure what it is) when you step on the laminate the water comes up through the joints. you see water damage about half the room especially at the joints. She was told that a sub floor should have been put down but if that is the case her front door wouldn't open due to the thickness of the sub floor???????
    Basic info on the guy who did the work. He is in charge of special projects in charge of outside contracting for Providence College where my wife & SIL work. He is a good carpenter & has done some good quality work in my SIL's house.

    My questions are:

    1. should something like drylock water proofing be done before laminate floor was put down.

    2. should a vapor barrier be put down? this would stop the concrete from breathing???

    3. Should a sub-floor have been put down???


    Any help or advice you can give me I'll furnish to my SIL to give her ammo to talk to the guy who did the work.

    Thanks

    Chuck
    _________________
    Chuck # ???


    Here is some pics of it.


    Kitchen floor. no problems




    Living room.





    Last edited by Chuck Beland; 04-15-2011 at 02:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Laminate floors always should have a vapor barrier/pad put down when it is on concrete.

    All maufacturers sell the pad designed for their particular floor. Also...if you don't use their barrier, they can void any warranty.

    As an ex-installation manager for a large chain, we would encounter many people in Florida putting down their own floors, have an issue with moisture, and the Sales Rep from Pergo, Armstrong, etc, void the warranty because of improper underlayment.

    As for sealing the concrete......never advised by any manufacturer that I dealt with.

    If you are in a moisture prone area though, make sure you keep a good eye on the distance left between wall, cabinets, etc. They are called floating floors for a reason. And they can swell and move. Follow your particular flooring's recommendation for expansion.

    Hope this helps

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Beland View Post
    This was done in Feb, now she has water coming up through the laminate floor one place is where the laminate touches the porcelain, ceramic tile??? (not sure what it is) when you step on the laminate the water comes up through the joints.
    Isn't what you describe here different than just some moisture leaching up through a concrete slab? Vapor barrier or sub-floor or not, doesn't that sound like a *lot* of water? Dom?
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  4. #4
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    Judging from the pics, that looks more like a leak around the fireplace or something. Pulling up that section and verifying would probably be their best bet. I'd say some moisture barrier should have been used since it was going over concrete. That does look like it's concentrated to that area though, not all over the floor.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
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    The dark grout around the hearth tiles suggests that they are moist, which suggests to me that you have a chimney problem - perhaps the cap is off or improper, and water is coming down the chimney. If that is the case, no vapor barrier under the flooring will protect the moisture coming in the side from the hearth and chimney. I would check that first as the source of the problem.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Beland View Post
    my wife says a plastic sheet (used as a vapor barrier) was put down then laminate floor over that.
    If that is true, then it doesn't seem likely that the moisture is coming from the bottom, so I'd have to side with the other guys that the water is coming in from somewhere else, probably the chimney...
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  7. #7
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    i too agree that yu have a leak somewhere causing this water problem.. or the whole floor would look like this..in order for the tile to show moisture in a grout line you have more than condensation..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  8. #8
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    Here's a question, Why is the towel laying on the fireplace hearth?

    Was it to stop water from there? Or just to wipe it off the laminate?

    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    i too agree that yu have a leak somewhere causing this water problem.. or the whole floor would look like this..in order for the tile to show moisture in a grout line you have more than condensation..
    agreed.....some water pipes running through the concrete?....or the wall near the fireplace?

  10. #10
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    'Moisture' as in the moisture seeping up through the concrete slab which rises the humidity level and kills hardwood floors is basically invisible (you don't see the moisture). Water seepage (which effects are visible such as this) through the concrete can not be solved with a normal moisture barrier. A typical moisture barrier does not stop moisture from coming through, but greatly slows it down so that the top and bottom of the wood flooring stays in equilibrium so you do not end up with problems. While there are ways to seal the slab, and some products listed as moisture barriers do this, there are still dangers.

    What you have here though, is not an installation problem, but a water leak. (or a very naughty, very big, dog?)
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