Floors

Published on August 20th, 2013 | by Henri

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Will humidity in a shore area damage laminate flooring?

Q.    We are having a pre-fab house built in a shore community. The houses are built around a series of lagoons. The house will be built on 4-foot pilings. My husband would like to install Pergo laminate flooring throughout the 2-story house. A floor dealer told us that the humidity from the shore area may cause the floor to buckle or lift. We had been shopping around and had not heard that before.

My husband called the Pergo company and was told to put a 6-mil vapor barrier underneath the crawl space before installing the floor. Would you please advise on this?

A.    If your house is built on 4-foot pilings and the area underneath the house is kept open, I don’t see how the flooring can be affected by the humidity. There should be enough air circulation. In that case, putting down a vapor retarder on the open ground is worthless. However, you mention a crawl space. Does this mean that there will be a skirting around the perimeter of the house? If so, you should definitely cover the crawl space with 6-mil plastic and do so thoroughly.

I also assume that the floor of the house will have some insulation. If the area under the house will remain open, there needs to be some fabric covering stapled to the bottom of the floor joists to protect the insulation from animals. Mobile homes have such fabric called “road fabric”. A housewrap will also do. I suggest that even if the house will have skirting around, housewrap should be stapled to the bottom of the joists.
It would be advisable to check with one or more other installers of Pergo flooring and get their opinion. They are familiar with the local conditions and may have had bad experiences which they are not anxious to see repeated. Or perhaps, the one you spoke with is extra conservative.

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