Flooring and Carpeting rubber flooring, rubber flooring, moisture test

Flooring and Carpeting rubber flooring, rubber flooring, moisture test

Flooring and Carpeting /rubber flooring

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Expert: John Michaels — 10/5/2008

Question

Do you recommend rubber flooring for a basement bathroom? What about for a basement rec room? I’m concerned about mold in the bathroom and wonder about durability under dog paws in the rec room.

How does rubber flooring (sheets prefered over tiles?)compare with tile in terms of cost? Can we install ourselves?

Thanks.

Answer

Hi Patti;Several things to consider. First, do you have a moisture problem in your basement floor and/or walls now? If you don’t know, you must have a moisture test taken of the concrete floor. The proper moisture test must be the new ASTM drilling test, where actually drillings in random areas into the concrete down an inch or two, then moisture readings are taken. That type of test needs to be done by a contractor or local engineering firm who is knowledgeable about the testing procedure. The old calcium chloride test is no long sufficient.

Next;Any flooring that is installed with adhesives needs to have that moisture test taken. If you do have a moisture problem, no matter how slight, it may destroy the tackifiers in the adhesive and cause the entire installation to lift and fail. In today’s world, all floor covering manufacturers and sundry (adhesives, underlayments, levelers, subfloor preparations, etc.), are in the throes of producing ‘green’ products, friendly to our environment. They are vastly different then those made just 1 or 2 years ago. As an example, today’s adhesives are water based, not petrochemically based, so any moisture in the concrete will be attracted to and destroy the adhesive bond. If you find you do have a moisture problem, it must be solved before any underlayment or floor covering is installed, since you will be jepordizing your investment and health issues such as mildew and mold may occur.

Next;BEFORE you purchase any hard surfaced flooring, obtain and thoroughly read the installation specifications published by the manufacturer of the flooring you like. It will detail acceptable underlayments, how the product must be handled and installer before, during, and after the installation, the parameters of the environment including humidity factors and temperature ranges that must be kept before, during, and forever after the installation, and many other important things. You also MUST obtain that manufacturer’s maintenance manual that will detail, among many other things, proper cleaning agents and techniques, allowable footwear including pet’s claws (some hard surfaced flooring cannot be traversed in high heels), proper furniture leg protectors that must be used, effects of harmful track-in soils such as asphalt, garage type soils, outdoor deck finishes, etc. You need to become an educated consumer before you purchase. You will be making an investment, so you need to protect that investment with knowledge.

Next;Hard surfaced flooring is non-absorbent, so harmful soils, air polutants, allergents, etc. remain on their surfaces and become airborne with normal foot traffic and normal home air currents. The human lung then becomes the trap and filter. Depending upon the population of your home, including pets, you may have to maintain hard surfaced flooring on a daily basis. The true cost of any floor covering is product, installation, and maintenance over its useful life. Carpet is one of the healthiest floor coverings one can have. It has a pile that traps, filters, and holds those harmful soils until they are properly vacuumed away, and, on occassion, properly, professionally cleaned away. Carpet costs less as a product, less to install, and less to maintain, over its useful life. Visit the website of The Carpet & Rug Institute,

Flooring and Carpeting rubber flooring, rubber flooring, moisture test

carpet-rug.org, to learn proper health information, and obtain their list of vacuums, spot cleaning agents, and professional cleaning systems they have tested and certified as being ‘green’ products.

Next;Rubber flooring-non-absorbent, needs to be put down with adhesives, must be cleaned with proper cleaning agents and techniques, can be negatively affected with track-in petrochemical type soils, good wear, available in many grades, however sharp dog’s claws may cause permanent damage, sharp edges on furniture legs will cause damage, and needs constant maintenance to keep providing a ‘looking like new’ appearance.

Next;suggestions-have a moisture test taken, then consider hard surfaced flooring in the bathroom such as a ceramic tile installed over a cement backerboard, then carpet and pad in the rec. room areas. If you decide on carpet and pad, I would suggest you shop for a very dense, low all cut pile carpet of 100% solution-dyed nylon, (solution dyeing is where the dyes are added to the nylon while the nylon is still in it’s liquid state, so as it solidifies into a yarn, the nylon and color become one, allowing harsh cleaning chemicals to be used without affecting color), the construction should be a pile height of 3/8 to 1/4 inch, a gauge of at least 1/10 inch (every 1/10th inch across the width of the carpet, is a full length row of yarn), with a very tight stitch rate,(tufts are inserted very close together down each full length row of yarn), installed over a padding that has a moisture resistant top skin that resists topical spills from penetrating through the carpet and into the pad and concrete. That type of construction aids in good insulation and resistance to dog claws (although you should keep your dog’s claws filed down or properly clipped). That type of construction is used in hotel rooms, where it receives very rough treatment. That type of carpet construction is available in solid colors and patterns. Don’t accept olefin, polyester, or any blend of nylon and those fibers. You want 100% solution dyed nylon. If you do choose carpet, obtain, for a fee, from the website indicated above, the Carpet & Rug Institute’s installation manual, CRI-105, which is the minimum acceptable standards for any residential carpet installation. Read it, and, when you shop (for carpet or, if you choose hard surfaced flooring, let the dealer know that you have the installation specifications and expect your flooring to be installed according to those specifications. This will let the dealer know that his or her installer must know how to properly install the flooring). Please do NOT shop for any floor covering at one of those large home supply stores or over the internet. Shop at a knowledgeable, reputable floor covering dealer who can show you proper product, supply proper installation, and warranty both of those items. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me.

Cordially,

John Michaels

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