Looking for some help on a DIY LVP install in my basement

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Stylez777

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Hi there everyone.

I purchased my house and ripped up the old laminate square tiles they had in the basement and the underlayment pad. Right now there is that glue down old linoleum / vinyl flooring, I am "pretty sure it isn't asbestos, as it is not tile, it rips like paper. Once I rip that all up I am planning on then tackling the sub-floor which is concrete. The one noticeable thing is it dips down into the corner, you can visually see it just looking at the floor and you can feel it when you walk on it. I have placed a 6' level across and there is a nice gap. I am not familiar at all with using self leveler and I have seen a lot of Youtube videos saying if you use the stuff you really need multiple people one mixing one dumping and smoothing and 1 bringing it back and forth. Would it be better to use something like a thin-set or something else to try and build up and level out the corner to eliminate that dip?

I posted the layout of my basement. I was planning to start against the long 22' wall but I was curious how I would handle the boards when I reach the 8' wall by the staircase, if I am left with a cut board there the rest of the room after the 8 foot wall wouldn't need to be cut so I would assume the planks would look off as you'd have roughly 8 foot of a cut plank and then another 14 feet of full planks running the rest of the room. Would it be best to try and map out the planks so that a full board would run along that 8 foot wall (and essentially the rest of the 14' across the room) so that then the cut board would essentially be my first row of boards against the long 22' bottom wall?

I have yet to buy my LVP, based off the above is there a way I can figure out the plank width to buy that would best fit my dimension so that I'm not left with a tiny cut along that long wall? Clearly I wouldn't want the cut being across the middle of the room as it would look terrible I'd think.

I appreciate any tips or general advice. I'm pretty handy and seen this done a lot I just never attempted to do it myself before.
 

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Incognito

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First off don't worry AT ALL about the size of the product. You're barking up the wrong tree there 100%. Whatever size you buy can be laid out so the cuts are perfectly fine both as far as looks as as far as lasting the life of the rest of the material. So forget about THAT and focus first on floor prep because THAT is the number one issue that causes problems and sometimes complete failure.

Whether you need to self-level or use a trowel on patch? First we need to know if that basement concrete has moisture vapor emissions and alkali outside of the range of what's acceptable for patch/levelor. The good news here is that if your existing vinyl/lino/whatever flooring was glued down and now it's STILL well bonded with no indication of alkali salt or moisture you're almost certainly OK to trowel on something like Ardex Feather Finish to fill any low spots and smooth out any choppy bits.

Do you intend to "float" some kind of "click-lock" assembled LVP, apply an adhesive or use the self-stick type? That's also going to be sensitive to moisture/alkali coming through your slab in a BASEMENT.

Now let's talk about layout-----the starting point and cut sizes. What you have is what we consider "chopped up. By chopped up we mean there's a lot of cutting going on once you finish out the large room. In any and all cases we normally start out in the bigger area with the longest chalk line we can make parallel to the longest walls. I generally figure out the FULL TILE and snap a reference line straight away so I can then check from that line all the other walls. From there with planks you can easily and quickly see where to snap your actual layout starting line. No matter what there's going to be some smaller size cuts-----the point of the layout is to minimize that and make the best of it. Honestly, I work with many, many dozens of guy in commercial flooring an I'm going to tell you MOST do not spend much time sweating the layout on vinyl planks/laminate. You're very often going to just go with the full piece off the longest wall when the areas are "chopped up" because there's six of one and a half a dozen of the others when you spend half the day sweating over slivers. It is a pain in the buttski to cut very slim pieces so it's worth taking some time to avoid that. But don't lose any sleep over it. Odds are there's a couch or row of file cabinets going along that wall. So what difference does it make?
 

JPfloor

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Click lock planks I assume? I agree with starting on the 22’ wall. I would take the time to do a little math and avoid any slivers on the 8’ wall and in front of the bathroom and laundry room. After that yea I agree, let the chips fall where they may. If that means cutting an inch or 2 or 3 off the first row on the 22’ wall then so be it. If that means starting the first row at it’s full width all the better. Snapping a line is needed to check that long wall is straight and true. Don’t just trust it as a starting point.

As for prep, yea I agree, that’s the important part. The floor doesn’t necessarily have to be perfectly level but it has to be smooth and flat. Any little humps you might want to grind down and as mentioned fill in any dips. I wouldn’t break out the self leveling compound unless the floor is in really bad shape. If the dip in that corner your talking about is severe you could pour some self leveler just in that corner. Use some tape or spray foam where wall meets floor to stop the compound from running under the wall. Then feather off the edge with a trowel and patch.
 
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Stylez777

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@Incognito and @JPfloor thank you guys for the reply! I appreciate the advice to not sweat the small stuff. I have the LVP I like and want to get so will just get it and work with it from there.

I agree with you guys 100% that I felt the hardest part and most difficult part of this job would be the floor prep. The old owners clearly just laid the laminate tile over the old glue down floor, it looks like it lasted there for 15+ years but clearly they didn't care about the dip in the corner, the floor seemed to mold to it, didn't feel lose or spongy, just felt like when you walked into that corner you were clearly walking downwards, you just feel the slope. I'm more than happy to take the time and effort to make that better.

I assume I already know the answer to this but I should scrape all that old glue down stuff up right? It will be worth the effort going through that and not just going over it like the old owners did? I would assume I couldn't properly level out the dip in the corner if I didn't rip it up.

I don't believe the concrete floor gets moisture. This part of the basement is attached to the garage which is about 3 inches below the floor slab for this, so it looks like this concrete sub-floor was poured over the true concrete subfloor of the house? Also, as you can see from the picture I posted here, the old floor is glued down quite well! It could be the original to the house from 1962 but might be something that was done later as a closet off the stairs has red tile that looks like asbestos tile, so who knows. All I know is it is old, ugly and still glued down well but rips up like paper, it does crack in pieces. The red Asbestos looking tile I am not going to touch and will just lay plank over it. It in a 2x2 closet that nobody ever will see, so if it off a tad nobody will ever see it. I might even just do a transition there if that is the best way to go, as it def will be out of sight out of mind.

For now I will focus on ripping out the rest of this laminate tile and underlayment and focus on floor prep first. Once I can get that settled (and probably the many questions I will have about how to best go about that) I will worry about install and starting an install after that. Step 1 first, right?
 

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Stylez777

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Is that sheet vinyl made to look like sisal carpet? Yikes!
Yeah it is some sort of ugly!! I've had many people just tell me, lay the LVP right over that, don't even bother scraping it up, save the time and energy and just stick a mantle in that corner or a desk and call it a day.

I'd rather take a little time and effort and flatten out that corner make it even, but I already know I am in for a lot of back breaking labor scraping up 400 sqft of that junk.
 

JPfloor

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Ummmm… They may be right.😎

I’m not saying it wouldn’t be better to get it all up and scraped down to the original concrete….Just maybe not that much better.

You could still level that corner and patch where needed.

Were there any problems with the floating floor that was on top of it for the last 10 years?
 
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Stylez777

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Ummmm… They may be right.😎

I’m not saying it wouldn’t be better to get it all up and scraped down to the original concrete….Just maybe not that much better.

You could still level that corner and patch where needed.
Just curious, how would I level that corner? would I just need to scrap up that corner area and then use a thinset, trowel and scree it flat or is there a better way? If I can get away with not having to scrape up and entire floor of that crap and I can still level that corner I'm all for that and all ears :cool:
 

JPfloor

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You could just rip up where needed and use a screed and mortar. Or as I mentioned, rip up, prime the floor, and pour some self leveling compound just in that corner. Put some “Great Stuff” expanding foam around the perimeter first to fill the gap between floor and wall. Then smooth it all out with patching compound. There is special patching compound for going over sheet vinyl. The name eludes me at the moment. Embossing leveler is the generic term.
 
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Incognito

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I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around that flooring that looks like woven rope (sissal). Why on God's Green Earth would something like that ever happen? I say tear it ALL out down to the bare concrete and get some new sissal carpet. It's actually pretty nice stuff.
 

highup

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Is that sheet vinyl made to look like sisal carpet? Yikes!
I installed some of that material quite a few years ago. With something unusual like that I usually remember the job but...
...my recorder is locked up.
I recall it actually looking pretty good.
When you do purchase your flooring, one trick I've always used for layout is making a storyboard out of one plank. Cut the plank into 3-inch wide pieces, then click them all together. It can help to run a piece down the length of it so they don't unclick themselves as you use it.
Slide your row of locked together plank sections against the wall you wish to start on. Make a mark on the floor at the other end which will probably be at least 4 ft away from the wall. Make a careful mark on the floor with a ballpoint pen, something accurate. Now slide your row of planks up to that mark then draw another line. Keep moving across the room till you get near the other side. Doing this I'll tell you exactly where you're going to end up, not just close.
If you measure 7 and 1/2 in on your plank and it's actually 7 and 1/32 then every 32 boards and you're off one inch.
You can also start your storyboard where you would like to start, maybe in a doorway, then measure both directions to see how the planks end up against the walls.
Your room doesn't have that many places that conflict with each other and a tape measure might easily get you the information you need as far as a starting point.
Using the storyboard, you're only wasting one plank.
Also I wouldn't bother trying to start the installation with a full plank against an outside wall just to avoid cutting that one row. Ideally, you want the plank joints to lay out where they work out the best, not simply trying to get lucky on one row to save a few minutes.
 

Stylez777

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So I got out my multi-tool with scraper attachment and 1 hour later I got up most of the top sheet vinyl stuff in the corner. Lot of that grey / black glue is married to that floor. I really dug in I could get it up in some spots but to do that everywhere would take waaay too long and my hands would be dead even with the multi-tool vibrating at 20k rpm.

Would the Henry 549 Feather finish work over that? It says it would stick to almost any surface and works up to any depth. If it will work just wanna level out that corner and any other low spots after I rip the rest of the vinyl out and the go over it with the LVP.

My other question, since the LVP I got is 8mm thick and has the pad attached, does that act as a vapor barrier incase the slab wicks moisture or should I put down a 6mil poly and then lay the LVP over that?
 

Tile Tom

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For a floater I wouldn't hesitate to patch over that and get it as smooth & flat as possible.

Vapor barrier isn't needed for lvp with the foam pad. But I always use one in old basement's or old houses with a concrete floor. It's cheap insurance.
 

Tile Tom

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Let me add that if it's a wpc lvp you should definitely use a vapor barrier. Spc lvp doesn't require a vapor barrier (I use one anyway, cheap insurance) unless it has a cork underlayment.
 

highup

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Wpc and Spc. What's the difference?
As far as cork backed, I'd use a vapor barrier. I've seen lots of LVP that's cupped and all of it is cork backed. I'm talking Cortec, not the no brand cheap stuff.
 

Tile Tom

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Wpc and Spc. What's the difference?
As far as cork backed, I'd use a vapor barrier. I've seen lots of LVP that's cupped and all of it is cork backed. I'm talking Cortec, not the no brand cheap stuff.

Because it's a wpc (wood plastic composite). Spc is stone plastic composite.

Being as the wpc have wood in them they react to moisture.... Like wood does.

Spc is the way to go for for just about every application.
 

Stylez777

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@Tile Tom Thanks for that breakdown. I never even knew there was a WPC or SPC options in vinyl plank. The plank I am getting is the Mohawk home from Costco. Nothing on it or on the web I can find to tell if it is either WPC or SPC but stuff feel nice, locks easy. 6mm thick (5mm plank 1mm black pad) 20mil wear layer and comes out to about $3.10 a sqft after tax. Haven't really been able to find anything price/quality wise to match that. Seen some sick closeout deals on "waterproof" Laminate for $1 a sqft that has been very tempting but I hesitate to put any laminate in this below grade setting.

Local floor store has a deal on 400sqft roll of silicone underlayment and the guy said that would be fine to use under for a vapor barrier but wasn't sure if that was a good option or just stick with like 6-12mil poly (which actually cost more than this silicone roll for same sqft are). Thoughts?
 
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