Time to start thinking about the Secret Lair’s floor…

Three years ago I finally got around to tiling the main cabin’s floor, after years of procrastination. My choice of materials turned out to be a big mistake…


I had talked myself into believing that the floor would be rigid enough for ceramic tile, but it seems reality is not a social justice warrior. I’ve got broken tiles all over the place.

I still have lots of spare tile and all the other materials I need to make the repairs – but that won’t really fix anything, will it? I’ll be back in the same place this time next year. On the other hand, pulling it all up to replace it with something else is so daunting a prospect it’s simply not going to happen.

Big Brother came up with a better solution: In fact he sent off for samples, which caught up with me while I was sojourning in the city…


Vinyl plank flooring! I don’t even have to touch the existing flooring, just lay this down over it. It has attached underlayment so it won’t want to slide on the tiles, the “planks” just snap together, and it appears it’ll be no harder to clean than the tile. Looks perfect! Only question is what color and how to get it here, and I already have a preference and I think the transport question has a solution.

What do you think? Anybody have experience with the stuff?

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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14 Responses to Time to start thinking about the Secret Lair’s floor…

  1. Mike says:

    I laid down vinyl plank flooring in my basement around 16 years ago and it has held up real well. For your situation, it will probably do much better than the ceramic tile because of the flexibility. I installed mine with a vapor barrier first, then an underlay, then the vinyl plank flooring. I added the vapor barrier because of paranoia about water and mold issues. One real nice thing was the ease with witch it was installed. The Bro-in-law and I did my whole 1120 square foot basement floor in an afternoon.

  2. Titan Mk6B says:

    Don’t buy the cheap stuff. It tends to pop apart. It’s also not very tolerant of water.

  3. Dean says:

    I’ve never used it but a buddy and his wife put down a bunch of it years ago and still looks just fine to me.

  4. Jimbo, ecv says:

    It’s tough but the back side doesn’t like water, it’ll break up. But, it’s easy to repair.

  5. Judy says:

    Used it in the round house in Kansas. We liked it and it was still looking good when we moved.

  6. Claire says:

    I’ve also used it. It’s not quite as easy to cut and lay as the propaganda on the box would have you believe. And if you end up needing to put a narrow piece down (say 1-inch), it might not stick well. Also, crud can get into any gaps you leave, so make your spacing tight-ish.

    But overall it’s not bad and as others have said, it does hold up.

    I like that gray barnwood look, if you think it would go with the rest of the Lair.

  7. Ben says:

    No floating floor likes water underneath it, which is why I would hesitate to use the stuff in a bathroom. The first time that a toilet overflows you have issues.

    Also, read the instructions carefully regarding expansion gaps around the edges. If you butt the flooring up tight against a wall, (or whatever) and the stuff expands, then your floor will ripple up and move under your feet. (Ask me how I know) Again, follow the instructions and all should be fine. .

  8. Julia Jobe says:

    We have terrible soil here. Its either gumbo or concrete, depending on rain. So, of course, we have foundation problems. I wanted flooring that was flexible, moving with the house. I put vinyl planking throughout the house. Delighted with it. Its easy to clean and holds up well in a house full of dirty shoed men. Do get quality flooring, though. Julia

  9. terrapod says:

    Joel, about a year ago I put this stuff in to my son’s kitchen, the thicker plank type seems to hold up pretty well, this stuff was near 1/4″ thick. It took a few tries to get a handle on how to make the edges “snap” together and you do need a rubber mallet to get the ends to mate. It is “OK” and holding up to 2 (soon to be 3) small kids. If it were my house, being old skool, would simply remove all the old tile, scrape off the remnants then put down 3/4″ or a bit over 1/2 inch floor rated plywood, glued to the old floor then tile again over that. Double plywood is very stable, it is what I have in the bathroom and kitchen of my house. No issues whatsoever in 20 years.

  10. Winston Smith says:

    As said, vapor barrier, clean the begeezus out of the slots AND under the planks during the install (and I mean EVERYTHING, including dust), and keep large amounts of water off it. You will want to cut the boards in a different room or outside. Small spills, just wipe up quickly and youll be OK.

    I have it in most of my downstairs, tile in wet areas. I did a good enough job 20 years ago that I have had 0 problems and several family members have roped me into doing theirs as well.

    If you want to redo the tile, take it all up and put the recommended underlayer thickness of plywood, then Hardiboard. That stuff works.

  11. KurtP says:

    Use a hammer and shortish 2×4 to get good tight joints.
    Some type of underlayment would help too.

  12. Rich says:

    I second the cement board underlayment if you choose to retile. Even with two layers of 3/4″ plywood, big tiles flex and crack. Learned that the hard way.

  13. Ben says:

    In selecting your vinyl planking, resist the temptation to economize. After all, you have a relatively small floor area but replacing your floor is a big hassle. Go for thickness! Extra thickness will make it far less likely that the cracks and seams in your present tile will telegraph up through your new floor. Also consider some sort of underlayment sheet in addition to whatever comes attached to your planks. That will give you a warmer floor and will help stabilize your cracked under-floor tiles.

    Also, you may not need to put in a special order. Vinyl planking is commonly available at your local big box. That would allow you to actually see and feel the stuff for yourself before you buy.

  14. Waepnedmann says:

    Within the last year a waterproof laminate flooring has hit the market.
    I would research that product.
    If moisture got under the older stuff it caused problems.

To the stake with the heretic!