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What adhesive for carpet tile installation on basement concrete?

17 years ago

I originally posted this in Flooring - the feedback I got there made me realize that Basements might have been a better place to put it, especially for the below-grade adhesive stuff.

I'm putting in carpet tiles in my finished basement. These are commercial tiles, not the Flor/Legato "home" versions.

Historically, the basement mildly floods about once every two years. I *think* we have that fixed now, but can't be 100% sure as it is below grade.. so that is an important consideration. The tile I've chosen does have an impervious backing and will be just fine - it's only the adhesive that I'm still at all concerned about.

Other than that, the floor is generally dry. It passes the "tape a poly sheet down" moisture test; would it be a good idea to do a full calcium chloride test?

All of the installation instructions seem to be either for easy-DIY installs ("you don't even need glue") or are the heavy commercial instructions.

I lean towards just using the commercial installation instructions - full spread of adhesive, etc - but can't find any good information on how this performs if the subfloor ever floods. And it sounds like overkill, though maybe that's not a bad thing.

The floor was level enough for the old, heavily padded shag carpet, but there are a couple of rough spots. There's minor pitting where the old tackless strip came up, and what looks like a cut-off, concrete-filled pipe sticking up slightly. My best guess is abandoned DWV - it's in about the right place and is the right size. My understanding is that I really don't need to worry about these spots and can just carpet over them - basically, this isn't ceramic tile or even VCT when it comes to a perfect subfloor.

I will be cleaning the concrete with TSP prior to installation in any case.

I've also considered the double-sided tape, and read about the "5-dot method" of daubing adhesive on the back of each individual tile. How do those methods work? Using tape is certainly appealing if the performance is acceptable.

Also, I do need the adhesive to be releasable. Part of the reason for using carpet tiles is to be able to remove them when they become soiled/stained/wet, so a "releasable" adhesive is a must. As is zero- or at least very low-VOC.

Any thoughts? How should I proceed? Am I missing anything important here?

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