Looking for engineered floor recommendation

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Vadim Kouzmine

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We're remodeling the house and want to replace tile with hardwood. There is a self-leveling concrete under the tile. Seems to be well made (has tiny hair-size cracks here and there but feels very solid). We'd like to keep it. To keep the overall height, it limits us to 3/8 engineered wood. Which seems to be hard to find. Would someone be able to recommend a quality brand that makes:
  1. 3/8 x 5-6 planks
  2. Plywood core
  3. Ideally ~3mm veneer layer (I guess ~2mm will be ok, too)
Suppose this will be prefinished so we need a light color.

Also some manufacturers allow floating even for 3/8. Would you recommend floating or gluing ?

Thanks!
 

highup

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Can we assume the self leveling concrete was poured on concrete? If height is an issue does it have to be real wood? If the current floor is concrete, there may be some moisture issues unless you have had the slab checked and know otherwise. That said, if the floor is concrete with a self leveler over it, I don't know the proper way to test it.
Maybe the same as concrete?
 

Vadim Kouzmine

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Can we assume the self leveling concrete was poured on concrete? If height is an issue does it have to be real wood? If the current floor is concrete, there may be some moisture issues unless you have had the slab checked and know otherwise. That said, if the floor is concrete with a self leveler over it, I don't know the proper way to test it.
Maybe the same as concrete?
Self leveling is about 3/4" to 1" thick and poured on top of plywood subfloor. It is really dry. Some contractors say to remove the self-level completely but then we'll need an extra layer of plywood because even a normal 3/4" solid wood will be too low. We prefer to have solid wood. But it seems to be a hassle to remove the self-leveling that is otherwise very well made.
 

Ernesto

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It's going to be tough to find a 3 mil wear layer in a 3/8 inch engineered. Lots make a 3/8ths, just stay away from Lumber Liquidators.
 

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Self leveling is about 3/4" to 1" thick and poured on top of plywood subfloor. It is really dry. Some contractors say to remove the self-level completely but then we'll need an extra layer of plywood because even a normal 3/4" solid wood will be too low. We prefer to have solid wood. But it seems to be a hassle to remove the self-leveling that is otherwise very well made.
You want to be sure it's self leveling concrete and not Gypcrete, if the product you choose needs to be glued. Gypcrete looks like concrete............... but it ain't. Gypcrete is gray colored and gypsum based and has nowhere near the strength of concrete. You can do a little test at an unimportant side of the room. Chisel into the floor it with a hammer and a screwdriver, or just hold the screwdriver in your hand and try to scrape or dig into the floor. Use both hands on the screwdriver and scrape hard. Basically, you are just trying to damage the floor surface enough to determine how hard it is.
Do you have the tile removed yet? Do you have any photos of the floor?
I am assuming that you do not have radiant heating tubes in the floor, correct?
 

Vadim Kouzmine

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You want to be sure it's self leveling concrete and not Gypcrete, if the product you choose needs to be glued. Gypcrete looks like concrete............... but it ain't. Gypcrete is gray colored and gypsum based and has nowhere near the strength of concrete. You can do a little test at an unimportant side of the room. Chisel into the floor it with a hammer and a screwdriver, or just hold the screwdriver in your hand and try to scrape or dig into the floor. Use both hands on the screwdriver and scrape hard. Basically, you are just trying to damage the floor surface enough to determine how hard it is.
Do you have the tile removed yet? Do you have any photos of the floor?
I am assuming that you do not have radiant heating tubes in the floor, correct?
Certainly not a concrete. It's softer and lighter. I can scratch it pretty easily. Assuming it's Gypcrete or similar. The thickness is 3/4".

I removed a few tiles already. Easy to remove and leaves the self-leveling intact. There is no radiant heat.

I figured it will require a layer of underlayment and the floor will have to float. Looks like there are plenty of choices of underlayment about 2mm thick. I'd prefer thinner if possible, but can probably still fit the 2mm extra.
 

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Usually when something is removed from Gypcrete it's surface layer comes off with it. The material is softer in the middle. When mixed and poured correctly, the surface can be fairly hard, but once that comes off, what's left is softer. I'm not sure what is done to repair it or restore it's surface. I think they use a hardener to make it walkable after it's poured and to provide a surface so that flooring materials can be glued to it. I'm going to guess the top surface came off with the tile mastic or thinset, leaving you with the soft surface. It might need to be smoothed out after the tile demo. I wouldn't glue wood to that material. You don't want a cement compound to do any repairs or smoothing to the Gypcrete. You need a latex based filler or coating................. and it will need to have the right sealer applied before doing any repairs, otherwise, the moisture will be sucked out of your filler faster than you can spread it.
Gypcrete would be able to advise you on that. I don't know how well it adheres to your plywood, so removing it and replacing it with new plywood may be an option. Then you could replace it with a thinner plywood and install a thicker hardwood. That said, I wonder if your floor was out of level or if the Gypcrete was poured simply as a sound deadner and/or a fire retardant.
Now I'm assuming you have Gypcrete or a similar product.
This is a house, not a condo, right?
How much area are you doing?
 
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Ernesto

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I'm not sure what is done to repair it or restore it's surface.
Ardex makes a gypcrete topper thats hard as rocks. Used it many times on powdery gypcrete. Gotta use the sealer/primer as it's like a self leveling compound.
 
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