We're currently looking for the optimal floor for a ground-level of a
high ranch. There is no basement in this house, so the ground level
sits right on top of the concrete foundation. Currently, the floor is
concrete covered with a carpet. We'd like to change the floor to make
it warmer and stain-resistant. So, our current plan is to remove the
carpet, put down DRIcore subfloor, and put engineered hardwood on top
of that. Our two major concerns with this plan are the cost and the 2+
inches it will take off the hight, since the ceilings on the ground
level are not too high to begin with.
Some other options that we are considering: DRIcore+linoleum (vynil?),
but that does not look as nice as engineered hardwood. We were even
considering real hardwood, but that would take even more inches off the
height, and that's not preferred.
Another thought that's brewing: Is dricore really going to help keep
the rooms warmer? I've heard that engineered hardwood can be put down
directly on concrete (with a water-resistant lining). That will give
us another inch in the height, but if the rooms will be perpetually
cold, we don't want it.
What do you think? Are there other combinations that are better than
dricore+engineered hardwood to minimize the height loss and maximize
the warmth gain?
Thanks for your input!
Well, there are radiators and the insulation seems OK (we haven't spent
a winter in this house yet, so we don't know for sure), but I think
that if the floor is not cold, the room will be alright. I'm just
worried about how much a cold floor would drain the room of heat, and
would make the heating bills too high. That, in addition to it just
We've looked at underfloor heat. But as far as I understand,
underfloor heat requires a real subfloor (with 2x4's and plywood on
top). Add to that the finish (hardwood, etc), and it would take way
too much off the height of the rooms.
If were mine, I think I would try to stick with carpet this year and
then you would have a better idea how comfortable it really is and where the
problems, if any, really are.
Carpet is a good insulator.
Under floor heat is very doable, but I would question how economical it
would be. Heat will move both up and down. Adding heat under the floor
means some will move up into your heated area and some will go down into the
foundation and from there into the ground. The parts close to the edge of
the home will loose a fair amount of heat. The center will loose very
little. Concrete and earth do insulate. Not as good as most things used to
insulate but they do.
I doubt if you are going to loose as much heat through the floor as you
are thinking. However if it FEELS cool, then you are likely to turn up the
heat. Carpet will feel warmer than a wood floor if both are the same
temperature. I would guess that the temperature of the wood floor you are
talking about and carpet are going to be about the same so the wood may feel
colder than the carpet you want to replace and you may increase your heating
The floor will be the same temperature as the room unless it is cooled
some how. With a slab floor it will be a little cooler on the outside, but
the center of the floor will be room temperature. Even dirt is an insulator.
That depends greatly on the type of heat and equipment used. There are
If this is not a kitchen, where carpet is only for masochists, I'd stick
with carpet. Deal with the stain problem by buying the most stain-resistant
carpet you can find.
Put 10 different materials on the floor and they will all be at the same
temperature. If one feels warmer than another, it's perception.
Event he dri-=core is not going to really make it warmer. I too have a slab
on my lower level family room,. The carpet did feel warmer, but hte
engineered hardwood looks so much nicer, cleaner, overall a huge
improvement. Yes, it will feel a bit cooler to the feet, but any smooth
surface will, insulated or not. It is just the flat surface makes batter
contact and draws heat from the body faster that your food suspended on a
series of carpet fibers. In our case, we use a couple of throw rugs in
front of the chairs so your feet are always comfy while sitting. I used
www.mannington.com hardwood. Three years now and still looks perfect.
Yeah, I love the look of hardwood as well. And I understand that the
floor will feel colder if it's flat. But will that cold radiate to the
rest of the room? And will we be able to heat it sufficiently without
spending too much on heat? This ground level will be very heavily
used, since my parents will be living there. So it's really important
for this ground floor to be comfortable. We don't mind putting area
rugs, but we really don't want to put the hardwood on concrete, only to
find out that putting it on dricore would have been much better.
And no, we're not trying to achieve the level of warmth that a carpet
would provide, because that's probably not possible. But we're just
trying to avoid a situation where one would have to wear winter clothes
inside to keep warm.
Thank you for the mannigton website, I'll look through it for sure.
Shoes and kid, mostly. The living room has patio doors to the
backyard. In addition, part of the living room will serve as a dining
room, so food stains will appear very fast, because our 13 month-old
has discovered gravity and found it particularly fascinating with foods
that splatter and drip.
Besides that, I don't think there are carpets that can ever be truly
clean. Dust is always there, no matter how hard you vacuum... And
with a baby that still crawls more than walks, dust is a serious
concern for us as well.
I like the concept of dricore as an easy to install subfloor that's
lower than the traditional subfloor. But it would add another $1000 to
our projects (based on the area that needs to be done), and if it
doesn't have real benefits, we'd rather not spend this $$, and not lift
the floor another inch.
Thank you so much for your input!
Well, the dricore *does* contain an air space within its structure. But,
according to the physics *I* learned, it'll make little or no difference. If
carpet's not practical everywhere, then put down a hard floor of your
choice, and use area rugs where necessary.
On Thu, 12 Oct 2006 18:40:27 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"
Well, between the airspace and the pressboard, you've probably
got between R-1 and R-2 or insulation, there. But if you're
after insulation and not dealing with a moisture problem,
it seems as if 1/2" of that pink fanfold foam would be a better
bet. Of if you're sure of the dryness, homasote underlayment,
which might even hold a nail.
If it were my house-- and I had kids --I would never install vinyl of
any kind; it's toxic and always will be. Carpet is slightly less so but
creates a wonderful field for allergens and mold. With kids you want a
durable hard surface floor that's non-toxic and easy to clean, so I'd
go with either wood, cork, or linoleum (real linoleum, not vinyl).
In this situation I'd skip the Dri-Core and go with electric radiant
heat mats, which can be put on a thermostat and placed under any
flooring (including tile). They are thin, so won't take too much off
your ceiling height either. Then go with the engineered hardwood you
mentioned so you can keep the total thinkness <1" or so. I'd put the
radiant mats in traffic areas and in front of seating spaces, but not
around the perimeter of the room. You'll find that if you have radiant
heat people will actually sit on the floor intentionally-- it's much
more comfortable than most other types of heat and makes the floor
pleasant not only for walking but for sitting/laying down as well.
One source for electric radiant is here: http://www.radiantec.com/ or
you can just google electric radiant for more info.
The initial outgasssing is primarily VOCs from the adhesives, which are
in themselves fairly toxic. But the real problems over time relate to
the plasticizers, primarily phthalates like DEHP, that make PVC
flooring flexible. A host of studies have linked phthalate exposure to
hormonal imbalances in animals, and the EU (among others) has banned
phthalates from products intended for small children. Does it seem wise
to put 200 sq ft of the stuff in your livingroom? And even
disregarding children's exposure, occupational exposure to phthalates
and many other chemicals is a terrible problem for workers in
PVC-producing industries...no reason they should be further poisoned so
we can have plastic floors, esp. when there are many better
Studies of PVC exposure, including flooring, you may want to consider:
Detailed lab report on vinyl and carpet:
Hazardous Chemicals in PVC Flooring:
Chemical and Engineering News:
Healthy Building Network (.pdf):
Life Cycle Analysis Case Study of Vinyl vs. Linoleum:
Note that I am not a scientist, but I work closely with several
environmental chemists. None of us has *any* vinyl of any type in our
homes. Indoor air quality is a major concern, esp. for families with
children. There are many sound alternatives to vinyl, most of which
also last longer and look better. Unfortunately, the chemical industry
and the vinyl flooring industry have done a good job of drowning out
the reports on just how bad vinyl is.
It's your call of course-- put down whatever flooring you wish. But I'd
hope people at least read a bit on the negatives of vinyl before
filling a house with it, esp. when children are involved.
The websites you point to, if one takes them at face value, do
indicate that it's probably a bad idea to eat vinyl flooring,
or set it on fire and breath the smoke. At first glance though,
none of them seem to present any evidence that the chemicals
in the flooring end up in the people walking on those floors
in any significant amounts. I can see arguments based on
not wanting the stuff in the waste-stream, but that's not
what you're pushing.
Show me a study that measures such uptake, and then I'll
I wouldn't want to encourage children to eat or smole linoleum
either. (How, by the way, do you and your chemist friends
justify the simultaneous claims tha linoleum is has natural
bacteriacidal properties, and yet is non-toxic?
Does it come with elves who come out and stab the bacteria
with little thorns?
Sure, and global warming's just a theory (like evolution), we should
still use DDT to kill mosquitos, and Lead White really is the best
looking paint for home use. Believe what you want-- I'm just pointing
out that there are legitimate concerns about all vinyl products, so
there's no reason to put vinyl in a house with children. Why take the
risk, esp. for a product with inferior performance characteristics vs
essentially any alternative? It's cheap, sure. Any other reason?
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