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#115918 11-Apr-2013 18:30
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I'm renovating a flat I own and have 3 quotes for flooring. 

It's a two bedroom flat and and the whole place is to be done, including the kitchen and bathroom which will be done with lino.

Two of the three quotes have said they will use MDF or "thin line" as a preparation layer for the bathroom and kitchen. One of the quotes - the highest one - says they will use two coats of self-leveling "matrix".

I have checked on the thinline / MDF. The manufacturer *specifically* does not recommend it be used in high-humidity areas like bathroom, kitchens and areas adjacent to kitchens.

So why are these people quoting materials be used in places the manufacturer says they should not?

As it stands, I'm likely going to go with the higher quote as they have proposed an appropriate solution for the situation.

Make sense? Or does everyone just use the wrong materials in the wrong places and let fate decide the outcome?  





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  #797980 11-Apr-2013 19:07
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I believe there is now a version of mdf which is water resistant. This may be the kind they are using.

Jon

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  #798008 11-Apr-2013 19:37
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So why are these people quoting materials be used in places the manufacturer says they should not?

Have you tried asking them?


 
 
 
 


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  #798035 11-Apr-2013 20:27
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Haven't seen waterproof MDF, but personally I would spend the bit extra and go with self leveling compound. 



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  #798040 11-Apr-2013 20:30
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semigeek: Haven't seen waterproof MDF, but personally I would spend the bit extra and go with self leveling compound. 




Yeah, not sure I go with that either, but maybe ask a couple of questions of the cheaper options (they may have assumed price was the key factor):

Why mdf instead of self-levelling?
if I wanted self-levelling how much would it be?

Jon

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  #798124 11-Apr-2013 22:11
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level.org.nz has a good overview of wet area flooring options. From that article, particleboard (which I will assume includes MDF) is an acceptable solution if you can maintain its waterproof coating, but otherwise other options should be considered. It is quite easily damaged by water, which I can confirm by the particleboard skirting in our bathroom having turned to mush in places.

I am looking at adding an extension soon, and will probably be using compressed fibre cement sheets as the flooring substrate for the new bathroom. Treated plywood is the other option I am considering. What is the current substrate on your floor?



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  #798295 12-Apr-2013 10:44
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jamesrt:
So why are these people quoting materials be used in places the manufacturer says they should not?

Have you tried asking them?


Yes. 

Answer: "We always use MDF on wooden floors." 

..and in wet areas? 

Answer: "We always use MDF on wooden floors." 

...and the manufacturer says not to? 

Answer: "We always use MDF on wooden floors."




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  #798296 12-Apr-2013 10:47
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froob: level.org.nz has a good overview of wet area flooring options. From that article, particleboard (which I will assume includes MDF) is an acceptable solution if you can maintain its waterproof coating, but otherwise other options should be considered. It is quite easily damaged by water, which I can confirm by the particleboard skirting in our bathroom having turned to mush in places.

I am looking at adding an extension soon, and will probably be using compressed fibre cement sheets as the flooring substrate for the new bathroom. Treated plywood is the other option I am considering. What is the current substrate on your floor?


The floor had lino tiles on it - glued directly to the wooden floor boards. Probably at least 40 years old. Looked shocking. 

We lifted the lino tiles with a hammer and chisel and now it's just bare wood. Real timber. Actual tree parts. ;-) 

I had considered sanding and polyurethane or tiles....but went with lino mainly due to the belief that it is cheaper (and lots of pretty patterns!!). Air also flows between the wooden floor boards (very narrow gaps) and I don't want the place to be cold. The guy who is going to use the "matrix" says one coat will fill the gaps and the second coat will provide a self-leveling surface to put the lino on. The "self-leveling" part sounded good. 

I'm not a fan of MDF in any context where water is a risk. I've seen it fall apart quickly if it gets wet. 






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  #798302 12-Apr-2013 11:05
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Following on from what Jon said, there is now a version of MDF available with waterproof glue. I doubt that is what these guys are planning to use though.

The problem with using "normal" MDF is your floor will leak and it will puff and deform. Strength isn't an issue as the wooden floor provides that.

I prefer tiles to lino but that will involve about a 6mm thick fibre cement sheet on top of the wooden floors and possibly even a levelling compound.

It sounds like the quote for lino and "matrix" is from someone who will do a good job that lasts, not a cheap job that looks like rubbish in a few years.

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  #798325 12-Apr-2013 11:35
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froob: level.org.nz has a good overview of wet area flooring options. From that article, particleboard (which I will assume includes MDF) is an acceptable solution if you can maintain its waterproof coating, but otherwise other options should be considered. It is quite easily damaged by water, which I can confirm by the particleboard skirting in our bathroom having turned to mush in places.

I am looking at adding an extension soon, and will probably be using compressed fibre cement sheets as the flooring substrate for the new bathroom. Treated plywood is the other option I am considering. What is the current substrate on your floor?


Just to clarify:
Particle board and MDF are different, although both are very sensitive to moisture.

Particle board uses relatively large chips, such that you can see a texture. It is commonly used as flooring and has some water resistance (it can be left to the elements for months during construction) but long term you would want to add a layer of protection (polyurethene, or another flooring surface on top)

MDF is essentially made from sawdust, so it appears to have no texture/pattern. Typically has no water resistance (although water resistant stuff can be sourced). This is what your skirting boards will be made from.


If they seal the Lino properly then there should be no problem with a MDF substrate, but thats putting a lot of faith in the layer. Levelling matrix sounds much better

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  #798339 12-Apr-2013 12:02
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Just went through this last week with quotes for vinyl over floor boards for kitchen. Both quotes from different said to prepare floors using thin (4.70 mm) plywood board prior to installing new vinyl. My area was small about 3 x 8, and we ended up canning the vinyl idea and went polished floor boards for half the price

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  #798345 12-Apr-2013 12:13
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As above, they are probably assuming/hoping that no water will get into the MDF. Not a guaranteed thing though. It is probably just a good-enough type of thing and it is cheap so helps to bring people in who don't think to question it and just look at the price. Whereabouts are you based?





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  #798686 13-Apr-2013 08:51
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wazzab: Just went through this last week with quotes for vinyl over floor boards for kitchen. Both quotes from different said to prepare floors using thin (4.70 mm) plywood board prior to installing new vinyl. My area was small about 3 x 8, and we ended up canning the vinyl idea and went polished floor boards for half the price


I was *this* *close* to doing the same....but my 'thing' about polished wooden floors is the noise. People (um...women) often wear hard-soled shoes (high-heels or "fashion" shoes / heels) that make a horrendous amount of noise on bare wood. Plus...the heels tend to damage the finish. 

My two flats as a duplex...and though there is a cinderblock wall between them with insulation on either side covered by 10mm Gib....I don't trust the noise from people walking on wooden floors with open space beneath them to not travel between the flats.

Plus wooden floors can be cold. Yes..I could insulate below the floor in that area...but then I'm back to spending money on the flooring. 

So I went with lino on top of the wooden floor....mainly to soften the noise and add another layer to keep the place warmer. I've also done pink batts in all the ceilings and "silent" (and warm) eco batts in all the internal walls (to deaden sound as much as possible between rooms and from the outside.) 





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  #798688 13-Apr-2013 08:54
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paulmilbank: As above, they are probably assuming/hoping that no water will get into the MDF. Not a guaranteed thing though. It is probably just a good-enough type of thing and it is cheap so helps to bring people in who don't think to question it and just look at the price. Whereabouts are you based?


North Shore, Auckland. 




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  #798845 13-Apr-2013 16:59
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Hi

I have done a few vinyl floors (preparation - not the laying of the vinyl)

You need a self leveling compound if you glue the vinyl straight to the floorboards or over a sheet product like mdf.

Some vinyl installers do not use the self leveling compound because they are lazy - get the job done quicker. However the vinyl will mark if there is a lump or dip underneath

I would not recommend gluing the vinyl to the floorboards as over time the floorboards are likely to move and mark the vinyl, even with self leveling compound.

I would not use mdf or thinline. Parents had this in their house and it bubbled. (there was a dampness problem as they discovered)  Installers had to come and relay and use HARDBOARD

Every floor I have done I have used Hardboard (dark brown wood product, more resistant than MDF)
This has been on cheap floors, and a $100,000 kitchen

The Hardboard /MDF / Thinline you use needs to be nailed (flat head 30mm clouts) at 10omm centres in all directions (yes you will use lots of nails). This will stop it from lifting.

Cheers

Peter


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  #806824 28-Apr-2013 18:48
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Standard particle board flooring can be left exposed to the elements for 8 weeks maximum, there is a gold version that can do 12 weeks.

I personally would never use it in wet areas, rather I would go for a 20mm compressed fibre cement sheet if tiling or H3.2 treated 21mm ply for lino. 

Slow leaks turn particle board and MDF to weetbix. With compressed sheet or treated ply you have a better chance of noticing and fixing leaks before the flooring and supporting framing is damaged.

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