Help me figure out flooring for my mom's below-grade condo?

mjseeFebruary 9, 2011

Here's the deal--Mom is 75. She lives in a condo I own that is below grade, on a slab...but daylight. (Basement garage beneath.)She currently has very light carpet that shows dirt lines around the edges of the room. (Air flow or some-such leaving dirt on the edges?) Mom wants something that looks like wood. I want something that will hold up, isn't slippery, and is approved for below-grade. Condo association must approve anything that isn't "carpet" or sheet vinyl. We've got a LOT of floor to cover (I'd guess 800-1000 Sq ft...but I haven't measured) and a relatively limited budget.

She was thinking laminate, but I'm worried it will be slippery. Plus---there's the whole "approval" thing. I'm thinking we should just re-carpet--but that's NOT going to make my mom happy. Do y'all think Tarkett's Fiber Floor in one of the wood grain looks might be a good compromise? Or should we stick with carpet?

I am familiar with the Congoleum glue-down Duraplank...have it in my own basement but I think that's going to be out of our budget...and I think it can be a little slick when wet. Plus--I might have to run that one by the condo board as well.

Another wrinkle--she's in North East Ohio and I'm in NC so I'm not going to be able to DIY it or supervise....and any condo board negotiations will have to happen long-distance.

If Mom would just move in with me, I'd gut the place and sell it...but THAT'S not happening anytime soon...all her friends are up there.

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

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I am confused with below grade slab and daylight, sounds more on grade than anything else. I would not use a tarkett fiber floor. I am sure you want to float the vinyl and the only way to go is Congoleum's Air Step Plus or Air step evolution. It is not your typical fiberglass floor, can float entirely or be just perimeter fastened and is guaranteed by Congo not to buckle. There is no other floor like it and Air step plus is relatively inexpensive. Armstrong also makes one `kind of similar but not the same. No one else...period.I am sitting here racking my brain and this would be the choice for the specifications you indicate. I have a ton of info on why no other ones comes close. Scotchguard..silver treated for anti microbial properties..12 mil..decent cushion to it..20 year warranty..the real deal and its the only floater that the manufacturer does not give itself a ton of sniffle clauses on why it should be glued. And USA made entirely which is another good thing and very green product.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 8:55PM
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Think "Garden Apartment"...bottom three feet are below are barely above grade and she has a slider out to a small patio with a retaining wall. Thanks for the heads up on Congoleum Air Step Plus. I'll research that one as well!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 9:27PM
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Condo association approval is to make sure people aren't installing floors that will cause problems. One is transferring noise to the downstairs condo (one floor below). This concern will have to be considered for this floor in your mother's condo too, but it will be lessened because the garage is what's underneath, not someone's living unit. Other considerations too.

Find out more about the slab. It is hard to believe there is any air coming through slits in a slab around a room perimeter. Whatever caused the discoloration is good to know about long in advance, not a year or two too late.

2/ Is the garage unheated, and cold too? Unheated but not cold? Heated? Find out what temperature the slab is exposed to underneath, in the garage. Either by observation, or by querying people who know, or by attaching a thermometer that has memory.


Cork floor would work.

Buy several sample pieces and leave them in your mother's place.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 12:39PM
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We have a basement condo too. We have ceramic/porcelain tiles in wet areas. 15yr old parquet in the living/dining room that is in great shape. In the back bedrooms was old carpet. We pulled it up and laid resilient vinyl planks from lumber liquidators. Looks good, not slippery, but it is cold, especially on a slab. Any hard surface is going to be noticeably colder than carpet, unless you have it heated from below.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Basement garage is heated.

Mom went and looked at the Cushion Aire and the Tarkett...and hated them both. She's back to laminate...which worries me. But she's dealing with a very reputable family-owned local company and I trust them to talk her out of anything that would be truly ill-advised.

xand83--I have congoleum duraplank (glue-down vinyl planks)in my basement and I love it...but that's NOT in the budget. Guess I'll have to wait and see what she decides she likes.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 6:21PM
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If she is leaning towards a laminate that is less that $1.19 sq/ft, that would worry me too. I don't want to hawk their products for them, but the Tranquility line is pretty affordable. We love the wood pattern in ours, just wish we had gotten the cherry because it would have been a better look than the whitewash planks we laid. Whatever she ends up with, good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Tranquility

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 10:14AM
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She's leaning toward Mannington's value-lock...which has a good reputation.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 7:01PM
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floortech or anyone: do you know how well congoleuum airstep or airstep evolution would stand up to large dogs?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 11:20PM
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mjsee, check out the threads on here for Novalis vinyl plank flooring. We have installed it so far in 5 rooms and LOVE it. Price is usually .98/square foot but I think Lowe's currently has it on sale. I don't think you can get a nicer looking floor product for the money. Everyone who comes to our house thinks it's real hardwood flooring. I work with a General Contractor on some real estate property we own and even he was impressed!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 3:41PM
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