floor covering and design...with a fuzzy side

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What's under my flooring and why it matters when you are replacing it.

Cracked cement can cause issues if not treated properly.
When you're replacing your flooring a professional measurer/estimator will want to know what is under the existing flooring.  When the flooring professionals you hire send someone to measure your floor, be sure to ask what's under the existing floor.  This will force them to take a look (If they're good, they will have already looked) and save you potentially major issues on the actual installation day.

Which room and floor of your home (basement, first, etc.) you are replacing your flooring can impact what may be lurking beneath the existing flooring. In the picture above, the poured concrete basement was cracked.  Chances are if the floor was covered (by an existing floor or something else) an estimator would easily miss something like this.  Estimators typically pull up a small section of existing flooring to see what's underneath, which means there could be issue-causing problems where they didn't look.

Something is missing here...

In this photo, there was an existing vinyl floor.  The estimator pulled back the vinyl and saw a sound looking subfloor.  On the day of the installation, they removed the vanity only to discover the original builder did not put any subfloor over the plumbing beneath the vanity.  Making this floor installable isn't a huge undertaking but if the installers aren't planning on patching subfloor, they most likely don't have the right materials to do so which will delay your installation.  Could this have been avoided?  Probably not.  Estimators don't pull out cabinets when checking the subfloor.

Other issues that could be hiding under your existing floor:

Not good...water damage from a leaky ice maker line
Water damage -this is usually found beneath or around the refrigerator, sink, washer or other water-using appliance.  This photo shows what water damage looks like. You can see the damage goes through the existing floor, the underlayment and the subfloor.  A repair will require tearing this floor down to the joists and building it back up level to the existing, undamaged subfloor.  This will not be an inexpensive repair and will push back the installation by days.

Something just isn't right....

Un-level subfloor.  Check out this photo.  See how much the floor drops?  Installing many products over this would be a nightmare.  Repairing the floor so you can install flooring over it can vary depending on the size of the area needing leveled.  It could range from a few bags of self-leveler to a cement truck and an entire re-pour.  

Nails cause issues!

Nails!  Yes, a nail that isn't hammered completely into the subfloor can be a nightmare.  Not only does it make a squeaky floor a good possibility but even if it is up a millimeter above the surface of the floor, it can cause the replacement floor major issues.  When the installers are prepping the floor, they should be sure all nails are hammered in.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  In the end it is best to make sure your estimator/measurer looks beneath the existing floor when they are measuring the room in order to allow for repairs if need be.  Nobody has x-ray vision but most issues can be caught before the day of installation. 

At Bob Wagner's, we send our best measurers and estimators to insure your installation goes off without a hitch.