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Community and Q&A

“Green” Waterproof Flooring Options for Sunporch

Cory Holliday | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Hello all,

We are nearing completion of our PGH here in Tennessee.  We have a “Sun Porch” that is unconditioned and really just a framed in porch section full of windows.  We installed full length screens with plans to remove the window sashes in the warmer months.  The Floor is 2×10 joists on 16″ centers with Advantech subflooring, and an open storage space underneath.  The walls and roof are fully insulated with open cell spray foam.  The walls are covered with reclaimed tongue and groove pine with reclaimed barn metal on the ceiling.  The floor/joists are currently uninsulated as I’m a bit concerned about moisture problems, but I may insulate with rock wool batts in the future.

This floor will get regularly wet in summer months.  Although it is well covered, wind will blow rain in through the open windows.  We’re looking for a flooring option that can survive this location.  It looks like the newer waterproof vinyl flooring options might be our best bet, but vinyl isn’t very “green.”  We’ve also looked at some of the wood laminate products that are advertised as 100% waterproof when installed.  I did some testing with samples of the Bruce Hydropel flooring and it stood up to water extremely well and is a nearly 100% wood product.  The downside is that the top veneer is not nearly as robust as its vinyl competitors in my home field tests, which leads me to believe it is likely to need replacing much sooner than a vinyl flooring option.

So that leads me to wonder which is a “greener” option: a wood-based product likely to need replaced in 10 years or less, or a vinyl/synthetic flooring option that may last 2-3x longer.  Or am I completely missing another option that might be better suited?  We’re avoiding sheet vinyl as we have large dogs and it doesn’t seem likely to survive well, and we’re also over budget and looking for something cheaper than porcelain/ceramic tile.

Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

Cory Holliday
Granville, TN.

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  1. Charlie Sullivan | | #1

    Two options that come to mind:

    True linoleum, e.g. "Marmoleum" brand. I'm not really sure how it holds up with dogs, but the color is through the thickness so it can get scratched and not look terrible.

    Cheap tile. If you look at Home Depot you'll find lots under $1/sq ft, starting at $0.49/sq ft. The cost is in the installation and other materials, but if you DIY or find someone good at it, that might not blow you budget.

  2. Cory Holliday | | #2

    Thanks Charlie. We visited our local tile outlet today and sourced some great porcelain tile for $.35-sq/ft. I did not think it would be possible.

  3. C L | | #3

    If you believe this floor will regularly get wet, consider treating it like a large shower, so that
    1. The water needs somewhere to drain to. That means there should be a pitch to where you want the water to go.
    2. A tile install over Advantech is not waterproof. If the tile regularly gets wet, the Advantech is going to rot. So again treat it like a shower with either a cement board underlayment plus waterproofing layer such as redguard, or something like a Kerdi system. The Kerdi system will allow you to introduce a pitch to slope to a drain.

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