Author Topic: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?  (Read 2263 times)

kandj

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Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« on: December 13, 2016, 12:43:06 PM »
So sorry if this has been talked about a billion times, I can never get the search function to work well and spending a couple hours diving into the abyss for some advice did not seem like the best use of time...

Anyways - my husband and I have been slowly working on fixing up our house we bought in August. We are almost done with the plumbing and guest bathroom (which was gutted when we bought the house) and after that will be moving onto the master bathroom (unfinished) and tweaking cosmetics in the master bedroom.  We are going to get to the kitchen after that as we have cabinets we scored for free taking up room in the garage but are having a tough time deciding on flooring. The bathrooms will both be getting tile but we want to replace the carpet in the master bedroom (maybe 2 tiny bedrooms as well) and the living room and the kitchen has some pretty nasty linoleum. Total square footage is about 1300, with 2 bathrooms tiled and possibly the extra 2 bedrooms not being touched.

My husband deeply desires hardwoods but it just isn't going to happen given the slab flooring and not wanting to raise the height of the tile to match the sub floor needed for hardwood. We've been kicking around cork throughout, new carpet for the bedrooms and living room and tile in the kitchen, or possibly engineered hardwood. It seems like engineered hardwoods were made for slabs, but the cork is interesting given it is more sustainable and should be slightly warmer. We really hate carpets so that would be the last option. My husband also really really hates laminate wood look flooring.

What have you put down on a slab foundation? Any tips for when we get to that point? Have a link handy to a different discussion about slab flooring?

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2016, 12:55:57 PM »
We went with Pergo XP, but apparently there's a newer version that gives you better water resistance (up to 24 hrs). I would avoid cork in a wet environment.

We're happy with the flooring, and it's come a long way in how good it looks compared to earlier products.
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zolotiyeruki

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2016, 02:40:17 PM »
Our last house (on a slab) had vinyl in the kitchen, and we replaced it with tile.  Our current home (with basement) has hardwood in the kitchen, and I wish we had tile or something else more water-tolerant.  There are simply too many ways for water to get on the floor in a kitchen, and the damage is particularly apparent near the kitchen sink.

So I'd vote for tile.

threefive

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2016, 03:20:11 PM »
My wife and I just remodeled our open living room / kitchen. We have a slab foundation and decided to go with ... the slab foundation.

Seriously. 500 square feet of finished floor just cost us $300 installed, for a finished cost of $0.60 / sq. ft. I removed two layers of terrible tile in the kitchen and carpet in the living room. I used a 7 inch grinder with a diamond cup wheel to remove thin-set and glue and prepare the surface, and then laid down a coating of epoxy. We used a product called Rocksolid Metallic, and now we have floors that are all one level, very pretty, multi-tone and shiny. It cost significantly less than any other flooring solution we could think of, even including the cheapest wholesale laminate available. The epoxy was on clearance at Lowes for 50% off (actually marketed as garage flooring in the US, but was originally designed for interior). If it wasn't, then we would have probably just gone with a solid color epoxy for about the clearance price of the fancier stuff.

We got the idea when we lived in Prague for half of the year last year. Every home we went in to including the one we were living in was painted or epoxied concrete floors. It does have the disadvantage of being "cold," but no colder than the tile-on-slab we have elsewhere in the house.

Until Prague, I never even considered just grinding down the already sturdy, durable, and easy to clean flooring system that typically lives under all that expensive, harder to maintain flooring.

BDWW

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2016, 03:55:33 PM »
My wife and I just remodeled our open living room / kitchen. We have a slab foundation and decided to go with ... the slab foundation.

Seriously. 500 square feet of finished floor just cost us $300 installed, for a finished cost of $0.60 / sq. ft. I removed two layers of terrible tile in the kitchen and carpet in the living room. I used a 7 inch grinder with a diamond cup wheel to remove thin-set and glue and prepare the surface, and then laid down a coating of epoxy. We used a product called Rocksolid Metallic, and now we have floors that are all one level, very pretty, multi-tone and shiny. It cost significantly less than any other flooring solution we could think of, even including the cheapest wholesale laminate available. The epoxy was on clearance at Lowes for 50% off (actually marketed as garage flooring in the US, but was originally designed for interior). If it wasn't, then we would have probably just gone with a solid color epoxy for about the clearance price of the fancier stuff.

We got the idea when we lived in Prague for half of the year last year. Every home we went in to including the one we were living in was painted or epoxied concrete floors. It does have the disadvantage of being "cold," but no colder than the tile-on-slab we have elsewhere in the house.

Until Prague, I never even considered just grinding down the already sturdy, durable, and easy to clean flooring system that typically lives under all that expensive, harder to maintain flooring.

Stopped by just to see if someone would suggest something like this. I like acid stain my self, and you can always through down area rugs.

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2016, 04:16:30 PM »
I painted the old concrete floors in my rental.  First layer of paint is watered down to make it stick, then two more.  Rugs on top and you're done.  Epoxy might be harder wearing than paint.
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kandj

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2016, 06:15:33 PM »
Threefive, do you have issues with a lip when connecting to other flooring or is that entire level polished concrete? I suppose we could have some sort of threshold where tile meets bare slab. I'm not opposed to that at all, but a little concerned because our slab is super thin. Like we broke through the bottom with a 3" bit when securing a new wall. I'll look into the products you used though, I'm intrigued.
Tile in the kitchen is probably the smartest but I'm a little bit of a germaphobe and hate grout.

Papa bear

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2016, 06:31:03 PM »
You can generally use engineered hardwood on concrete. You should check for moisture though.

I've used tile, LVT, and laminate on concrete in the past.


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threefive

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2016, 07:03:32 PM »
Threefive, do you have issues with a lip when connecting to other flooring or is that entire level polished concrete? I suppose we could have some sort of threshold where tile meets bare slab. I'm not opposed to that at all, but a little concerned because our slab is super thin. Like we broke through the bottom with a 3" bit when securing a new wall. I'll look into the products you used though, I'm intrigued.
Tile in the kitchen is probably the smartest but I'm a little bit of a germaphobe and hate grout.

We have engineered hardwood throughout the rest of the ground floor. A simple wood transition stained to match the engineered wood is all we did. All of our transitions happen in doorways, so it works well and looks good. Before, we had the kitchen tile, and briefly had bare concrete in the living room when the carpet got water damaged. That transition was terrible because they are basically one big room. There was nothing we could figure out that looked good and or didn't keep getting kicked off / tripped on. That's one of the reasons we decided on the uniform flooring, which meant either tile ($3500 minimum with me doing the labor), ugly and cheap laminate (still roughly $1500 - $2000, again not counting my labor), or the concrete.

My wife hates, hates, hates grout. More specifically, she hates, hates, hates cleaning grout. That alone made convincing her to go with concrete very easy.

Your thin slab would be a problem with any flooring if it's going to be a problem. Grinding removes like 1/16" - 1/8" max.

threefive

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2016, 07:13:55 PM »
Attached is a picture of our finished floors, by the way. This is part of the kitchen before the cabinets went in. For $300, we were very happy. That chopped $3000 off the original renovation budget that allowed us to upgrade in some other areas where we get actual functionality. Like a hood that actually vents outside instead of in my face! An induction cooktop and new furniture for the living room to replace the 15 year old grad school days furniture we had.

Rural

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2016, 07:17:39 PM »
Attached is a picture of our finished floors, by the way. This is part of the kitchen before the cabinets went in. For $300, we were very happy. That chopped $3000 off the original renovation budget that allowed us to upgrade in some other areas where we get actual functionality. Like a hood that actually vents outside instead of in my face! An induction cooktop and new furniture for the living room to replace the 15 year old grad school days furniture we had.


 Where'd you get the epoxy/do you remember the brand? We are all polished concrete here, and fairly happy with it, but I'd like a warm color. Tried an acid stain, but Our floor is  highly polished, and it wouldn't take.

kandj

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2016, 07:47:05 AM »
Wow threefive, that does look awesome! I'm not a huge fan of the high gloss but I saw the rock solid line does have another clear coat satin finish we could use if we really hated the gloss. I hadn't ever considered anything besides acid stained concrete, and don't love the look of it for indoors. The low odor, No VOC of that particular finish and not needing to buy/consume other flooring makes this really exciting, thank you so much for sharing! We might look into engineered hardwoods for the bedrooms to compromise between what we both want.
Thanks for the input everyone!

lthenderson

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2016, 08:00:00 AM »
A friend of mine did tile that looks like hardwood flooring. I really like the look and plan to do it on my basement flooring someday.

GuitarStv

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2016, 08:06:26 AM »
You can stain concrete slab and then polish it to make it look really nice:






Spork

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2016, 08:14:36 AM »

We also have stained concrete and I really like it.  Ours looks like an old worn leather jacket. ;)

I will caution on stained concrete:  If you have had other flooring down (i.e., this is not freshly poured concrete) you may or may not be able to grind it to a point where it is pristine.  Construction and various adhesives slosh all sorts of stuff on concrete that may penetrate a ways.  A friend of mine pulled up his carpet and attempted to stain his and never was able to grind to a point where adhesive staining disappeared.  The result was not very appealing and he finally gave up and laid tile over it.

Our floor was stained about 4-5 days after the slab pour -- while the framing crew was still framing.  They then came back after the house was complete and did a polish/seal.  Our GC claimed this was so any crap that fell on it would be on top of the stain.

If you are curious about colors/finishes, look for a store that sells the stuff.  The one in our town has a patchwork quilt floor of finishes to show off various looks.  The same stain with different application treatment will turn out differently... so it is nice to see lots of variations.
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Dicey

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2016, 09:11:55 AM »
We are DIYers with multiple houses and lots of flooring experience. Our hands-down favorite is Luxury Vinyl Tile. Awesome stuff. A word of caution: there is good stuff and then there is paper-thin big box store garbage. If you've never seen/experienced it, get thee to a flooring store and check it out. Choose wisely, as this stuff's never going to wear out.
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Rural

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2016, 12:18:24 PM »
Attached is a picture of our finished floors, by the way. This is part of the kitchen before the cabinets went in. For $300, we were very happy. That chopped $3000 off the original renovation budget that allowed us to upgrade in some other areas where we get actual functionality. Like a hood that actually vents outside instead of in my face! An induction cooktop and new furniture for the living room to replace the 15 year old grad school days furniture we had.


 Where'd you get the epoxy/do you remember the brand? We are all polished concrete here, and fairly happy with it, but I'd like a warm color. Tried an acid stain, but Our floor is  highly polished, and it wouldn't take.


...aaand after applying my reading skills more fully, I found the brand in your original post: Rocksolid Metallic, which appears to be a Rustoleum product. I'll be looking into this, and thanks for the picture as well.

Blatant

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2016, 04:40:17 AM »
I fifth or sixth the finished concrete idea. We did the slab in our master bedroom and will likely do much of the rest of the main living area. We used metal transition pieces from tile areas (master bath) to concrete.

Much is just personal aesthetics. We wanted a very industrial look, so the surface cracking, epoxy stains and filled holes from the carpet tack strips actually added to it for us. We used an acid etch with a matte sealer on top. It's awesome.

Honestly, I think it feels better and more natural on the feet than the tile in the rest of the house.

Drifterrider

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2016, 09:02:29 AM »
My husband deeply desires hardwoods but it just isn't going to happen given the slab flooring and not wanting to raise the height of the tile to match the sub floor needed for hardwood.
What have you put down on a slab foundation? Any tips for when we get to that point? Have a link handy to a different discussion about slab flooring?

The term "hardwood" is usually used interchangeably with "tongue and groove".  It shouldn't be.

You can find nice engineered "hardwood" (wood plank over a plywood substrate) which you can "float" on a slab.  You CAN glue it down (I wouldn't) or just clicklock it together and float it.  Depending on the thickness you buy, you can also refinish it at least once.


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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2016, 10:24:11 AM »
Have you considered the ceramic and porcelain wood-look tiles? It'd give your husband the wood flooring look he wants, but without having to put in a sub-floor.

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2016, 12:50:35 PM »
I put in a corked backed linoleum product called Marmoleum.  Got it from Green Building Supply.  It comes in click planks and is super easy to install.  Google it and if you ask I will post pics.  It goes really well in my mid-century modern house but might not be everybody's cup of tea.  It cleans up like a dream and is really nice to walk on.  The plank's claim to fame is that you can install them over less-than-perfect substrates, which I had. 

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2016, 01:05:11 PM »
Hey DianeC:

Which flooring stores do you use and what's the price of the LVT you like?  I'm redoing a couple of houses down in Phoenix and I need a better product than carpet or laminate.

Papa bear

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2016, 01:32:04 PM »
Hey DianeC:

Which flooring stores do you use and what's the price of the LVT you like?  I'm redoing a couple of houses down in Phoenix and I need a better product than carpet or laminate.
I got a great deal wholesale through a company called ProSource. Commercial LVT at 1.47/sf in Ohio.  Search around and you can find deals.


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Gagnante

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2016, 03:30:29 PM »
Google it and if you ask I will post pics.

Yes, please!

FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2017, 11:58:22 AM »
We are DIYers with multiple houses and lots of flooring experience. Our hands-down favorite is Luxury Vinyl Tile. Awesome stuff. A word of caution: there is good stuff and then there is paper-thin big box store garbage. If you've never seen/experienced it, get thee to a flooring store and check it out. Choose wisely, as this stuff's never going to wear out.

I agree with this, and you can get it in any look and finish you like.  The good stuff (esp. commercial grade) is priced accordingly, but you're more likely to find deals on quality LVT than quality anything else.

Moisture can be a problem for any of these floors.  Even with no cracks, water can seep through concrete and create all kinds of problems, from staining to coatings lifting off.

I need to replace all our carpet, and I'd like to do LVT.  But I haven't found the right finish (painted white wood plank, not distressed looking), at least for a good price. 

I like stained concrete but not for this house, even though we're strapped for funds.  I want a white floor with a traditional appearance, and haven't yet seen anything I like in stained concrete.

I also haven't assessed the condition of the slab.  I suspect moisture issues.

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2017, 05:07:12 PM »
A friend of mine did tile that looks like hardwood flooring. I really like the look and plan to do it on my basement flooring someday.

This look is becoming very popular in high design,  high traffic, commercial applications. It can look really sharp, and I'm sure that about half of the folks standing in line at the latest hip coffee joint, or trendy restaurant, haven't got a clue that the "hardwood" under their feet is actually tile that is 10X more durable.

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2017, 07:30:31 AM »
+1 on the acid stain.

We did the walkout floor on our house.
Looks great with area and runner rugs in the most used areas.

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Dicey

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Re: Flooring for House on a Slab - Reccomendations?
« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2017, 09:04:51 AM »
Hey DianeC:

Which flooring stores do you use and what's the price of the LVT you like?  I'm redoing a couple of houses down in Phoenix and I need a better product than carpet or laminate.
Sorry, AR, just saw this. For the most recent job, we had to use Lumber Liquidators (not my favorite). We ordered it in advance from CA, picked it up in Grand Junction, CO, loaded it in our truck very carefully, and drove it to Aspen. Delivery of building materials to Aspen is like getting pricing for a wedding vs. a party. OMG,  surcharges for everything.

The material DSD chose (with her dad's coaching) was Tranquility Ultra in Rustic Acacia. At 800sf, the price was $2.02.

In my pre-FIRE days, I was a rep for a major flooring mfr, over on the fuzzy-side-up side of the business. I tend to use local mom & pops who I know. Papa bear mentioned ProSource, which is part of Carpet One. They are a buying group, but each store is individually owned. Collective buying power, plus better pricing, service and installation skills is a winning combination, IMO.
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