Question

We are going to replace our bedroom carpeting but are concerned about humidity. Live in FL. Best material for us?

Asked by Betsy Camp
North Fort Myers, FL

We are considering laminate, engineered wood or wood floors.

Answer

Answered by Glenn Summers

Indian Harbour Beach , FL

ConselcoR, Inc

August 2, 2010

Your taste, service conditions and requirements will largely influence your end choice.

Personally I prefer tile in areas where food is prepared and consumed and in bathrooms. Wood laminates are great for other areas and hold up very well in high-traffic hallways and on stairs.

Possibly the most important factor for those living in Florida is moisture intrusion through a concrete slab. Testing for vapor emissions is very wise before you do anything. A number of inexpensive ways to test are available and will save you the heartache and expense of a failure.

Any reputable installer should caution you on pounds of water vapor limits concerning any floor install and advise you of safeguards that are used. Slab-on-grade foundations in any location are subject to having moisture/humidity wick up through the concrete and condense on a floor surface inside. Especially when your AC is doing its job -- that reduced humidity inside the house sucks moisture in at an unbelievable rate!

As you are removing the old carpet, don't be surprised if you find mold has grown under it. I waterproof all my concrete prior to any floor covering going down. With the quality of engineered laminates out there, selection of the flooring product is a personal thing. One thing's for sure: none of them will withstand moisture!

I've had customers show me ceramic tile with water on top of grout joints (always moist) and tile installs that were hollow-sounding because the constant exposure to water had destroyed the thin-set bond at the tile/concrete interface. StableCrete is a low-VOC waterproofing product that will solve any moisture problems without harm to the interior atmosphere. (Full disclosure: the company I work for manufactures StableCrete.) It does require a 48-hour period prior to a coating or mastic being applied, but it stops your moisture problems.
 

For more information:

Read Mary Cordaro's Q&A "Can you recommend a green concrete sealant and an adhesive for bamboo flooring?

Also check our Green Flooring Know-How section for buyer's guides and advice from green professionals.

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