Options for Flooring in Your Basement
When finishing your basement, you must determine the best flooring option. First figure out if your basement’s concrete slab has a moisture barrier underneath it. If not, then you will be dealing with moisture levels that will reach through the slab to the basement flooring.
To find out if there is a moisture barrier under your concrete slab, cut a few plastic garbage bags and lay them down over a few areas of the concrete slab. Tape them down and leave them there for a few days. When you check on them and the underside of the bags are wet, then there is no moisture barrier. This will narrow down the flooring options available to you.
One thing you can do to keep your flooring options open is to waterproof your basement floor using a basement waterproofing sealant on the floor and walls. A much more expensive option would be to install a French drain at the basement foundation, but that is a much larger undertaking involving excavation and PVC pipe installation.
If your floor does have a moisture barrier, then there are many flooring options. You can install carpet in your basement, although carpet is not necessarily the wisest choice for a basement. Nevertheless, it tends to be pretty common. You can even use carpet if your floor does not have a moisture barrier. Simply install a cellulose underlayment before you put in the padding and carpet itself, and you will have created a moisture barrier.
Another basement flooring option is free floating engineered flooring, which is great for basements. This type of floor has a foam underlayment on which it “floats”, which aids in counterbalancing any uneven areas in the basement floor and also acts as a sound barrier. This floor also adapts to the varying moisture levels in the basement.
A third option is laminate flooring, which also floats on an underlayment. However, this flooring requires a basement with low moisture levels.
Ceramic tile can also be installed in your basement, but they tend to be very cold when you walk barefoot on them. Low moisture is needed or your tile’s lifespan will be impacted. You also need a level floor to install tile.
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Install laminate flooring – Read our articles and tips on Pergo laminate flooring and Quickstep laminate flooring.