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Question DetailsAsked on 9/6/2016

Concrete slab in condo with laminate floor laid. What rug type will be warmest for winter months, elder person?

Seniors living in condo with laminate floors covering concrete slab: what next to provide warmth? Have 2 10x14' rugs over pad but cold seeps through exposed floors? Can I install wall to wall carpet without removing laminate floor which has padding under floor?

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If a slab on grade (ground under it) you do not want to put anything over it that can trap moisture in the laminate floor, so the normal recommendation would be a thick shag carpet or area rug with open-weave backing. A thick berber rug with visible open spaces in the weave would also be suitable, but commonly a bit harder for elderly people to walk on and more expensive to clean as well as being uncomfortable for walking on in bare/sock feet.

If this slab is above-ground level - like an elevated slab in a condo building - then a tight-weave shag or berber would be the normal choice for better warmth. Again, berber generally has to be removed and hauled away for cleaning, so a shag would be the normal choice, and the higher the thread count the denser it is, and the warmer it feels.

Wool is probably the "warmest" material, but also requires special more expensive cleaning procedures - so cotton would be the normal choice for the "warmest" rug, but does pick up dirt and stains a LOT quicker than nylon or the other synthetics which also clean easier.

We have normal rayon carpeting over vapor-permeable foam padding over vapor barrier directly on concrete slab in our basement in an area where the ground temperatures under the slab run in the 40's and it feels warm unless you stand one place in bare feet for a period of time, so no exoptic materials are needed for normal use - especially if shoes or slippers are normally worn. It is common to put thicker or higher-thread count carpeting in bedrooms and halls with bathrooms for nighttime barefoot use, and better-wearing normal synthetic shag ro clipped-loop carpet in the other higher-wear and dirtier (more trafficked) rooms.

A carpet (wall-to-wall) rather than an area rug still leaves you the option of putting a padding under the carpet like you have now, which will also provide insulation. Again, if slab-on-grade best to use synthetic padding and carpet materials and a moisture permeable padding to reduce the chance of moisture issues. Bear in mind that if you intend the laminate to stay in good condition, do NOT use a foam pad or glued-backing carpet - will eventually stick to and discolor the laminate.

For your case, I would say several area rugs or carpets would be the solution for a largish room - a single area carpet (wall-to-wall but no fastening at edges, and is edge serged [edge is sewn to bind it and prevent ravelling] like a rug) can be done for a smaller room, with the carpet(s) being rolled up and taken out of the house for cleaning. Sometimes a carpet cleaner can clean it on a clean garage floor or on the driveway, some will take to their plaxce of business and clean and dry and then bring back and lay it back out. Of course, you cannot have any very heavy hard-to-move furniture on it for that to be economic, and does cost about twice normal carpet cleaning cost and the number of carpet cleaners who do that is more limited - generally commercial building cleaners. For a large room, you can get several area carpets made up in whatever shape is needed for the room - and the mating edges in the middle of the room can be carpet taped (with a protector material under the tape to protect the laminate) to avoid tripping hazards, though there will be a highly visible line at the seams because of the serging. But allows for full floor coverage without laminate floor damage. Note that is your carpet needs frequent cleaning this will be expensive, and rolling the carpet up and carrying it around to clean it does reduce its lifespan - potentially as much as 25-50% compared to carpeting cleaned in-place, but in-place cleaning over laminate is pretty much guaranteed to ruin the laminate with staining and water marking.

I would look at the laminate - if you have had area rugs on it for some time, could well be it is pretty well faded out and worn in the exposed areas compared to the "pristine" condition under the rugs - in which case if you are willing to write that off, you can just put padding and carpet over the laminate, though it will make for a high transition to adjacent rooms, especially if any adjacent rooms will involve a transition from carpet over padding over laminate on one side to say only a sheet vinyl or linoleum on the adjacent floor - could be as much as a 1 inch or more transition in that case. Note again if a slab-on-grade you want the padding and carpet to be more vapor permeable than the laminate to avoid trapping any moisture from the slab in the laminate, so vapor permeable and synthetic padding and rug materials are preferred in that case.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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