Flooring Options Over Green Concrete
August 13, 2013 2:12 PM   Subscribe

We are having a basement finished with very recently placed concrete (on the order of a few months old). Our contractor says that we have to wait to put vinyl flooring down (but we could put down carpet). What are our options for flooring materials?

We have a child with allergies, so carpet is out of the question. Mold would obviously be bad. The basement will be on its own HVAC zone. What could we put down over green concrete that won't foster dust mites nor will grow mold? Note that we aren't looking for ways to forestall the vinyl. We're going to talk with the contractor, but we feel that it's best to go into this talk understanding options that he might not consider.
posted by plinth to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can put some types of engineered laminate wood directly on concrete, typically with a plastic vapor barrier and a padded underlay underneath. You can also get something like DRIcore subfloor or a similar product which gives you a very solid subfloor and then put whatever you want on top of that - engineered hardwood or even traditional hardwood. Now, that would be a few inches thick when done, but it gives a very solid floor. Another option is cork flooring, but again you'll need underlay and a vapour barrier. Vinyl is the only thing you can really stick directly on concrete but unless you need the cheapest possible solution, I'd go with something else.

Is your basement very damp? Do you have a sump pump? What are the odds of flooding? Basement flooring is all about managing moisture really.
posted by GuyZero at 3:05 PM on August 13, 2013

Have you considered polished concrete? My house has this in all but the bedrooms and it's a dream to keep clean - no seams, grout or other traps for dirt etc (also great for sliding on in socks ;-)). There are also lots of epoxy coatings now that look great and are far more durable than vinyl.

I don't see why you can't put vinyl flooring on a slab that is months old - this happens with new homes all the time.
posted by dg at 3:29 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Are you looking for a soft surface? Ceramic and other hard tiles can be grouted directly even to green concrete.

The right epoxy primer can be applied on even day old concrete and would allow many epoxy/paint finishes afterwards. It'll probably allow you to apply vinyl as well because it greatly reduces the vapour transmission of the slab.
posted by Mitheral at 7:29 PM on August 13, 2013

Structural integrity for concrete is gauged at 28 days. I think you're probably ok putting down vinyl.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:46 AM on August 14, 2013

Is the basement dry? Well, it's new construction and it was built to be a habitable area (and yes, we had an egress window added). Gutters, IIRC, are redirected to pipes that send the rain WAY away from the foundation and the plot will be well-graded. I don't anticipate issues.

I've finally found decent enough search terms.

Most flooring manufacturers have specific moisture levels that must be met before installation. It's either 3 or 5 lbs/1000 ft2/24 hours. The only exception to that is paint/epoxy.

The concrete has been in place for no less than 60 days, which appears to be marginal in what I've read. 120 days appears to be preferable.

The contractor had been running a dehumidifier that drained into the sewer line, but that has been removed.
posted by plinth at 7:58 AM on August 14, 2013

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