floor over concrete

Hello all, I am re-doing myu basement and am going to be putting down a wood floor and laminate flooring on top of it. I was going to strap the concrete floor with 2x1's and then 1/2 inch plywood on top. Should I put anything on the floor like a vapour barrier? How far should I space my 2x1's from each other? I was going to run them parralel to,one another about 12" apart.. Any help appreciated Kudos Steve
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Why do you need wood, just do the laminate over concrete with a vapor barrier.
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dude wrote:

Do a dampness test first. Tape a 12"X12" piece of tin foil to the floor for two days. Peel it off and look at the concrete. If it's dark (ie damp) then you probably want to use a vapour barrier. Strapping's not a bad idea it will allow you to shim if the floor if uneven. Plywood is a good base. Personally I'd space the straps 16" OC perpendicular to the direction of the plywood. I'm not sure how worried about you are about sqeaks in the basement but you could also use construction adhesive to hold your plywood to the straps. Are you planning on just floating the straps or fastening them down too?
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You need a vapor barrier. If you want to go with the strapping and plywood, put some sheets of 3/4" insulation between the straps also.
OTOH, with laminate, you don't need the strapping or the plywood. It is an unneeded step unless you have other reasons to do it.
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Beware uneven concrete surface, particularly high spots. It's an imperfect world, and long pieces of wood placed over a "bumpy" surface won't look good. Personally, I don't think hardwood was ever intended to be placed on slab, but nowadays it's done frequently...with mixed results. Once you've got your beautiful floor in place, then you have to "defend" it. Consider flooring that can be removed piecemeal. What if your refrigerator leaks and buckles one part of the floor? Could be a real headache. I hate those automatic water and ice dispensers in refrigerators; their plumbing is sometimes inadequate to stand the test of time, resulting in leakage. Your insurer might balk, rightfully, if your leak is a "slow" one.

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Hello, The floor is uneven and slopes toward a drain that i have my wash basin attached to. I definitely have to get the floor even. My problem is the basement is half finished by the previous owner and i've been fixing up their screw-ups. It looks like the floor that they have has tar paper (yes tar paper) under neath it. Therefore Iassume I need a type of vapour barrier. On top of the wood floor they've laid 3 different carpets. I just want to redo it all with laminate floor or maybe carpet. I plan on fastening them with concrete screws and then screwing the plywood into the straps. thanks

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Floors are suposed to slope to the drain, If you flood or When not if your water heater goes or a pipe or laundry hose breaks you will ruin your wood floor. There is good reason basement floors are not wood. Water always finds the lowest spot.
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Forget the wood floor for your basement. Your aesthetic ambitions are out of touch with reality. Have you heard that the raw concrete look is fashionable, these days? I have enhanced the appearance, and practicality, of my slabs by coating them with latex. It rolls on purple, and dries clear.

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No i havn't heard that concrete is fashionable. I am ina cold part of the country and want to improve the insulation value of my basement. Therefore putting in a wood floor above the cold concrete is easier on the feet and will help to keep the basement and house warmer. tahnks

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I am suggesting your apply a clear coating to the concrete, and throw down plenty of rugs. If you want to tempt fate, you can glue down rugs, but removal of the glue, someday, will be a real problem, especially in a submerged space with no ventilation. In fact, even applying glue in such a space is problematical.
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If your basement is fully underground, the temperature of the concrete floor (and the walls 2'-4' below the surface of the ground will be 55 degrees. I like insulation over the concrete too, but it's not going to be doing a whole lot for you. As another poster noted, a thick pad and heavy carpet will insulate very nicely.
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Um, that's not necessarily a screw-up. Felt (what you're calling tar paper) is SUPPOSED to be installed between a wood subfloor and strip flooring. It also functions as a vapor barrier to some degree.
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dude wrote:

Dear 'Dude'
I have a similar uneven concrete floor, with far more grade in places than necessary which makes my table saw and and other machines slant. The basement is about 1500sqft. So far the cheapest and best solution will be to hire someone to pour new concrete (through a small window with road access thankfully) and reset the grade. Then part of the floor (my shop, furnace, drain, storage) can stay concrete, and the other section I will probably put 2x2' chipboard 'tiles' with a plastic dimpled backing. They snap together, give you an air space, vapour barrier and a way for water to run down the original concrete to the drain (a requirement as others have pointed out.) You can easily put additional drain openings in a couple of places to allow any water to get down to the slab (and to the drain)
Also, before doing this, make sure your drain line is in good shape all the way to the street. You wouldn't want to have to rip it all up if your drain backs up. The drain guy that did mine told me to also install a valve in the floor drain to prevent the sewer from backing up into your basement. Cheaper than insurance.
I haven't done any laminate, but I've done 3000sqft of hardwood upstairs. I wouldn't put a solid floor on a concrete slab unless the slab was FLAT. Shimming your 2x1 grid may be alot of work (and I'd put down 3/4" ply). I may just put a coat of poly on the chipboard tiles and put down area rugs. I think it will look fine for a basement, and it will be warmer and more pleasant to be down there.
Rob
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Hi Rob, Could you please go into more detail on this:
"The drain guy that did mine told me to also install a valve in the floor drain to prevent the sewer from backing up into your basement. Cheaper than insurance."
What type of valve?
thanks Steve

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dude wrote: ......

Check valve
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dude wrote:

Duane answered this below. Thanks Duane, as I didn't know what it was called and was going to have to figure that out myself in a few days/weeks.
BTW, I had a really bad drain pipe, clay, that was infested with roots from my beautiful maple tree. Rather than cutting down the tree and digging up my lawn, I had a fibreglass liner installed in the pipe. I was a bit skeptical at first, but the guy gave me references. One year on, it has been perfect. I'm planning on having it camera'd again just to check before I spend $$$ on the basement and install the check valve.
Rob
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