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Old 10-30-2008, 03:19 PM   #1
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Carpet in the basement


Hey guys, I've read so much about this here that I'm really confused...

I'm putting cartpet in the basement room that I've built (still need to paint and hang the door).

It's going down on the bare basement floor and I've no moisture issues other than it gets a bit humid down there under extreme rainy days...it's St. Louis...it happens!

But, I've read about the carpet tiles vs. vapor barrior vs. sealing the floor...eesh...so...here is what I'm thinking...

I'm going to put down the 6mil vapor barrior, pad then carpet. Do I glue the barrior to the floor and the pad to the barrior? or how should I do this...OR, am I going in the wrong direction all together here?

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Old 10-30-2008, 05:23 PM   #2
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Carpet in the basement


Wrong direction. Not a good idea to put down a barrier and then glue pad to it.
If moisture is that big of an issue, then Commercial grade glue direct is your answer.
Otherwise just take the risk and do a standard install over glued pad.

Not sure if a concrete sealer is good...pad may not stick I would think.

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Old 10-30-2008, 09:08 PM   #3
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Carpet in the basement


If there is a vapor barrier under your concrete slab, you wouldn't want to install another vapor barrier over top of it. I had standard carpet pad and carpeting installed in my basement last year. As long as you have no moisture issues, you should be fine. Commercial carpet glue would be a better system. If you go that route, make sure there is no sealer on your concrete floor because that can provide bonding issues with carpet glue.

I run a dehumidifier non-stop from May thru October to control any possible moisture issues.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:55 PM   #4
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Carpet in the basement


There is no sealer...not sure about the vapor barrior under the slab.

So, are you saying to use glue in lieu of tacking strips around the room? Or, both?

Obviously, I've never done this before...so...I'm learning as I go! I'm pleased with what I have thus far, so I don't want to screw things up now!

Where in WI are you from? I'm originally from Milwaukee...I miss it quite a bit (never thought I'd say that while growing up!)
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:39 AM   #5
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Carpet in the basement


You're talking two types of carpet, actually; one is commercial olefin, which is a good choice in basements because it stands to retain moisture - and therefore mould - less than other carpets. You glue this down onto the dry concrete with carpet adhesive and a trowel.

The other is, usually, a nylon carpet which has an olefin backing, like most. This type of carpet is usually thicker than the one I mention above, and is typically stretched onto tacking strips around the perimeter of the room. Not the most ideal for basements, although acceptable if the basement is dry.

Controlling the moisture level down there is the issue; you can do so with dehumidifers - but establishing a base relative humidity level is the place you start from. Do you have a sump pump?
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Old 10-31-2008, 02:50 PM   #6
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Carpet in the basement


Commercial carpet can be directly glued to the floor and doesn't show wear bad due usually to it's tight loop and or dense short pile construction. It can also be stretched over padding, thin and dense on the pad. Other types of carpet that tend to be thicker will crush or mat to the floor without the padding. I'm in Ohio and have layed carpet for 30 years but don't take my advice.
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:10 PM   #7
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Carpet in the basement


Don't take your advice?!?!?!? That's what I'm hear for! ;-)

Just so I understand, are you saying glueing the carpet down directly to the clean, dry floor with carpet adhesive, and with no pad?
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Old 10-31-2008, 07:41 PM   #8
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Millions of yards of commercial type carpet selling for $5 a yard have been glued to a clean concrete floor with years of satisfaction. The more you pay doesn't always make it better, more frills more money, nylon vs. olefin, more money. 20oz. vs 26oz more money. Nylon is generally associated with longer life but is does cost more upfront. Buy some 26oz and I assure you won't have any issues, probably not even with 20oz.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:29 PM   #9
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Carpet in the basement


Packer Backer:

If you haven't got moisture issues with your basement floor, then how to install your carpet is wide open.

You can glue the carpet down to the concrete floor directly. That is, without an underpad. Lots of commercial carpet is installed this way, but it doesn't provide for the soft feel you normally expect from a residential carpet.

You can glue the pad down, and glue the carpet down to the pad. That's called a "double glue down". And, that's pretty common too.

Or, you can either use the tackstrips with the concrete nails in them or use construction adhesive to stick tackstrips without nails down to the concrete floor, stick your pad down with double sided tape, and then stretch the carpet in normally. I used LePage PL Premium to stick tackstrips down in my sister's basement, double sided tape to install the underpad and stretched a 100% Olefin carpet in. If and when she wants to opt for a different kind of basement floor, I'll just wreck a $7 (cheap) Stanley 2 inch wide wood chisel removing the tackstrips from the concrete. I'd rather wreck a cheap chisel than leave a bunch of chips in the floor where concrete nails went in and did or didn't grab well.

Carpet is made of three kinds of synthetic fiber:

1. Nylon is the strongest fiber carpet is made of, and so nylon pile makes for the longest wearing carpets. Over 80% of all commercial carpet made is made of nylon fiber. However, to get a really long life out of a carpet, you also need to go with a level loop carpet. The natural resilience of a loop keeps the carpet from matting in high traffic areas. So, most commercial carpet is nylon level loop carpet. Nylon fiber is the most expensive synthetic fiber as well.

2. Polyester carpets are often made from recycled soft drink bottles. Soft drink bottles are made from a plastic called "PET" or polyethylene teraphthalate with or without something called "PEN" or polyethylene naphthalate in it. Polyester isn't the least expensive fiber, nor is it the strongest fiber, so polyester carpets have difficulty finding a sales niche. The fact that they can be made out of old soft drink bottles that would otherwise end up in the landfill makes them the greenest carpets, I guess.

3. Polypropylene carpets are also called "Olefin" carpets. Polypropylene is the least expensive fiber used to make carpets. Polypropylene is also the most water resistant fiber used to make carpet from, and that makes polypropylene carpets the most naturally resistant to water based stains. Polypropylene carpets are generally the least expensive carpets.

One noteworthy characteristic of polypropylene is that it cannot be dyed by conventional means. The only way to colour polypropylene fiber is to add tiny coloured particles (called "pigments") to the molten polypropylene before drawing it into a fiber. This process, called "solution dying", results in the pigments being encased in polypropylene plastic, and that means you can use harsh chemicals (like acetone and bleach right out of the jug) on the carpet without fear of damaging it. The bleach will not affect the colour of the carpet because the colour comes from the pigments which are encased in plastic within the carpet pile fiber.

DuPont has spent a king's ransom trying to make their nylon more stain resistant. The high cost of their StainMaster carpet fiber typically results in carpets made with it costing north of $35 per square yard. Other carpet manufacturers have now seen the light and are producing commercial level loop carpet made with SOLUTION DYED nylon. In my view, this represents the best qualities of nylon (strong, so you get a long wearing carpet) and polypropylene (solution dyed so that you can use bleach directly on the carpet to remove otherwise impossible stains).

You have little to lose by buying one of those car floor mat size samples of a solution dyed level loop commercial carpet for $1 or $2 or so, and torturing it with Kool-Aid and bleach to confirm that you can use bleach to remove stains from it without harming the carpet.

I own a small apartment block, and I'm installing level loop solution dyed nylon carpet in all my apartments as the old polypropylene carpets wear out. There are now many different solution dyed nylon level loop commercial carpets, but the one I find I like best is the "Franchise" series by Shaw Carpets. Shaw also has the "Reward Power" series which are also solution dyed nylon carpets that come in about 16 different colours, just like the Franchise series.

I've been told that you need to replace basement carpeting after a sewer back-up. I really don't know if that same advice would apply if you could alternatively shampoo the carpet with bleach. I've had heavily smoking tenants vacate my building, and I had trouble removing the smell of cigarette smoke from the suite until I shampoo'ed the carpet with a bleach solution (diluted with 10 parts water), and that removed the smell of cigarette smoke even when washing the walls and ceilings with that same bleach solution didn't. (This was an extreme case, tho. Normally it's not that hard to get rid of that cigarette smoke smell. With these tenants, however, not only could you see where pictures were hung on walls by the outline in the smoke stain, you could tell where furniture was positioned on the floor from the outline in the smoke stain on the floors, too. I've only encountered that twice in 20+ years as a landlord, but now I don't rent to smokers anymore because it's such a hassle cleaning up after someone who smokes 14 packs a day.)

Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 10-31-2008 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:26 AM   #10
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Carpet in the basement


wow Nester, that's quite a response!!! Awesome information. It seems I could go many different ways here. You guys have given me a lot to think about. This morning yet, I'm going to a carpet store to get their take one this. But, the information you guys have given me should help me realize when they are just trying to 'sell' me something. I'll let you know how it works out.
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:53 AM   #11
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Carpet in the basement


If you are wanting to place carpet in the basement, that is your choice. Just make sure that it will stay dry, and if you want to, you can go the extra expense, by using the floor panels that have a plastic attached on the bottom, that allows water to move to the drains underneath, so that you do not have to worry about soaking through the carpet.
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:57 PM   #12
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Think those are 2'x2' 'DRI-CORE panels. about $5 each...
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Old 11-02-2008, 08:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Packer Backer View Post
wow Nester, that's quite a response!!! Awesome information. It seems I could go many different ways here. You guys have given me a lot to think about. This morning yet, I'm going to a carpet store to get their take one this. But, the information you guys have given me should help me realize when they are just trying to 'sell' me something. I'll let you know how it works out.
If you choose to go with solution dyed nylon, the one thing you should prepare yourself for is misinformation from supposed "experts" on carpeting. Here are two things people are likely to say to you:

1. "Nylon has tiny holes in it. That is where dye gets into the fiber and diffuses through and colours it. That's why nylon dyes so well."

Actually, there are different kinds of nylons, and they don't all dye equally well. What nylon does have are "amide groups". Amide groups, which look like this:
-(C=O)-(NH)-
are highly polar, just like water molecules. They have a strong apparant electrical charge depending on which direction you're looking at them from. As a result, water soluble dyes (which are also polar) bond to those amide groups. These amide groups are often called "holes" in the industry, and it's common for people to presume that there are REAL holes in nylon.

In fact here's a carpet "expert" with a web site on carpeting

http://www.carpetbuyershandbook.com/...cification.php

who shows he's got it all wrong when he says:

"Most yarn systems such as nylon, polyester, wool, or cotton are dyed using a topical treatment of liquid dyes. These yarn systems contain tiny holes (dye sites) which allow the dyes to penetrate the yarn. Dye can be applied in a dye bath (beck) or sprayed-on topically. Olefin does not contain dye sites which allow dye to penetrate the fiber. Olefin is dyed using a solution-dye method. Solution dyeing occurs when the yarn is transformed from polymer chips to fiber. Polymer chips are added to a chamber and heated. Color chips are added during the heating process.
At the bottom of the chamber is a device called a spinneret which contains hundreds of tiny holes. As the solution melts and pours through these holes filaments of fiber are formed. It may take 1500 or more of these filaments to make up one-plyed yarn. As the color chips and polymer chips melt, the yarn is dyed through and through with color. Olefin's limitations in dyeing capabilities also can be considered an advantage.
Most carpet stains occur due to penetration of the dye sites. Olefin does not contain dye sites, making it almost impossible to stain. Another advantage of solution dyeing is the ability to withstand bleaches and oxidizing agents. Since the color is throughout the yarn, fading and bleaching cannot occur. Nylon can also be dyed using the solution-dye method but most nylon is dyed using the less expensive topical or beck dyeing method."

What the guy is missing here is that those polar amide groups are just called "holes". They're not real actual pores in the nylon plastic. The dye molecules bond to the fiber at those "holes".

Also, in solution dyed fibers, the colour is not "through and through" the fiber like glass is uniformly greenish in colour. The coloured chips used in solution dying derive their colour because they have tiny solid coloured particles (called "pigments") in them that make the plastic the colour it is. By melting these coloured plastic chips with a batch of non-coloured chips, the pigments in the coloured chips get dispersed throughout the molten polymer. The fiber that comes out has coloured pigments encased in it very much like the raisins in raisin bread. The author of that "Carpet Buyers Handbook" is saying that the entire cross section of the solution dyed fiber is uniform in colour, and that's simply not correct. The cross section of the fiber resembles a slice of raisin bread, where the fiber gets it's colour ONLY from the raisins encased in it. Just like plastics, paints also contain tiny solid coloured pigments that give the paint it's particular colour.

2. Never, ever, never use bleach on a carpet.

The largest carpet retailer in Winnipeg has started a secondary business whereby they also clean carpets. The guy who's head of that part of the business told me himself that bleach will damage carpet fibers. He wasn't specific about what form that "damage" would take (although he suggested it would roughen the surface of the fiber) or which kinds of fibers would be damaged by the bleach, either. So, I tried them all.

I put a wire tie (which will be either black or unpigmented nylon, mine was unpigmented), and a short piece of polypropylene twine in a 473 ml plastic soft drink bottle and filled the bottle half full of bleach. Remember that a large fraction of polyester carpets are made from recycled plastic soft drink bottles. So, I had nylon, polyester and polypropylene all soaking in bleach, and I left it that way for several days. I saw no perceptible change in any of those items during that time, either while they were still soaking in bleach or after I took them out of the bleach and twisted and bent them to see if they were affected in some other way.

If the bleach roughened the inside surface of the bottle, then that rougher surface would scatter light, making it appear clowdy and more opaque, similar to privacy glass, but on a much finer scale. I saw no change in the appearance of the plastic at all. If the bleach roughened the surface of the wire tie then it wouldn't look equally glossy under a jeweller's loupe, but it did. (I have a 10X jeweller's loupe.) And, in my polypropylene twine there are blue strands of blue pigmented polypropylene. If the surface of those blue strands were roughened by the bleach, they would scatter light more than the undamaged blue strands. Your eye would see that scattered light as "white" light, so the colour of the damaged blue strands would appear to be a lighter blue than the undamaged blue polypropylene strands. After partially soaking in bleach, I saw absolutely no difference in shade between the blue polypropylene that was soaking in bleach, the blue polypropylene that wasn't in the bleach, and blue polypropylene that wasn't even in the bottle.

Also, I could find no other difference in the twine, wire tie or bottle after doing that little experiment. They all appeared to be equally strong or flexible and generally undamaged by the bleach. I'm convinced that either that "carpet cleaning guru" didn't know what he was talking about or that the extent of damage we're dealing with is so miniscule that you can use bleach liberally and frequently on any kind of solution dyed carpet for decades without ever perceiving any hint of damage to the carpet as a result.

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Old 11-03-2008, 06:14 AM   #14
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Carpet in the basement


I think that article was quite accurate actually, even calling dye sites "holes" for the countless others who read it and who are not purist-chemists. He calls them "dye sites" elsewhere so in that he is correct. Using an analogy is well within literary license IMO. Even if that had been written ONLY for chemical scholars, using the word "hole" is not an offense, so why Nestor does it offend you?

After all what was the purpose of the article and who was its target market?

Seems like a trivial reason to expound on your idea of using bleach on carpeting, but that's just me.
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:13 AM   #15
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Carpet in the basement


Before you invest in carpet you might want to take a look at the FlexiTile interlocking tile at Lowe's. It has a slate like finish; the interlock is hidden and snaps together. It is a free-floating floor and is soft to walk on. I used it in a pretty damp basement in Kansas City and held up for three years until I sold the house. I did not have that musty smell that I had with carpet prior to putting down the tile. I checked for moisture from time to time around the foundation cracks and would see some moisture during the next check it would be dry. It seems to evaporate. No mold or mildew. After a couple of days maybe a week it formed to the irregularities in the foundation. A light coating of Armstrong Shine keeper makes it almost maintenance free.

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