Basement Flooring Options
LESLIE: Sylvester in Georgia needs some help with a flooring project. Tell us what’s going on.
SYLVESTER: Yes, my wife and I purchased an older house about a year ago and now we want to add carpeting to the basement. And we’re having a moisture problem and I’m trying to find out what can we do to stop the moisture from coming through the floor.
LESLIE: Have you already put the carpet?
SYLVESTER: No, I have not.
LESLIE: OK, good. What is the existing flooring that’s down there?
SYLVESTER: It was carpeting. We pulled it up. It was old carpeting but it had that musty, mildew odor to it.
TOM: Yeah. That would be a really bad idea.
LESLIE: You’re always, always, always going to have a situation like that when you put carpeting in the basement, unless you have the best dehumidification system, no issues with water getting in from around the foundation, no gutter problems. It’s just a recipe for disaster when you put carpeting in a basement. If one thing sort of goes off, you’re going to end up with that musty, mildew smell; allergen generation; mold growth. It’s really just not a good idea just because of the inherent nature of moisture in basements.
SYLVESTER: OK. What would be the ideal floor for a basement then?
TOM: You would want to use – I would use a laminate floor.
TOM: Or if you wanted hardwood, you could use engineered hardwood. That’s pretty resilient when it comes to moisture.
TOM: But we would also tell you, at the same time, to go through the basics to try to reduce the level of moisture that’s down in that basement. So make sure that you soil is sloped away from the outside walls; make sure your gutters are clean; make sure downspouts are extended.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If you go with a laminate, you can – I mean if you go to LumberLiquidators.com, they have locations all across the country; the price points are excellent. I have a friend who just did a laminate floor from them that was like 60 cents a square. So you can find something that’s really affordable, that looks pretty much like everything from wood to stone and then it goes down very easily; it can be a do-it-yourself project if you like; and once that’s down, you can add area rugs to give you that same sort of cozy, warm feeling that you would get from carpeting but you’re not going to have that moisture situation.
SYLVESTER: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.