Snap in laminate floors.

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Just bought a house. In the downstairs/basement, there is a room that we've expanded to become an office. We want to put in laminate floors. They are the snap together type that you can buy from Home Depot. (The only place nearby with them, we live up north in Canada!) Currently there is a low-pile carpet on there that's been there for at least 20 years now, and is REALLY glued to the floor. A woman working at Home Depot told us that we HAD to remove the carpet before putting down this flooring. We will be renting a machine called/made by Eddy (?) to pull up the carpet and then lay the flooring. She says if we don't remove the carpet and put down the (proper) foam underneath, that the flooring will eventually come apart.
It seems to make sense and I'd hate to have it come apart, but I was just hoping to verify that this is true information and not just a ploy to get us to rent a machine and buy the more expensive foam. Can anyone tell me if this is indeed the best way to go? Thanks :)
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HomeDecoy wrote:

It could be worse, you could rent the machine to pull up the carpet (never heard of that machine) and find that your concrete floor is not flat enough to lay the laminate flooring. The snap together stuff needs a very flat surface to lay on.
I'm not the flooring manufacturer but if the carpet is *extremely* low and dense like the hideous crap in the office building I am festering in right now you could probably put the flooring on it without a problem. That said, the stuff in your basement is probably not anywhere close enough to compact enough to lay the flooring on. Any deflection will cause it to pop apart or crack.
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RayV wrote:

The machine is basically a winch mounted on a small platform with a base of angled spikes. The base gives it a good hold on the carpet in one end of the room and the winch line attaches with a clamp to the carpet at the other end (you pull up a foot or so). It just pulls the carpet back with more force than a human can come up with.
Pete C.
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Pete C. wrote:

Sounds like it is the opposite of a carpet stretcher. Hope I never need one.
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HomeDecoy, 9/12/2006, 2:21:36 PM,

The foam underlayment is almost certainly a moisture barrier also. Your best source of information for requirements is the manufacturer, believe it or not. Read the instructions or visit the website for what you must do to get it right.
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No, it is not.
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wrote:

Why do you say that? When I installed my laminate flooring the foam pad they sold me had a plastic layer on the bottom side that was the moisture barrier. The instructions clearly stated on how to tape the seams together to prevent moisture emanating up from the concrete pad. I still have some of it saved for when I do another small room.
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Correct for what you had. It is made for laminate or engineered wood floors. The stuff used for carpeting is different and allows moisture to pass, not be stopped.
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It depends on the manufacturer/product.
Some products combine both functions (underpad and vapor barrier) into a single sheet. But in other cases you need to install two separate layers.
Read the actual product labels/instructions carefully to see what you've got/need.
--
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It depends on _which_ underlayment you use.
Some are vapor barrier, some aren't.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Some are, some aren't. Depends on the brand.
wrote in message

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Absolutely correct. The foam is NOT a moisture barrier, it is a potential source of problems. Do the job right.
I've never heard of a machine to remove the carpet though I used an ice scraper to get hte padding up. Your way sounds easier.
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1. I don't know about that machine but you definitely need to pull up the old carpet.
2. Then you'll really see what horrors are lurking beneath. If the floor is really bad, you may need to nail down some fiberboard sheets to create a clean new surface. You don't need "perfect" but the floor does need to be reasonably flat and even.
3. Install whatever underlay/foam the laminate floor manufacturer recommends. You can kiss goodbye to any warranties on the floor if you fail to do so.
4. You might consider installing an existing moisture barrier under or with the underlay if you think there's any significant chance of moisture working up through that floor.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I had never heard of that either but the woman said she had used it on hers and it really did the trick. I saw the machine and it had a big blade in the front. She said it works really well. The name of the machine wasn't Eddy but the company apparently was. I didn't catch the spelling and haven't been able to find it online due to this. Once I have it, I will be sure to relay the info about it and most importantly, if it works. She swore by it and it didn't seem that she was just faking it to sell the rental to us.
Malcolm Hoar wrote:

Hmmm I hope the floors turn out to be pretty flat.

Sounds right. I will be sure to read before attempting any of this.

The woman did say that the other foam we needed was indeed a vapor barrier type, as she had asked if this was in a basement. While the carpet down there is VERY flat and has no under padding we had thought we could get away without tearing up the carpet. In this case, we've already spent a couple hundred to tear down a wall, put up a new one, remove the panelling, put up drywall, re-route the wiring/lighting and remove the baseboard heaters. After reading posts here, I think that if we're going to the trouble to do all of this, I figure that we might as well do it right and remove the carpet. I'd hate to see it pop apart after a year or two, forcing us to redo it properly.
Thanks for everyone's opinions :)
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HomeDecoy wrote:

Different type of machine from what I thought. Sounds like a power scraper instead of a power puller.
It's highly unlikely that a HD employee would be motivated to sell you and unnecessary rental of an item.
Pete C.
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Yep
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Check with the manufacturer's web site. You can get by without a vapor barrier if the test says there's no moisture present, but why not put it down anyway. It's cheap. 6 or 10 mil polyethylene. You don't have to buy the stuff sold by the flooring manufacturer. Same with the foam layer.
Pergo has a spec on flatness: 1/4" over 6 feet IIRC. I used a long, straight metal ell and swept it around on the floor. Floor leveler (plaster) can be used in some cases.
Be sure to purchase the installation kit. It has a solid block you use to set the joints with. And spacers for setting the floor 1/4" from the walls.
HomeDecoy wrote:

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A couple of random points:
1) HD carries _several_ different types of foam. As do most other DIY places (Rona, Fitzgerald, Builder's Warehouse, BBM etc). There is quite a variety - some vapor barrier, some insulated, some neither, some both. _Check_ what you need, and make sure that's what you get.
[If you're in Ottawa, you might want to check out BBM out in Kanata. They have a couple, and they're real cheap.]
2) If the basement is a hard low-pile carpet (eg: a solid berber or some forms of indoor/outdoor carpet), without any underlay, think: it ain't any softer than the foam, is it? If you don't need vapor barrier/insulation, you _might_ be just as well off using the carpet as the underlay instead of foam. If you can contact the manufacturer, they might agree.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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(Chris Lewis) wrote:

I wouldn't do that even with the laminate manufacturers blessing. This is basement and the old carpet will soak up any moisture and be a perfect breeding ground for mold and other odors. The old materials in the pile and/or backing are potentially food for other organisms too. Using a pad of rottable material in a basement doesn't seem like a good idea, IMHO.
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HomeDecoy wrote:

Machine to remove carpet? What for? Cut it and pull it up.
I agree with the other advice you have received, including the ice scraper in some cases. Often you don't even need that.
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Joseph Meehan

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