Can Urban Surfaces’ floors be installed below grade?

Yes, Urban Surfaces’ flooring can be installed below grade. However, It is important to have an understanding of the factors that may undermine the installation.

While Urban Surfaces’ materials will not be damaged by everyday spills and messes, they are not guaranteed to endure extended periods of exposure to water. This is not due to the water itself, as the floors are waterproof, but rather the pollutants and contaminants mixed with the water which cause harm. The moisture wicking up through the concrete acts as a carrier of the contaminants from the ground below. These contaminants (among them a salty substance named “efflorescence”), can be harmful to the flooring.

Also, Urban Surfaces floors require a neutral concrete pH level of 5-9 – they are not “pH proof”. When water is introduced into a cured concrete slab from water below the slab, the pH in the concrete has a tendency to change. This change in pH is often the specific cause of floor failure. An environment that is too acidic (pH level 1-4) or too base (pH level 10-14) will destroy the floor over time. If an Urban Surfaces floor is deformed by water damage, it is more likely the extreme pH levels that were the specific cause that led to the failure.

The attached pad on the back of Sound-Tec products may also hold odor or grow mildew when subjected to flood water conditions. An attempt to reinstall the flooring may be successful if the material is pulled up carefully, cleaned, stacked flat and allowed to dry well.

If a Glue Down LVT floor is installed, ensure the manufacturer’s directions for the adhesive are followed. There are many different adhesive products available with varying RH values – some up to 100% RH. Determining the suitability of the correct adhesive and floor covering is the responsibility of the installer.