Marmoleum for Finished Basement Floor
I am looking at Marmoleum for a finished basement floor. https://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/All-Products/Forbo-Marmoleum-Click-Cinch-Loc
This should be dry but humid. I’m interested if anyone has first-hand experience with the material. This is an application where I would normally recommend vinyl plank tile, interested in how it compares. The Marmoleum is about twice as expensive for starters.
GBA Detail Library
A collection of one thousand construction details organized by climate and house part
I have used Marmoleum regularly for 15-20 years. It is a good product but not very forgiving of moisture, as it's mostly cork flour and linseed oil. I would use it on a dry, insulated basement floor but not directly on concrete that could experience condensation or groundwater infiltration.
So is it suitable for a bathroom with shower?
No, it's not
Moisture doesn't seem to affect the field much, it's the edges you have to be careful about as it will make them swell. I tell clients that it's probably ok in a primary bath if they are careful about cleaning up water and if the Marmoleum edges are covered with trim, same for a kitchen, but not appropriate for kids' bathrooms (or messy parents' bathrooms.).
There are two options, sheet goods vs. tiles. In damp areas I would not use the tiles because there are too many edges exposed. Sheet goods only come about 6' wide and the seaming process is unique; they remove a 1/4" strip between sheets and weld in a new strip. It's discreet but not invisible, and bugs some people. More obvious with some patterns than others. But ideally the room would be small enough that seaming isn't necessary.
I have used Marmoleum Clic a couple times and love it, it's mind boggling how tight the seams come together.
That said, its not great for moist places. I went with a "waterproof" cork product for bathrooms and it would be recommendable also for basements.
This is what the faq says (https://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/Learning-Center/Flooring-Marmoleum-LC/Marmoleum-FAQs ):
Q: What if something spills on it?
A: Marmoleum has a durable finish called TopShield that has been impregnated into the surface to protect it from dirt, scuff marks and moisture. Normal water will not absorb into it. In fact, Marmoleum is used in hospitals and schools — including bathrooms — very successfully. Should any moisture sit for a long time without being wiped up, it will not cause changes to the surface.
Q: What if water gets between the Marmoleum Click planks or squares?
A: First of all, this is very difficult as the planks or squares sit so tightly together that it's almost impossible to get past it. However, should this occur, the edges of the HDF core have been saturated with wax to prevent excessive moisture from penetrating into it.
Q: How about a leaky faucet or toilet where the water gets underneath the Marmoleum Click?
A: Should this happen, the cork underlayment will absorb some of the water and eventually dry out. Cork and water get along well, which is one reason it's used on the bottom of each piece. Forbo requires a moisture barrier beneath the cork underlayment to prevent moisture from coming up from the subfloor. Should there be excessive moisture, the planks should be removed in order to dry out the water source and then be re-installed when the moisture problem is solved.
Maybe they have changed their formula. I called a supplier about awhile back and they said bathrooms were not recommended. At the time there was a small amount of would product inside the tiles that would swell a bit if water did get in. I had them installed in a kitchen and witnessed this when a wet towel was left on the tiles overnight. I did see a little seam swelling but it went away after it dried. The waterproof cork I linked only has HDPE as a backer along with the cork. It will not swell.
DCContrarian, if you do go with marmoleum, and you hire someone to install, I would love to hear if you were happy with their work. We are planning to use marmoleum on our kitchen floor when we cover our old vinyl tile.
I know there are other threads on this but I still can’t find a definitive answer for the underlay material. I would like to do the waterproof cork as above for an insulated walls, dry basement with no water intrusion but has an old 1915 slab and short ceilings. What do I use as a vapor barrier beneath the cork?