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I need suggestions for keeping a laminate floating floor in place during installation on a vapor barrier over concrete. I was hoping to hear of good ideas to prevent this slip/slide effect on the vapor barrier. Should I replace the vapor barrier and, if so, with what? Is there a non-slip product available? Any better tips/tricks of the trade?

Problem:

I can't keep the floating floor from sliding over the vapor barrier. I can start the floor straight, but as soon as I start tapping the flooring together, the flooring pivots and slides and I lose my straight line resulting in a major shift over 40'. I've tried placing spare boxes of flooring as well as had a 250 lbs person stand on it.

Background:

I am installing a floating laminate floor on top of a concrete slab in my basement. The flooring is Pergo Outlast+ with built-in padding and barrier but since it is going on top of concrete it is recommended to put a > 6 mil vapor barrier underneath. The vapor barrier is a black, vinyl, slick surface - snapping chalk lines doesn't work well. I've been using a Bosch laser level instead but I fear I am trying to be "too precise" over the 40' span. I have put down and pulled up this flooring twice as a result and I am at my wits end. I ended up hiring someone who ended up botching it even worse (picture attached) and now I am back to doing it myself.

floating floor sliding on vapor barrier

  • Isn’t there a better product to put down than black plastic? Something that grips the concrete? Like a foam underlayment? Or could you have used a roll on liquid barrier like red gaurd? – Kris Aug 16 at 22:22
  • @Kris : The documentation actually suggest NOT/NOT using additional foam underlayment as the increase padding may put stress on the joints and cause them to separate or crack. That said, I am trying to find a similar vapor barrier with more grip and the ability to mark/chalk. I have found a product called Eco Cork Foam but at $51.98/roll for 75 sq. ft. I feel like it is overkill. – 2and2IS5 Aug 16 at 23:56
  • Do you have reason to believe there will be a moisture problem? Have you considered roof felt? Or the new roofing membranes that self stick? – Kris Aug 17 at 0:50
  • I agree with both. Can't have pads -unless super dense - but roof felt or something sticker is certainly a better option. I hate mm plastic under flooring. – DMoore Aug 18 at 20:05
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Movement is normal. You have three choices and I usually use a combo of all of them on a room like this.

  1. Live with it and just fix the room every couple rows. You should have room to just push it back in place especially your first few rows.

  2. Have a person securing the rows a few feet away from you while you knock the boards into place. They can use their boots or a tool. Not standing on the flooring, but pushing it from the non-flooring side.

  3. Start building higher on one side and working your way out in a triangle pattern until you hit top corner. This should help keep room in place. I never work all the way across on rooms this big except maybe 2-3 rows at the beginning.

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Last time I did this I put wedges along the long side to stop the floor moving, once complete they were removed to allow proper expansion and the gap around the edge was covered.

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As Mike answered above. It's normal for the first couple of rows to move around a bit, you just need to use lots of packers at all edges to 'hold' it in place. The more flooring you get down, the better the packers will hold it in place. You don't need any chalk lines, laminate is incredibly accurate once two or three rows are clicked together.

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