'Floating floor' goes over concrete or other surfaces


August 21, 1993|By Gene Austin | Gene Austin,Knight-Ridder News Service

Q: I've heard of a "floating floor" system that can be installed over concrete and other surfaces without using nails. Can you give me more information?

A: floating floor consists of prefinished wood flooring that is installed over a layer of plastic foam, called underlayment, that covers the existing floor. The new pieces of flooring have tongue-and-groove edges that fit snugly together.

Instead of using nails or glue to fasten the new flooring to the old one, the edges of the new flooring are glued together to form a unified layer that "floats" on the underlayment.

Floating floors have been used in Europe for many years. A well-known floating-floor system sold in the United States is Longstrip, distributed by Harris-Tarkett, of Johnson City, Tenn.

Longstrip flooring consists of 1/2 -inch-thick planks with laminated wood construction. The surface layer is hardwood such as oak, ash or maple, with a tough, no-wax finish of polyurethane. The planks, which are a little over 8 feet long and about 5 inches wide, are laid over the foam underlayment with their glued edges interlocking.

Floating floors require a dry, level base that is in good condition. When installed over concrete, a layer of polyethylene film should installed before the foam layer is applied.

For more information, call Harris-Tarkett at (800) 842-7816.

Q: I spent a whole day scrubbing our brick walk with chlorine bleach to remove scum, moss and algae. Is there an easier way?

A: pressure washer used with heavy-duty cleaner would probably clean the bricks with a lot less effort. Pressure washers can be rented at some tool-rental agencies. Be sure to get instructions on proper use of the washer and observe all cautions, since the high-pressure stream of water can cause injury.

Q: I have an old mirror with several small blemishes where the silver is gone. Resilvering companies say the whole mirror must be resilvered, at quite a price. Is there a way to just touch up the blemishes?

A: One possible method is to buy a cheap mirror and put the glass behind the glass of the old mirror.

You can also make the unsilvered spots less conspicuous by touching up the back of the mirror with chrome paint, sold in spray cans at some auto-supply stores and home centers. Apply a little paint over the bare spots with small brush. Do a small test spot to see if you like it.

Q: Is there an age limit for smoke detectors? Ours failed to go off when a kitchen accident created some smoke. We replace the batteries regularly, and the alarm sounds when tested.

A: First Alert, a leading manufacturer of smoke detectors, recommends detectors be replaced every 10 years.

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