Questions to Ask Once You Find the Perfect Place to Buy Flooring

Questions to Ask Once You Find the Perfect Place to Buy Flooring

Whether you have decided to buy online, from a flooring wholesalers or a private manufacturer, once you have found the perfect place to buy flooring, it is important that you understand the questions you need to ask to make sure you are getting the best deal. Below is a guide to 7 questions you should ask when buying flooring.

1 – If I have a problem, who should I contact?

If you are not buying your flooring directly from the manufacturer, it is likely that the product will have passed through the hands of several distributors before it reached the store in which you purchased it. Because several different companies deal with the flooring, it is important that you establish who you need to contact if you have a problem.

In many cases, if you have a complaint about the quality of the flooring and you contact the retail store, they will pass the complaint onto the distributors. In turn the distributor will inform the manufacturer who will most likely try to pass the blame back to the distributor or the retail store. This can be a very time consuming process. To avoid all this hassle, you should establish exactly who you need to contact before you purchase the flooring.

2 – How long should I allow for the flooring to acclimatise?

Different types of flooring require different period of acclimatisation before they can be installed. The acclimatisation process allows the wood to adapt to the ambient temperature and humidity levels in the room. The temperature fluctuations and moisture levels in a room can cause flooring to expand and contract.

If you do not allow the flooring to acclimatise to its environment before laying it, you may find that it begins to warp after it has been put in place. This warping can damage the flooring and could result in you having to relay the flooring.

3 – How durable is the finish on the flooring?

Once you have found the best place to buy flooring, it is important that your find the best type of flooring for your needs. One of the big differences between different types of flooring is the durability of the finish. If you live in a home which contains kids or pets, it is likely that your flooring will take a regular beating from their feet and paws and so you should opt for a hardwood flooring which had a highly durable finish.

If you live alone or you are planning to floor a room such as a bedroom which doesn’t see much footfall, you could opt for a type of flooring which as a less durable finish such as bamboo. You should also ask the supplier if they supply any sealants or finishes which you can apply to reinforce the finish on your new flooring.

4 – What is the expected waste factor?

The waste factor refers to how much extra flooring you will be required to purchase in order to successfully cover a floor surface. The amount of waste is dictated by two things. The size of the flooring panels and the number of them included in each pack and the size of your room.

If you are required to purchase bulk packs of flooring which contain many panels, it is likely that you may only need a couple of sections from the final pack, which will generate waste material. If the room in which you wish to lay the flooring is an unusual shape, you will probably have to cut sections of the flooring so it fits.

By cutting the flooring, you will generate waste pieces. A flooring supplier should be able to advise you of a percentage based on the size and shape of the room you are working on. The higher the waste factor, the higher the cost of the flooring project will be.

5 – What will the stain or finish look like?

Many large flooring manufactures will apply the same finish to different types of flooring without making any adjustments. The can lead to some types of mass-produced flooring having different qualities of finish.

Before you complete the purchase of the flooring, you should request to see a sample  piece of the flooring so you can compare the quality of the finish to the other options you are considering. If you are unsure if the finish will suit the room in which you are planning to install the flooring, you should ask if you can take the sample home with you so you an see how it looks.

6 – What other grades are available?

Manufactures will often divide the same time of flooring into different grades. These grades reflect the finished quality of the flooring. However, there may not be much different between a standard grade and a A1 grade, so it is worth comparing the two. If you are happy with the finish on a lower grade of flooring, you could potentially save yourself a considerable amount of money.

7 – How long is the guarantee?

The majority of flooring manufacturers and suppliers will offer some form of guarantee on the products you buy. However, the length of this warranty can differ greatly from company to company. It is important to ask how long the guarantee will last and to check the paperwork to see if there are special requirements which you must meet in order to be able to claim.

If you experience a problem within this timeframe, you should be able claim a refund on the cost of the flooring or to request replacement packs of flooring so you can complete the job. However, you should never accept a verbal assurance of a guarantee, you should always ask for the detail to be supplied in writing.

If you are buying new flooring you will understand that it is a big investment. Once you have found the best place to buy flooring, it is important that you take the time to ask these questions to ensure you get the perfect product for the floor in your home.

Vinyl Flooring Installation and Removal FAQs

Asbestos Removal

Precautions

Q

We bought our house in September 1980. Shortly thereafter, we had Armstrong Solarian vinyl installed in the kitchen and dining room. Many years later, I had it tested and they confirmed asbestos content. If it was banned after 1972, why was it being sold and installed in 1980? I’d like to remove it completely instead of covering it because it will change the floor level from one room to another and pose a tripping hazard. Is there instrumentation that can monitor asbestos particulate in the air? I thought I heard about such equipment.

- Anne

A

It’s a mystery to me too how a company, especially one like Armstrong, can get away with using banned materials. But this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of such a thing — be it lead-based paint or asbestos containing flooring or siding. I guess it has something to do with in-stock supplies, but I’m only guessing about that.

Generally, according to my understanding, asbestos-laced materials aren’t a problem with air particulates until they material is disturbed. Ways of disturbing it are cutting or ripping it, or removing it. Some people do their own asbestos removal, but it’s recommended that trained, approved and licensed contractors deal with it so the air quality and disposal are appropriate when they are done.

If the floor is in good shape, why not just leave it for now?

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hi: we have a very old one story apartment house that was tested for asbestor in the vinyl flooring that was laid in the kitchen and bath. this building will be burned down by the local fire department and a practice burn. Do we need to remove the flooring first? Thank you.

- John

A

Yes, it should be removed. Please read through the comments to learn more about this. Here’s an article that will give you more insight as to why this would be dangerous – it’s about an apartment building in Boulder, Colorado that caught fire and had asbestos containing material.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Our house was built in 1981 and we still have the original vinyl. We are going to replace it with tile but our contractor does not remove the old flooring. I thought I would start trying to pull some of this up and notice the backing was sticking to the floor. I was looking for ways to remove this stuff and was alarmed to find out that some vinyl could have asbestos backing. I’m a little worried right now. Should I be concerned.

- Sally

A

Hi Sally

Chances are you should be o.k. – however, I have read where some asbestos flooring was used even as late as the 1980’s. Best thing to do is to go to Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc. – and buy a test kit for asbestos. It shouldn’t be needed, but at least it will give you an answer so that you know if your fears can be put to rest or not.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My daughter and son-in-law are buying a 1950’s house. The downstairs will be used as a recreation room. At the moment the floors are covered with asbestos tile with several areas of tile broken and completely removed. They are aware of the problem and are considering carpeting over the entire area. Should they fill in the broken tile with other safer tile and then paint with epoxy before carpeting?

- Pam

A

Hi Pam

I wouldn’t recommend carpeting if there are any moisture issues or if there is high humidity. Carpeting is nasty for harboring allergens such as mold and mildew (to just name two!). Filling in with other tile will work, as would just using some thin-set, concrete or grout. Painting over with epoxy afterwards is a good idea.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

For do-it-yourself cleaning, after remove the vinyl material and wet scrubbing it off, how do we know the floor is really clean of asbesto? Can I see asbesto fibers on the floor with naked eyes?

- Laura

A

Hi Laura

You don’t know, Most of the time, you can’t see it with your naked eye. This is why it’s best to have a professional who is trained in asbestos removal handle a job that is this important. Hopefully too, you were aware that there are Federal and State Laws governing asbestos removal and didn’t just dispose of it along with your weekly trash.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My home was built in 1979. It has a glued down sheet vinyl floor. Is it OK to remove it?

Thank you for your help.

- Paul

A

Hi Paul, Yes, it would be fine to remove it. If it’s still in good shape, and depending on the type of flooring you wish to install, you could install right on top of it.

- The Flooring Lady


Safety

Q

Armstrong solarian floors were installed in both bathrooms and the kitchen of my mother’s home in 1982. A family friend was helping ready the house to sell after Mom’s passing and he used an electric planer on the floor to remove most of it. It created superfine dust throughout the house. I took a sample in for testing after I read the instructions on the adhesive for the new floor. The results stated that the backing layer was 70% asbestos. What do we do now? I don’t think we can even sell it.

- Chris

A

Bummer about your friend’s approach. Personally I would have tried to floor over it so I wouldn’t have the removal hazards. But, what’s done is done. Now to move on and clean your air.

You can’t sell it until you clean up the air. You shouldn’t even be in there now without respirators designed to protect your from asbestos fibers. I think you are going to have to call in professionals to handle the air filtering and clean up — everything is coated with fibers now, if I understand this correctly.

Please be careful so you don’t get sick from this.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I bought and older home with a smaller kitchen (10×15). After removing the old cabinets we discovered there were actually 2 layers of older flooring. After having them tested for asbestos, the bottom layer tested negative however the top layer tested positive containing 25% asbestos. It will cost me 1500.00 to 1800.00 to have it professionally removed and I am debating on whether or not to remove it myself. My question is if I follow the guidelines of removal and since the amount of asbestos in the top layer is only 25% do you think this is a wise and safe decision? Like the earlier poster adding another layer to this floor over top of the existing flooring will make it too high. Thanks for your help!

- Joe

A

Hi Joe! Much as I advocate do-it-yourself-ers, this is one time where I’d recommend having a professional do it. There’s so much to consider when removing old abestos flooring. Is it friable (i.e., crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure)? Is any of it cracked, flaking or otherwise damaged? If so, you risk contaminating your entire house if you try to take these up yourself and creating the ultimate environmental nightmare in your home. The mastic (black glue adhesive) also contained asbestos in the old days and that has to be removed as well.

You also MUST wear a respirator & safety glasses – no ifs, ands, or buts.

n most states, asbestos can be removed only by licensed asbestos abatement contractors who are equipped and educated in safely removing and disposing of hazardous materials. They’ll usually use plastic sheets to stop the particles from freely moving. VAT’s (vinyl asbestos tile) are usually wetted down too, so as to keep asbestos particles from becoming airborne while being removed.

Once removed, the tiles are put in containers, sealed, are taken by the authorized agent to a landfill site that is approved by the EPA and is buried.

It’s NOT recommended to attempt removal yourself and in most states there are penalties if it gets found out that you did so. It has to be disposed of safely and you can’t just set it out in your trash for the garbage man to pick up.

Personally, I think that $1500 – $1800 is a small price to pay to keep from damaging your lungs or getting cancer, as well as taking into consideration the others who come into your house.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

is it safe to drill through asbestos tile it was 2 2mm thick theres about 6 to 8 holes half inch wide and how safe is the room does it have to be tested .also there is some breaking and chiping in some others there was a hoover used a industrial one there apperas a lot of dust on outside bair in mind its woodwork room to. the whole floor is this type tile but in mostly in good condition

- Thomas

A

It is never safe to drill through asbestos tile. The asbestos will become airborn, posing a serious threat to your health. I suggest you read up on asbestos dangers – go to your favorite search engine and start from there.

If you have dust, chipping, cracking, it’s very unstable and unsafe. You need to have it removed by a professional or cover it up completely. You can have the room tested if you want, but why would you do that if you already know the tile contains asbestos?

I’m serious, read up on asbestos dangers, removal, etc. It’s seriously bad stuff – you’ve endagered yourself and anybody else who has been in there.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have a mid-1970s townhouse, and had already pulled up about 50 vinyl tiles in the basement when I discovered that the tiles have asbestos in them – the analysis says 2% chrysotile, 98% particulate, so I’m guessing that means they are 2% asbestos. I was using a long heavy pole with a blade on the bottom that was working great, but broke up most of the tiles, and then just shoveling up all of the broken tiles and putting them out with the trash.

So OK, should I prepare for lung cancer? I stopped busting up tiles when I was alerted to the asbestos possiblity, but there are about 20 or so broken tiles in my basement and I don’t know what the heck I’m supposed to do now. I really can’t afford $20,000 for men in space suits. Should I just stop now, clear out the broken stuff and put plywood down on top of the whole floor (it’s about 300 square feet total) and new vinyl on top of that, or what? Thanks for any help.

- Nan M

A

Yes, cover it up – that will work fine. Hopefully you won’t suffer any health issues down the road.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

OK, between the time of my original posting and today, I have spoken to two very knowledgable guys in the construction industry (not connected to each other). Both are licensed builders, one is now a county code and building inspector and the other does abatement work for a private environmental group. They both said the same things about my 2% chrysotile floor: No Big Deal.

They recommended that I wear a good face mask while working ( I got one for $15 that is used for scraping lead paint and they said that one is fine), and to damp down the area being worked on. They also said breaking tiles is not a problem because the asbestos is so fused in there, but I should not sand, grind or drill the tiles. Which I wouldn’t anyway. For disposal, it is legal for me to just put it out with the trash, but the best thing would be for me to cart it to a dump that accepts “category 1” waste, which they said most dumps do (mine does, I checked).

That’s what I’m going with. I”m sure the answer would be different if the tiles contained 60% asbestos. I hope this helps others in making a decision.

- Nan M

A

I do hope they know what they’re talking about. Different states have different laws, but it is regulated by the EPA at a national level.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I just bought an old home that has abestos flooring tile. I was cleaning out the basement and noticed about 7 tile were loose, just lying on the floor, and I gently removed them and placed them in a plastic bag. Then I carefully swept some of the remaining dust and put that in the bag as well. I threw the gloves out and rinsed the broom. After reading up on asbestos tile, I am going to call in an expert to look at the rest of it and remove the few tiles I have in the bag. My question is, do I have reason to worry now about my health?

- Tim

A

Hi Tim

Hopefully not, since your exposure time was very short and the dust wouldn’t have been that much. If the tiles that you removed were intact then there really shouldn’t be much asbestos in that if any. It’s just one of those things that you don’t know.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My husband and I bought an old property with a 1956 aluminum trailer on it. It had asbestos tiles under sheets of vinyl flooring. It all had to come up, as it was very uneven, He got me started and I went to work, The asbestos tiles crumbled, and it was black and a very fine dust that flew everywhere. We knew nothing of asbestos poisoning or mesothelioma. Since then he died of it. They think he died from his plumbing history of tearing down old buildings with asbestos lined pipes. That was back in the late 50’s and early 60’s when he did that work.

I did the flooring tiles in the early 90’s. I am concerned about my lungs. I recently went to the hospital for acute bronchitis and double pneumonia which cleared up enough in 6 days to go home, and finally totally clear in another couple weeks.

If the exposure to the asbestos is to do me harm like it did him, what should I look for in symptoms, and how long approximately, will it take to present?

Scared

- Glenda

A

Hi Glenda

It’s really sad to hear that your husband had to die because of exposure to asbestos. So many people today do not take the threat seriously. Sadly, years ago, people didn’t realize how exposure to asbestos or lead could impact one’s health.

I’d really recommend you talk with a pulmonary specialist or at the very least go to webmd or another health site and look up information on mesothelioma. I’m a far cry from a health professional and cannot, in good conscience, give health advice.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Dear Flooring Lady, we recently sent some samples of our 1955 home to an absetos testing center. Luckly our plaster walls & ceiling came back negative but the flooring in our kitchen tested positive for 15% cyrsotile. From what we can tell our flooring has a couple of layers of vinyl and ugly tile underneath. We are planning on putting down cork flooring and since there are already so many layers we can’t just put it on top. We would like to remove the vinyl but leave the tiles intact (we only had the vinyl tested not the tiles) so we are not sure if the tiles also contain absestos. I guess our question is how dangerous is 15% and should we follow the same procedure for removing it. We have a newborn at home and want to be as safe as possible but we can’t afford a removal company. Thanks

- Christine

A

15% is dangerous. The tile probably contains even more asbestos and the adhesives too. You really should have it removed professionally. You can do it yourself as well, but it must be done as a wet process so that asbestos particles don’t become airborn – then you’ll run into the problem of disposing of it properly (and legally). If you have a removal company do it, they take care of that aspect as well. With so many layers, I’m afraid this may be your only true option.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My neighborhood was built around 1980. My neighbor said her original laminate floor was tested for asbestos and it was positive. We have the original laminate floor under a new laminate floor. Is it dangerous for the kids? She told me it wasn’t dangerous unless you were tearing it out. Thank you!

- Jennifer

A

So long as the original flooring is covered, it’s ok. The danger is when it isn’t covered or is being taken up, then tiny particles become airborn and can be inhaled.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

OK, so what if you already ripped up an entire floor that may have had asbestos dust flying everywhere? Do you immediately become sick?

- Laura

A

If you still have any of the flooring around, you can buy a testing kit at Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. and find out for sure so you don’t have to (hopefully!) worry yourself needlessly.

To learn more about asbestos (hazards, health issues, etc.) here is a link for the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/

Hoping you’re worrying needlessly ……..

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Oh boy, I think I blew it. I live in a 1973 mobile home and I am laying the new Armstrong Assure wood vinyl flooring (which is beautiful).

I have been removed all of the original sheet vinyl in the kitchen but haven’t gotten to laying the new wood vinyl flooring because I haven’t been feeling well. OMG! Could it be because of asbestos?

I have had a terrible headache above my eyes, my eyes are constantly burning and feel like their going to bust. I went to my doctor and my eye doctor and they are not finding anything wrong.

If it is the vinyl flooring asbestos, now what do I do?? Other than lay the wood vinyl flooring!

Maybe it will go away then.

Help!

- Joan

A

These symptoms could very well be from dust that has been stirred up while working on the floor, rather than asbestos.

An important thing to remember with any type of work in your home, is to allow ventilation and fresh air.

- The Flooring Lady


Refinishing and Sealing

Q

Hi-

I am trying to find a good sealing product to apply to the asbestos vinyl sheeting underneath the current carpets in my home, which we will be taking up and replacing with laminate flooring There are a few places at the edges by the vents where the vinyl is exposed and we’d like to seal it off. Suprisingly, it is nearly impossible to find anyone who knows anything on this subject?

Thanks!

- Tom

A

Tom, asbestos is such a can of worms that I’m not surprised that people don’t know anything about it. If one doesn’t know about asbestos one can’t get into trouble with the help they offer.

What I know about asbestos is that you don’t want to disturb it. It sounds as if you are taking measures to not disturb it, and in fact to protect it from further damage. That’s a good start, in my book.

Why don’t you get a glue that will adhere to vinyl and apply it to the edges of the vinyl? You may want to wrap the glue up onto the top edge slightly to make sure you have a good seal. And with the vent covers in place you wouldn’t see that glue edge, even if the laminate flooring didn’t cover it completely.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Thanks for your informative article. We recently purchased a Mid-Century Modern style home, built in the 1950’s. The kitchen is in its original state, however, the previous owners put wall to wall carpeting in the kitchen that was ironed onto to the previous 1950’s flooring.

The carpeting is already too high and interferes with the opening of some cabinets. I wanted to remove the carpeting with a heat gun and use the original flooring, but now I am alarmed by the thought of asbestos being in the floor. According to the previous owner, it is a tile type floor, not lino.

So my question is: Is it possible to use this type of flooring, even though it might contain asbestos? I read if it is encapsulated in the flooring, as long as it isn’t damaged, it isn’t harmful. Is there some sort of coating that we could put over it to seal it good and tight without have to pull it up? Or would our best bet be to cover it with another type of flooring?

Also, I am hesitant to pull up the carpet and purposely damage a tile to get a sample to send to the lab.

- Ruth

A

Ok, let’s tackle your questions in order.

#1: So my question is: Is it possible to use this type of flooring, even though it might contain asbestos? Answer: Yes, what you’ve read is correct.

#2: Is there some sort of coating that we could put over it to seal it good and tight without have to pull it up or would our best bet be to cover it with another type of flooring? Answer: You can do either one (or both!) so long as the flooring is intact. There are different products you can use to coat it, but the most durable is going to be an epoxy type paint, the stuff is about indestructable.

I can understand why you’d be hesitant to pull up a sample to send to the lab. If you do remove the flooring and it can be done without damaging the tiles (not likely!) they still have to be disposed of properly.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My home was built in 1964. I have an old lineoleum floor on top of the original vinly square tiles which are glued down with some black stuff that looks like an asphalt glue which apparently may contain asbestos. I was planning to overlay with a laminate, but when the flooring company came out to complicate the issue my floor was not level. Now after going to the expense to have my foundation repaired and the house leveled, there may be an issue with the some of tiles which are now cracked and I’m in a fix as to how to remedy the uneven tiles so the laminate can be layed over them. One contractor said he could just sand the uneven spaces (sounds like creating potential asbestos dust everywhere). I’m in such a fix with the laminate already purchased and really don’t know exactly where to go next. I need direction as to who I can trust to help tell me how to safely remove the tiles/or how to make the floor smooth enough to go over with the laminate. I choose laminate since it supposedly floats, but how much floating can it actually do.

- Sandy

A

By ‘floating’, it simply means that it can expand and contract naturally without worrying about it warping because the edges don’t touch the very edges of the walls. It doesn’t really float up and down, which is why you need to work with a level floor. I have no idea just how off level your present floor is, so I don’t really know what measures can be taken to smooth things out.

Sanding the tiles can be done so long as it’s a wet process and it’s cleaned up while wet. Old asbestos flooring is safe so long as it’s covered up completely. You might want to consider sealing it with an epoxy substance or sealer of some sort even before you put down the underlayment. The damaged tiles should be removed (also using a wet process) – you can then fill in the spots with a leveling agent of some sort.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Help! I remvoved tiles from my basement floor because of water damag, later to find out that contained asbestos! I have throuroughly cleaned it, but the stick (mastic?) remains. I wanted to know if I could just seal the floor, or put a thin layer of concrete over it? Thanks!

- Donna

A

Hello Donna, How much of the flooring is attached to the mastic? Unfortunately, the damage has been done and you may want to call in the proper hazmat team that’s trained in asbestos clean up.

I don’t think you can pour thin concrete layers onto concrete and get a satisfactory bond or result. You may want to just install one of the moisture proofing subfloors discussed in a few of the articles; that would take care of future moisture problems and the glue issue.

- The Flooring Lady


Brands and Prodcuts

Q

where do i get a do-it-yourself home sampling kit?

- C.J.

A

Hi C.J.

Some hardware stores and big box retailers now carry them and they are also available online. You can always use a search engine (Google, etc.) to find which stores sell them.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

What methodology does Home Depot use to remove vinyl or not. I noticed they now have a charge to remove vinyl whereas they did not 5 years ago when I had another floor done.

- Dandy

A

That would be a good question for Home Depot. I am not privy to their policies.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hi, I am having new carpet installed and the installer just told me that the vinyl flooring is the asbestos type. He said that it is in good shape and can install the carpet. However in the coat closet, when he pulled up the piece of carpet on the floor there 3 tiles already missing from the floor. He said there was no dust and the others were not loose and that it would be ok to cover it and should be covered until we decide to do something with the entire floor. I decided to look up asbestos flooring and found you, praise the Lord! What do I do? You say not to recover it without taking care of it. I don’t have a clue who to call.

Thank You

- Marcella

A

Marcella

The Article states,

“However, intact asbestos vinyl flooring should not be removed because the removal of an intact floor poses a greater risk than simply covering over the old flooring.

If you determine that the asbestos vinyl flooring must be removed, asbestos abatement contractors are highly recommended.”

It seems as if your contractor agrees that it is safer to cover over. Perhaps a second opinion is in order if you are unsure.

- The Flooring Lady


Is It Asbestos?

Q

if old vinyl comes up real easy, what are the possibilities that it has asbestos on or in it? It was layed over plywood.

- Stephanie

A

It depends on how old it is…….asbestos was not supposed to be used since 1972. Also, so long as it comes up intact, so long as there’s no chipping, breaking, crumbling, it’s ok.

Disposing asbestos tile is another matter entirely though. ;~)

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Our house was built in 1980, and we still have the orginal vinyl, which was good quality for the time, but is now worn with a few holes. Any chance that it contains asbestos? I’m confused. Since asbestos was banned in 1972, but the post above from Chris said the floor with asbestos was installed in 1982. Can you clear this up? Do I need to test my floor?

- Lori

A

Hi Lori

Yes, asbestos was banned in 1972 and shouldn’t have been used after that. However………. I have researched on the internet and there was still some flooring being used that *somehow* contained asbestos. I don’t know if this was being done intentionally (and therefore illegally), if it was old stock or what, and I’m not going to speculate on it…….. you know, kind of like how toys coated with lead paint made in China still made it’s way to the USA as recently as this year. By all means though, have it tested to ease your mind if you feel the need. Chances are there won’t be any asbestos in it.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We had our house built in 1990. would the lino in the kitchen have any asbestos?

- DW

A

Good news! Asbestos vinyl flooring was widely used until 1972, so it would be almost certain that your flooring does not contain asbestos. If it makes you feel better, you can always have it tested either by a professional or a do-it-yourself kit, but I wouldn’t think it’s needed.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

ok Home Depot will not lay ceramic tile over our sheet vinyl flooring which was laid when the house was built in 1986, their reason is that the adhesive might have asbestos in it.

- Susan

A

The adhesive or the sheet vinyl? If they’re worried about asbestos in the adhesive, that’s just plain silly since the vinyl is over it. Did a sales person tell you this? Did you ask a supervisor? You could check with some local home improvement contractors and see what they think, maybe even get one to install it.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We are planning on tiling our front entrance in our home…there is vinly flooring currently in place and our house was built in 1997. We went to HOme Depot to see if there was a product to help remove it and the sales person alarmed us and said that there is asbestos in it..what are the chances of that and should we remove it?

- Lisa

A

Asbestos flooring products were banned in the 1970’s. I doubt you have anything to worry about since your house was built in 1997.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We are renovating our home which was built in 1979.

I would like to remove the vinyl flooring in the kitchen to install a hardwood floor. I want to remove it so the flooring will flow evenly into the adjacent rooms (after carpet is removed). Do you think the kitchen flooring could have a possibility of asbestos if it were installed in 1979?

- Phil

A

Chances are it doesn’t contain asbestos. If it eases your mind, you can always have it tested. ;~)

- The Flooring Lady


Q

hi i am about to remove carpeting from the living room and getting tiles installed, the house was built in 1992 do you think the layer under the carpet may contain asbestos ?

- Irfan

A

You shouldn’t have any asbestos since the house was built in 1992 – asbestos was banned 20 years before that. If it helps to ease your mind, you can always have it tested. ;~)

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am currently renting a townhouse, that was built in 1985. I have recently asked to get new lynol flooring in my bathroom and storage rooms. I was told they cannot give me this until they test for asbestos. ( they told me that the likeliness of this was rare but they should test). Do you think it could at all be possible for my townhome to have asbestos? also how long does it take to get the test back?

- Kayla

A

It’s actually a good thing that the landlord/owner cares enough to test the flooring. Chances are, it won’t contain asbestos and he’s only wanting to cover his butt, but that’s a good thing for you too! Chances are slim that it would contain asbestos. As far as how long does it take to get the test results, well, it’s going to depend on the lab that’s doing the testing. Shouldn’t be more than a couple of weeks though.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

I sent you a message about my townhouse built in 1985 possibly containing asbestos in it.. My landlord did get it checked for asbestos and the results came back positive. In one of my storage closets the tile is tearing back and it looks like it has been cut, also I recently had the landlord come in to repair drywall in there ( due to a leak). The repair man took the baseboards off and he was sanding around in the closet . So my question is could the fibers have been released into my house? when they go to tear out the asbestos is it safe for my children and I to stay there? and lastly could the rubber base board contain asbestos in the glue?

- Kayla

A

Geez……that’s so not good. You should not be there when it is being removed. I would talk to your landlord to see what he is willing to do about all this since your belongings shouldn’t be in there either (the asbestos particles can settle back down onto your furniture and such if the particles become airborn).

If your landlord intends to have the tiles removed while wet, that’s a different story, as wet removal keeps the asbestos from becoming airborn.

I wouldn’t have a clue about the baseboard or the adhesive containing asbestos – the only way to know would be to test it.

Hard to fathom how something built as late as 1985 had asbestos tiles installed. So glad your landlord cared enough to check into it!

- The Flooring Lady

Q

My tiles do contain 30 to 40% asbestos in it.. The landlord now wants to cover over the exisiting floor with new stuff, instead of tearing out the asbestos containg flooring.. I am a little concerned about this, because the flooring is fraile and ripping back.If the flooring is fraile and torn back, could it release any fibers in the air??? I did also metion my townhouse was built in 1985 ( which i thought asbestos was baned than) As well who could i contact to get my quality of air tested in my home. I am from vancouver canada.I am extremely concerned for my childrens saftey as well as myself because my son just got diagnosed with active airway disease.

- Kayla

A

Gee, that is not what I wanted to hear. I don’t know when Canada banned the use of asbestos, in the US it was in 1972. In the US we have the EPA – Environmental Protection Agency. There are mandated rules and regulations for removing asbestos-containing material and it’s disposal. I would presume that Canada has a very similar department as well — they should be able to supply you with what the law is in Canada.

Yes, if the flooring is frail, crumbling and such, fibers could have been released into the air. I would urge to speak with your son’s pediatrician (or specialist if he has one) about your concerns as well.

I did find a link that might prove useful to start you on your path of arming yourself with information: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/asbestos-amiante-eng.php

See also: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Residential-Property-Management-2151/Asbestos-backing-lino-flooring.htm

In my opinion, it sounds like you may want to consult an attorney, though I’d suggest talking to a governmental agency or doing further research.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I’m laying down some laminate flooring. the entry way has this stone colored vinyl. Before I got here I went ahead and pulled the vinyl up but parts of its backing, white or off white, stuck to the plywood floor sheathing. I used a hairdryer for a little bit and scraped some of it up. I gues I may have messed up big time huh? Is testing the sheet and backing the only way to know? The house was built in 1976 and is a modular home.

- Richard

A

Hi Richard

Gosh, let’s hope not. Yes, testing it is the only way to know for sure. I would think that modular home manufacturers used so much flooring product and were probably watched more closely in regards to using materials with asbestos, so I would tend to think that they would have been more diligent in making sure they didn’t use anything with asbestos containing materials. Better to have it tested than to always wonder & worry.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have a beach house, built in 1956. It was evident the shower had been leaking for some years. I began pulling up the ugly (1970’ish) vinyl (soft pliable sheet flooring)in the bathroom expecting to find oak floor like the rest of the house. Underneath the decomposed particle board was what I would call hard sheet linoleum. I got a little ambitious and began removing the rest of the vinyl and particle board through the laundry room and into the kitchen. It occurred to me half way through that the vinyl flooring on top may have asbestos. Is there a way of determining this myself. The vinyl did not come up in sheets but tore easily, sometimes separating from the paper. I have not removed any of the materials from the house. They are in a pile on the remainder of the kitchen floor. I’m concerned now that the top layer vinyl may have asbestos. I would be certain that the bottom layer linoleum was original to the house. I was planing on painting the original with an epoxy floor paint. Do you have any suggestions? Can I take a sample to a lab to have it tested?

- Mike

A

Yes, you can buy a kit to send a sample to a lab to determine if the flooring contains asbestos. You can find these at most hardware or big box home improvement stores.

Old asbestos flooring can that isn’t frayed, chipped or broken is considered ‘safe’ if you use an epoxy floor paint, sealer, or new vinyl, lino, tile flooring (etc) over it.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My house was built in 1978. So, I do not have to worry about asbestos….right??

- Wheady

A

That would be correct.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Lowes policy does not allow their sub-contractor to remove our linoleum (could be vinyl)flooring which is underneath the existing Pergo. Our home was built in 1997 and the contractor said there could still be asbestos in the flooring or the adhesive. We purchased the laminate flooring just under a year ago and installed the majority of it ourselves in the living room and down the hall. We wanted the remainder to be installed by the professionals at Lowes as there are some tricky angles in our kitchen and dining room and we don’t want to deal with moving the large appliances or ripping up the two layers of floor. We want the new floor to be installed on top of the subfloor, NOT over any existing floor since one of our goals is to eliminate the transitions which we continually trip over. Lowes also informed us that the contractor cannot hook our gas stove back up upon completion of the job yet the contractor told me not to worry about it and that he hooks them back up all of the time?! How does it make sense that they can move the gas range and unhook it from the gas source and *somehow* that is less of a liability than hooking it back up?! I even spoke to our gas furnace maintenence guy and he agreed with me. I really don’t think there is asbestos in our house; I think the contractor doesn’t want to deal with ripping up the vinyl. I even tried asking him if we could pay him as a separate contractor (not Lowes) to rip it out and he said that part of his contract with Lowes is not to take and “side” jobs and he could lose his contract with them…guess he’s not worried about that when it comes to hooking up gas stoves! Is it likely that there is asbestos in our floor? Wouldn’t they have had to reveal that in either the disclosure or the inspection when we bought our house?

- Tammy

A

Grab a second opinion and find someone who is willing to work on your floor! In 1989 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule which was subsequently overturned in the case of Corrosion Proof Fittings v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1991, meaning their are some consumer products that still contain legal trace amounts of asbestos. You can read more on the asbestos ban here http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbbans2.pdf 

Again I would grab a second opinion from a local professional and perhaps consult your Realtor regarding what they are legally required to disclose.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Help! My house was built in 1972. It had carpet in the Kitchen and Dining area (Kangaback) I removed the carpet on the kitchen side yesterday. The foam backing had stuck, so I scraped on it in a couple places. It was slow going, so I covered it up with a towel, went online and learned that my 12″ tiles (original) could have asbestos! Today, I soaked the foam and removed it easily. If my tiles do contain asbestos, is there at least a layer on the outside that isn’t? I have a toddler that I am concerned about. Thank You

- Julie

A

The old asbestos tiles were made with asbestos in them, and are not suppose to be dangerous UNLESS they are damaged (cracked/open/crumbling). But, I would have it tested to be sure.

If they are not damaged, you may want to re-cover them. Rather than try to remove them.

- The Flooring Lady


Laying & Refinishing

Q

Hi, I live in a home built in 1900 an recently went to Lowe’s to purchase new carpet to go over old sheet vinyl in a spare bedroom but after having the measurements done the installer told Lowe’s they wont install the carpet until I remove the old floor and have it re-inspected. Lowe’s stated this is how all of their contractors are. The floor is in great shape since it sees little to no foot traffic, should there be any reason why not to just lay the carpet? thanks

- Jeff

A

Hi Jeff

………and have it re-inspected for what?? Asbestos? Are you saying that it’s been inspected for asbestos before? What were the results?

I can understand a contractor’s concerns about asbestos flooring – I wouldn’t want to work on it either – I’d be wanting to see test results to assure me that it does not contain asbestos – it’s too great of a health hazard.

It doesn’t cost much to have a test done — Lowe’s should have home testing kits available, you put the sample in a vial and send it off to be scrutinized under a microscope.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

Hi again, No the floor was never tested for asbestos, the contractor just visually looked at the floor and stated the floor contained asbestos and refused to lay any carpet in the room until the floor was abated and the installer had a chance to re-inspect the room to make sure it meets their standards for abatement and safe work conditions. I have since sealed the floor with an epoxy floor coating and hired another company that saw no problem with stretch fitting in carpet over the existing flooring.

- Jeff

A

Pfft! Nobody can tell for sure if there’s asbestos without having it tested. Sealing it with the epoxy floor coating was good – if there’s asbestos, this will stabilize the flooring, hence, taking care of any hazard. Good job!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Our home was built in 1979 and we want to install tile flooring where linoleum currently is. We do not believe this is the origial linoleum. Do we need to worry about asbestos? Can we install the concrete board right on top of the linoleum, or should we remove it first?

- Laura

A

Hi Laura, I wouldn’t take any chances if there is a concern that there might be asbestos. You can have it tested to determine if there is asbestos and if there is, you can have it removed. If the vinyl is damaged in any way, you must have it removed before laying new floor.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have two layers of old vinyl with a layer of plywood in between them on my kitchen floor. Under it all is what appears to be nice hardwoods. I would really like to remove the vinyl (which I am pretty sure was from before 1972). I know the hazards and can figure out how to remove it safely..My question is when I am done, and I have nice hardwoods covered with glues from the flooring, is there a safe way for me to sand and refinish that hardwood floor?

- Steve

A

I would be sure to get a test kit or have a local contractor test the tiles for asbestos first. If the tiles on the hardwood floor are made with asbestos, it may really be a health risk to attempt sanding this yourself. I do not know of a safe way to accomplish it without a professional. If they aren’t then you should be able to sand or screen the wood floor and finish it.

- The Flooring Lady


Clean Up

Q

I took up an old floor, about 55 sqft of vinyl tiles form the 60’s. they where brittle and and broke easily. I am now convinced that they contained asbestos, looking at the edge of a broken piece with a magnifying glass you can even see the chunks of mineral in the tile.

To make matters worse, the floor was swept and vacuumed. What is my best course of action now to clean the room? The whole house?

- Jim

A

Hi Jim

Sorry to hear you have entered the “Asbestos Zone”. You have clearly stirred the fibers up. I think you need to call an expert team to see what their recommendations are. Chances are they will say they need to come in and do a HazMat clean up. Be sure to ask lots of questions about what they are going to do and what that’s going to accomplish for you.

Good Luck!

- The Flooring Lady

Vinyl Installation

Sealer

Q

We would like to lay beveled vinyl tiles and put something into the beveling that would make it look like grout. Is there a colored sealant or something else we could use ?

- Pat

A

Interesting concept. I don’t have any experience with such an approach and my gut level tells me it’s not going to work as well as you’d like because of trying to mix two very different products.

Let us know what you do. And if anyone knows of such a product and approach, please chime in.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Im about to lay adhesive vinyl tiles and was wondering was there any clear sealer or anything to put on top of the tiles to make sure they last longer and keep from peeling back or popping up?

- Jason

A

To keep them from peeling or popping up, you need to make sure that you use good adhesive, apply it properly and have your subfloor as even as possible. You can always seal your new floor with a water-based polyurethane.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I want to apply peel and stick vinyl tiles on top of vinyl tiles that have been in my kitchen for more than 25 years. In your comment to Jason B in 1/09 it appears you were saying it is OK to use a good adhesive in addition to the peel and stick. Is this correct? Thank you

- Regina

A

Hi Regina

Not necessarily – it depends on how good of an adhesive the tiles have. You can use additional adhesive if you feel the tiles’ adhesive isn’t going to work well.

- The Flooring Lady


Cleaning/ Glue

Q

when we had our vinyl installed by lowes there were tons of bubbles all over the vinyl and you can see the places where they silt the vinyl to let out the air in the bathroon but the vinyl is still not sticking in both the bathroom and the kitchen what can we do about the bubbles and the slits?

- Ashley

A

Ouch. I don’t want to imply all big-box stores have less than professional installers, but I have heard several horror stories, yours being one. Without having seen your floor installation my reaction is that Lowes can de-install it because they did a bad job of the installation and of their attempted repair.

Yes, slitting the bubbles can fix the problem, but if you have as many as you say you do, that many slits is bad news! And the bubbles are an indication of a bad installation or a bad vinyl. Either way, I’d get rid of it and start again.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I’m currently having glue down vinyl tiles installed in my kitchen and all bathrooms. When I looked at them today, (the installers are 30% finished) they looked crooked, the butts didn’t meet and I could feel a slope as I walked around the room. I told them that I was not happy and that they should fix it so they took up part of the floor, reapplied some tiles and re-leveled some of the floor. How worried should I be? These same guys are supposed to install my laminate in the living room next week but I won’t let them touch it if they do a crappy job on the vinyl. Does it take vinyl a few days to “look right” ? Should they have been using something (like a seam roller) to make sure the ends butt and stay down?

- SW Girl

A

I can see why you are concerned, and it seems that your misgivings are well founded so far. The tiles should be rolled for miximum adhesion and the correct type of adhesive needs to be used as well. There is usually a time frame associated with the adhesive for rolling to insure that you get the max adhesion.

The first line of tile laid must be perfectly straight, if it’s not it’s just going to look crooked throughout the whole room.

The subfloor needs to be smooth as well and clean - something as small as a grain of sand could show up as a small bulge underneath the tile. All joints and holes in the subfloor should be filled with floor patching compound and sanded smooth.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

Well, Flooring Lady. After inspecting my vinyl to see they did do a decent job after all(after my two complaints) I decided to allow them to lay the laminate. I watched carefully as they “leveled” (without the use of any leveling tools) the floor. Then they started laying the laminate and it looked great! However, I have noticed that there is one small spot (about 2 ft by 3 ft at the end of a short hallway that was obviously not leveled at all. I know this because I can feel a slant and a dip in the floor while walking on it, and if you watch someone walk on it the boards cave in a bit. It is obvious and can be easily seen with the naked eye. I still owe the flooring guy 30% of his bill. I am trying to decide what to do? I am sure this needs to be fixed but I am unsure that his workers have the skill to do it. Should I ask him to fix it? Withhold an appropriate amount of money and pay someone else to fix it? Do you even think its a real problem? By the way, thank you so much for your previous answer. It was a real help.

- SW Girl

A

Hello again and thanks for letting me know how things went!

I do have a question – at the end of the hallway, does it end at a wall or at a doorway? Just asking because if the end of the hallway is an entrance to another room, then they might have had to slope it a little so that the flooring levels where it meets would be the same.

If this isn’t the case, then I’d ask the owner about it and tell him of your concerns. Invite the owner over to visit and see for himself as well. And no, it shouldn’t visibly ‘cave’ when somebody walks on that spot.

It probably won’t do you any good to withhold payment of the balance, he can always take you to small claims court to recover the rest of it. Of course, you’d get to tell your side too. If you feel you are perfectly justified though………

Chances are though, if he cares about his reputation, he’s going to want to see it and want to make his customer (you!) happy. It shouldn’t take much time or money on the owner’s part being as how it’s such a small area.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hello. My husband and I have started our very first do-it-yourself project and want to tile our basement floor. We have torn up the old tile and have noticed small divits in the cement underneath. Will it be necessary to fill those in and, also, do we need to sand the floor to remove the glue remenents(our surface is pretty smooth for the most part)? Thank you!

- Denae

A

Yes, you’ll need to fill in the low spots and remove the glue remnants to avoid having your tile look like it has air bubbles underneath. The worst part of your job is getting your basement floor ready for the tile. Good luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hi! We just layed peal and stick vinyl tiles, and some of the tiles are floating apart leaving a little gap between tiles. What causes this and what can be done. Ive alined them several times and if someone walks on them they seperate. The glue hasnt cured yet and it been 4 days since we layed them.

- Karen

A

Karen, we are presented with multiple scenarios. Not knowing where the tile is laid, the adhesion process would be disrupted if the room has a high moisture content.

Now for another scenario. It could be the adhesive is not strong enough or even perhaps it is faulty. I would suggest you do 2 things if this is the case. One call the manufacturer and inquire what they can do for you as the tiles are slipping! Two if the product is what it is then use additional adhesive to stick them down. When reinstalling if you chose to use additional adhesive and have questions re-read this particular article for my instructions on using “glue”. I also recommend using Bostick's Best Glue has I’ve had great success with it in my own flooring projects.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Great article – very helpful. I’ve removed carpet from a basement bathroom that was glued on. I’ve scraped the concrete three times, using warm water, to get the old carpet and glue off. There still seems to be some glue “tracks.” Exactly how clean does it need to be before laying self-adhesive vinyl? (I’m getting really tired of scraping!)

- Ron

A

You mentioned glue tracks and I’m curious if they are stains in the concrete from the glue or residual glue. The stains won’t hinder adhesion although you do need to make sure the surface is free from any existing glue and debris. Without being there to see if the track is glue or a stain I would say use your best judgment.

- The Flooring Lady


Adhesive

Q

Can I use an extra adhesive to the peel and sitck graoutable vinyl floors to ensure that they don’t start to pop up?

- Dawn

A

Hi Dawn

To tell you the truth, I don’t know! You can call the manufacturer and ask them.

Feel free to drop back in and let us know what they said.


Q

I am the same person with the door in the middle of her bathroom. Can I lay the vinyl on the floor without any adhesive then roll back half of the floor, put the glue down then roll the vinyl back? I am worried that if I cover the entire floor with adhesive first I might not be able to situate the vinyl properly because of the darned door.

Also, any tips on floor preparation? I removed the old tiles becasue some were cracked and missing but now there is this sticky black stuff showing.

- Darragh

A

You can, but make sure that you don’t trap any air bubbles. It really is much easier to start from one end. The glue has to cure, so you’re going to have time to mess with the floor.

As far as the old black adhesive, heat and water does miracles to loosen it to where you can just scrape it off. Use a steamer or a damp rag and run an iron over it, sometimes just hot water does the trick. There are also adhesive removers that can be purchased, but most of the time you don’t need to.

Even though it’s a small area, you should rent a floor roller – it doesn’t cost much and going to help enormously with the end result.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

We opened the vinyll last night and the instructions that came with it did not mention any adhesive! It said to lay the vinyll and then attach the baseboards. The baseboards would keep the vinyll in place. What do you think?

- Darragh

A

I’m guessing that “lay” means to use adhesive unless there’s something new that I’m not aware of. What’s the name of the product and who makes it?

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hi, This weekend I layed new vynil on my old vynil in my kitchen and laundry. It’s been 48 hours and the adhesive has not cured yet. When you press into the floor it can still make a small indention. Is there anything that can be done? Or do I just need to keep waiting and hope it dries eventually?

- Jason

A

Nothing much can be done at this point except for waiting……… You used the recommended amount of adhesive I’m sure, right?

- The Flooring Lady

Q

Yes I did. I was wondering if you should actually use less when applying over the old vynil instead of a more porous surface like wood or concrete.

Is there a maximum time for waiting, or should I just wait as long as it takes? Thanks for your help.

- Jason

A

It would depend on what the manufacturer recommends. Is there a phone number to call on the can?

- The Flooring Lady


Q

A Lady that I am working for purchased Armstrong Commercial tile to be put down in bathroom. No directions on box. What adhesive should be used to fasten it down?

A

It will depend what the tile is going on. Cement, wood, what? You can visit Armstrong’s site, see what’s recommended or find their phone number at the site and call them.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

ery helpful post. I’m about to lay a vinyl tile floor over concrete. I’ve scraped, cleaned and dried the concrete and purchased an adhesive (in addition to the peel-n-stick on the back of the vinyl). My primary question is this: do I have to use both adhesives? The poured adhesive seems to require me to allow it to dry completely (overnight?) and then begin to place. Unfortunately that would mean I had to begin at the edge of the room and work toward the center rather than the correct manner of middle-outward. HELP, please! AND thanks so much for all this helpful information I’ve already read!

- Margaret

A

If your vinyl tiles have an adhesive back, then you do not have to use an additional adhesive. Just peel off the backing, put the tile in place and push firmly.


Prep & Fix

Q

Hi , I am thinking of laying vinyle roll flooring in my bathroom ,can you lay it straight onto tiles.?

- Mel

A

You can, but you need to make sure you evenly fill in the depressions where the grout is first – and in the tile if it is textured.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My bathroom has a door in the middle of the room separating the sink area from the toilet and shower. How do I lay sheet vinyl? Do I treat the area as two distinct spaces or do I attempt to lay one continous piece of vinyl? Any tips?

A

As much as a pain in the butt this will be, yes, attempt to lay one continuous piece of vinyl. Helps to make a template out of paper or posterboard to use as a guide (tape them together of course!). Makes the job a whole lot easier. You can also draw the area on a piece of paper, measure every little thing and write the measurments on the paper where they correspond with the picture you drew, then use that to cut the vinyl. It’s better to cut out not enough – that way you can trim the vinyl where needed for a better fit.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

You’ve likely heard this question before. I’ve begun installation of peel and stick vinyl tiles on my concrete basement floor. After installing perhaps 80 or 90 so far, 2 or 3 of them are exhibiting bubbles or bulges. The boxes of new tiles were left in the room for at least 48 hours prior to intalling.

Is there any simple fix? Is it possible to install a tile too tight? I’ve been trying to butt each tile against its neighbor with a straight edge. Is it possible to overdo this? Thanks in advance.

- Bill

A

It might be possible to get them too tight. It sounds more like you either have pockets of air or specks of dirt, or raised areas in the concrete itself. Apart from peeling those tiles back up and putting down new ones (and hopefully discovering what caused the bubbles) I really wouldn’t know of any other fix.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

hello! i want to ask if i need a smooth concrete surface before i put vinyl tiles. I am planning to put vinly tiles on our concrete wall but the wall is rough

- Ana

A

Hi Ana

This is a flooring site, but I’ll give you my best guess pertaining to walls. Keep in mind I don’t know what you consider ‘rough’ to be. Chances are though, that the adhesive you use for the tile will do well despite the roughness of your concrete wall. You really should confirm this with somebody who has experience with setting tile on concrete walls though.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have two layers of linoleum on our floor. We now want to install a Fiber floor. Can it go over these two layers or must they first be removed? Thanks for your help.

- Ruth

A

What kind of a fiber floor are you wanting to install? Basic rule of thumb: as long as your floor (with the 2 layers of lino) is level, then you can install over it. It’s still better to remove and start fresh.

 - The Flooring Lady


Brands and Types

Q

Is it true that patterns of an old floor, like linoleum, can come through into a new floor if laid over the top? I’m currently laying 1/8 inch TrafficMaster groutable vinyl tile from Home Depot in our kitchen, and this was brought to my attention.

- D Fischer

A

Occasionally, but this rarely happens. It can happen if there is a strong texture in the old floor. Usually, people just get some thin subfloor to lay on top, then add the new flooring. Another approach is to use something to even out the texture.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

What flooring is better over all Vinyl or Fibre?

- Tracey

A

It really is just a matter of personal preference and where you are planning on installing the flooring.

The main drawbacks of fiber flooring is that are absorbent and stain easily. The usually are not as soft as synthetic floors and they don’t typically do well if exposed to dampness.

So consider where you will be installing the flooring and what kind of traffic the area receives.

- The Flooring Lady

Brick Flooring Care, Maintenance & Installation

Brick can be a beautiful but tricky flooring choice. I've received so many questions concerning the maintenance, sealing and cleaning of brick floors so I thought it would be helpful to share those Q&A's with you!  I am confident that this article will be beneficial both for you and your lovely brick floor.

Cleaning

Q

Our house is 20 years plus old. The brick floor that is in the kitchen area is a bear!!! The             builder used true brick not brick tile. And they spaced the brick out a bit more than I would     have.

I cannot seem to keep it clean. I have done just about everything. I am now looking at                 sanding the brick just to try to get it clean. Any suggestions?

- Jo​

A

I don't have personal experience with brick flooring; brick pavers yes. Sealing brick pacers       helps keep them soil resistant. I don't know if you can effectively sand your bricks to clean        them or not, because I don't know what they are dirty with. If you have oily stains, they may     be permanent.

If you can live with the level of "dirty" you presently have, clean them as best you can and         them seal them with several coats of brick sealant.​

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We’ve lived in our home for 11 years. The brick floors are in all the living areas of our home. The bricks — by appearance and discussion with previous owner — are full-size bricks installed when the house was built. Do they need to be treated differently than brick tile?

About 6 weeks ago, a number of white splotches appeared suddenly on the brick in the kitchen after mopping. What might cause this? How can I restore their appearance. Your help is appreciated!

- Debbie

A

I don’t have experience with regular bricks used as flooring so can’t really address how it should be treated in comparison to brick tile/brick pavers. I’m going to guess though that the finish of a regular brick isn’t as smooth as a paver and probably not as impervious to water and spills.

I’m wondering if the white splotches are efflorescence, or mineral deposits from leaching out of the brick; usually that’s associate with water issues. You can try to clean it with phosphoric acid, but be sure to clean it with a mild detergent after and then rinse with water.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I live in an adobe home that was built in the 1980’s, it has brick floors. I believe they are pavers, about 2″ thick. I have no idea what they were sealed with, or if they were ever sealed. I’ve noticed they’re looking dingy, and no matter how much I vacuum and mop I still come away with dirt and grime. I’m interested in really deep cleaning them…and getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing sounds really unappealing. Is there a way to steam clean them? Or would a Rug Doctor work, if I left out the chemicals? Any ideas? Thanks!

Thanks!

- Kay

A

Well, if the pavers were indeed sealed at one time, they aren’t any more. You could try StainSolver, which is a product like OxyClean, but better.

AquaMix has a good line of products as well, the clickable link will take you to their page of products that are formulated for bricks. There are other brands too, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something once you read the product information and figure out just what you need. ;~)

By the way, I’m going on the assumption that you have pavers made of brick, not clay.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My husband and I are in the process of installing a brick floor in our kitchen. I would not recommend it to anyone! The process is tedious and labor-intensive. After grouting, we clean every brick by hand with a wet sponge. It takes several swipes to get the grout off the brick. Is there an easier way???

- Jennifer

A

Sorry, there isn’t an easier way. It’s work – plain and simple. Not difficult, just tedious. Did you seal the brick before you laid it? It makes it easier to clean up the grout that gets on the brick.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have been using Quick Shine on brick floors for a long time to give them a beautiful shine. My problem is that the last time I used the Quick Shine, I got distracted after squirking a long stream on the brick floor. When I mopped the floor, I was left with discoloration on the brick where the Quick Shine was squirked. I tried using hot water, didn’t work. I tried using more Quick Shine, didn’t work. When the floor dried, I am left with lines of spots that look like the brick was bleached. Help!!!

Is there anything I can do to get these wax spots up? If these are spots!!! If the Quick Shine did “bleach” the bricks, what can I do?

- Marilyn

A

I’ve never used their products, so I can’t tell you what to do, they don’t even post MSDS sheets on their website to see what their products are made of and if there’s anything to be cautious of (as far as chemicals are concerned). Their website is hollowayhouse.net.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My brick floors previously had a water base polyurethane finish but were flooded during Katrina. Since then I have stripped them and sealed them with a high gloss sealer. I then put a product on top which was supposed to give a higher glaze but it has problems. It lets the dirt get into it so that it can only be cleaned by stripping again. I want to use polyurethane again but was told not to use it on brick floors

Can you advise me? I was happy with my previous polyurethane but it gave off an extreme but that was while the house was under construction and I don’t think we could live in it while it cured. It was used for industrial purposes. Can you suggest something by brand name?

- Nick

A

Hi Nick,

Sure can…….. check out AquaMix products – the link takes you to their page of products that are formulated just for brick.

Good Luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have brick floors in my kitchen and I can’t get them cleaned. I have dogs, kids, they are so dirty looking. We have them professionally cleaned and sealed in June of 07, but they are so hard to clean. They are very rough and tear up any mop I try to use! Any advice??

- Kim

A

What do you use to clean your floors and maintain them? Do you think that it needs to be re- sealed? Does water still bead in the high-traffic areas? If it’s still sealed properly it should. A microfiber mop might work better for cleaning than a sponge mop. I only use a weak vinegar & water solution for cleaning floors (1 part vinegar to 15 parts water or more). The biggest thing is to keep the rinse water as clean as possible so that you’re not just depositing dirt back onto your floor.

I’m hoping that the person you hired to clean and seal your floor did a really good job so that this wouldn’t have to be done again for a few years. I’m guessing that this isn’t the case though and he wants yearly repeat business. Next time you might want to consider doing it yourself, even though it’s a big job. At least you’ll be able to control how much product is used (in other words, more coats of sealer so it lasts longer!). You might want to look at AquaMix to familiarize yourself with the different types of products available on the market for taking care of brick floors.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

READ TIL THE END! I’ve notice a lot of people saying that brick floors are hard to keep clean. I have a brick floored sun room, & two dogs who love being in there because they can see everything going on outside. I use a bleach water mixture when it starts to look dirty, & a vinegar water mixture to minimize odor. i use a bushbroom to scrub the bricks & a wet/dry shop vac to suck up the dirty water. It seems like a lot of trouble, but it’s the most effective way I’ve found to clean it.

- Ashley

A

Good for you Ashley! Is your brick flooring sealed? If not, does the bleach seem to fade the brick over time? Just curious.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Looking for dog friendly options…. does urine permeate through brick?

- Mary

A

If the brick is untreated, dog urine will soak into the brick. Even if it’s treated, the acidity of the urine may ruin the finish. No matter what kind of flooring you have it’s a good idea to have a few coats of sealer and clean up doggie messes as soon as possible.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Just moved into an older home where brick flooring was installed in kitchen and den. To achieve the look they wanted, they painted over the brick and the mortar. I don’t think the mortar was sealed because there are places on the mortar where is is chipped, exposing the bare mortar underneath which is now black with dirt. The floor desparately needs to be cleaned, but don’t know how – should it be steamed cleaned, or would that cause problem with the painted mortar?

- Susan

A

Wow. It’s hard to say – you’d almost have to test a little of the area. Really, what I would recommend is a product such as StainSolver or Enviro-One. I’ve used both of them for dirty concrete and they both work great. You might have to literally get down on your hands and knees with a scrub brush to clean it, but at least I know you won’t damage it. Good luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We are just laying our brick tiles and during construction they are now dingy, dusty, and blah looking. We haven’t sealed them yet and the grout isn’t down. How in the world do we get them clean? Do we just need to wait until the grout is down to do anything?

- Kristi

A

Why are they dirty if you’re just now laying them? What kind of dirt do you think is in them? Are they being laid inside the house or outside? You should get them clean first (see the link in the post above yours) or you might even want to consider something from the AquaMix product line if you need something stronger. Be sure to seal your brick before grouting or you’re really going to have a tough time getting any excess grout and haze off of your brick before the final step of sealing after you grout.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have just laid the brick and have started to grout. We did preseal with a penetrating sealer to help with final cleanup. But I am using a grout bag to help get in the cracks without smearing the grout all over every inch of the bricks. I started to use my finger to smooth the the grout in, and it looks really good. But my finger is taking a beating! Is there a tool made for this job? Any suggestions?

- Kathleen

A

Hi Kathleen

I know this is going to sound weird, but I’ve done this before using one of those little souvenir spoons. If you have a truck stop near you, they should have them.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a tool made for this job, but I’ve never found the need to search and buy one.

- The Flooring Lady


Maintenance

Q

I am thinking about purchasing a house that has brick flooring. But the brick floor has two       problems. One is that it seems to be sunken inward in a few areas. Generally the surface is       not very even, but in two different rooms there are areas where it curves inward, these               areas are perhaps 4’x2.5′ or so. The agent says it is because the brick was built on a sand           foundation and it does not represent structural issues for the house. Of course we would           have it inspected, but even if it is not a structural issue we wonder what could be done               about this and how expensive it would be to fix. Or would we just obscure it with furniture       somehow. Is this a dealbreaker?

Secondly, in some places the brick has a nice glossy sheen, but in other places it looks as if       covered by a dull grey dust. I read online that this could be cleaned and it may be                         “efflorescence,” but we wonder how much of an issue this would be.

Thanks so much in advance. Otherwise we really like the home, but the sunken floor seems     like a big issue. Your help is appreciated!

- Doug

A

I’d be surprised if the bricks were directly on the sand if this is in the house. My guess is the     floor joists and subfloor aren’t beefy enough for the brick flooring. Do get an inspection             (they are a good idea for all sorts of reasons).

If my guess is correct you can fix it by adding braces and another layer of subfloor, or                 replacing the one that’s there. That takes time and money to do that, but an inspection will       tell you if you need to do it for structural reasons.

If you don’t have to do it for structural reasons then it’s your decision as to whether to               disguise it, repair it or move on.

I’d like to hear what you learn from your inspection and what you decide to do.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

Thank you for the input!

We’ll look at the house once more this week and if we still like it we’ll go ahead with the             inspection. I’ll report back.

Would one solution be to cover the brick with a wood floor? Is there a way to make the               wood flooring level atop the brick without damaging the original brick (in case someone           wanted to revert to it later)? Would it be a travesty to cover a unique brick floor with wood       (I know this is subjective)? It’s a little dark in the area with the brick so it might really                 brighten up the place to use a light colored wood and that might be less expensive than             redoing the brick.

Thanks again!

- Doug

A

You could cover the brick, but that will only add to the weight that may already be too much     for the subfloor, and it will add height to the floor which could cause problems with doors,       cabinets and stubbed toes

The wood will also eventually bow until it’s touching the bricks, so you have that sagging           problem again. And if the added weight is a problem, it could get worse faster. Yes a lighter       wood will brighten the area, but at what expense?

If that area happens to be a single-story the addition of sun tubes in the room will brighten       it nicely. But first, find out why the floor is sagging

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Good morning ! I have a brick floor, and it really needs to be stripped and released. I an having a VERY hard time finding someone who can do this for me. Can you point me in the right direction? We live in Michigan...near Lansing. Thank You!

- Jennifer

A

I wish I knew someone in that area who could help you. But I don't. Maybe your plea for help will be seen by someone in the area, or someone moving to the area.

I'm going to run down the list of places you can look, just to make sure you've turned over every brick (play on words intended). Flooring stores that sell brick, floor installers who install bricks, floor refinishers builders who say they install brick flooring. Commercial buildings that have stone/brick floors might have a maintenance crew or contractor who can moonlight on your floor project.

I wouldn't do it either, but as a last effort you could do it yourself with time and elbow grease. I'll hope you can find someone to help

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have a brick floor that in places the grout has a chalky appearance. The floor had a clear coat put down when it was new, is there a product to strip the brick then a product to apply that will stain the brick and grout to match?

- Merle

A

Hi Merle,

Go to aquamix.com and look over the products they have. The site does a really good job on letting the consumer know what to use when/where/why.

I doubt you’ll find one product to stain the brick and grout the same color. Stain is transparent and since the beginning color of your brick and grout are different, so will the results be different too. What color is the grout now? Many people opt for a charcoal grey or black finish on the grout. Hopefully the chalky appearance on the grout isn’t efflorescence – if it is you’ll need to address that issue as well. There’s not any chance of moisture coming thru from beneath the grout/brick is there?

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hi, my name is amanda and we had someone come in and install brick flooring in how kitchen. however, they never finished. they came in and layed the brick then covered the brick with sand so as to keep the brick in place. after which, they never came back to finish. Now we are stuck with brick flooring that is incomplete and we don’t know what to do from here. what do I need to do to complete this brick flooring?

- Amanda

A

Just out of curiosity, why didn’t the installers finish the job? I hope they weren’t paid in full. Anyhoo, you’re going to need to seal the brick, then grout the brick, clean off the excess grout, then seal the whole floor. Pay a visit to aquamix.com to look over their products for brick flooring. The site does an excellent job of describing what each product does, why that product is used, etc. The biggest thing will be to make sure you get all of the grout residue off before you seal the whole floor or else you’ll have a horrible smudgy looking result and have to strip and reseal. Make sure that between each step you allow enough time to dry completely. Whatever products you use, just make sure that it is formulated for use on brick flooring.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have a brick floor in my kitchen and the shine has been lost. What is the best process/product to use to wax/polish the brick?

- Richard

A

Bringing back the shine to your brick could be dependent on different things. Is it still sealed at all – especially in the dullest places? Easiest way to tell is if water will still bead on it. If not, you need to re-seal. You can seal on top of what’s already been used – IF you know what kind of product has been used (water base sealer or not). If you’re not sure, you can try a small amount of the sealer of your choice (see www.aquamix.com for good products). You might also want to just go ahead and strip your floor and start from scratch with sealing/finishing. Again, the website I mentioned has very good quality products and the website does a great job of listing their different products for brick, why/when they should be used, etc.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have brick pavers that had a rug on top on them. Under the rug was a non slip rug pad that is now stuck to the brick floors. Any suggestions on how to get this pad off of the floor?

- Colleen

A

I’d suggest hot water and a scraper and/or scrub brush first. This may not get it all. I know I’ve heard of people using such things as nail polish remover (ugh!) to remove it – it can work, but will also strip any finish. I’m guessing you’ll at least need to strip the area and refinish that area – hopefully you won’t need to do this to the whole floor. Oh – and don’t use area rugs that have a rubber backing.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I bought a house years ago and now in the process of pulling up the carpet in it. I have beautiful hardwoods in most rooms. In the kitchen and den I have “broken brick looking” floors. I like it but I’m wondering what to call this type of flooring and how to maintain it. Any help would be good. Thank you.

- Velma

A

Can you give me a little bit of a description as to what your “broken brick looking” flooring looks like? Do you mean that it looks like old bricks that have experienced a lot of life with chips and such ‘missing’ from them? Any idea if it’s actually made of brick? If so, it’s still considered brick flooring. Is the flooring sealed? If not, it should be. As far as cleaning goes, once it’s sealed you should only need to use a vinegar/water solution(1 part vinegar to 15 parts water or more) and use a microfiber mop. I always have a second one on hand that is clean & dry to kind of buff the floor with to get it really dry and avoid any streaking or smudging that can happen. A clean, dry microfiber cloth will do just as well too.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

Thanks for your response. The best description that I can give is that the floor has a mosaic type pattern. The surface is almost flat and appears like one placed pieces down to create a pattern of various shapes and sizes but the material is from brick material. There is between the pieces. This house was built in 1963 and the den and kitchen has this flooring. Carpet was placed on top of this in the den and vinyl tile was placed on top of it in the kitchen. I don’t know how to tell if the floor is sealed but once I removed the carpet and swept away the dust and debrie, I damp mopped the floor just to pick up any remaining dust. In some spots, there appears to be a slight shine.

- Velma

A

Ok, that helps some. What you really want to know (I think!) is for starters, is it sealed? It sounds like much of the sealer is going to be gone, since there are only ‘some’ areas that have a slight shine. What I would do is strip the floor so you can re-seal it and start out fresh. Since the floor is composed of brick, I would still refer to it as a brick floor. It sounds really interesting and unique – lucky you!

Be sure to use products that are made specifically for brick flooring. You can find a good range of quality products at aquamix.com – they’re site does a very good job of giving the consumer which products to use as well as when and why. They also have a very helpful staff to answer questions. I’m not saying that you have to use their products, or even that you should – there are others out there. Aquamix does the best job (in my opinion) of educating a consumer and also has MSDS sheets so you can see what is in the products. They also re- brand their products for some of the big-box retailers, but I don’t remember what the re- brand is called. They can help you with that too.

I know for sure you’ll need a stripper and a sealer. There are also deep cleaning products if you need them. You’ll have to figure out if you want a glossy, satin or flat finish. ;o)

- The Flooring Lady

Q

Thank you. I wanted to let you know that today I went to Home Depot and described my flooring to a gentleman there. He told me that what the builder did was pour mortar on top of my concrete slab and place those brick pieces throughout to make it smooth. He believes that the flooring is actually tiles that some flooring places sell in broken pieces for people who want this effect. He too also said that I should strip the floor and seal it. He suggested a matte type finish if I didn’t want a hi-gloss (which I don’t). At the end, he told me that this type of flooring was called cracked mosaic terrazzo. Anyway, I like it and will take some pictures today. Thank you for everything!

- Velma

A

Cool – and thanks for the info! ;~)

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We’re purchasing a 1986-built reproduction Williamsburg colonial home with brick floors in the kitchen, breakfast area, laundry room and mud room. The floor is beautiful, clean, etc. but very uneven. Is there any way to smooth it down so it looks and, most importantly, feels like it’s been walked on for two hundred years.

- Kathy

A

Most regular bricks (at least now) have a “face” on them. Just trying to sand them down or something similar to make them even may not produce results you would like.

You may be able to remove the bricks that are unlevel, and reset them to make them even.

Another idea would be to contact a brick mason in your area and ask their suggestion.

- The Flooring Lady


Sealing

Q

I have a 45+ year old brick floor. It has some type of solid sealer/varinsh on it, will acetone       be the right thing to get it back to its original state? Then what I use to seal it?

- TJ

A

I’d be careful using acetone on your brick floor. One, it’s harmful to you, and anyone else —     including pets — in the house. It could also damage the brick. Instead, find a specially               formulated brick stripping compound and follow the directions carefully.

There are a variety of specially formulated sealants for brick floors. You can choose between     a film-forming sealant and a penetrating sealant. There are differing opinions about which       is better, but the film-forming will be a better protection from stains.

You want to use either a water-based polyurethane that won’t yellow, or an acrylic product.       Be aware these products can darken the brick color and even add a sheen that’s not there           before hand. This type of sealant is harder to maintain in the long-run though, because it           has to be either removed or abraded before a new coat is applied.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My daughter has a large house with @ 3,000 sq. ft. of brick flooring. She would like to clean and refinish the surface but we don’t know the right process or products to use. Can you help us???

- Paul

A

There are a variety of specially formulated sealants for brick floors. You can choose between a film-forming sealant and a penetrating sealant. There are differing opinions about which is better, but the film-forming will be a better protection from stains.

You want to use either a water-based polyurethane that won’t yellow, or an acrylic product. Be aware these products can darken the brick color and even add a sheen that’s not there before hand. This type of sealant is harder to maintain in the long-run though, because it has to be either removed or abraded before a new coat is applied.

You’re best bet would be to check your local hardware/building supply store and start checking out your options for stripping, resealing and possibly a good polish. Pay attention to the VOC ratings, as your daughter sure doesn’t need something that’s going to be off- gassing for a long period and endangering her health. There are some good low/no VOC products out there.

Just be sure that the products you buy are specifically formulated for brick flooring, follow the manufacturer’s directions and don’t be afraid to call them or visit their website for more in-depth information and answers to questions you might have.

Remember too, that chances are she’ll be looking at applying a few coats of sealer and most likely at least a couple good coats of polish. Sanding the brick may also be in her future after stripping, some people do this if the sealer was worn away in areas and there’s dirt that’s very difficult to remove……. of course, I don’t know what condition your daughter’s floors are in.

Best of luck, and if you or your daughter have any more questions please feel free to drop back in!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have a brick archway in the kitchen that has been painted numerous times. We have stripped off most of the paint and now we need to seal it. I have seen you recommend sealing, but I can’t find what you recommend to seal with. Help!

- Connie

A

There are products that are made specifically for sealing brick – you’d probably be able to find something at your local Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. AquaMix has a good line of products, I don’t know if they’re available where you are though.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We are building a new house and had old brick floors installed in several of the rooms downstairs. Our problem is that the floors were sealed (with a breathable finish) before they were dry after cleaning. As a result they are milky and are becoming much rougher. I do not know how I will mop the floors they are so rough. I have old brick floors in our current home and they are smooth. Is there a sanding process that will help? At this point, what can I do?

- Anne

A

Hi Anne,

You’ve certainly got a dilemma, I hope your bricks can be saved. It’s going to take some work though. Brick is porous and sealing them before they were completely dry was a big mistake. You’re going to have to try to deep-strip the sealer.

You’ll need products like AquaMix SEALER & COATING REMOVER, which is a non- flammable, multi-purpose stripper formulated to stay wet longer which gives the product time to remove most sealers, epoxy grout haze, urethane coatings, synthetic finishes, adhesives, and paints. Also dissolves deep-set stains and removes heavy grease buildup. (Yes, I copied/pasted from their website! ).

You might also need something like their Eff-Ex if the stripper doesn’t remove all of the efflorescence (that’s why it’s so rough).

If you can’t find these products in your area, I think you can order from their website, or at least find something similar locally. Their link for the MSDS sheets is located at the bottom of their page.

Best of luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We bought a 1953 ranch home that has brick floors. Apparently it wasn’t laid over a backer board and some of the mortar has come out. We want to patch the mortar but don’t know what modern product to use to match the dark gray color of the old mortar. Can you help?

- Kim

A

It shouldn’t matter what kind of grout you use, but might need to buy it in a couple colors so that you can custom mix the color. I find that sand grouts are easier to use for this.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am looking for a sealer for indoor bricks set in sand that will lock in the sand and have a mat finish.

- Barbara

A

Hi Barbara,

I haven’t run into this situation before, so I’m not sure. I would suggest getting a hold of the good folks at AquaMix — they have a toll free number posted on their website and see if their sealers would work for this sort of an application. I’ll bet you’re going to be advised to use grout by either removing the sand first (shop-vac), or over the sand. Their are grouts that will give a sandy appearance, by the way.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I tried AquaMix on my brick floors, it didn’t seal well. At least not to my stanadards. Then I put Euclid a concrete sealer down and my great dane just wore it off. Then I applied a polyurethane oil based sealer over it. It blistered in places and now my brick floors looks like it has leprosy.

Any suggestions?

- Donna

A

Hi Donna,

It sounds like your initial problem was most likely not using enough coats of the AquaMix. Brick is very porous and sometimes takes 4 or 5 coats to seal well. Chances are, both the AquaMix & Eu clid were water based sealers and when you put on an oil-based poly that got you into trouble. You cant use water & oil based products together – they don’t react with each other well. Your only hope at this point is to strip the floor and start over.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have brick flooring in my foyer, kitchen and bathrooms. I don’t think they were sealed very well, now my puppy has picked at a piece and I now have a hole about the size of a nickel, how can this be repaired without damaging the floor further? and does a floor steamer work well on brick for sanitizing with dogs in the house?

- Denise

A

I don’t think that a steamer on the “raw” bricks/stone is going to be a very good idea.

I use a vinegar/water mixture to clean my floors, roughly about 1 part vinegar to 15 parts water, but I think a 1:10 ratio would be better for the sanitizing issue. Enviro-One or something along that line would be good too.

Fixing the ‘spot’ is another issue. Maybe some red sanded caulk would be good. I don’t know how well that would seal though.

Maybe disguising it with red color/paint/stain before sealing it is the way to go. If it’s in a corner or at the edge of the room it could be disguised, but life being what it is, the hole is probably right in the middle of the room and neither furniture nor rug will be able to hide it. I do hope that’s not the case. Hopefully some of these ideas have helped.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We want to put in a brick floor, but my husband doesn’t want to put grout in between the bricks, is this ok to do? Also what is the best product to use to make the bricks stick to the floor.

Thank You

- Andrea

A

You really should use something in between the bricks, otherwise you’ll have all your dirt getting in between them as the bricks won’t fit together tightly enough to prevent that problem. As to your question of what to use to make the bricks stick to the floor, I have my own question: What kind of floor are you putting this on? Is it a concrete pad? If not, you need to be sure that your floor joists can support the extra weight. What is on the floor now? Are you going to remove the old flooring? You’d most likely want to use a medium-set mortar, but maybe not. I could really use some more info. Also – are they full size bricks or something that’s only a couple inches thick or less.

-  The Flooring Lady


Q

I have a brick floor in my sun room. It was a concrete porch and the brick were put over this. The bricks were sealed, and now they are getting the white stuff and also damp areas are appearing when an item is put on the floor. I don't think plastic was put under my porch, is there any way we can seal brick now? I want to keep the floor.

- Bev

A

Hi Bev,

I don’t think sealer is going to help much at this point if the moisture is coming from underneath. In order to fix the problem once and for all, you’d literally have to remove the brick and put plastic or vapor barrier paint or glue down then put the brick back down. I know, not what you wanted me to say, but I think you already knew the answer. :~(

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I just bought a home that has a brick floor in the family room. This is real brick, not the thin indoor type, but the same brick that is on our outdoor patio. The previous owners have put some layers of wax on it, only in the areas where they did not have furniture. I’m not sure what kind of wax they used, but I would like to completely strip it and re-seal and wax the whole thing. I have 3 cats and would like to protect it from any pet stains/ odors.

Any suggestions as to how I can strip off the old wax and what particular products/brands would be good to re-seal and wax it?

- Linda

A

Without knowing what is on the brick, it is really hard to say what to use to remove it. I would start by testing a small area, and see if vinegar and removes it, and if not, move up to a mild cleaner, then ammonia. You could also try asking a brick mason in your area to offer suggestions on both these questions. I would consider using the water-based Diamond Coat Varathane Polyuerthane when recovering the floor.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We are considering a brick floor for our cabin. It will be footed slab with in floor radiant heat. Is it possible to steam clean recycled old chicago brick floor with a terra cotta sealant?

- Jennifer

A

I’m not following you completely, could you clarify a couple things for me? “Is it possible to steam clean recycled old Chicago brick floor with a terra cotta sealant?” Do you mean steam cleaning it before or after it’s been laid? Is the sealant already on it or is this something you want to do? I presume the terra cotta sealant is a sealant made for terra cotta products and not a sealant color, right?

- The Flooring Lady

Q

The website that sells the bricks recommends a terra cotta sealant once the floor has been laid. It is my understanding that no color is involved in the sealant. Since our cabin floor is going to take alot of abuse from kids and dogs, (it will also be in the kitchen), I’m just wondering if cleaning this floor is going to be an issue for me. Only sweeping it may not handle the grease from a kitchen or the wet spots from soggy dogs. Should I be looking in the direction of slate flooring instead of brick? We have not started construction yet, but I’ve been living in this cabin in my mind and wondering if brick flooring with all it’s charm, is not practical. I’m just trying to figure out how to clean it.

- Jennifer

A

That’s so much more helpful! So long as the sealant is a penetrating sealant, you should be ok - just don't be stingy with it. As far as cleaning, the main issue I would think would be that you will have an uneven surface even after sealing and dirt can be more difficult to remove on uneven surfaces than flat, even surfaces. Cleaners are going to depend on the recommendations of the manufacturer that makes the sealant, so it’d be best to check with them once you find out for sure what you’re going to seal it with. Make sure to find out too if the sealer will repel water and grease.

I love the idea of using old recycled brick because it’s the “green” thing to do, but also wonder if you’ve considered brick pavers since they’re not as soft as old bricks can be.

One last thought, don’t know if it will make a difference to you or not. ;~) Brick floors can be a tad uncomfortable on the feet, especially when standing for quite a while. If you should decide to use any throw rugs, be careful of the kind that have non-skid backing. Many times the backing will stick to the floor and you’ll have a devil of a time getting it back off again.

Oh, one more last thought….really! Be sure to keep your dog’s nails trimmed – I hear from lots of people about dog’s toenails scratching the finish on their floors – more associated with wood, slate & Saltillo, but the same would go for those old bricks.

Good luck and I’m sure you’ll love your floor – just be prepared & aware of what the “cons” are and they won’t be so bothersome!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My wife and I are considering brick paver flooring in our living room; we long for a natural, old-fashioned look. If our cat should have an “accident,” how easily, and by what method, could it be cleaned? Will urine penetrate the brick causing a permanent smell? Which sealant preparations, if any, can be done to assure that it will not be a a constant source of anxiety for us?

- Brad

A

It’s going to depend on the paver manufacturer’s recommendations. Once you figure out which paver you want to use then you can give the manufacturer a call. Cat urine will probably have to be cleaned up quickly though – you know what it can do. When you seal the pavers, don’t skimp on the sealants and any other finishes you might use. You didn’t mention what kind of a base is in your living room, whether it’s on a slab (concrete) or has floor joists. Make sure that the floor joists are strong enough, and if they’re not, you’ll need to beef them up to make them sturdier.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I’m thinking of installing a brick floor. My thought was to first seal the brick before laying them. I want to layer the brick dry in another area butting all the brick together so as not to allow the sealant to go to the sides or the bottom of the brick, then apply sealant with a garden sprayer. I figure this way when grouting, if some mortar got on the edge of the brick, it wouldn’t adhere because of the sealant. After completion, I’d apply another coat to seal the grout. Does this make sense?

- Ciro

A

Makes sense I guess, but sounds messy since you’ll have to deal with overspray getting on other surfaces. Most people usually just use a paint brush.

- The Flooring Lady


Referals

Q

We will be building our house soon and looking into brick floor in the kitchen area. Can you     tell me if there would be a specific kind to use for indoors and if anyone can direct me to           who sells it.

- Meme

A

Brick pavers are typically the type of brick used inside. Your yellow pages, if you are in a           metro area, will list the people who sell them. Your builder should also have leads on                 suppliers.

Make sure the subfloor is a 3/4" plywood/OSB and the joists are sturdy to support the               weight.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hello I was curious if you had any advice on where to by brick pavers at. Thanks.

- Lee

A

Hi Lee,

I don’t know where you are, so I really don’t have any ‘real’ suggestions. Home Depot, Lowe’s, True Value, other building supply stores can be a start. You can also look around on the internet (do a Google search) and type in your state and possibly nearest city in with the search. You’ll run into paver manufacturer’s sites too and can usually find out if they have dealers in your area. Good luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

My wife and I are looking for a used brick looking vinyl or laminate type floor for our kitchen. We have a “country farm house” style home.

Something like Earthscapes or naturcor or any high quality vinyl or laminate flooring that looks like used brick. Any suggestions?

- Mark

A

Hi Mark, I would suggest contacting one of your local home improvement or flooring stores and taking a look at the vinyl that they offer.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am changing my floors and have always wanted to have brick floors installed. Brick is timeless. I love the look. However, now that I need find the brick – I am overwhemed. I never realized all the choices of brick. I love the black bricks, burgandy and white – typic bricks, but I am afraid it will be too busy looking on my floor. Any suggestions?

- LK

A

I always think of brick as the terra cotta color, but that’s of course my limited image of them. I think the size of your space will make some difference as to how busy you can make it look with the changing colors. If your space is big enough you could create a wonderful old-world feel with the various colored bricks inter-mixed.

The pattern you select will make a difference too. Maybe you need to select your installation pattern first, and then lay the bricks out in that pattern to see how you like them.

Don’t forget to make sure the floor structure is sturdy enough for the brick. You’d hate to go to the trouble and expense only to have it crack because of floor movement.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have always wanted a brick floor, even if it is a vinyl flooring in my kitchen and dining area. However, I cannot find any such vinyl flooring that looks like old fashioned brick floors. We purchased our house over 30 years ago. At that time, we were able to find such a vinyl. However, we refinished the area where we had the vinyl and now have wide pine floors. I have MS and need to have a floor that will be easy for me to keep clean.

If anyone knows of a manufacturer of a brick vinyl flooring, please let me know…even if it is a commercial flooring. Thanks so much.

- Betty

A

I found a few sites that may have solutions for you.

1. Tarkett Commercials may have a brick floor pattern, though I couldn’t find a picture of it. It’s one of their Azrock vinyl products. [consider the environmental impacts of buying and using vinyl flooring before making this choice] 2. Nafco seems to have a brick patterned vinyl.

There may be more, but my favored Forbo and Armstrong didn’t have an obvious brick vinyl or linoleum flooring product.

Good Luck

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Have you heard of a brick flooring product called portstone? You might want to check out their website. 1/4″ thick, made in sheets, beautiful colors, easy to install.

- Dennis

A

Hi Dennis – I’m over at their website now, or should I say still?? I like it!

- The Flooring Lady


Restorations and Renovations 

Q

I have brick pavers in my kitchen which have been sealed and waxed for over 25 years. A wet rug has now left a few of them whitish. What can I use to bring back the original brick color?

- Charles

A

How long ago did this happen? If it was just in the last couple days, I’d give it a while (about     a week) to see if the white marks fade away as the 25 years of wax dries out thoroughly. If it     doesn’t go away, I’d try buffing it with a white pad. If that still doesn’t work, I’d be afraid           that the floor will need stripped, I don’t think that you could just do the damaged area as           spot-work stripping & refinishing considering it’s been there for 25 years. You could try it,         but don’t be surprised if you’re not pleased with the results. If you’re planning on putting an     area rug in the same location, then spot-fixing it just might work.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Good Day!

We are buying a 1962 home…the front door entry way and kitchen has brick flooring.                 However, the brick colors are very different. The entry way brick is pretty dark and                     somewhat distressed while the kitchen brick is quite tan. We do not care for the kitchen             brick color….is there any product that will darken the brick to match the beautiful entry way.

Thanks so much in advance!

- Rich

A

Take a look at the AquaMix products for brick. They do have some color enriching sealers         that will darken brick, though I don’t know how close it will be to the color in the entry way.     I’ve heard of some people actually staining tiles & bricks with materials such as wood stain,       craft stains, even transmission fluid. It’s possible you might have to strip your floor too,             though that might remove some of that old patina in your entrance way. You might want to       play with some different products if you have a spot that’s rather unobtrusive – is there a           kitchen closet with the brick or even under your sink? Might be worth a shot.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am fixing up my newly purchased home and it has an older brick floor in 1/2 of the house. The floors appear to have a whitish “patina’d” look to them from calcifications in the water (I assume) and it doesn’t come off. I don’t have a lot of time and money to fix them, I was wondering if I could just paint over the floors with a heavy oil based paint? I think that might dress them up quite a bit. Is that a good idea? Thanks!

- Terri

A

If you paint the floors then you’ll have a heckuva time stripping the paint if you should ever decide to do so. Personally, I would clean and seal the brick.

The calcification are actually within the brick, not the water, but is caused from water and is called efflorescence. AquaMix has a good line of products for brick flooring, including products for removing efflorescence and products for deep cleaning (if you so choose) and sealing. There are similar products from other companies as well.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Hi I have old floor brick in my kitchen which were attempting to make good by removing dark concrete in between & liming in between the bricks instead, which looks so much better, however whilst using the lime it covers the bricks with a film of white lime which is so hard to get off even after several washes, what would you suggest to remove the lime film? (the bricks have been sealed with linseed oil initially),also what would be best to seal after? we have been advised either traffic wax or bourne seal? the traffic wax seams hard work as apparently it needs constant rewaxing.

- Emma

A

Hi Emma,

I would recommend products from aquamix.com. Their products are wonderfully user friendly and they have products made specifically for brick flooring. They have a product too, that will help to clean off the excess grout as well. Good luck!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

The home we have just purchased has brick floors in the dinning room as well as the kitchen,from what im told this area used to be the outside inclosed porch and was ade into the rooms we now have.My question is how I should go about putting a new floor in.The brick floor is very uneven and looks bad,I would like to have a tile floor but I have no idea what to do to make the floor even.Please Help

- Victoria

A

The brick would have been laid on top of concrete, and you could remove the brick and start fresh with the concrete as your base.

Is the brick level? If so, you could lay 2×4’s on 16″ centers and then lay 3/4″ plywood on top of that and then lay the flooring of your choice.

If the brick is not level, then we’re talking a whole other ballgame. I would suggest consulting a contractor in that case.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have nice smooth brick tile through the kitchen, family room, bathrooms, halls and as a walkway around a rugstyle carpet in the formal living room. It is this formal living room which I have a question. If we pull up the carpet could a rustic style wood floor be put in place of the carpet with the brick walkway around the wood floor? Have you ever seen this done? It is a very outsidish type room looking out onto the patio and pool.

- Nancy

A

Hi Nancy,

I think a wood floor would be a nice complement to the brick tile.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I have a garage that does not have a finished floor. I was wondering if there are any drawbacks to putting in a brick floor instead of a concrete one. I feel that I would be able to tackle this a little easier as a one man job.

Any thoughts?

- S Woolery

A

The only concern that some have is the cracks and crevices which can be hard to clean. Most solve this with an acrylic coating as it doesn’t yellow. I would consult with several professionals as to the benefits or concerns a brick floor may pose.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

Was brick used as interior floor in houses built in the late 17th century? If not brick, what         else would be in a hallway, besides wood?

- Cynthia

A

Hi Cynthia

Yes, brick was used, as well as slate, flagstone, porcelain (for the rich people!), ceramic               tiles……….

To get a better idea, take a peek at old buildings in Europe – I’ll bet you can do a google             search and find some.

What kind of a look are you going for? Something old English cottage style?

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am remodeling my home and am very interested in using brick pavers for a large area of flooring. I need something durable and love the homey feel of brick flooring. I’ve seen a gorgeous combination of brick pavers installed within a grid pattern of hand scraped wood planks. Do you have any information or ideas on such a combination?

- C Rice

A

I have seen similar installations and think they are great. One design was ceramic tiles with a patterned tile thrown in for variety, all held together and apart by the grid of wood planks. The rougher look of hand-scraped wood planks sounds perfect with the rougher look of brick pavers.

Things to pay attention to include the brick pattern to make sure it fits with the plank grid, the thickness of the the pavers and the planks so you don’t have height variations in the floor, and protecting all the elements of the floor (sealing the different products with their better sealants and at what stage).

I bet you’ll create a fabulous look. If you have more specific questions please ask. And send a picture when you are done so I can post it here for others to get ideas from.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I want to put brick pavers in my kitchen.

Our house is built off the ground.

Will that make a difference putting the brick pavers down. Some advice was given that with the house settling that it might crack the mortar.

Please let me know if you think it is ok to use the brick pavers.

- Jonna

A

Settling homes can cause all kinds of problems from the floor up to the ceiling. But the biggest issue of using brick pavers in your kitchen is the strength of the floor structure.

How closely spaced are the floor joists? What thickness subfloor do you have? You can strengthen any floor structure with braces and thick subfloor to make your brick flooring durable.

- The Flooring Lady

Q

When you talk about thin brick pavers, how thin are you talking about? Pavers are thinner than regular bricks. Are you talking something even thinner than a regular paver?

- Jonna

A

If you are installing pavers, be sure to have at least 3/4″ subfloor of plywood or OSB. And if the house is old and the joists are further apart than 18″, beef up the floor support too. You don’t want the floor flexing since that’s what breaks the grout and the pavers.

- The Flooring Lady


Q

We have 300 sq ft of regular brick that someone gave us. We have just bought a house that is built off the ground (not on a slab). Is there any hope of using these bricks as a floor?

- Mary

A

Hi Mary, you have a very interesting question. If you really want to use these bricks you need to strengthen your floor to support the bricks. For brick pavers (face bricks) that are generally used for flooring one would need to have at least 3/4″ sub-floor and reinforced floor joists and supports. For this kind of brick you’ll need, IMHO, at LEAST 1-1/2″ sub-floor and super-reinforced floor joists and supports. I realize this may involve way more than what you’re hoping for, but you don’t want your floors to give under the weight of the brick – that would truly be a horrible thing to happen!

- The Flooring Lady


Q

we are looking at putting brick throughout our hole house minus the bed rooms. I have not seen this done and have been getting some strange looks when I tell fokls that is what we are doing…is that too much brick?

- Madison

A

Hi Madison

It might be too much brick. It would depend on the layout of your home, which of course I have no idea of how it’s laid out. If you really like the natural stone that brick provides, you might also want to look into Saltillo tile or other types of stone as well. You’ll also have more decorating options that way as brick is generally found in warm colors and there might be a room you’d rather do in cool colors (lots of colors with stone tiles as well as many types of stone!).

- The Flooring Lady


Q

I am trying to pick out a floor for my back yard and would like to use brick. The trouble is we want to create one level patio and currently have two. One is 5-7 inches lower than the other. The first section is 200 sq feet of 5-7 inch thick concrete and the other is 400 sq feet of 3 inch thick concrete. My question is can we lay the brick directly over the concrete in the first section and raise up the other section using sand? We live in CO so I am curious to know if the freeze thaw cycle with make the flooring uneven. Thank you

- Jennifer

A

Hi Jennifer, I would recommend that you contact a contractor in this situation.

after further thought:

Freeze-thaw is real problem in Colorado. If water collects among your various layers you’ll be impacted by that natural event. Hopefully you can find a way of leveling the two surfaces to your satisfaction, and budget. I have used brick and stepping stones for patios, but I’ve never had to create a level patio from two different height patios.

Good Luck!

- The Flooring Lady

Engineered Hardwood Flooring FAQ

Home improvement projects and new construction always raise questions about the products you are considering. If you've never had experience with hardwood flooring, you may wonder what the difference is between solid and engineered hardwood. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) aren't always easy to get answers to, but we've tried. Here are a few engineered hardwood flooring FAQs with answers.

Q

What is the difference between engineered hardwood flooring and regular hardwood flooring?

A

Hardwood flooring is composed of a solid piece of hardwood, while engineered hardwood flooring is composed of layers of an inexpensive and easily replenishable wood and then the top layer is hardwood. All of these layers are glued together to make a solid piece of flooring.


Q

What are the benefits of engineered hardwood flooring?

A

Engineered hardwood flooring can be installed in any room in your home, even rooms that are prone to moisture. Due to the layers in engineered hardwood flooring, they are more resistant to moisture. Engineered hardwood flooring is also less expensive than its hardwood counterparts. It can also be installed over radiant heating.


Q

What kinds of wood are used in engineered hardwood flooring?

A

You can find all different kinds of woods that are used for the top layer of engineered hardwood flooring. Oak, beech, pine, ash, and other common woods are used for engineered hardwood flooring, as well as more exotic species of wood like bamboo or teak.


Q

How many layers are there in engineered hardwood flooring?

A

It is very common for engineered hardwood flooring to have three layers in the core of the flooring and then a top hardwood layer. The more layers, the stronger the flooring is and some flooring manufacturers have started using five to seven layers of wood for the core to make their flooring more durable.


Q

Is it possible to refinish engineered hardwood flooring?

A

In most cases, the answer is yes, but it will need to be done by a professional. The good news is that with the finish that is used on most engineered hardwood flooring, there should be no need for refinishing for several years. These finishes are very durable and able to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. But engineered floors have only so many refinishes in them before you’ve worked your way through the top layer into the core.


Q

Is engineered hardwood flooring good for the do-it-yourselfer?

A

It is ideal for the do-it-yourselfer because it can be installed over almost any subflooring, including existing flooring as long as it is a smooth surface. Most engineered hardwood flooring is a floating floor, which means that you only have to lay down a vapor barrier and then install the flooring. Then you simply click and lock the flooring together and in no time you have a beautiful new floor.


Q

Where can you find engineered hardwood flooring?

A

You can find engineered hardwood flooring at most flooring stores in many different wood varieties. The more exotic woods may be a little more difficult to find, but you should be able to order them if you cannot find them at your local home improvement or flooring stores. Ask at your local store if you cannot find the wood that you are looking for.

Answering your engineered hardwood flooring FAQ is the best way for you to learn more about this wonderful flooring choice. Knowledge is the key to making the best decision for your home and your family.