Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

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christopherjames
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Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

Post by christopherjames » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:10 am

First off Shannon, thanks so much for the videos and tutorials. They have made me way more comfortable with a range of DIY projects.

A split-level home I just purchased has carpet flooring throughout (with the exception of bathrooms and kitchen). I would like to replace this with a wood floor.

The upper level is above grade, and the lower level is a few feet below grade in the front of the house, and at-grade in the back of the house (you can walk out a sliding door to outside).

I would like to use the same wood material flooring in the upper and lower levels. I understand that solid-wood flooring is generally a no-go in a below-grade level due to the moisture level, and I have seen some articles say that engineered wood flooring is fine for a basement.

Upper level: I imagine there will be a wood subfloor underneath the carpet upstairs, and I can use the appropriate sheeting between the engineered wood floor and the subfloor, nailing down the boards to the subflooring. This sounds pretty straightforward and most of the videos and guides I've looked at online show this process.

Lower level: I'm not quite grasping how to reason through which one is best for keeping the wood in good shape while avoiding building the ground up too much:

1. Lay down DRIcore directly on top of concrete, then add the flooring?
2. Lay down DRIcore directly on top of concrete, then add plywood, then add the flooring?
3. Spread flooring adhesive with a V-notch trowel, and install planks directly on that?

I'm assuming that the key to the options above is that they allow a small open-air barrier between the concrete and the wood planks to prevent too much moisture from entering the planks.

If that's the case, why can't I use solid hardwood--is it a property of how much swell/shrink happens?

If I use one of the above methods, do I still need a layer of underlayment like in an above-grade floor?

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Shannon
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Re: Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

Post by Shannon » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:13 am

I have never installed wood flooring below grade but if I was going to I would install engineered flooring and I would glue it down.This can only be done if the moisture content in the concrete is below 4% I believe. I'm not sure I would use dricore although it may work. Have a look at this flooring article ,its not mine but it is pretty good.
http://www.hoskinghardwood.com/Departme ... 7&pageId=2
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christopherjames
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Re: Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

Post by christopherjames » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:56 pm

Thanks Shannon.

I will see about checking the moisture level of the concrete subfloor when I move in (some folks recommended taping a piece of plastic sheeting to the ground for 48 hours and watching for moisture buildup) and letting that inform the decision.

Otherwise, it looks like vinyl flooring would be my other option. This room is going to be a library so I'd like either wood or very wood-like flooring as much as I can.

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Shannon
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Re: Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

Post by Shannon » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:21 pm

You may want to look into LVP (Laminate vinyl plank) flooring, it goes down either with glue or as a floating floor and there are many really good looking wood looking styles. This vinyl flooring is much much better then laminate flooring and goes down about as DIY friendly.
We have a video for that type of flooring as well as nail down hardwood flooring on our channel.
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christopherjames
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Re: Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

Post by christopherjames » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:38 am

Very interesting, good to know!

In the case that I use LVP in the lower level of the house, would it make more sense to go with LVP in the upper level as well? Or am I going to be able to find a pretty good LVP match for the engineered hardwood upstairs and that's what folks generally do? I will take a look to see how close I can get, but I'm curious which approach people generally take.

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Re: Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

Post by Shannon » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:57 pm

Really depends on your tastes. I rarely see people match the flooring in the basement to the main floor ,unless its carpet. In your case a fairly close match may be nice ?
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Mastercarpentry
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Re: Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

Post by Mastercarpentry » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:29 am

I'll second the floating LVP for sub-grade over concrete. These aren't totally 'sealed' but will allow enough air-transfer to let any moisture wicking into the concrete to evaporate. Another advantage is that should the area flood or get wet, it won't hurt the flooring. It's also softer under-foot than wood.

Flooring styles help define areas, allowing each room to have it's own style which can blend in with adjacent areas or complement them without matching. Given the wide range of wood and LVP colors and styles it shouldn't be hard to find a pleasing combination. Even just 20 years ago, flooring choices were far more limited so we've for it pretty good these days!

Phil

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Re: Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

Post by christopherjames » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:27 am

Shannon, Phil - Thanks! Great information.

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Re: Hardwood flooring in lower level of split-level home

Post by emmaemily » Tue May 09, 2017 3:32 am

As far as my knowledge is concern what you mentioned was perfect. And there is no need of underlayment. Really good thought, I too want to match the floorings but didn't try it yet.

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