An important element of any finished basement is its flooring. When considering the installation of befitting basement flooring, it’s of prime importance to know if a moisture barrier has been provided underneath the basement floor. In the absence of such a barrier, the moisture level could be high and water could rise up to the installed flooring.
Before undertaking any basement flooring project it’s vitally important to ensure that there is no humidity or moisture therein. You can check it out by cutting open a couple of plastic bags from the trash at home and spreading those over to a number of points and seal these by using tape on the floor of the basement. Remove the tape to get the plastic sheets after a couple of days. Closely observe the bottom end of these for moisture content. Presence of any moisture proves the absence of moisture barrier beneath the basement concrete slabs. In those circumstances your choices for basement flooring are rather restricted.
However, application of waterproofing sealer on the floor and walls of the basement gives you more options of basement floorings. Another way to insulate basement against water is to install a French drain around the foundation of the basement. However, this is an expensive project, needing excavation for installation of PVC pipes and gravel.
On confirming that there surely is a moisture barrier below the basement concrete slab you have many options of flooring. Here are some of those:
Though carpeting is not the best option for basement flooring, these days it’s being widely used for the purpose because of its durability and comfort. Carpeting may even be used in cases where the absence of any moisture barrier under the concrete slab has been confirmed. In such circumstances a layer of cellulose is installed on the concrete floor before installing the carpet padding and carpet to create a moisture barrier.
Carpeting offers the great benefit of absorbing sounds that are often associated with basements, like the turning on and off of furnaces, and water going down the drainpipes.
Free Floating Engineered Flooring
Engineered flooring is perfect for basements. It floats over an under layer of foam that is first installed on the basement floor. The advantage of using under layer is two fold: it provides an even floor and helps to reduce sound too. The engineered flooring that floats on this under layer can efficiently breathe in changed moisture levels of basement.
The way engineered flooring is made makes it ideal for basement flooring. It comprises of a number of layers of wood materials, which help to reduce the chances of the flooring due warping or twisting. The top layer generally comprises of striking wood veneer finish, giving it the look of a solid hardwood floor, minus the fears of likely damage that may be caused by high moisture levels.
Similar to engineered flooring, laminate flooring too floats on an under layer. This kind of flooring has wood based central part with a photographic resin layer on the top surface that looks like a hardwood floor or vinyl floor. Laminate floorings are recommended for installation in dry basements with low humidity, as it is likely to get spoiled on coming in contact with water.
The laminate and engineered flooring are so designed that any DIY homeowner can install these.
Ceramic Tile Floors
Another superb option for basement flooring comes by way of ceramic floor tiles. But, mind you, these will be cold on bare feet. Moisture, if any, in the basement adversely affects the life of ceramic tiles. So, make sure to get rid of that before hand. Another important issue with installation of tiles is the perfect leveling of floor prior to their installation. It may become necessary to apply leveling grout before installing tiles. Moreover, cracks in the basement floor need to be filled and sealed, as ceramic floor tiles tend to crack along its cracks.
Painting Basement Floors
An economical substitute is to apply a few coats of paint on the floor. This is usually suitable for a low-end basement remodeling project, and could be the only logical solution if you fear of high level of moisture or the threat of an occasional flood.
You can brighten it up and give a personal touch by having two color tones and or producing attractive patterns.
It’s good to avoid Hardwood flooring as an option for basement flooring material because it’s very vulnerable to moisture and should not get in touch with water, else the wood gets warped and ruined quickly.