Flooring and Carpeting Flooring for screened in porch, plywood subfloor, outdoor carpet

Flooring and Carpeting Flooring for screened in porch, plywood subfloor, outdoor carpet

Flooring and Carpeting /Flooring for screened in porch


Expert: John Michaels — 3/27/2010


When I build a screened in porch (approx 5 years ago) I put down indoor/outdoor carpet down. It was glued over plywood. Now there are very large stains on it that keep growing larger in size. I think that maybe something is coming up from the plywood and staining the carpet. The company that installed it will take no responsibility. I do not want carpet again. Do you have any suggestions about what to put down. Would composite flooring be a choice to look at? Could it be put down over the carpet. I do want to get something that is scratch resistant. Thanks in advance for your help. Fran Shanor


Hi Fran;Why don’t you want carpet again? Carpet is one of the healthiest floor coverings one can have. It has a pile that traps, filters, and holds harmful track-on soils, air polutants, allergents, etc. until they are vacuumed away, and, on occassion, properly professionally cleaned away. Hard surfaced flooring is non-absorbent, so those harmful soils remain on the surfaces of hard surfaced flooring and become airborne with normal foot traffic and, on a screened porch, normal air currents, allowing the human lung to become the trap and filter. Visit the website of The Carpet & Rug Institute, carpet-rug.org, to learn true health information. If the discoloration on the carpet keeps growing, it sounds as if there is a problem with the plywood subfloor that is leaching up, into the carpet. Just think if you had hard surfaced flooring down. There would be a very good chance that, not only would the flooring suffer from the discoloration, but the flooring might have totally lifted off the plywood, since the adhesive would have been compromised. You also may have found that, since hard surfaced flooring is non-absorbent, you would have had to maintain that hard surfaced flooring on a daily basis, increasing the actual cost of the flooring. The true cost of any floor covering is product, installation, and maintenance over its useful life. Carpet costs less as a product, less to install, and less to maintain, over its useful life.

What ever you choose to do, you need to find out the cause of the discoloration and solve it, before any type of floor covering is installed. Since I can’t see your porch, I can only guess as to the cause. It does sound like you may have a moisture problem or other contamination, on or under the plywood, or, if you had an extensive spillage on the carpet, in that area, it may have leached into the plywood. What ever the cause, the plywood needs to be taken up, along with the carpet. Remember that carpet is now totally recyclable, so you should question the dealer where you purchase your new floor covering, to be sure the dealer has the ability to recycle it instead of just throwing it away. Since you want to get new floor covering, you may want to cut out the section of carpet containing the entire discoloration so you can investigate the actual cause of the problem. If it is moisture related, and since moisture travels to the lowest spot, the moisture source may be located in another area of your porch. If you find there is a problem on the plywood, the plywood may have to be cut away, in that area, to see what is going on under the plywood. The plywood will have to be totally removed, the source of the discoloration found and repaired, and then a new subfloor put down. Then you can choose the floor covering you wish to use.

You mention that you presently have indoor/outdoor carpet. Is it truly indoor/outdoor, or just a commercial type of carpet that really is made for only indoor use. If the porch is screened, you really need carpet designed for indoor/outdoor use. That type of carpet is usually made of olefin/polypropylene and can be in the form of what you see on football fields, or there are looped pile carpets made of olefin/polypropylene made for outdoor use and treated with a UV chemical to protect a breakdown of the yarn from harmful UV sunlight. Olefin/polypropylene is also made for carpets designed for only indoor use, so when you shop, make sure you choose carpet designed for outdoor use.

Flooring and Carpeting Flooring for screened in porch, plywood subfloor, outdoor carpet

If you decide on hard surfaced flooring such as vinyl, ceramic, etc. remember that that type of flooring is designed to be installed in areas where certain temperature and humidity ranges must be in effect ALL the time. Extreme cold or hot temperatures or extreme low or high humidity factors will negatively affect the floor covering, and the adhesives used to install that type of floor covering. If you see a hard surfaced floor covering you like, find out the name of its manufacturer. ‘Google’ that manufacturer’s name and visit their website. On that website you should find free installation specifications you can download and read thoroughly. Those specifications will detail the ranges of temperature and humidity where that type of flooring can be used, acceptable underlayments, proper adhesives, and proper installation procedures. Normally in outdoor usages, if you choose hard surfaced flooring, you need stone such as pavers, outdoor granite, outdoor slate, etc. You can also choose to install underfloor radiant heat strips that would keep the temperature at the acceptable levels to use vinyl, ceramic, or other acceptable hard surfaced floorings. Don’t use laminate or any type of hardwood, since that type of flooring would be negatively affected by moisture.

When you shop, please do NOT shop for any type of floor covering in one of those large home supply stores or over the internet. Shop at a local, reputable floor covering dealer who can supply proper product, supply proper installation, warranty both of those things, and supply references, which you should check out.

I also suggest that you do NOT choose any floor covering manufactured by Shaw Industries or one of its subsidiaries.

Again, find the cause of the growing discoloration, solve its source, and then choose the type of underlayment and floor covering you wish to use. I do suggest a proper carpet. Today’s carpet yarns are great choices, and a carpet, properly installed and maintained, in my opinion, would be a good choice. What ever you choose, BEFORE you purchase, please feel free to get back to me for comments. Let me know the name of the manufacturer of the product and the product’s name. It would also help me to know how many in your home including pets, and the soil conditions immediately outside your home (gravel, concrete, asphalt, sand, dirt, etc.), and the part of the Country in which you live.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to get back to me.

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