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We are planning to lay laminate flooring in our basement and are wondering is there is anything we could lay down first for some warm< or should we put anything down? thanks Joan

  • The click lock laminate that I have used in the past includes a plastic vapor barrier underneath. It wouldn't provide a lot of insulation but it wouldn't hurt. When you say laminate what do you mean exactly? Can you be a little more specific. Laminate can range from the large rolls that you cut and glue down to faux wood snap together pieces. If we have more specifics we can assist better. – James Jan 23 '15 at 16:25
  • Also, what sort of surface is it going? (A picture of the floor to be covered wouldn't hurt at all) – James Jan 23 '15 at 16:26
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Two major considerations for basement flooring are moisture and comfort. Moisture is the primary consideration -- concrete floors are cool and porous and will permit moisture to infiltrate from underneath and condense from above. Obviously, you'll want to keep standing moisture away from wooden floors to prevent damage. There are various methods of doing this, including simple plastic sheeting, rigid foam insulation + 1-2 layers of plywood subfloor, or products using a waterproof dimpled surface to lift the flooring off of the concrete and allowing it to breathe.

The insulation + plywood method would certainly add quite a bit of insulation (+ softness) to the floor. I can speak from experience that having laminate flooring directly on concrete (with or without a water/vapor barrier) does nothing for comfort -- the laminate itself has little R-value and the concrete floor acts like a giant heat sink 24/7/365. So wood + concrete = hard and cold.

So I would strongly recommend adding some type of insulation and subfloor, as part of a system that ensured it remained dry.

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Laminate manufacturers are all over the place on this. I have done foam panels + plywood then laminate and then others want it directly on the concrete. You will have to talk to the manufacturer or a rep about the options - not all click lock systems are made the same and also some rely more on a glue down than the click lock.

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