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Tips for Replacing Existing Flooring with Concrete


Replacing Carpet with Concrete Flooring

Removing and replacing carpet is not an easy task, but the result of exposing your concrete slab below can be well worth the time and effort. You may want to consider hiring someone to cut and roll up the carpet and padding. Carpeting is heavy and not easy to remove, especially if it's tacked or glued to the subfloor. You also have to consider how to dispose of the carpet in a responsible manner once you remove it.

Your concrete subfloor must in fairly decent condition in order to accept a concrete stain or similar type of coloring agent. Any adhesives used to glue down the carpet must be removed, either by grinding or stripping. Tack-strip holes or cracks in the existing floor will require patching. Unless you cover the floor with an overlay, these repairs will never truly be masked with a stain. If you remove carpet from a room with baseboards, you will also need to remove and replace the baseboards to adjust for the height difference. Another option is to place an overlay up to the height of the existing baseboard. You also have to consider transitions from one room to another.

If your concrete is in extremely bad condition, it may not be a suitable candidate for restoration. An overlay is an option to cover up minor flaws, but it shouldn't be placed over major cracks that are structural in nature or concrete with sever spalling.

Not all cracks in existing concrete are undesirable. Some people like how stains accentuate minor cracks and color inconsistencies in existing concrete floors, especially when a “distressed” or rustic look is desired.

Replacing Linoleum or Sheet Vinyl with Concrete

As with carpet, removal of linoleum and sheet vinyl can be a major undertaking. The tile often must be scraped off the floor and properly disposed of. Mastics used to glue down the flooring must be removed, either by grinding or stripping.

The good news is that it's often possible to go right over linoleum or vinyl with a concrete overlay. It's important to put reinforcement over the flooring, such as metal lath, to prevent cracking.

There are many considerations when removing and replacing existing flooring. One warning before taking up the flooring is to make sure the tile is indeed made of linoleum or vinyl, and does not contain asbestos. It is usually wiser to hire a concrete contractor to perform these tasks and check for related issues.

Replacing Ceramic Tile with Concrete

In addition to removing the tile from the existing floor, you also have to remove all the grout and the backerboard layer. Once the tile comes up, you never know what you might find. Often you'll need to scrape or grind the surface to get it smooth and remove flaws before applying a decorative treatment or overlay.

It's possible to go over tile with an overlay, but only if the tile is in good condition. If the tile is glazed, it must be scuffed up first to ensure a good bond. You must also address the grout joints, which can absorb moisture from the overlay, resulting in differential curing and ghosting of the joints through the overly. To prevent moisture absorption, it's important to preseal the tile and grout joints before applying the overlay.