Can you lay Pergo over concrete?
February 14, 2005 4:46 PM   Subscribe

Can you lay Pergo over concrete? We are negotiating with a builder to buy a house he's built. The negotiations revolve around what kind of flooring he will install. There's a family room with a concrete floor in the lowest level of the house, and we'd like to have Pergo on the floor. the room has a door to the back yard, and we figure laminate is the most durable, comfortable compromise.

The builder doesn't think you can lay Pergo on concrete, and is pushing carpet. We don't want the maintenance burden of carpet next to an outside door. Tile would be too cold. All the web sources say if you put down a vapor barrier first, Pergo is OK. Anyone have experience with Pergo on concrete?
posted by Kirth Gerson to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Pergo themselves say:
Pergo Domestiq Plus, Naturaltouch, Vintage, Exotic
1. Preparations
See illustration 1 to 2 and text below.
• The subfloor must be even 3 mm/2m and 1,2
mm/0,25m and clean. Pergo can be installed over
vinyl, linoleum, wood and ceramic tiles. Remove
textile carpets and underlay before installing. If you
have under-floor heating, please speak to your
• On slab/concrete floors (max 75% RH, min 18° C)
– including those with vinyl or ceramic tiles installed
– or floors with under- heating-system, begin (after
cleaning to avoid mould) by placing a 0.2 mm
polyethylene film with an overlap of 200 mm.
• For timber floors, check that any loose floorboards
are securely fixed.
• Expansion gap of minimum 5 mm (or 1,0 mm/m floor)
should be left at walls, thresholds, pipes and other
fixed objects. An expansion profile must be used in
door openings, angled rooms, corners in corridors
and if the floorings is longer than 10 meters.
I suggest you hit their website and look at the professional section, which has installation instructions in detail.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:51 PM on February 14, 2005

I have had laminate flooring, Real wood veneer over concrete for about 2 years now. It is excellent, warm and comfortable to walk on. We laid the heavy vapor barrier and then the foam layer. I have the walkout door as well,

Way more serviceable than carpet, especially with kids.
Iwould link a pic but the toys have not been cleaned up lately!
posted by vidarling at 5:08 PM on February 14, 2005

fff, yes - that's one of the web sites I was referring to. I was looking for answers like vidarling's - people who have personal experience.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:11 PM on February 14, 2005

Kirth: In our old house, my wife and I installed laminate flooring in the former garage. As fff's quoted text states, we put down a foam underlayment (usually purchased with the laminate — you buy large rolls of the stuff). The floor worked great for the last few years we were in the house, and boy were we glad we had it! We had countless kid-based accidents that would have been a headache on carpet.
posted by jdroth at 5:11 PM on February 14, 2005

I know at least 10 people who have had Pergo installed, and the comments range from " Wonderful" to " I wish I had known". Pergo does not like humidity or dampness ( It can delaminate), so if the lower room might get wet, I would avoid it. Another complaint was that it will scratch rather easily ( so will hardwood, but you can refinish a hardwood floor..albeit not cheaply), especially if the soil is sandy or gravelly near the door. The other complaint I have heard often is that it is kind of noisy, although the foam pad may dampen that effect. I'm not trying to discourage you, just passing on the complaints I've heard.
posted by lobstah at 5:37 PM on February 14, 2005

I can back up that moisture problem. We had an installer put it down wrong and the glue (this is when glue was required) never dried. The edges swelled and never settled down. I think maybe the original installer didn't use the polyethylene film. After several frustrating calls to the installer, Pergo sent their own installer out to replace it, and this time, it was done right. We have it in a room with a door, and we had ceramic tile installed near the door cuz of the moisture. If you live in a very moist area, maybe Pergo isn't such a good idea.

I would strongly advise getting the high-end underlayment foam. We got the cheap stuff and the floor sounds plasticly hollow when you walk on it with shoes.
posted by Doohickie at 6:04 PM on February 14, 2005

Oh, and by the way- although it's been fixed, I wish I would have gotten real wood. Because of that "plastic" sound, it seems fakey to me.
posted by Doohickie at 6:05 PM on February 14, 2005

I was answering this question, Kirth: "Can you lay Pergo over concrete?" Yes, you can, and the manufacturer tells you how to do it.

If it's anecdotes you desire, here's mine: I installed super-cheap laminate in the condo before I sold it. I used premium underlay out of consideration for the downstairs neighbour. I learned mostly (a) to ignore the instructions that say to cut it 1/4" short of the wall (I believe they really mean 1/4" short of the stud header, not the gyproc); (b) to not, not, not tap the laminate together: I should have trusted the "click" entirely.

And, yah, it sounds plasticky.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:22 PM on February 14, 2005

Yes, had Pergo over concrete and it was installed with moisturbloc film (polyethylene film). It worked well, certainly much happier with it than carpet.
posted by quam at 8:16 PM on February 14, 2005

Ditto what vidarling said. Totally.
posted by geekhorde at 8:22 PM on February 14, 2005

kirth, we recently remodeled our basement and were debating pergo, bamboo, carpet, carpet TILE, and this great stuff called "spreadstone" (check out their website at

we eventually decided on carpet tile and spreadstone. the spreadstone was applied at the bottom of the stairs to act as a shoe area and entrance to the laundry room. from there, we transitioned to carpet tile for the tv room, kitchenette, and office. despite my initial hesitations regarding the carpet tile (which we bought at a discount outlet online - sorry, dont' remember the website) it laid down wonderfuly, and after 1 month now, the lines have almost completely disappeared.

we chose carpet tile because we live in a relatively damp area. we've had flooding in the past, so the carpet is a risky investment. pergo was slightly less risky, but still, it'd be destroyed in water. bamboo was a great thought, but the lack of a local retailer and it's fairly high cost comparitively ruled it out (bamboo can handle moisture and water just fine. it's great stuff)

carpet tile became the obvious and most practical choice. should we ever be flooded, we can pull up the tile (it's only held down with double sided carpet tape!) and dry it out. and if some little squirt ever spills something on it or makes any other sort of mess, just pull up that tile and wash it in the sink.

carpet tile comes in a while variety of options varying from low pile to berber to shag. it's quite comfortable, and will last for years.

posted by quadrinary at 12:21 AM on February 15, 2005

fff, sorry. I should have structured my question better. Thanks for both your answers. Thanks to everyone else, too.

It sounds as if the Pergo will work, if there's sufficient moisture barrier under it. The floor of the family room is above grade, so it seems unlikely we'd have much moisture percolating up.
We have Pergo in the kitchen/dining area where we are, and are very happy with it. It's lasted more than six years, with no noticeable wear. We also have carpet in most of the rest of the house, and are tired of maintaining it. That's why we wanted Pergo in that family room. We don't wear outside shoes in the house, so grit from outside isn't a big concern. The rest of the house will be hardwood or tile.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:16 AM on February 15, 2005

You have to leave the 1/4" space to allow for expansion because of RH and temperature. If you live in a perfectly climate controlled house or you are laying the laminate at the peak RH and temperature time for your location (and the laminate has had at least a couple weeks to aclimatise to that temperature and RH) you can get away with less space. Your base board should cover that gap anyways.

Not all laminates are the same, even from the same manufacturer. Some can be installed in damp locations and below grade and others can't so check specifications of the particular version you are contemplating.
posted by Mitheral at 7:09 AM on February 15, 2005

My point is that the 1/4" gap is to the nearest obstruction, which is not necessarily the gyproc. In all the places I've lived, the gyproc stops above the flooring. Thus, the flooring should be 1/4" away from the studs, not the gyproc; ie. for 1/2" gyproc, it goes 1/4" under the gyproc, 1/4" away from the header (footer?) stud. This gives the 1/4" expansion and ensures that there are no unsightly gaps should the wood shrink.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:46 AM on February 15, 2005

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