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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SF Bay area
    Posts
    2

    Default Vinyl/linoleum underlayment

    I'm renovating a small bathroom and have to go with vinyl or linoleum flooring due to the adjacent hall floor height. The old vinyl had 3/8" particle board underlayment over the 1x6 subfloor. There seems to be many opinions on what I should use for a replacement underlayment. Everything from luaun to particle board to Halex 'Multiply' Baltic birch plywood (5x5 foot sheets). One lumber yard said to use particle board so that when a leak occurs, it will absorb the water and swell up warning about the situation before sub-floor or structural damage is done whereas plywood would hide the problem till it's too late. Fasteners are another issue...staples, screws, ring-shank nails, are all ballyhooed.

    What should I use for underlayment in my crawlspace house here in the San Francisco Bay area?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,238

    Default Re: Vinyl/linoleum underlayment

    3/8 underlayment is fine under vinyl. I've seen the other products you've mentioned used, mostly because the installer is able to purchase them at his wholesale flooring house. If he had to purchase that material at a big box or lumber retailer, it would be too expensive to warrant its use.

    It is your preference whether you use deck screws or ring shank nails to do the job. I've used both. IMHO, screws hold better, however they're a little more tedious to install. Ring shanks are cheap and easy to install, and if one is a little proud, all it takes is another smack of the hammer to set it.

    Don't forget to use a floor leveling compound to fill gaps and divots from the fasteners, otherwise any imperfection in the underlayment will telegraph through the vinyl and look terrible.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SF Bay area
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Vinyl/linoleum underlayment

    Mr. Spruce,

    Thanks for the advice. I'm a bit anal on these things. The 3/8 particleboard was in pretty good shape for being probably 30 years old when I tore it up. It was laid down on 15 pound felt and used ring shank nails with no filler. Wet spots at the tub corner and under the sink had chewed up some of the edges and the lino was pretty sad. What started out to be a faucet replacement has turned into a room-wide project.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,238

    Default Re: Vinyl/linoleum underlayment

    Your welcome. If you need some tips on installing the vinyl, let me know.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,238

    Default Re: Vinyl/linoleum underlayment

    I've been out of it for a while. I never used them and I don't think I ever pulled a floor that had them. Things may have changed in the last few years though.

    IMHO, in the time it takes to set up a compressor, hose, and gun, and the expense of the staples, for a bathroom it's faster and easier to hand nail it rather than staple. I've seen staples used in a variety of construction practices, and to be honest, I'm not impressed with anyones ability to properly install this type of fastener. Most of the time they're either bent over or shot all the way through the material. Roofers are probably the worst culprits of this.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

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