Marmoleum W Plywood Subfloor

kendrahroseJuly 30, 2013

I have decided to use marmoleum in our laundry room, which is just a 2x7 closet with a side-by-side washer and dryer. The room is on the second floor of our house and we are using sheets of marmoleum rather than the click together kind. We have to rip the floor out of the laundry area because of water damage, and we are trying to figure out what subfloor to put down for the marmoleum. The marmoleum specs PDF from their website says what NOT to use, but it does not say what is best to use. I have a call into them, but have not heard back in 2 days and need to move forward with this.

My contractor has a piece of Marine pine plywood left from another project that he thinks we should use as a subfloor. I am wondering what others have used as a subfloor with marmoleum. One marmoluem distributor I got on the phone recommended to me using a hardwood plywood like birch instead of softwood like pine. Does this make a difference using hardwood vs soft, like pine? We are also wanting to use formaldehyde free plywood, which in our area is a bit hard to come by.

Although we don't have to worry about the wear and tear of feet walking on it, we do have to consider the weight and shifting that washers and dryers tend to do.

Thanks for your answers. I know this is a laundry room but I posted in kitchens because marmoleum seems to be used there an awful lot.

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We have a softwood subfloor (fir) under Marmoleum Click and our neighbors have the same subfloor under sheet Marmoleum. Both seem fine, although at least for ours, you do feel the floor give in a way that we didn't with our old ceramic tile (you can bounce on it and feel it respond). I see that as an asset because it's a lot softer on the feet than our old ceramic tile, but it might bother others, and I presume a hardwood subfloor might minimize that. (It might also be a result of the tiles vs. the sheet, too.) Both floors are holding up fine, though (theirs is 8 years old or so and ours is 2.5 years old). We do have a layer of Whisperwool (soft fabric-y underlay) between our subfloor and Click tile, though; not sure if that affects things or not.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 1:34AM
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We have Marmoleum in our laundry room. (The glue down tiles.) The subfloor is pine plywood and then birch luan. The luan is to smooth it out and bring the floor up to the level of the hardwood flooring in the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 7:53PM
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I finally got ahold of a customer service person / technical assistant at the Marmoleum manufactuers today. I called twice because I had a follow-up questions. My second time around I got a different person on the phone. I was disappointed to find out that they had two different responses. So much for definitive technical information. I decided to go with the advice of the second person, which was to use A/C grade plywood and it did not matter if it was birch or pine. Again, I am using the sheets of Marmoleum. They stressed that the most important thing is that the plywood be well sanded and not have imperfections that will show through, also that it is a firm, sturdy support. They recommended 1/4" thick or more.

Question: How long did you guys wait after putting the flooring down to place your washer/dryer on top, or other appliances on top? I saw a suggestion not to walk on it until 72 hours afterwards. Wondering if everyone has abided by that or not.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:00PM
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I checked the Marmoleum installation manual and on page 6 it says "Do not allow heavy traffic or rolling loads for a minimum of 72 hours following the installation. Additional time may be necessary when installing over non-porous substrates." I've included a link to the manual. Look for the Residential Installation Manual pdf download on the right side of the web page.

Also, just a side note - one of the Forbo documents I read included a bit about how high pH liquids (such as straight bleach) can damage Marmoleum. Forbo recommends wiping spills up right away to avoid damage. You may or may not have already done sample tests, but if not you might want to use a scrap of Marmoleum to see how it withstands different types of products that you would typically use in your laundry area. I know I don't always notice small spills right away, and if you're the same it would be good to have some advance knowledge of what would happen if an 'oops!' got left on the floor. :~)

Hope you enjoy your new laundry space and beautiful floor!

Here is a link that might be useful: Forbo Marmoleum installation guide

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 9:14PM
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I think the rules are different for the Click anyway, but we did wait quite a bit before installing cabinets. Our range was already in the kitchen and moved for the install so it went on immediately, but honestly we haven't moved it since then, so no clue if it left marks.

Marmoleum will definitely stain with some cleaning products, though. My husband spilled sanitizing solution for brewing on it not once but twice (augh!) and both left marks. However, you can sand it down and put their sealer on it to get back to the original color (instructions on Forbo site somewhere). We sanded but haven't sealed (since our local store says it's better to do the whole floor so the spots aren't made more evident by the sealer) and it did help a lot. You can still see the spots if you know where to look, but they aren't apparent to someone just walking through. I will sand them one more time before we seal it, whenever that happens.

I also very much agree with their rep about making sure your floor is as perfect as you can get it, too. Even with the Click, we have a couple of spots where imperfections show--one might be a nail we didn't hammer down enough, and I suspect the other is a rogue spacer that slipped under the tile somehow. Not hugely noticeable but weird that it shows so much, even with the cork underlay that the Click tiles have--I assume it would be an even bigger issue for the sheet. However, if you're getting a new subfloor, you're ahead of the game on that. Good luck with the project!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:42AM
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Pentimento - Yes, I had read that about the 72 hours too and am curious to know what you think: What is your take on a non-rolling load, such as sitting a washer and dryer on it? It sounds like they are saying no movement across the floor, but it doesn't specifically say don't put any weight on it. I don't want to mess up the adhesion.

Smart idea too about testing some cleaners on the salvage. I am not too, too worried about staining because this is the floor of a closet and the whole thing is going to be covered by machines. Still, it is good to know what will and won't work. We usually just use vinegar to clean or Dr Watkins multipurpose spray.

Artimis - I think I am glad I am not using this as a highly visable floor ... it might stress me out too much. I like not having to flinch at the many klutz manuvers that happen in our house!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:06AM
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I'm not sure what would happen if you were to just slide the washer and dryer into place so that the weight would be more distributed compared to moving them with a dolly with wheels that would concentrate the weight (and thus create a rolling load). If it were me, I'd tend towards waiting the full 72 hours if I could, just to be on the safe side. At the same time, I know you have your own personal household situation. I can imagine many scenarios where waiting 72 hours would be difficult and you would really need to have your washing machine and dryer set up before that waiting period was over (babies using lots of cloth diapers, needing to leave for a trip, impossible to get to a coin-op laundry, etc.) . Might be best to e-mail Forbo tech services people and explain your situation and get their take on it. If you couldn't wait the whole 72 hours and had to slide the washer and dryer into place, would the floor rumple or get indentations? Would the adhesive fail? What, exactly, might happen? What about simply the weight of the washer and dryer, as you asked? What would that do to the floor, leave impressions that matched the bottoms of the washer and dryer?

My only personal experience is that I'm thinking of putting marmoleum in my kitchen and was talking with the local dealer about the timing of placing the refrigerator, range and dishwasher in their alcoves after the marmoleum installation. She seemed quite firm about the 72 hour wait. She didn't share any stories of anyone not doing that and causing damage, though, so she may have just been quoting the manual. Maybe your local Forbo dealer would have advice for you, either way.

Sorry you had the water damage that sent you off on this project. You're doing great by asking questions; your new floor installation will turn out alright because of your effort.

This post was edited by pentimento on Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 19:57

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 6:37PM
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Oops, posted an answer to another thread... made no sense here

This post was edited by ctycdm on Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 19:54

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 6:56PM
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