It is relatively easy to decide which flooring should be good for the house, but the basement is a bit different. As it turned out, laminate is a good option. We will introduce to you how to install laminate flooring on a concrete basement floor
Laminate in general has a lot of benefits. It comes in various colors and patterns. It can look almost like real wood, yet it is cheaper and easier to maintain. Durability is also one of its good traits. And the best of all – you can install it all by yourself.
If you already have some kind of flooring, you can lay laminate flooring over it. Laminate can be installed over almost any kind of subfloor. It requires very little preparation.
However, the basement is a bit different. You should take into account possible groundwater rising and flooding. Humidity is also different under the ground, and this affects laminate boards.
This article about how to install laminate flooring on a concrete basement floor will present some of the crucial factors that may affect laminate flooring. Just follow this advice and you will know the right steps to take. It will make it more clear how to install laminate flooring on a concrete basement floor.
Potential problems for laminate basement floor
When talking about how to install laminate flooring on a concrete basement floor, some problems may happen. Here we will explain some of them and hopefully, this will save you time, money and energy.
There is usually a concrete slab as a base of the basement subfloor. Depending on the climate, concrete slabs, being porous, can absorb a lot of moisture. If you live in a rainy area, this won’t come as a surprise. Combined with the humidity, groundwater levels will vary.
This is especially a problem for the older buildings. They do not have any kind of barriers between ground and concrete. Moisture easily gets into the slab and then affects the subfloor.
Below grade flooding concern
There are various reasons why the basement would flood. It may be because of heavy rainfalls, old leaking pipes… This is certainly not good for the laminate. It is made of a material that is easily affected by water and humidity.
The biggest problem is the springtime. Especially if it was snowing during the winter. There is a lot of water because snow melts and frequent rainfalls. The ground is soaked with too much water and a flood may happen.
Of course, flood is not always caused by nature. Some house appliances, such as washing machines, may break, stop working and leak out all the water from the machine. It is the same with the dishwashing machines and water heaters. Some people keep all these appliances in the basement. If they go bad, they may cause a lot of damage. You will have a broken machine and ruined floor.
Minding this, be cautious about what flooring you pick, because something like this may happen.
The level of humidity in the basement is in most cases higher than in the rest of the house. Because it’s located underground, it is also much cooler. If there is too much humidity, this will probably lead to laminate boards slowly rotting and wrapping.
If you decided to install laminate flooring in the basement, we recommend you lay it over the concrete floor. But, there are some important steps to follow if you want to make it long-lasting.
Preparing concrete basement floor
First of all, concrete shouldn’t be too fresh. It has to rest at least 60 days (or more) before installing the laminate floor. The concrete floor has to be perfectly clean, dry and leveled before you start.
Therefore, you have three crucial things you have to check first: dryness, Cleveland cleanliness.
The concrete has to be entirely dry so the laminate planks don’t warp or bubble. There is a special kit you can buy to measure the wetness of the concrete.
Be sure to sweep and vacuum to eliminate all the litter, dust, and dirt.
Also, the floor surface has to be perfectly flat. You will need to grind all the bumps you find on the floor. On the other hand, if you have some holes in the concrete surface, fill it with a special leveling compound. Be sure it dries well before proceeding with the installation.
As we already mentioned, humidity is the main flaw in basements. It will be useful to put this under control. This is why we recommend you install a fully temperature controlling system before the laminate floor placement.
As soon as you put the temperature under control, you will also monitor and manage the humidity level. Maybe you will also have to use a dehumidifier.
When you set the proper temperature, leave the laminate boards in the basement for a couple of days. They have to adapt to the conditions in the room.
Place an underlayment
The biggest flaw of the concrete floor is excessive moisture. This happens because of its porous structure. This is why it is important to set an underlayment material before laying the laminate planks. It will serve as a vapor blockage shield. The underlayment has to be set in the matching direction with the direction of laminate boards.
The type of underlay material depends on the subfloor. Therefore if the subfloor is concrete, you suppose to get:
- Foam barrier
- Vinyl backed
This will ensure the longevity of the laminate floor and the protection water might cause. It is better to have this sort of protection than to be forced to replace the entire flooring. It will save you money and time.
Install the laminate planks
If you finished all the previous steps and everything is clean, flat and underlayment set, you may start laying down the laminate boards.
You will need some kind of saw because you will have to cut some of the planks. There will be some corners for which you’ll need smaller planks.
Cut the tongue off the first row planks, the ones facing the wall. You may use a table saw for this.
The first row should have the tongue side placed against the wall surface. Leave a bit of empty space, however, because planks will expand a little bit later.
Laminate floorboards usually have the so-called click-lock system. Tongues and grooves attach easily to each other. You should hear the clicking sound when they connect. You will need to use some kind of hammer (maybe a rubber one, so you don’t damage the plank) if you have difficulty inserting your tongue under a certain angle.
Check if all the seams are staggered if you’re adding multiple rows. The floor will be stronger and the breakage line will be almost invisible.
You will probably come across some corners or poles which will require a board to be cut. The jigsaw will be useful here since it will probably be some irregular shape.
These are all the steps on how to install laminate flooring on concrete basement floor. Just repeat them until you have the entire surface covered.
Additional advice on how to install laminate flooring on a concrete basement floor
Whenever you do some housework such as this, especially if you are using sharp tools – have some protective gear. You should have a pair of thick gloves and protective glasses. You can get all these at the home improvement store.
Also, don’t forget to read the manufacturer’s guidelines. Check the warranty on the material too.
If you enjoyed reading this article about how to install laminate flooring on a concrete basement floor, we also wrote on how to remove glued down laminate flooring, how to end laminate flooring at doorways, how to install laminate flooring without transitions, how to dry laminate flooring with water under it, how to seal laminate flooring seams, how to install laminate flooring on walls, how to repair swollen laminate flooring, how to repair laminate flooring, how to install laminate flooring on stairs, and how to stagger laminate flooring.