Linoleum Installation Question

Q: Can I lay lino flooring in my bathroom over laminate underlay instead of using hardboard?
A: Laminate is a floating floor. Regardless of the style of laminate (older glue-together vs newer click-together) these floors are not directly anchored to the subfloor. This means they move and will NOT make a suitable subfloor for flooring like linoleum. Linoleum, vinyl tile and similar products need a good solid surface to adhere to and movement in the subfloor (which laminate would have) will cause all sorts of peeling, unsightly areas and more potential problems. You’re going to want to remove the laminate then install your new Linoleum.


Peg Flooring

Q: Our home was built in 1965. It has some amazing peg hardwood flooring throughout the house. (70% of the flooring is this). The problem is the Den, Breakfast Nook, and Hallway sub flooring all have grooves due to age and weathering. The crawl space under the home is right below these areas. How can I go about taking this up with minimal damage to replace the sub flooring and then reinstall it? Can I salvage the peg hole fillers or will I need to cut new fillers and refinish the flooring? From what I can tell this will be a very long project if I do it myself. Should I try this or get a professional? I’ve done several tile projects as well as putting down hardwood flooring but this might do me in.

A: Let’s go into some of the history of pegged floors before we get directly to removing the current floor. Many floors have the pegged look from the mid to late 60’s up through the 80’s. True pegged floors typically are a width of 7″ or more. These boards were drilled somewhat to make a recess for face nailing, then pegged with a dowel to fill the recess. After the peg’s adhesive had cured, you then would sand and site (also called Swedish) finish the floor. The reason for this technique is that wide boards over time will rise a bit. Improvements in milling since the old days (back when all floors were scraped on site to smooth them, then finished after installation) have prevent the necessity for pegging floors, but the look itself was popular from the 60’s through the 80’s.
Alright, let’s get out of history mode. More than likely your floor is one where the pegs are there purely for appearance and not to cover face nailing. In this case the floor should be nailed through the tongue at a 45 degree angle. Pulling a few boards carefully should show this to be true. Removing these boards is simply a matter of patience and evenly applying leverage across the length of your board (even movement should prevent and splintering). Here you will just need a pry bar and some patience. When this floor was new it was likely a prefinished product with an oil based finish, so you will want to at least screen and recoat the floor after reinstalling it.
When removing the boards, number them with a pencil on the back and bundle them accordingly to help keep the boards organized so it makes reinstalling them easier. In the case that your floor is truly face nailed, similar even leverage will need to be applied to remove them, but in order to reinstall them you will most likely be forced to remove the current pegs, remove the nails and use new nails to anchor the floor, then peg, sand and finish the floor.
If you want to make sure the floor is taken up carefully, it may be best to have a professional do the work for you, but make sure you find someone experienced in pegged flooring and who has reclaimed flooring in the past to ensure the floor is taken up properly.

Scratches in a Pergo Floor

Q: A workman at my home wanted to improve the finish on my Pergo Floor, so he applied a lacquer over it. It looked good until the dogs ran on it and the furniture moved creating many noticeable scratches. Is there anyway to remove it and bring it back to it’s original finish? I didn’t ask him to do it, but he thought he was helping.

A: Unfortunately in these cases, it is almost impossible to remove the added lacquer from your floor without ruining the initial finish on the Pergo. To be honest I am surprised that the lacquer actually adhered to the finish on the Pergo.
Sadly your best bet here is to keep up a regular cleaning schedule which should slightly lighten how dramatic the scratches may look over time or try to replace the floor. Now replacing the floor is quite a task (expenses being the painful part), but keep in mind most scratches will fade somewhat over time and their appearance will mute some.


Floating vs Glued Wooden Floor

Q: We have a floating wooden floor on very small portion of our floor. I want to put a wooden floor over the complete floor. Our builder suggested that due to moisture issue, they put floating floor. I want some suggestion on what can I do now.
Can I put a glued wooden floor OR floating wooden floor? Will floating wooden floor be OK on large portion of floor?
Is there any chemical I can put on the floor which can act as moisture resistance so that I can glue the wooden floor?
Please advise
Best Regards
Dheeraj Rutia

A: My assumption here is that you are trying to install over concrete since you only list a float or glue as options for installation. Depending on where in your home you are trying to install your floor and what type of floor it is will matter what choices you have. If this floor is below ground level (a basement for instance) then you can NOT install a 3/4″ solid hardwood floor regardless of which installation method you use. You can install a 5/16″ solid hardwood floor in these areas and glue down is the installation method of choice in this case.
You can float a floor over a large area, but you can’t expect to place any heavy furniture over a floating floor, especially against a wall. The reason here is that the floor will be propped up at an angle, similar to a teeter-totter, which can ruin the joints of the floor and more.
Typically, you can only float an engineered wood floor, but you can also glue down an engineered wood floor. Assuming your installation is done properly, the adhesive used to glue a floor down will act as a moisture barrier, preventing moisture from coming up through the concrete slab into the floor. Typically engineered floors can be installed in these areas, but check with the floors manufacturer to be sure.
As far as a coating or chemical to add moisture resistance, the best you can do is site finish a floor or use small beads of glue in the tongue and groove of the floor to add a bit more moisture protection. Beyond this, ensuring a proper moisture barrier (6mil polyethylene for floating floors or the adhesive for a glue down floor) and taking time to acclimate the floor and do a proper install.


Cleaning a Wood Floor

Q: I’ve installed a engineered Mullican flooring. How do you clean it? What I mean is if you want to mop, do you just use fresh water then dry it with a towel. I sweep it every day . I was wondering if you use so kind of floor cleaner or what on it.
Thanks for any help.

A: Cleaning a wood floor requires some very important information to ensure you clean your floor without risking ruining your floor.
The most important thing to keep in mind here is that when mopping, you will want to use the right cleaner and use a minimal amount of said cleaner. Avoid any oil based or wax based clears as these leave a dull or milky residue on a floor after use. I suggest using the cleaners made by BonaKemi as they are excellent.
The fact that you sweep so regularly is excellent. This will prevent grit from building up and increasing the chance to get any scratches. When mopping, you will want to lightly mist the floor with your cleaner, then follow up with a microfiber mop. Do NOT wet mop as excessive water can get into the flooring and warp or ruin it.
Mopping about once a week should keep your floor looking tip top. For more help on maintaining your floor, check out this floor care guide.


Winter Wonderland

The snow is nice to look at, but brutal to drive in. We have run about 800 miles much of which was covered by snow and ice. But we chained up and pressed onward.

Idaho is beautiful in the winter, but it just keeps snowing! Still on vacation, but back to work next week.



Patio Sweating

Q: What can be put on top of a concrete patio to stop the sweating. We thought about brick pavers with plastic under the brick. Will this work? Is there anything else that will work?

A: Based on what you are describing it sounds like you have ground water coming up through the concrete. Most likely you happen to be on a higher water table and the original waterproofing membrane has either failed or it may not have been properly installed.
You will want to clean the concrete, typically by a process similar to sand blasting where you will lightly abrade the concrete and then seal it. One thing to keep in mind here would be the color of the sweating you are having. If the patio is sweating white tinged water, that means it contains calcium (pulled out from the concrete). If this is occurring you will want to use a bit of bleach over the concrete, as this will remove and calcium residue on the concrete.
What you will want to do is get a roll out waterproofing membrane (naturally you want to get one that is meant to be load bearing). This is assuming you wish to do the brick pavers, if you want to keep the concrete as is, get a concrete sealer and spread out two coats. One running North to South and the other running East to West. There are several sealers, both in colors and clear which can give you all sorts of nice appearances.
To sum up here: clean the concrete then seal it. If you want to use brick pavers as your final look, install a load bearing waterproofing membrane (rolled out per the instructions of the membrane), then install your brick pavers and you should be all set.