Experts:How difficult is DIY application of Ardex Feather Finish?

mjseeNovember 8, 2010

BACKSTORY FIRST:

I'm pretty handy...I can fix holes/cracks in plaster and drywall, but I've never used Ardex/leveled a floor before.Or even a horizontal surface. We are finally addressing one of our basement bedrooms. Pulled up the old carpet (no visible mold or mildew on the carpet or the pad), pulled up and disposed of the 9x9 asbestos tiles (Yes, we did it correctly and they came up with frightening ease.) Of course I'm left with black cutback adhesive.

Because this is a temporary fix until we re-configure/re-floor the basement I decided to go with an inexpensive floating floor--HD's Allure. I've used it in the past with success. That time I put it down right over the black cut-back. Years later, no problems. This time I'm considering the Ardex because once we got the carpet and tiles up, the room suddenly smelled like "basement". Even after sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping. You know...musty. The rest of that part of the basement (formerly an auxilary apartment) still has sheet vinyl or carpet and smells fine.

Talked to the flooring "expert" at HD (who seemed to know what she was talking about) and she said I definitely need to seal with a cementaceous product. She recommended Ardex--and I know I've read about Ardex here.

Finally--the questions:

1) Do I really NEED to put the Ardex down? I'd rather not...but will if y'all think it advisable. (I think I know the answer to this one!)

2) I'm a little nervous about getting the stuff even/smooth...because with that cutback I KNOW I done' want to be sanding up any errors. Is it fairly easy? Or should I find someone who wants some extra work to do that part for me?

3) Is there anything else you folks thing I need to know that I've not mentioned here?

Thanks!

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glennsfc

You don't need to encapsulate the cutback adhesive, if all you're going to do is install another laminate floor. Simple make sure that the floor is flat enough and that you use the recommended vapor barrier.

However, should you choose to skim coat the floor, Feather Finish is easy to work with, will stick to itself, so you can build up layers as you try and get the smoothest result.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 9:59AM
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mjsee

Thanks Glenn! I was hoping you'd see my post. You've been so helpful over the years. The floor is pretty even...though there ARE a few little holes where the tack strips were nailed into the slab. I figured since they were at the edges and the floor floats THAT wouldn't be too big of a deal.

I was primarily worried about the "musty smell." Didn't want to sacrifice $300 of flooring and several hours of a weekend just to discover that I still had the musty problem. I think you just saved me several hours of serious work!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 10:10AM
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glennsfc

The vapor barrier will help keep the "musty" smell down. Try to run the barrier (usually a plastic sheeting of some sort) up the wall a few inches; that will also help hold down these concrete slab smells under the flooring. Laminate flooring manufacturers recommend that. Read the instructions well that come with the flooring.

BTW, Ardex Feather Finish has a distinctive "fishy" smell initially, that does dissipate as the product dries and cures.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 12:31PM
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mjsee

No vapor barrier...it's not laminate. It's the Allure floating vinyl...cheap version of Konecto. Does that make a difference as to whether or not I NEED to do the Ardex?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 12:37PM
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glennsfc

That is a good question...I don't know. However, the Feather Finish will allow you to create a smooth surface, if it isn't already that, and it will encapsulate and isolate the cutback adhesive. That way you have eliminated any chance that the cutback will interfere with the vinyl product.

What does the manufacturer say about placing the flooring on cutback residue? I really can't advise you much here.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 6:10PM
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mjsee

Manufacturer says it's fine. I'm going to do the Ardex regardless. Can't hurt! And when we've got the money together to do the final flooring (probably Congoleum Duraplank...that's what's in the rest of the basement) we'll be ready.

Thanks for all your help and expertise.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 5:54PM
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mjsee

UPDATE!

Well...got the floor "ardexed". I am SORE. ;^) Dried out pretty well overnight...went in and hit the spots I missed this morning. Here is a picture of it just after I finished...the little bits of black are where I missed:

Tomorrow I'll hit what few high/rough spots there are with some sandpaper on a sanding pole...and then I'll vacuum. Afternoon is allure laying time! I'll start a new thread once I've got it ALL down.

Thanks again for your advice...it gave this 50 y/o crone the courage to try. Though...when it comes to the bigger rooms...I may hire a pro. Not sure my body will stand up to a 12' x 15' room...10' x 12' nearly killed me.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 10:00AM
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glennsfc

The smoother you get it the better your new floor will look.

Congratulations on becoming a floor person...hard work, isn't it?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 10:55AM
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mjsee

Oh, I KNEW it was hard work...that's why I've always been happy to pay people to do it! Unfortunately...I've not had a lot of work this fall so the money was there for materials but I had to supply the labor.

The Husband and I have some disagreement over how smooth is smooth enough...with me erring on the side of smoother. Do you recommend an orbital sander or hand sanding? I was thinking I'd use the pole-thingy I use on drywall...but perhaps a power sander is better? (I'm NOT renting a sander...we have a hand-held orbital sander.)

melanie

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 12:49PM
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glennsfc

What I do is knock a few pimples and other debris out of the surface with the smooth trowel edge. Then, sand only if necessary.

For any sanding you might want to do...try the pole sander with perhaps a screen first. Then, try the hand-held orbital, if you think you need a more aggressive sanding (I doubt you'll need that, as you seem to have done a pretty good job).

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 5:59PM
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mjsee

That's exactly what we did. I'll post pics when I'm finished...probably in a new thread.

melanie

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 10:01AM
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mjsee

Glenn...A picture of the finished product is in the new thread I started. Thank you SO MUCH for your help.

melanie

Here is a link that might be useful: New thread!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2010 at 8:23PM
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