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Unread 03-03-2021, 05:29 PM   #1
SunshineCoast
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Underlayment choice on ceramic tile

We need to choose an underlayment to laminate boards. The current floor is ceramic tile on a couple of inches of concrete (electric heating was embedded but is no longer active). The concrete sits on top of plywood. My question is: does the surface of the current ceramic tile floor create a vapour barrier? If yes, will the vapour barrier built into some underlayments create a double vapour barrier when laid against the tile surface, trapping moisture between the two layers?
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Unread 03-03-2021, 07:22 PM   #2
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Welcome, Sunshine?

You sure you have poured concrete there rather than a cementitious mortar bed, which would be the more common substrate for a ceramic tile installation over a wood framed floor?

Short answer to your questions would be no. The ceramic tile installation would not be a vapor barrier. Could certainly be a significant vapor retarder, though, depending upon the size and type of tile you have.

With a wood framed floor, where do you anticipate the unwanted moisture coming from?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-04-2021, 02:06 PM   #3
SunshineCoast
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Smile

Thanks so much for your reply. No, I'm not sure exactly what is under the tile, which are 8 x 8 inch ceramic, Italian style from the 70s. Glossy. Incredible quality tiles - we would be keeping them if the pattern/colour were not so awful. Anyhow, sounds from your reply as if we are good to go to use an underlayment with built-in vapour barrier. Big thank you.
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Unread 03-04-2021, 02:09 PM   #4
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Sorry - forgot to answer the question as to where we expect moisture to come from: the crawl space below is super-dry so not from there. It's more our concern that direct heat in the summer onto the floor might condense on the surface of the tile at night when the temperature drops (we have cool nights in summer).
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Unread 03-04-2021, 04:56 PM   #5
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Well, that's always a possibility, Sunshine, but if the moisture was to come from the crawl space the same potential exists for the water vapor to condense on the bottom of the vapor barrier material you'll be installing under your wood laminate (I'm guessing what you might be installing) if conditions were such that that was actually the place where the vapor reached its dew point. Would not likely be any different with or without the tile, I would think.

Without a geographic location in your User Profile and knowing how you keep your house conditioned, and what your floor structure consists of, and how your floor structure is insulated, I can't really guess where and when and how often said dew point might occur in that place in that floor package. And if I knew all those things, I'd still be guessing.

But please add the geographic location anyway.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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