Vinyl Planks over Cement Board

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Jason

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Hello all,

First time poster. I currently live on the 2nd floor of a condo with linoleum in the kitchen / bathrooms and carpet in the living and bed rooms. Our water heater just started leaking and am having it replaced as I type this, but I had to tear up all the flooring in the kitchen since it all got wet. The water heater is in a kitchen cabinet.

In the kitchen, it appears there is an original layer of linoleum that was applied directly to the cement board. On top of that is another layer of linoleum, and then someone has put down 5/16th plywood, which then had another layer of linoleum. I've torn out the top linoleum and the plywood, but still have the 2 layers of linoleum that is on top of the cement board. (I think those two layers of linoleum saved my cement board, plus we caught the leak soon)

We are wanting to do vinyl throughout the whole house, so I think I'd be pulling up all linoleum and looking to install the vinyl planks.
We also plan to use a product like quietwalk underlayment to be kind to our downstairs neighbors.
My question is, as long as everything is flat and level, do I need to put down any other product first before putting down the underlayment and then vinyl planks? Or can that just be put directly on the cement board?
 

highup

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It would depend on the product, but if everywhere you plan to install it is on the same plane, you are probably good to go.
The specs on most all lock or click together will say flat to 3/16" in a 6 to 10 foot span or radius. This keeps the floor joints from flexing. If the joints flex, they can weaken over time.
Just get as close as you can to the manufacturers specs.
 

highup

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Some products have a backing such as cork or a thin foam. This is a sound deadening material. If it has this, don't add another layer of it.
 

highup

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One other thought. Is there a way for you to determine if your floor is a single layer floor such as tongue and groove OSB, or if it's a two layer floor consisting of a sub floor with an underlayment on top.
 

Jason

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I don't think I'll be able to figure that out without doing a significant tear-up of the floor.
So far I've only seen in the kitchen and bathrooms, where it appears to be cement board. In the bathrooms, I built and replaced the cabinets and that seemed to be cement board too. There are two spots where the previous owner has someone cut into the original linoleum to check why there were soft spots, I think. Its pretty crumbly there so I think I'm going to use flexible Floor patch / leveler to fix those spots.
I haven't tried to get under the carpet in the living areas to see if what they used, I'd assume it might be plywood in there, but I guess it could be cement board through out since its just a 1,000 sq ft condo.
We've got a 4 month old baby, so I think my wife is hoping I'll have it done ASAP, lol.
 

Floorist

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Are you sure that is cement board? It could be haydite. They often use it on upstairs apt. floors to save weight. Haydite tends to crumble or get powdery when it gets old. If it is Haydite, most floor patch will not stick to it.
 

Jason

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I’m not sure it’s cement board actually. The condo was built in 1986, so your description seems to match up since it is crumbling in places. Do you think the flexible floor patch / leveler it's the right product to use?
 

highup

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You can take an awl, or ice pick (yes,we all have ice picks) :D..... or some needle nose pliers and get an inch away from a convient carpeted corner....... Just grab the pile close to the corner with the pliers, or stab the awl into the backing close to the corner to lift the carpet back. It won't hurt anything. Once you take a peak, you can tuck the carpet back where it was.
 

Jason

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Oh sorry, I thought you were asking if I could take apart the actual subfloor. Yeah, I think Floorist's comment above is correct and its something like Haydite all through my condo. My condo is single level on the 2nd floor. The building only has 2 floors though, upstairs and downstairs residences.
So I'll just need to repair the Haydite / Cement board type subfloor I have in the kitchen, no idea if the previous owner dropped something heavy on it or something to cause it to crumble in some places.
We're considering Home Depot's LifeProof product. It's got a 6mil wearable surface and claims to be waterproof and scratch resistant. I've seen 12mil is more ideal for long lasting or "very active families", but this isn't our forever home, we live in SoCal so its just something to build equity until we can get into something bigger someday (or just get the heck out of CA)
The LifeProof product states that in includes an attached underlayment, but I'm not clear if its a bad idea to also put a product like QuietWalk underlayment under it too.
Some websites have said having 2 underlayments can cause too much movement and cause vinyl planks to separate. But I'm not clear if that includes attached underlayment like the LifeProof has.
I'm mostly just hoping to reduce noise for ourselves and our downstairs neighbors. We'll more than like do area rugs too.

Here are the products we're considering
LifeProof
https://www.homedepot.com/p/LifeProof-Sterling-Oak-8-7-in-x-47-6-in-Luxury-Vinyl-Plank-Flooring-20-06-sq-ft-case-I966106L/300699284
QuietWalk
https://www.homedepot.com/p/QuietWalk-360-sq-ft-6-ft-x-60-ft-x-3-mm-Underlayment-w-Sound-Barrier-and-Moisture-Barrier-for-Laminate-and-Engineered-Flooring-QW360B1LT/307956358

And thank you for all of the great information you guys have been able to give me.
 

highup

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If the product has an attached underlayment, do not add anything else. Might seem friendly as far as being neighbourly but it will void any warranty because the minimal added thickness will cause the flooring joints to flex more than they were designed to flex.
That said, what you probably have is a 3/4" to 1 1/4" plywood floor with an additional inch or more thickness of a poured gypsum based product on top of that. Looks like concrete but it isn't concrete. That product itself is a great sound deadner. It should also be a very flat surface, so that is a great thing.
Around here and nationwide Coretec vinyl planks are extremely popular. Great guarantee too.
Whatever you choose, follow the manufacturers instructions.
If you have any more questions, keep asking.
We don't get tired of questions..... Except for Daris. He's like 170 years old.
 
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Floorist

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[QUOTE="highup, post: 63891, member: 388"
We don't get tired of questions..... Except for Daris. He's like 170 years old.[/QUOTE]
Daris first job was putting carpet in a cave on a dirt floor.
 

DarisMulkin

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[QUOTE="highup, post: 63891, member: 388"
We don't get tired of questions..... Except for Daris. He's like 170 years old.
Daris first job was putting carpet in a cave on a dirt floor.[/QUOTE]
Carpet back then was pine needles and they were picky when sleeping on them. But the best part was when you farted it smelled like someone had shit in the pines.
 

Jason

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Thanks guys, lol.

So I do have another question. I was considering trying to make the whole condo seamless and just lay the floor continuously without any threshold transitions at the doors. But the more I think about it, since you have to start at the left back along the longer wall, I'm not sure if this is wise. For instance, I could start in the kitchen but by the time I got through the living room, into the hallway, and to the door of the babies room, I'd then have to start working backwards, which I suspect would make my life very difficult.

Is there a better way of making it seamless, or is that just not recommended and I should install the threshold parts?
 

highup

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I just did a 25 foot long living room installing Coretec flooring the backwards direction. It can go either direction. Easier as the way they show, but it still works fine backwards.
I had to go backwards because I was continuing from the opposite side of the house which I did 2 years ago.
Have you chosen a product,?
 
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