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Old 05-11-2011, 02:58 PM   #1
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basement flooring suggestions?

hey there, just curious if i could get some insight from more experienced DIY'ers. i'm planning on converting the basement in a 100+ yr old home to be used as a separate rental unit. i've gutted 80% of the basement, leaving the makeshift bedroom that was already there when i bought the house. i've insulated the concrete walls all around the basement perimeter (less the 12ft that makes up the existing bedroom) with 2" rigid foam insulation. haven't framed in any studs to hang drywall on yet. it's pretty bare bones.

since i live in a northern climate with cold winters (northern ontario), and the basement currently has no heat (apart from the residual radiant heat from the hot water pipes that head up and heat the 2 upper floors), i'm wondering what kind of flooring to go with?

since i don't want to lose too much headroom in the basement, i was thinking i'd try for a fairly durable and somewhat insulating material for flooring (so i wouldn't have to insulate the floors, outright). my first thought was cork in every area but the bathroom, where i plan to use tile. the basement isn't that damp, all things considered. after a huge rainfall, and in the spring, it gets slightly damp for a while, but no leaks, no major water issues.

since it IS the basement, however, i was thinking of using something like delta fl ( as a barrier between the cold, sometimes damp concrete floor.

my plan to heat the basement is with electric in-floor heat. i thought about running a new manifold for a hydronic basement zone from my boiler, but decided that would get too expensive, and i'd lose too much height burying the hydronic tubing in concrete floor.

that said, my current plan is cork flooring (and tile in the bathroom) over radiant electric heating pads/coils, and underneath everything i'd use the delta fl vapor barrier.

is this a good bet? i don't have a huge budget, but i do intend to do this right, and not have a mediocre basement floor that will need regular maintenance and repairs due to moisture in the future. i can't seem to find anyone locally who has installed or even has any basic information about this type of setup. for what it's worth, i loathe the vast majority of laminate flooring i've seen/walked on, and didn't really want to go that route.

apart from carpeting & laminate flooring, i'm pretty green when it comes to flooring...especially on a raw surface like a not-so-perfectly-even poured concrete basement floor. thoughts or suggestions? cheers!


Last edited by jeffro83; 05-11-2011 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 05-12-2011, 04:26 AM   #2
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I really like quality cork flooring but also adore bamboo. You can get both as engineered floating floors that would work well in your basement. I like products from this company but there are certainly others so shop around.


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Old 05-14-2011, 12:58 PM   #3
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Any laminate or hardwood floors engineered or not, which is the only type you can use below grade, requires that the subfloor be flattened to within 3/16" in 10' OR YOU WILL HAVE PROBLEMS, I see it every day. Read the installation instructions that come in every box VERY CAREFULLY and you should have no problem.
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