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Which Flooring For Over A Concrete Slab

Mike_Mills's picture

It's almost time to start flooring the enclosed patio I'm working on. What's there now is the half-century old concrete slab. I want to cover this for appearance sake and also to soften the floor. No, I don't want carpeting, as this is a transition area between the house and the back yard.

I was thinking Pergo-type flooring - a plastic membrane covered by a wooden floor that floats. Would this work well? Does the moisture in the concrete limit my choices?

Perhaps, I should just get an area rug and lay it over the concrete. If I did get Pergo, I'd probably lay an area rug over the top of it, sooner or later.

Any thoughts on how to cover the concrete slab?

You will need to do a (post #181417, reply #1 of 6)

You will need to do a moisture test before deciding on any floor. Tape down a piece of plastic to the floor, with the tape on all four edges, corner to corner. The plastic need only to be a foot squared. Leave it there for a few days, a week is better. If there is water droplets on the plastic on the concrete side, you have moisture issues that need to be resolved and may limit your flooring choices. If the droplets are on the outside of the plastic, no worries, a floating floor like you describe can be a good choice, I've seen them istalled like that all of the time and have installed at least one myself.

Maybe consider ceramic tile? It's more durable and a little less prone to moisture damage, plus Home Depot is having a huge sale in my parts. Vinyl tile isn't a bad choice either. It installs easily and you wouldn't know it by how easily it cuts with a razor knife, but once it's in, it's practically indestructable.

I forgot about this post, (post #181417, reply #2 of 6)

I forgot about this post, however, I finished the exterior today, so it truly is time to work the interior details. The ceiling is first but the floor is not far behind.

Thanks for the tip on the moisture check. I'll do that. I expect we are okay but you never know until you test.

I'll second the previous post (post #181417, reply #5 of 6)

I'll second the previous post in recommending tile.  As the first surface inside at the back yard it'll also be easy to clean.  I'd use an uncoupling membrane (like Ditra) especially if there are any joints or cracks in the slab.

If you're dead set on wood (or wood-like) flooring, and the moisture test comes up decent, I'd go for an engineered flooring with solid plies for the core instead of Pergo, which is just particle board, IIRC.  (Never actually used it).  Seems like the combination of mud and water from the back yard plus moisture from the slab would destroy Pergo quickly.


(edited for spelling)

I'd see if I could find like (post #181417, reply #3 of 6)

I'd see if I could find like 1/2" ipe, and lay it down on stringers.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

I'd be concerned about (post #181417, reply #4 of 6)

I'd be concerned about dimensional stability with any solid wood.  A nice engineered board with good solid plies seems like it'd be more stable.

Although, Ipe sure would stand up to moisture, mud and traffic.  But I'd be scared to lay it tight.


Since you are in SoCal (post #181417, reply #6 of 6)

I'd say ... no wood, no carpet!!   Bare concrete ... e.g. acid etched to your taste (can look like tile! or your choice of abstract art). I did acid etch myself for like 50 cents/sqft ... you pay like $2-6 for someone to do it ... although I don't know why it's so expensive ... not that hard to do. Your choice of colors and patterns. You could set up the pattern (i.e. saw the lines) and let someone else do the work. You can get some outrageously beautiful concrete floors this way ... lots of examples on the web.

Choice #2 - TILE!!! You can buy reasonably looking tile for pretty cheap. Tile suits the area, too.

There ain't NO free lunch. Not no how, not no where!