Moisture Vapor and Your Flooring Choices

Most homes in Tampa Bay were built on concrete slabs. Some homeowners experience the frustration that no matter which type of flooring they put in their home, the moisture comes up through the ground and quickly wreaks havoc on it. There are solutions that can help and certain flooring types tolerate moisture better than others.

Vapor Barriers and Raised Flooring

Although installing a vapor barrier on top of the slab is better than nothing, it’s not the same as when the barrier is installed prior to slab being poured. The different types of vapor barriers that can be put down on a cement slab include paint on coatings and rolled sheets of felt (similar to that on your roof) or plastic. There are also some adhesives that can inhibit moisture but they can only be used with certain flooring types.

Another option that can be used in the most extreme cases is to raise your floor. By creating a small pocket of air between the slab and the flooring, the circulating air will help protect your flooring. Raised flooring is one of the least popular options due to the expense and the fact that in older homes with eight foot ceilings, taking away even a couple of inches can make the space appear smaller.

Flooring Options over a Damp Slab

It should be obvious that as much as we love hardwood flooring, it is not the best option when there is a chronically damp slab. Even with a vapor barrier or raised sub-floor, the hardwood will likely warp and buckle. Engineered wood floors aren’t going to fare any better. However, tile flooring can work when installed properly.

Porcelain tile today comes in many different sizes and styles to suit virtually any home. You can choose a pattern that looks like wood, marble, or regular tile. The options for shape, size, and pattern are nearly limitless. The key will be to make sure that you find a flooring company experienced in installing tile over a damp slab. One step that should be taken is to back butter each individual piece of tile. This is a time consuming task but it will help your floors last as they should. If the flooring company you’re considering doesn’t explain the added time it will take to install the tile and the process they’re planning on using, ask. You should feel comfortable with the process and the knowledge of the installation team.

Seer Flooring has installers who know the right way to install porcelain tile in Florida over damp slabs. Some of our installers have over 30 years of experience and will make sure that every detail is attended to so your flooring not only lasts but looks great too. Call us, we can help – 727-785-1930.