We are now in the 2nd year of our new home (new construction) and are looking to finish the basement. We plan on laying wood laminate floors down but want to make sure we do it right. When the floor was poured, they put a heavy mil plastic sheet down and poured on top of it (excuse my ignorance but I'm guessing that was a vapor barrier of sorts?). Basement was poured in the cold weather and the windows were all covered while we ran salamander heaters to keep the temperature toasty warm so the floors could dry. We do have concrete dust issues upstairs that we think will be alleviated after we lay the flooring.

My question is-do we need to do anything additional (waterproofing, sealing, painting) to the floor before laying the laminate floor? I want to make sure we not only have it properly prepped but also protected against any more concrete dust.

  • salamanders ? Dec 12, 2018 at 2:58
  • It's a type of forced air heater fueled by kerosene (at least the ones we used were).
    – paul
    Dec 12, 2018 at 3:04
  • Aha! I'll add a link since I may not be the only one that never heard of it. Dec 12, 2018 at 3:22
  • 1
    Sorry about that....might just be a common name in my area. That's all l've ever known them as!
    – paul
    Dec 24, 2018 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


Well the vapor barrier will help but it depends on a lot more. I have completed basements and below grade daylight basements that were / are totally dry without the plastic because the plastic would affect the grounding plane or uffer grounding system. The base of the slab had 6" to +12" of compacted rock then the wall footings or they were first also had at least 12" of rock and drain tubes around the foundation. Last we sealed the wall from the outside several different coatings in wet areas and heavy plastic sheeting from the siding down to the bottom then back filled with crushed rock. None of these leaked. On the wall line but one full basement did have water entry at a emergency window exit that a sump was added on the outside to keep from happening again. It all depends on how things were built. I have seen homes built over natural springs that were dry but other homes that were in a dry area on a hill leak like a some one was pumping water in. It all depends on how the home was prepared , and drained. To tell the truth I don't see anything that works well from the inside if you have leakage , but if dry tape a plastic bag down on both the floor and walls. Wait 24 hours if the area looks damp maybe a sealer like epoxy paint may help but if water droplets I would be cautious unless you just had a 500 year rain storm.

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    When they dug basement (only dug out about 6 feet), they were driving their semis down onto the floor and the excavator remarked that we would have no problems with water in our basement. For the walls, we used Superior Walls that were placed on crushed limestone. Drain tile was put down both inside (ends at a crock with a sump pump) and outside the walls and have all gutters also going into drain tile. The middle (floor) was covered with peastone and then was covered by the plastic sheeting. The cement was then poured on top of the plastic.
    – paul
    Dec 12, 2018 at 3:15
  • It sounds like it will be dry but I would still tape a piece of plastic like a trash bag down and look at the area after 24 hours if the area is dry under the plastic nothing should be needed, if the area looks damp I have had really good luck using floor epoxy as a sealer in my own home and for others. It is really amazing how much moisture can wick through the concrete so it is best to test.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 12, 2018 at 14:31
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    Last couple comments, Ed...if it is dry underneath (doing that test today), will I still need the plastic vapor barrier, or is it alright to just lay the flooring on top of the cement as-is without sealer or any other treatment? Also, I think I will use the epoxy on the garage floor but the question I have is this....we live in Michigan where we get good winters and the snow melts off of the car when it sits in the garage..what can I add to the epoxy to help with non-slip? Or will the epoxy work just fine? I have heard about the paint chips but not too convinced about that idea.
    – paul
    Dec 24, 2018 at 16:07
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    Thank you, Ed. Pulled up the plastic and thankfully, it was dry! I'm also going to look for the anti-slip powder online and will use that as suggested. Thank you very much-you've been a huge resource for me!
    – paul
    Dec 27, 2018 at 0:56
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    Got it....it won't let me up vote any of the comments (at least I'm not seeing it). Clicked the up arrow by my question but it said I don't have a 15 or higher reputation that it needs to change it.
    – paul
    Dec 27, 2018 at 1:40

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