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  • Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

    My Mum in law's basement flooded; The tile and foundation have been dealt with and it has been dry for a few months and, since I know how to do stuff and my brothers in law both have to work for a living I was "elected" to restore her rec room.

    Most of the damage was to one outside wall. We stripped it to the foundation and I've re-strapped, installed rock wool, vapour barrier and drywall and I'll be taping this week (I've also repaired the adjoining walls).

    The walls are a pretty straightforward job but I have no idea what to do with the floor. It is a typical late '40s or early '50s suburban cookie cutter house with concrete block foundation and poured concrete floor. It was my father in law's parents' home but I don't know much about its early history. My inlaws inherited it in the '70s, had a small extension added before they moved in and finished the basement right away.

    There was Ozite carpet on the floor with a layer of plastic vapour barrier sheet underneath and most of the concrete is covered with a black, tarry substance. Mum in law says they noticed that the floor was damp after they finished the basement so they had someone dig up around the edges of the floor and install a weeping tile. Brother in law tells me that he always remembers carpet in the rec room and that even after the weeping tile was installed the carpet became damp so they added the plastic. Neither one remembers who added the tarry stuff or when.

    As you can see from the pic, there isn't a lot of room to work in there so I will have to finish the half of the room nearest to the wall I'm repairing before we can move the stuff that is piled up in the other half and work on that (there's nothing I can do about it - she's in her '80s and won't be convinced otherwise).
    floor.JPG

    I would really prefer not to put carpet back in there again if I have any other choice but the tarry stuff is uneven so it pretty much eliminates tile, rolled flooring or one of the paint on floor finishes. A raised floor would be ideal but the ceiling is only 78" now and we don't want to reduce that.

    Anyone have an idea of what I can do with this mess short of grinding the floor (not really an option either)?
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  • #2

    Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

    Will Floor leveller poured on top work or are the rough areas too high?
    "Do it Right!"

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    • #3

      Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

      I thought about something like that but I don't know what will work. The black stuff is about 1/8" thick but it is fairly soft so I think a more solid in the gaps might not be great.

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

        Cheap laminate?

        Theres not much you can do there unless you get the tar stuff off.
        Then you can use peel and stick tile, self adhesive strip vinyl floor, vinyl sheet goods etc

        About the only way to get the tar off is to scrape it off.
        Ive got one of these

        https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.8...000139217.html

        They work well if you are feeling energetic

        If you don't mind losing a bit of ceiling height (under an inch) head into chemong home hardware in Peterborough.
        They have a water proof underlay (basically its foundation dimple board but in 3 foot wide strips so its way easer to manhandle).
        You could lay laminate flooring on top of it.

        Do not proceed with that unless you are sure the moisture issues have been fixed.
        It will grow mold under it if water is still getting in.


        Nathan

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        • #5

          Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

          Also its a good idea to keep your drywall up off a concrete floor buy at least an inch.
          Especially if it tends to be damp.
          Standard practice for anyone that did disaster restoration for as long as I did lol

          Nathan

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          • #6

            Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

            I would try a heat gun and a really crappy old chisel that you can grind a quick edge on to lift the tar. Might let you get the stuff off without too much effort once it is softened by the heat.
            Erik

            Canada's Island Paradise - Prince Edward Island

            Proud member of the Wadkin Blockhead Club

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            • Thread Continues Below...

            • #7

              Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

              Skin leveling coat of mortar over the base followed by Schluter membrane and tile.
              Last edited by Egon; 02-06-2019, 04:57 PM.
              Egon
              from
              The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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              • #8

                Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

                I want this to be done as well as possible within reason but I don't want to make the job any bigger than it has to be. Mum in law's place is almost 2 hours away from ours so I can only be there for one overnight per week and when I go I have to spend the night in a sleeping bag on the living room floor which is hard on my arthritis so I want it done as quickly as I can. It has already become a bigger job than I agreed to and my own basement reno has slowed to a crawl because I spend half a day getting ready to go there, 2 days going, working & returning and another recovering from sleeping on the floor every week.

                My arthritic knees hurt just thinking about crawling around to lay a new floor so scraping the black stuff off is just not going to happen.

                I know my knees won't forgive me for asking but 1) How smooth a surface would I need for lay vinyl planks? and 2) The black stuff is fairly soft. Can I skin mortar over that?

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                • #9

                  Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

                  I would think you could, I would use one of the thicker laminates as it would be like putting bords on the ground under your wheels they will spread the weight and it really is not that thick.
                  Jerome
                  Canada's South Coast

                  Port Colborne On.
                  Every loaf of bread is a tragic tale of grains that could've become beer.......but didn't....

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                  • #10

                    Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

                    I don't see the black stuff in your pic or the rough surface either but I assume it is there. DO NOT use mortar to skim coat it. DO NOT use any chemical that can explode to remove the black stuff which sounds like it is mastic of some type. Floor leveller pours like water and sets up well. It is made for this application but not over mastic. Floor scrapers come in all sizes and varying degrees of sharpness from razor sharp to sorta sharp but none of them work on surfaces that are not level. You could be on your hands and knees for hours with a relatively sharp 3/4 inch chisel. Sorry but that's reality and I've been there. Thankfully not alone.

                    If you can install an underlay of some type I would certainly look at it and I would push to remove the carpet in that case,,,, but anything slippery like tile or lino will probably not turn her crank.
                    "Do it Right!"

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                    • #11

                      Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

                      Would a scraper like this do the job and save your knees?https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/c...-0596955p.html

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                      • Thread Continues Below...

                      • #12

                        Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

                        I really can’t answer that without looking at the floor.

                        Probably a thicker one would be okay....
                        it really depends on how lumpy the floor is.

                        I don’t think there’s a snowballs chance in hell of a skim coat of mortar sticking to the black stuff.
                        Theres a better chance of the leafs winning the cup

                        Nathan
                        Beaverfever1988 likes this.

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                        • #13

                          Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

                          Originally posted by nnieman View Post
                          Theres a better chance of the leafs winning the cup

                          Nathan
                          Oh Oh, can't wait to see Rusty's response, start ducking.

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                          • #14

                            Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

                            No worries I've got my parade tickets already. I bought them in September.
                            nnieman likes this.
                            "Do it Right!"

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                            • #15

                              Re: Problem basement floor - suggestions welcome

                              I've been thinking about this while I taped the drywall. I wonder if 12mm laminate flooring like this would be OK, laid as a floating floor right over the stuff that's there?
                              https://www.rona.ca/en/laminate-floo...-grey-84665701

                              BTW: I have put a couple of pieces of clear sheet on the floor overnight and I'll see if there's any condensation under them in the morning.

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