LESLIE: Now we’re going to Kansas to talk to Debbie about flooring. What’s going on?
DEBBIE: Well, I have carpet in my basement and it’s time to replace it. But I’m kind of hearing from different sources that maybe I shouldn’t replace it with carpet.
LESLIE: Yes, and let me tell you from the horse’s mouth. (Tom chuckles) I had carpeting when we moved into our home. I loved it. It was cozy and cushy and I kept that basement dry. We had a terrible rainstorm. Water got into the basement. That carpet sucked it all up; was a breeding ground for mold and mildew. I felt that wet floor. I pulled it up. Now we have laminate.
DEBBIE: So, laminate flooring is what you’re recommending then?
LESLIE: It’s probably the best choice for basements only because you’re dealing with a very moist subfloor, which is your concrete floor that’s down there below that carpet. When you get weather outside that’s very wet, whether it’s snow or rain, that water’s got to go somewhere so it just sort of wicks through that concrete; not in a great amount but you will get consistent moisture. And then you’re dealing, of course, with a below-grade room that’s going to be inherently more humid than any other place in the house and all of that leads to mold growth really bad.
TOM: Now there is one other option and that is, if you like the look of wood you can put in a type of hardwood flooring called engineered hardwood. It’s not solid hardwood. What the engineered term refers to is the fact that this hardwood is made up various layers of wood that are glued together at opposing angles; much like plywood …
TOM: … except with a very attractive finished hardwood as the top layer and because of that, it’s dimensionally stable and it can go in a damp, below-grade space. Regular hardwood flooring, say ¾-inch thick like oak planks or something like that, would cup and twist and warp and it would be not appropriate but engineered hardwood is a possibility. So you can go engineered hardwood or you can go laminate and then you can put some throw rugs down there if you want some carpet. At least they’re easy to pick up and clean and rinse out if they ever got leaked again.
LESLIE: Yeah, if there is water.
DEBBIE: And is that what you have done? Because the coziness is something I thought I’m going to miss. You know.
LESLIE: No, I definitely – I’ve got area rugs in the basement. You know, not only is it our hangout place but it’s also my home office. I enjoy being down there and I was really surprised how much the laminate floor – because I went with a wood look in sort of like a warm honey – really opened up the space. It feels much larger. It feels cozy. And the only places where I would sit a lot and my feet would be touching the floor I put other little throw rugs there just so that my feet weren’t so chilly.
DEBBIE: Well, I think you convinced me.
LESLIE: Good. You’re going to love it.
DEBBIE: OK, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.