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Archive for March, 2014|Monthly archive page

Laminate Flooring / Back-up Sump Pumps

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

 

Q:

Before I invest a large sum of money in re-doing my floors, I’d like your input on laminate flooring.

The manufacturer advertises this as long-wearing, easy upkeep, durable and resembling natural wood such as oak, maple and cherry. It’s sort of a wood substitute.

My other home had all natural oak flooring, but at this same time it is prohibitive for me, so I want to aim for the laminated material, which looks good.

 

I am considering this laminate in the great room, hallways, breakfast and kitchen areas (the bedrooms are carpeted).

A:

The first line of your second paragraph says it all. It is durable, easy to maintain and it “resembles” natural wood. The key word here is “resembles”. It won’t fool anyone into thinking its wood but it has the appearance of wood. It is not warm to walk on, but you’ll never need to sand and refinish. Keep in mind it can be damaged like any other laminate flooring by chemicals, sharp objects and heavy furniture dragging across the floor. You also should not mop it with a lot of water since it will lift. But you shouldn’t need to anyway.

 

Laminates are usually made by bonding the decorative, high—pressure melamine surface to a moisture resistant high or low-density fiberboard. The bottom of the third layer is usually made with the same material as the top, but it is there for stability.

The flooring uses a tongue and groove construction, which along with mastic, secures the lengths together. The entire system floats over a foam underlayment on top of your sub-floor.

Q:

We recently moved into a newer Pulte Home in Northville. Apparently the sump pump was installed with radon-minimization provisions. The sump well cover appears to be permanently sealed to the basement floor. In addition, there are two PVC pipes and a flexible plastic hose going through the cover into the sump well.

 

What can we do in the event of a power failure since we cannot lift the cover to bail water? Also, is there any regular maintenance we should perform?

 

Our lot has a grade change (our basement has garden windows) and we actually never heard the sump pump run.

A:

Understand that some communities require a sump pump because in their jurisdiction it’s a code item.

It doesn’t mean that it necessarily is even needed. Keep this in mind: the sump pump is your last line of defense against the basement flooding. So it’s a good idea to make sure it works if it does ever need to come on.

The builder installed what is called a passive radon mitigation system. He sealed the lid in place and installed an extra PVC pipe, which leads to the exterior of the house and goes up the wall or through the roof. It has no blower and the theory is that the sub slab radon will take the path to the least resistance and go out the pipe. It couldn’t hurt and if you have a low radon level it may reduce it enough to bring it below the 4 Pico curie-per liter safe level.

Even though your lid is sealed it can be unbolted and the caulk removed so you can get to the pump. You can look and see if it’s bone dry in there. If so, close it up and rest easy. If there is water, you should install an alternate energy back-up pump (water pressure or battery power).

It amazes me that everyone who has a sump pump does not have an alternate energy back-up pump. It stands to reason that the power will eventually go out again. That usually only happens during a rainstorm when the pump is needed the most. The pump motor will fail. When either of those things occurs the basement could flood without a back-up pump.

Maintenance on sump pumps is easy. Periodically run a hose to the sump or fill it with water from a bucket until the pump kicks on. Make sure the sump is debris-free. If you have children, keep the lid in place and secure it so they cannot fall into the sump. I have heard of instances where small children reach down to retrieve a ball, or fall in headfirst and drown.

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