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Community and Q&A

Best option for short term flooring

Trevor Lambert | Posted in General Questions on

Our house currently has painted concrete on the main floor. Our original plan was to have polished concrete; that went out the window for various reasons. I then thought I’d do hardwood or engineered wood,  but I painted the floor to buy us a few years. I need to get something over the concrete soon, because my four year old daughter is a bit rambunctious and prone to slipping and falling on the floor. She’s also pretty destructive, spilling various liquids pretty frequently. So I don’t want to put down a nice floor until she’s past that phase, maybe a few years. I’m looking for something relatively inexpensive, DIY friendly, green. I’m guessing vinyl plank is out based on the green criterion and possible health concerns as well. Laminate floor is one option I’ve thought of, but the relatively cheap stuff isn’t water resistant. Are there options I haven’t thought of? I briefly looked at cork, but it’s actually kind of pricey, and that was also not water resistant (at that price point). My preference would be to install something permanent AND could withstand the abuse of a toddler, but I don’t think that product exists.

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  1. Expert Member
    Zephyr7 | | #1

    There are many types of vinyl flooring available that are both durable and inexpensive. I think the produce has a pretty good reputation as being safe too.

    Another option would be one of the water-based epoxy floor coatings. You can put the rubber chip type non-slip additive in it. DO NOT use the non-slip additive that looks like metal swarf (little metal bits). While that type of additive is excellent for non-slip properties, it will cut you if you slip and fall on it. I would never use that type of non-slip additive anywhere people are going to frequently be present.


  2. Trevor Lambert | | #2

    The epoxy coating doesn't really provide significantly softer finish than the bare concrete.

    I've read mixed opinions on both eco friendliness and human health friendliness of vinyl floor, so I not convinced it's a good idea.

  3. Scott Wilson | | #3

    What is your concrete installed on top of? Gravel, foam and gravel? Any moisture issues? If you do eventually install a wood floor you can't just put it down on top of the concrete slab.

    1. Expert Member
      Malcolm Taylor | | #4

      "If you do eventually install a wood floor you can't just put it down on top of the concrete slab."

      isn't that what the last drawing on the BSC link you posted shows?

    2. Trevor Lambert | | #5

      It's a floating slab, separated from the exterior by 12" of EPS and poly. Engineered wood is what I'm leaning toward, with a cushioning underlay.

      1. Stephen Sheehy | | #15

        I just installed a Swedish (Kahrs) engineered floating floor over gypcrete. I'd never installed one before, but it was very simple. It went over a thin foam underlayment. It looks great and can be sanded twice.

  4. Alan Lehman | | #6
    1. Trevor Lambert | | #7

      Linoleum, of which I gather Marmoleum is a particular type, also fails to meet the criterion of being much more forgiving than painted concrete.

      1. Alan Lehman | | #11

        Pain is the teacher.

      2. GBA Editor
        Brian Pontolilo | | #13

        Hey Trevor,

        I believe that Marmoleum has click-together tiles that have a cork backing. I would think those would provide a bit of cushion from the concrete. And it's a floating floor system, which you could easily take up and maybe reuse when you are ready to install a new floor down the road.

  5. Nathan Scaglione | | #8

    Hardwax oil finishes are easily repairable on wood flooring. You can spot sand or simply apply to scratches. Zero VOC. I have used Rubio Monocoat on everything interior you can imagine, it is a great product.

    Otherwise throw down carpets with the anti skid pads.

    Calling plywood 'engineered flooring' is a marketing term.

    1. Expert Member
      Malcolm Taylor | | #10

      As is "Luxury Vinyl"

  6. Expert Member
    Akos | | #9

    I've had a friend glue down cork tiles onto concrete and clear coat. Seemed pretty durable, there was no backing on the cork, just 6mm thick tiles.

    I did a studio with t&g plywood, it was cheap but way more work than worth to get a decent finish.

  7. Jamie B | | #12

    I put down "luxury" vynil tile on my current build. I ended up chosing a loose lay product, which is significantly thicker (and softer) Pretty much a very good looking rubber mat. My flooring guys ended up glueing it down.

    It's not green, but oh my dog is it ever resilient, I've seen a cabinet door dropped from 10' high and land on it's corner, I've stepped on screws, dirt, dropped tools... all with no damage to the floor. Its soft on the feet which is nice, but that's where I notice the most that it's "not wood"

    Also paint, wet or dry comes off pretty easily, I initially cleaned the floor with xylene to get the glue off and it didn't seem to destroy it. I'm convinced it's waterproof itself, but I wouldn't consider it a water barrier to the subfloor underneath, but it still does not a bad job at holding water since my flooring guys glued it down.

    The loose lay planks are meant for concrete slabs, so something to consider as long as it's level. If you do go with LVT, I highly suggest going with a commercial supplier and not the stuff for consumers like at big box stores.

    Feel free to roast me for liking a non green product so much.

  8. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #14

    What about carpet tiles. Any that get really damaged can be pulled up and replaces. Plus, you can return the old tiles to the manufacturers for recycling.

  9. GBA Editor
    Peter Yost | | #16

    I am surprised no one has offered area rugs. That is what we have done in our basement to good effect and expense.


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