Carpet padding stuck to your hardwood floors? Angie explains why carpet padding often adheres to hardwood flooring and provides tips for removal.
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Local Articles in Baltimore
Berber carpet remains a resilient, attractive option for any basement space, but is it also easy to clean? Which type will suit your space best?
Learn how to decide whether to repair or replace hardwood flooring in your home.
Here are flooring options to consider for bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, basements and other areas prone to getting wet.
"Etiquette and tipping experts agree that tipping a contractor and his employees isn't expected because contractors offer to do a job for you at a specific price. Any extra money they would want would be built into their bid. Also, it's a business relationship rather than one where they are performing a personal service for you like a waiter or a maid. But if the employees do extra jobs around the house, then experts say it is appropriate to tip a cash amount equivalent to the task; "tip gifts" such as cookies and drinks can count. "The key to tipping is whether or not it was outside the scope of what was normally expected," says Mark Brenner, author of "Tipping for Success!"
My opinion is that a little bit of courtesy (snacks, drinks, expression of appreciation etc.) goes a long way and upon completion of their work you feel compelled by a job well done to offer a little extra in the form of a tip - go for it, but do not feel obligated.
I agree with Ben, as usual. First, test your slab - put a sheet of plastic over it, at least 3 feet square, taped down to the slab all around - leave for 3 days. If the slab darkens with moisture, or there is any condensation drops on the underside of the plastic, you have a damp slab. If you have visible moisture or moisture discoloration at any time during the course of the seasons with exposed concrete slab, then you have a wet slab. Even just a damp slab can put several quarts of moisture passingfrom the ground through the concrete into the air per day, and a wet basement slab in contact with wster at its base can generate as much as 10 gallons a day of air moisture - which means that pretty much anything placed on it WILL get damp enough to mildew or mold.
For a wet slab, a polished concrete or epoxy/polyurea surface is your best bet. Any other surfacing you put over it is likely to mold. Ceramic tile with waterproofing additives in the mortar mix can work if the surface is properly prepared for good bonding, and you use "plastic" thinset and grout rather than cement based grout. Basically has to be done the same way as for a gymnasium shower floor or pool deck to work right.
For a damp slab, assuming it NEVER actually gets wet either from high water table under it in wet season, or from surface flooding from foundation leakage, then you have several options:
1) As Ben says, Pergo and others make totally plastic flooring material in a variety of surfaces that can be put down on a smooth slab over a vapor barrier and totally inorganic plastic padding - looks like bubble wrap commonly. Does not guarantee mold will not form between the vapor barrier and the concrete. IF you use a snap flooring version, can be taken up if it gets saturated and dried, then put back in. Not so with glued or nailed versions. Some people also use snap or interlock together rubber or foam flooring over a vapor barrier, particularly in rec rooms, which can be taken up easily in event of flood.
2) A vapor barrier under an inorganic pad as above, overlain with an open-weave backing synthetic fiber (nylon, rayon) carpet with NO natural materials in it, which has lots of breathing space in the weave can work. I have used open-weave backing short-pile 100% nylon carpet from Armstrong in my basement for about 30 years, with vapor-barrier floor paint but no plastic sheet vapor barrier or padding and never a mildew problem, even though the plastic sheet test did show a minor amount of condensation. The key is a breathable carpet and decent airflow in the basement.
3) Any other type of flooring - laminate, vinyl, hardwood, etc will act to xxxx vapor evaporation, so risk mildew/mold under them. You can put down a sealer on the concrete and a vapor barrier and frequently get satisfactory service in a low moisture slab - generally only ones that are at or above surrounding ground level, but you always have the risk of mildew, and if ever flooded are pretty much trash. If you use a sheet product, use plastic, not organic - so vinyl, not linoleum, for instance. I have successfully done asphaltic based vinyl tiles and vinyl sheet using asphalt adhesive - the 1970's method - on damp flooring without trouble, but you have to make sure the concrete is VERY well sealed first with multiple penetrating coats of sealant placed on ground concrete surface so there is open voids for the sealant to penetrate, then let sit a week or more untouched and unwalked on before putting down the asphaltic-bonded tiles or sheet. The key is to make sure the concrete is less permeable to moisture than the overlying material. If you use a non-asphaltic adhesive (because of smell issues or allergies), then I would recommend full-adhesion waterproof mastic, not spot-adhered or glueless, so there are no air gaps under the sheet to accumualte moisture and mildew.
4) Of course, in new construction, if a full edge-bonded heavy duty plastic liner is put in the bedding sand layer UNDER the slab, that can turn a potentially wet or damp situation into a basically dry one, allowing almost any type of flooring to be used, though I NEVER recommend hardwood over below- or on-grade slabs. Of course, in a basement, one should probably assume that at some point it will get at least partially flooded from foundstion leak or pipe failure, so polished or stained or coated concrete, tile, or removeable flooring is the most likely to survive that.
5) Another option, in pretty much either case if your ventilation system removes the vapor as fast as the concrete can supply it, is padless thick open-weave area rug with a "Miller Weave", "Open Back", "Berber" or "Rag Rug" construction - which have lots of air holes in the rug and backing to let the moisture through. Then if getting damp or floods, just roll up and take out to garage and drape over some elevated 2x4's across sawhorses to dry out. Again, start with good concrete sealing first - preferably deep sealant with compatible epoxy surface coat to minimize water transmission.
I get so many calls from customers that were talked into a "cheaper" way to do something only to find the work very sub-par. The sad part is they are out the money they spent in the first place along with the additional amount I have to charge just to undo what the first contractor did before I can do it right. This floor could end up costing you double what it should if it's not done right.
Todd's Home Services
Flooring reviews in Baltimore
When he and his helper came on a Friday, I asked them if they were going to work on Saturday. He said that they were going to try to finish the floor in one day. They worked all day and finished in the late afternoon. They said it couldn't be walked on until the following morning, and took several days to cure completely, which I know was the case from previous experience. I looked at the bathroom from the door but did not go inside.
As they were getting ready to pack up and leave, I noticed a 12 foot scratch on the original 115 year old parquet floor where they had moved their equipment from the front of the dining area to the mats that I had put out at the back door to the courtyard. I quickly pointed it out to them. At first they denied it could have happened, then the helper tried to put some oil on it. I stopped him and said that it would have to be treated by a professional. The owner said that they had a professional wood floor refinisher and would send him out to correct it. Then I saw that they had not cleaned up the spots they left on the dark green deck floor and stairs and I asked them to clean it up before they left. He said, "Well, I'm not going to scrub it!" and took the hose and washed it. That didn't work and I haven't been able to clean it. I am going to have to have it refinished.
The next morning I went into the bathroom and found that the grout was uneven, ranging from black to light grey, there were lumps of dried grout on the surface of the tile at the back of the bathroom and there was grout powder all over my feet from the surface of the floor. The where the tile met the wall at the back of the bathroom was a mess and the charcoal color had leached into the white grout on the tile walls throughout. I got my cell phone and took photos and texted them to him showing him the splotches if dried grout, the uneven color of the grout lines and the sponge that was black from cleaning with water on only four tiles.
.From then on, I called, emailed and texted him asking him to come out and fix the problems. On only one occasion did he answer and tell me that he could come out and redo the grout, but I would have to pay him to do so. He also emailed me that he had talked to his refinisher and that he would call to make an appointment to come out. He didn't call, so I called him and made an appointment. He was supposed to come out last Friday evening, but didn't show up. All other attempts to communicate have gone unanswered.
I spoke to the technical support people at Custom Building Products. They told me that the problem was efflorescence and there were several things that could cause blotchy grout color: too much water added in mixing the grout, improper cleaning by wiping too soon and with too much water, improper mixing of the grout by not using the right amount of water, adding water after the first mixing (rehydrating), inadequate cleaning of the sponges. The installer insisted that he had followed proper procedure, but when I looked at the instructions, I saw that he was required to wait 2 hours to wipe the haze off the tile and seal after 3 days. I know he didn't wait 2 hours because he was working full time and was eager to finish and, needless to say, the grout was not sealed.
I researched what could be done to correct the grout color and found that, if the grout is not sealed, you can return the grout back to near it's original color through the use of a "grout stain", which is available from the manufacturer. As a matter of fact, Custom makes a grout product that guarantees even color. It is more expensive, but he didn't pay for the grout, I did. This is good information for anyone who wants to avoid this problem.
I explained this in detail because I feel that a company with the reviews I saw on Angie's List should maintain their reputation and correct an unacceptable outcome such as this. I am referring the problem to Angie's list complaint department in the hopes that they can accomplish what I have been unable to.
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