Concrete Flooring. Now What?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott Wong, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    I did a search but didn't come up with anything specific to answer my questions...

    My wife and I purchased a townhome in Oct. 2004. The townhome was built in 2001 and the only thing in bad shape is the carpeting. My wife has bad allergies and the previous owners had a dog. The entire is home is carpeted throughout except the standard kitchen and bathrooms. After seeing so many different homes featured in Dwell magazine with concrete floors - we are interested in just ripping out the carpet in our townhome downstairs. This would basically include the living room/dining room area. The carpet is already filthy with lots of spots. Not only would it help with my wife's allergies, we are both interested in modern/pre-fab homes as well as their designs and features.

    Our townhome is on a slab but I don't know much beyond that. I know regardless of anything else, the carpet would need to be ripped out sooner or later. We are thinking of simply using contemporary throw rugs throughout the living room/dining room area in conjunction with the concrete flooring. In a separate issue, I am getting back into the hobby reef-keeping and just obtained a 120-gallon reef-ready aquarium. This will be going downstairs in the living room area and I don't want this kind of weight on the carpet to begin with. Having it sit on the raw concrete with that kind weight may be better in the long run anyway... i.e., 120 gallons of saltwater x 8lbs-10lbs per gallon = 1,200lbs + 120lbs live rock + 150lbs live sand + 65 gallon sump/refugium @ 8lbs-10lbs per gallon = over 2,000lbs. My question is in regards to removing the carpeting and exposing the bare concrete floor underneath.

    1.) What kind of prep would I have to do to the concrete flooring once the carpet is gone? Does it have to be sealed at all? Cleaned? Vacuumed? Sanded? I'm just being facetious because I honestly have no idea.

    2.) I live in Minnesota and am also concerned about the freezing temperatures. Should I be concerned at all about the ambient temperature of the inside of home going down at all? I don't want to sound ignorant since this is our first home but I am assuming with the loss of insulation downstairs with the carpeting gone... it'll be freezing downstairs! If we have friends/family over for dinner - I don't want everyone bundled up in their goose down jackets while eating in the dining room downstairs.

    3.) I'd also be interested in hearing from individuals (be it in Minnesota or otherwise) who have concerete flooring. Just interested in knowing what you think of it, maybe things you would have done differently, etc, etc. I'm also wondering when it comes time to sell the home what others may have found when doing so? Are realtors and/or prospective buyers turned off by the plain concrete flooring? I know this seems to be getting more and more popular, however.

    Thanks...

    - Scott.
     
  2. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I live in a similar climate to you and I wouldn't dream of going with bare concret in the basement...it would be way to cold. I'd suggest looking into laminate as its very easy to install and would still be good for your wife's alergies.
     
  3. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    We tore out our carpet for much similar reasons, and lived with bare concrete for a while. Basically, after you get the carpet and pad up and out, you have to go around removing the wooden tack-strips with the little nails in them which held the carpet down; since these are held in with concrete nails, there will be little pockmarks left in the floor, which you might want to fill up with patching compound. Other than that, it basically needs to be mopped; I suppose you could buff and wax it, but we never did.

    Now, your wife is going to have to be somewhere else when you're doing this, and you'll need to wear a dust mask at least. If you think it's bad now, with the stuff lying on the floor, it's nothing to what you get when you've started to pull it up. You'll need to open all the windows and run the house fan to flush the air out, and keep this up for a couple of days after you've finished the job [and change the furnace filter afterward].

    Here in Texas we found that a bare slab was not too nice in the winter, and wound up putting down vinyl tile flooring [looks like ceramic, but easier to install, doesn't break, and has some insulting qualities] and using area rugs. In Minnesota, where the ground actually freezes to some depth, I imagine you'd want to put down some kind of subfloor and put flooring over that.
     
  4. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    The concrete will more efficiently transmit the ground temp into the rooms. I'm guessing year-round ground temps are in the high 40s in MN- they're around 55°F here in Northern VA. I would definitely expect the room to feel a tad cooler, but not terribly so. Your feet will be cold, though- get some slippers.[​IMG]

    I've been living with bare concrete floors in my basement for over a year now (I'm doing a complete tear-out and refinish of my basement, by myself, outside of my 60 hour work weeks[​IMG] ), and it's not too bad. The floor does moderate the temp down there. I haven't run the heat in several days, and the temp has steadied out at 66°. In the summer, this is great- it gets to 72, tops.

    You might consider doing the aforementioned laminate floors (Pergo being the most famous). I'm ultimately going to use that (albeit a much cheaper alternative from Costco) in the rest of the basement, and it does insulate the cold floor from your feet very well- I did a couple-day soak test with one box, just to see. The already-completed theater down there got really thick frieze carpet, so that room stays comfy.

    Todd
     
  5. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    I have concrete floors in my apartment here (masonry tile over a slab) and let me tell you, it is quite unpleasant if you are in the habit of walking around with bare feet or even thin soled slippers. The suggestions of modular flooring are good - they make the floor more comfortable to stand on, are helpful to insulate, but don't trap dust or other particles that would irritate your wifes allergies.
     
  6. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    Thanks for the replies, everyone!

    I should probably clarify that not a whole lot of time is spent downstairs right now. It is just the two of us. Dinner is usually spent upstairs informally in our loft where the TV/Theater is... if we have friends or family over on the rare occasion or holiday, then we'll usually eat downstairs in the dining area.

    I was thinking of using just a large throw rug under the dining room table and chairs... and probably another large one or a couple of smaller ones in the living room area. There are a couple of sitting chairs and a chaise lounge that will be used for reading and eventually watching the aquarium.

    Provided that I strategically place a few throw rugs, would it just be unbearably cold?
     
  7. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I'd say yes it would be too cold for me.
     
  8. Scott Wong

    Scott Wong Second Unit

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    It is our main downstairs living area though... and I just don't know if I'd wanna use cheap linoleum flooring throughout that entire area. Is that the same thing as the Pergo or laminate that you guys previously suggested? Or are you referring to the less-expensive approach to hardwood flooring? Ideally, I'd love to have hardwood flooring throughout the downstairs area but it seems to be fairly costly. [​IMG]
     
  9. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    laminate (pergo) flooring would be the way to go. If you install it yourself, it cost about $4/square foot. I put it in my basement about 4 years ago and I love it. Buy the snap-together flooring, and it is a one weekend project.
     
  10. Dennis*G

    Dennis*G Supporting Actor

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    Is your basement completely underground, or just partial underground? If only partial, and you have some windows, or a walkout, then bare concrete is not too bad. Just have socks or slippers if you spend a few hours down there. If fully underground or over 80%, then bare concrete will make it very cool/damp down there.

    If you install laminate (pergo, etc) you have to make sure that your floors are nearly perfectly flat, and you have to put down vapor barrier. I just did one room in our basement and that was plenty. I can't see myself doing the whole thing!

    One option, that should give you the warmth and keep allergy out is to lay down some wood sub-flooring, then find some of the vinyl flooring that looks like wood strips and put that down.

    Good luck with whatever option you choose! The bare concrete will probably be great in the summer to keep cool.

    Just thought of something else. maybe install in floor heating, then just pore a small cover of concrete and maybe have the concrete stained and stamped to some design.
     
  11. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    The stuff that I bought at Costco came in under 1.25 sq/ft, including the underlayment. It's US-made, too, with a 25year wear/water warranty- I was shocked.[​IMG]
     

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