LESLIE: Mary in Wisconsin has a question about flooring for basements. What can we help you with today?
MARY: I’m redoing my basement and I’m wondering about flooring. It has had a rubber-backed carpet, which has been taken up so we’re down to the concrete. And I’m just wondering, what would be a good thing to put back down on the floor there?
TOM: So, rubber-backed carpet was kind of popular for flooring for basements at one point in time. But generally speaking, we don’t recommend carpet for basements because they’re so damp. You can build up a lot of debris down there that can cause allergic reactions. You get dust mites and all that sort of thing that will nest in the carpet.
So I would look to a smooth-surface material. So your basement flooring options might be laminate floor, which is beautiful. It could look like hardwood floor or tile. It’s made of different composite materials. It’s a very, very tough surface. And it floats. It doesn’t – it’s not glued down; it floats on top of the floor. Or you could choose a special type of hardwood floor called “engineered hardwood.”
Now, solid hardwood would not be recommended as flooring for basements because it’s too moist. But engineered is made up of different layers of hardwood. It kind of looks – the guts of it kind of look like plywood but the surface, it looks like a regular hardwood floor. You can’t really tell the difference once it’s down. And I think that would be a good option, as well.
MARY: I really like the carpet down there.
LESLIE: Use area rugs. You’re just going to be sad. It’s just going to cause a lot of problems. It’s going to make you feel yucky. It’s going to feel damp down there.
TOM: And it’s a very dated look today, too. I mean things have changed in terms of décor. And I think the solid surface of a laminate floor or an engineered-hardwood floor would be much more common today.
MARY: Is there something feasible in a price range, though?
TOM: Yeah. Laminate floor is really affordable. You can get that for as little as maybe four bucks a square foot.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know what? Go online. I’ve seen laminate flooring just south of $2 a square foot. So there’s really some great options for flooring for basements that are very affordable out there.
MARY: OK, thank you.
TOM: Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.