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Question DetailsAsked on 5/4/2017

can I put laminate flooring over tiles where underneath the tiles it is damp

The house that I am working on is damp there are tiles on the floor and my client wants me to put laminate flooring over the top of the tiles as she thinks this will stop the damp. I have advised against this however I need advice thank you.

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I sure would not. Some contractors will put down 6 mil or thicker vapor barrier (well sealed at the base of the walls, which can then lead to water issues there), but I would not do so in a known damp environment without putting a disclaimer SIGNED BY THE CLIENT warning of the risk of water damage and that your warranty does NOT cover that risk on a change order. See flooring manufacturer website and installation instructions too - some promote placement over vapor barriers, most of the better brand names I have seen recommend against it if the concrete is visibly damp or discolored by moisture.

If they are not able to eliminate the water source, then concrete slab floors are recommended to be finished (depending on ability to dry it enough to apply the flooring finish) using polished or stained concrete, waterproof spray or paint-on finished like polyureas, or water tolerant flooring like fully-fired (NOT clay) tile, asphalt-adhesive applied 100% vinyl flooring, and the like. If damp under a flooring or plastic sheet but not when exposed, SOMETIMES one can get away with a very opne-work carpet or throw run which can "bereathe" enough to let the moisture out - but laminate certainly does NOT do that.

Instead of laminate, though you can still get water accumulation under the flooring, some people use snap 100% vinyl plank flooring like Armstrong and Pergo and other make, or similar 100% vinyl snap block flooring.

Some people who want wood appearance flooring go with wood-simulated tiles, with generally wood-color matching grout - though you still get the grout gap breaking up the appearance. There is also plank tile now available - looks similar to plank flooring, but still has the grout gaps. (There is at leat one manufacturer making zero-clearance plank tile flooring, but that ignores the fact ti has to expand and contract, so that type of product is showing excessive cracking and buckling behavior).

You said you are "working on this house" - if Gaeneral Contractor, perhaps you should be taking to her about measures to reduce the moisture (if feasible) - gutters and downspouts to get the roof runoff away from the house, resloping/ compaction/ impermeable liner or layear to drain water away from the foundation, foundation waterproofing, etc. Lots of discussion on those type solution in the Home > Basement Waterproofing link in Browse Projects, at lower left, though of course no guarantee up-front it will work so would mean holding off on the new flooring until proven to remove the moisture. Might work if water diversion fro the house if perimeter french drain is effective, might not if general (or seasonal) high water table is the cause.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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