2/16/2014 6:00:00 AM Ask the contractor: When replacing flooring, concrete may require prep work to avoid 'ghosting'
Sandy Griffis Yavapai County Contractors Association
Q: I have tile in the kitchen, living and dining room area. I am considering polished concrete flooring. Can I just apply the polished concrete over the existing tiles, or do I need to have the tile flooring removed?-John, Chino Valley
A: This is a question that comes up more often than not: installing a new flooring component over existing flooring. According to Brian Peterson of Diversified Concrete Crafters, "if a homeowner wants polished concrete floors, the existing tile material must be removed" in order for the new flooring to adhere properly and perform up to its standards.
It is important to inspect the existing concrete base for cracks, chips, floor hardness and "tile ghosting." Tile ghosting is the appearance and shadowing of tile outlines on the concrete floor once the existing tiles have been removed. The ghosting can seep through polished concrete floors if not prepared correctly. Depending on the severity of these common issues when the tile is removed, a "polishable overlay" is sometimes needed to eliminate issues and create a level surface.
Once the existing concrete floor has been prepared properly, then patterns and decorative saw cuts can be added for aesthetic appeal prior to the polishing if so desired. There are many pros to a polished concrete floor: the green value is cleaner and, unlike tile, a polished concrete floor is breathable and it does not harbor mold and mildew. A polished concrete floor is an ideal flooring material for asthma and COPD sufferers, it is easier to maintain and clean, and certainly can outlast carpet. You can be as creative as you want with a polished concrete floor from color to design. With the ease of maintenance, Brian said that "polished concrete floors are the new kid on the block in the world of decorative flooring material."
Installing polished overlay flooring requires a special and distinctive level of expertise and, according to Brian, performing the overlay is complex and if not done correctly problems will occur.
Q: We have a light box in the middle of our kitchen and want to dress it up - is there anything we can do?-Jack and Martha, Prescott Valley
A: Lighting has such an impact on our moods and can create an ambience that is wonderful for our physical and psychological self. Lighting in a kitchen is extremely important for working and reading grandma's recipes. In order to "dress up" your kitchen lighting and add some spunk, you can remove the plastic light panels and the light ballasts and then add crown molding around the outer edge and/or install the crown molding inside the light box area, and then of course install new light fixtures inside the light box. Both new lighting and crown molding will set your kitchen off with a new exciting look.
Of course, with any major electrical change-out, it is advisable to use a licensed electrician who will be able to connect and hang your new light fixtures, and if you are not handy with a miter saw for cutting and installing the crown molding, then a trim carpenter would be your best bet.
These changes are an instant and inexpensive way to give your kitchen a new, exciting look, and will make the cabinets and countertops look better and even make doing the dishes more fun.
Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or through www.ycca.org.