Flooring and Carpeting Replace laminate with vinyl, slate tiles, laminate flooring

Flooring and Carpeting Replace laminate with vinyl, slate tiles, laminate flooring

Flooring and Carpeting /Replace laminate with vinyl



QUESTION: Before my wife and I met and married several years ago she decided to have laminate flooring installed in nearly every part of her 3-story, 4-bedroom, 3-1/2 bath, 2,200 sq. ft. townhome. The only areas that were left carpet were the three upstairs bedrooms and the master bath. She also had slate tiles installed around the living room fireplace and in the entry way. The flooring is Alloc 7mm bamboo floating laminate. It looks nice but is totally unsuitable in the bathrooms and kitchen.

When we married I moved in to her house and sold mine and we’ve been living here for a few years now and the laminate is starting to show its age, especially since we added a couple of dogs to the household. Then about a week ago I noticed the flooring in the downstairs bathroom was swelling and bubbling up. This bathroom is adjoined to a downstairs bedroom that serves as my office and is also the main room where the dogs hang out. As it is on the first level, and this home is only about 15 years old, it is concrete slab under the laminate floor.

I removed the toilet and baseboards and pulled the laminate floor and foam underlay up last week and discovered that the seal on the base of the toilet at the flange had given up and water from the toilet had leaked around the flange and right under the floor and into the foam without ever leaking onto the surface of the flooring. Needless to say it was a huge mess and apparently had been happening long enough to get into one wall and start a mold colony.

I’ve since opened the wall, cleaned and dried it out and sprayed a anti-microbial solution in there, patched and matched the texture and painted it. The floor is down to the bare concrete. I discovered that the reason the toilet leaked was because the concrete wasn’t level under the toilet, with a high spot right across the center line of the base, allowing it to rock back and forth since it was sitting on a floating floor. In any case, I filled in the low spots with floor patch and it is all level and flat now and ready for a new floor.

In the mean time I decided to put vinyl in the bathroom first, the way it should have been done to begin with and the way it was when the house was originally built. Then after the bathroom is done I’ll tear the laminate out of the adjacent office and replace that with vinyl as well. The bathroom will get slate-looking 12″ self-adhesive vinyl tiles with a 3/16″ grout line and real grout. These Armstrong Crescendo tiles have a groutable eased edge so I can nearly match the appearance of the bathroom floor to the slate entry way that is only about 20 feet away.

The adjacent office will eventually have a Allure resilient light bamboo plank floor installed as it is a very close approximation in appearance to the laminate bamboo flooring in the rest of the house, including the stair treads going between levels. The object here is to not change the appearance of the floor too much but to have a much more durable floor in the lower level of the house where there is a bathroom and dogs.

The problem is that the laminate floor sits about 1/2 inch above the concrete and the resilient floor materials are only about 3/16″ thick. I can install new baseboards and lower them to the original height they were before the laminate floor was installed and the floor was linoleum but the door casings and the doors themselves have been cut to clear the laminate floor and there will be a huge gap between them and the new floor if I just put everything directly on the concrete. There are two doors, one to the bathroom and one closet door.

How would a professional installer address this? Would you put a sub floor over the concrete? If so, what material? How would you attach it to the concrete, Thinset? Or would you replace the door casings and doors? Or would you just ignore it? I don’t think I can do the last two, I really need this to look right but I don’t know if a sub-floor is the right answer.

BTW, the house is in Southern California. We are fairly near the ocean, enough to have plenty of 70-80% humidity days in the summer. But it is not a particularly damp environment otherwise.

Any suggestions are appreciated!


ANSWER: Thank you for your question Mike,

Well based upon what I’m reading you have the situation well in hand. Lets move to the task at hand then. I have an old school suggestion for you that you don’t see very often anymore but would be a perfect solution to your current situation. It’s a decorative block called a «Plinth» block. It is a Victorian detail from years past and has been resurrected in the last couple decades but primarily in the upscale homes. They are not very expensive considering the amount that you would be purchasing. You would only need to use the block as a reference point to mark where to cut off the door trim. You can use a cutoff saw or one of the new style «Fine» tool to cleanly cut @ your mark then the Plinth block would slide into place and the gap disappear. Easy and quick and it would also add a new visual ingredient that is pleasing to the eye. By the way you needn’t remove the baseboard when you can purchase so of the prepainted «quarter round» and brad nail it to the baseboard, putty/caulk and paint your done. These two simple and easy fixes would preclude the need for any additional sub-floor. follow me? Ok Mike that’s it, I hope this helps you with your project. Feel free to return anytime.

Perry V.


Thanks for your quick reply. I understand what you mean by installing a Plinth block at the bottom of each door casing. Unfortunately the guy who put the laminate floor in also cut the door jambs to clear in addition to the casings so the Plinth would only solve part of the problem. Plus the bottom of the doors were cut to clear the higher floor and I don’t want that much of a gap under the doors.

It seems my only choice is to install a sub floor, which is a shame since the concrete is an otherwise perfect surface to put vinyl on a bathroom floor. I just don’t know what kind of sub floor to use and how to prep it so it has some longevity in the moist environment of a bathroom.

Thanks again.


Well it does appear then that if you need the elevation gain to solve some visual issues then you can easily install some 1/4″ material such as «Wonderboard» and install it using a combed layer of thinset with the 1/4″ cement board set and rolled down into the adhesive. Then you can tight skim the joints and sand them flat and then install the vinyl over that. This would also give you the longevity that you are looking for as well. Just do not install the vinyl until you are absolutely confident that the cement board has released all of the moisture from it and cured out so that the vinyl adhesive (vinyl adhesive is water soluble) can do it’s job properly. ok? That’s it Mike, I hope this moves you a little further down the line. Come again anytime.

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