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Brik 01-16-2007 02:14 PM

Basement flooring choices
Sorry for long post. Thanks in advance!

OK - as part of my basement finishing project (living space, not workshop). I am considering my flooring choices. I want to keep costs down as much as possible yet get decent results. I know those are at odds. Anyway....

Two sections, stairs between. One side will get carpet and pad. The other side SWMBO wants something that is easy spill cleanup (Crafty area).

First question - will it be weird to have two different flooring materials in two different areas of basement? Stairs separate. Stairs will be carpeted as will bottom of stairs.

OK - Now for the crafty area. I think my choices are as follows.

Next question - Am I missing anything?

Laminate - Pros, relatively cheap. cons, looks and feels like crap.

Engineered - Pros, looks good. Cons, most expensive, may feel weak underfoot unless glued down.

Linoleum - pros, durable, green. Cons, finding it, cost.

vinyl - pros, durable, can be cheap. Cons, looks, can be expensive.

paint - pros, quick, easy, cheap. Cons, looks.

stain/sealer - pros, cheap, look. Cons, drywallers spray painted floor, prep, mess.

tile - pros, can be cheap. Cons, time consuming install, not the look we want.

So - I'm a bit undecided. I am leaning toward an engineered wood floor, installed by myself. Maybe glued down to give it a more solid feel. I will not add a sub-floor due to desire to maximize headroom. Moisture is less than 2% (dry).

I guess what has be a bit befuddled is trying to envision how it will look to have a little more than half the space carpeted and the other section with a wood floor. Also, the wood floor will cost 4 to 7 times more than the carpet we picked out. For carpet we are getting a clearance product for 48c /sq ft. Engineered wood, say from lumber liquidators, will be about $2 / sq ft.

Area for engineered floor is about 230 sq ft, carpet is about 600 sq ft including stairs.

I'm not sure the budget will allow for wood floor throughout. If it was only 800 sq ft that would be one thing. I suspect I will pay through the nose for stair treads and the like to match.

I'm rambling. I suppose if the consensus is to put engineered floor throughout then I'll make the case and find the budget. If the consensus is to carpet part and X on part then I suppose that's how I'll go. Or, I may do something entirely different. What would you do?

yummy mummy 01-16-2007 02:18 PM

How about putting eng. flooring in the whole place and then area rugs, where you may want to?

Brik 01-16-2007 02:21 PM


Originally Posted by yummy mummy (Post 30183)
How about putting eng. flooring in the whole place and then area rugs, where you may want to?

Yea, of course the best looking and most expensive option. That's what has me fretting. I want to keep the costs down but may go that route anyway.

MoldBuster 01-18-2007 03:10 PM

Before you put any flooring down...I'd still recommend sealing the slab. I know it reads dry right now...but trust me, I've seen this problem many times over (below grade flooring in basements causing mold). Typically people put down a vapor barrier which then forces the slab moisture to the sides of the room which then get moldy. The solution is to use a silicate deep sealant on the concrete (ala Kryton). It isn't particularly hard to apply or expensive and is good preventative measure.

As for flooring...the one good argument about carpet is that it is warmer. Unless you have radiant floors. I have a daylight basement in my home and we have carpet in the main area but I installed engineered floors (Kahrs) in my office and in the library. I do have hydronic radiant so my wood floors tend to be a bit warmer. But if I didn't...I'd do carpet.

KUIPORNG 01-18-2007 04:02 PM

I would choose laminate with these reasons:

1. there are good looking laminate now and sometimes they are on sale for cost quite low.

2. laminate is not wood, so it is more resistance to water

3. under laminate, you are going to put some pad which is a natural vapour barrier and you don't need another one

Brik 01-19-2007 07:04 AM


Originally Posted by KUI****G (Post 30530)
I would choose laminate with these reasons:

1. there are good looking laminate now and sometimes they are on sale for cost quite low.

2. laminate is not wood, so it is more resistance to water

3. under laminate, you are going to put some pad which is a natural vapour barrier and you don't need another one

As for #1 - I am a woodworker. I work with wood a lot. I can spot laminate from a mile away. (Well actually from 6' away). Being a woodworker I just couldn't bring myself to use it for aesthetics.

As for #2 - This isn't entirely true. The substrate on laminates is something called MDF that has been treated for water resistance. (Some have other substrates but this is most common). MDF will swell when it gets wet. Yes, the plastic surface is very water impervious.

As for #3 - Yes, vapor barrier should be installed as per manufacturers guidelines.

Thanks for your feedback - I am narrowing my choices. I think a trip to lumber liquidators this weekend may be in order. Also, I am looking at concrete polishing with an acid stain.

KUIPORNG 01-19-2007 08:22 AM

Wood on basement is not recommended generally
due to potential moisture problem...

yummy mummy 01-19-2007 08:28 AM

I would never choose wood for a basement floor, no matter what precautions you take, it is still below gound. I have nothing against wood, I have 3/4 inch prefinished hardwood flooring throughout all of my house, (2100 square feet of it, in a very dark brown colour and I absolutely love them.)

For me, I am going to play it really safe, and put ceramic tile.
Not exactly the look that I would like but I would rather have the added assurance.

I am hoping to find ceramic tile that looks like slate. That would make me happy. At a good price, of course.

Brik 01-19-2007 08:34 AM

Yummy mummy - If you are anywhere near lancaster county PA I know of a building supply auction that has pallet loads of discontinued tile all the time. Hit and miss on what you will find but I have seen slate looking stuff before. Bad thing is you need to buy the whole lot (Like a pallet load). Good thing is I have seen pallets of the stuff go for like $1 if no one else is interested in bidding on that particular lot. kuiporing - I'll share my secret with you too if a want. I wont post the details publicly because I don't want too much compitition at the next auction!

As for wood in the basement - No I wont use solid wood. I'm looking at "engineered" wood. Its like laminate and finsihed for below grade. Holds up same as laminates in such areas.

yummy mummy 01-19-2007 08:44 AM

I am not located in US. I am from Canada, in Toronto.

We also have some discounted outlets that have inexpensive tiles.
I will check and see if I can get some when the time comes.

I have a stupid question, what are "pallets".

Brik 01-19-2007 08:50 AM

They are used to stack large quantities of materials to allow loading into trucks with fork lifts.

yummy mummy 01-19-2007 09:26 AM

I know what they are now.
We call them "skids" here.

You mean that they charge $1.00 for a "skid" of tiles.

MoldBuster 01-19-2007 09:12 PM


Originally Posted by KUI****G (Post 30594)
Wood on basement floors is not recommended due to potential moisture problem...

If the basement isn't properly sealed...that is definitely the case. However...if you take the time to PROPERLY seal the concrete and walls with the right products and procedures...there is no reason what so ever that you can't put hardwood down. Again, I stress PROPER sealing. I use Kryton. After you do a Kryton system...your basement will be dry as Mars.

yummy mummy 01-20-2007 08:39 PM

What is Kryton?

MoldBuster 01-21-2007 01:33 PM

Kryton is a concrete waterproofing system. It is used commercially for treating leaking commercial properties, water treatment plants, aquariums and sealing concrete dams (yes...they plug dams with it). A concrete slab or wall in a home treated properly with Kryton will NOT leak or emit water vapor. It also significantly strengthens the concrete. They are based in Vancouver B.C.

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