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Old 11-16-2010, 02:12 PM   #1
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Carpet in basement


I know that carpet is not the best choice for a basement floor, but unfortunately it might be my only choice, financially. From what I've read it sounds like I should look into padding that's not made of standard urethane foam, and I should use carpet made from nylon or olefin. When I looked at padding and carpet at a store recently it seemed like almost every type was labeled as "mildew resistant". Anyone have any suggestions or experience with types of carpet and padding in a basement?

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Old 11-16-2010, 04:15 PM   #2
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Carpet in basement


Hi Spaceman,

I agree carpet is not the best floor covering any where in a house, it can be especially problematic when used on and below grade. Even apparent dry basements have moisture coming up from the floor. The padding is the most important factor in this type of installation.

They all claim to be mildew resistant, but doesn't mean much. You need mildew or water "proof".

We have a pad that is not only 100% waterproof, but unlike other pads it also offers a 4.5 R factor, so the floor will be warmer. Carpet and regular padding claim no insulating benefits at all.

This padding is;

100% Waterproof
No Chlorofluocarbons (CFC's)
4.5 R factor for premium insulation
100% Non Alergenic
3/8" thick (54 W x 60'L)
0.25 FSI-Class A fire rated
15 lb. Density Feel

Jaz

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Old 11-17-2010, 12:51 AM   #3
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Carpet in basement


The padding sounds great, but I'm worried it also sounds pricey. How much is it?
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Old 11-17-2010, 01:09 AM   #4
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Carpet in basement


Have to use underlay padding in a basement carpet situation.. mildew underlay starts at $.99sq/ft around here
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:58 AM   #5
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Carpet in basement


I did a little more reading and found some articles saying you want a pad that prevents any moisture from getting into the carpet so choose a waterproof one, then I found another article saying the carpet and pad should be able to "breathe" and let the moisture escape and dry out so choose one that lets the moisture pass through, otherwise the trapped moisture will mildew over time.

Now I'm more confused!
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:27 PM   #6
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There's two types of pad that "should" be used in a basement. Solid rubber and this waterproof pad. A good rubber sells for about $8.00 yd. This pad also sells for $8.00 but is much better because of the mentioned reasons.



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Old 11-17-2010, 01:46 PM   #7
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Carpet in basement


I have been installing carpet in basements since the 70's and personally have seen few that had moisture problems.
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:21 PM   #8
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Carpet in basement


If you have moisture problems in your basement, you'll have greater problems unless you address that issue i.e how to manage the moisture. Some older basements try to keep moisture out of the foundation by putting up plastic on the inside, some more modern ones let the moisture in - but manage it with dehumidifiers... a lot depends on your current situation.

Put it this way: with excessive moisture problems, no underpadding - no matter what the price - is going to save your butt from mould issues. And whether you use nylon, olefin or wool carpets, the problems are going to appear - just be delayed a bit.

Look under your floor and tell us what you have now: for example, "concrete/plastic sheet/2x4's on edge/5/8" T&G plywood screwed in/carpet" - and then tell us what your hydrometer readings for relative humidity and temperature are down there and well tell you what are good approach might be.

See, the issue is moisture/humidity call it what you will...not the carpetting nor the underpadding. Dry basements have carpetting galore and don't have problems with moulds and, if taken care of the way it should, wlll last a lifetime. Conversely, wet basements especially those with wood will give you nightmares...

Don't get nickel-and-dimed over what type of carpet or underpadding you should get. Those items are peanuts when compared to total redo's because moisture issues weren't handled properly in the beginning...
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:56 PM   #9
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Carpet in basement


The first thing to do is to test the floor to determine if moisture is present and if so how much. The problem with all that is that moisture can be seasonal.
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Old 11-17-2010, 03:42 PM   #10
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I pulled the existing carpet and padding up a week or so ago, and underneath that was some cheap self-adhesive tiles that came up easily. Under that was the concrete. I scrubbed the concrete with warm water+bleach, and then went over it two more times with a mix of warm water+Lysol disinfectant cleaner. It smells muuuuuuuch better now.

The concrete looks to be in good shape and no signs of mold or mildew outside a couple of small, isolated spots (cc and Bud know this ) that I found on the carpet. The house was built about 50 years ago and the outside-facing walls are lined with plastic sheets.

Yesterday was the first rain we've had in weeks so tonight when I get home will be my first good chance to look for signs of moisture. I run a humidifier most of the year in the basement (in another room, but all the rooms are open to each other and it's not a large basement). I'll try taping down a piece of plastic on the concrete floor and seeing how much moisture builds up underneath over time.

Any other things I should do in the meantime? Or suggestions on what I plan to do??
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Old 11-17-2010, 06:14 PM   #11
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The "plastic taped to the floor" trick will only tell you if moisture does or does not exist at that time. It won't measure the quantity of moisture if there is any. There are tests and meters available for that purpose but they cost money. One of the more common tests is the Ccl Test. It will help determine how much water is there. But again, any moisture migration can be seasonal.
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:36 PM   #12
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So, the cheap tiles underneath your carpet came up easily, did they? I'll give you two choices as to why that happened - but you don't need two.

Look, unless your basement is actually well-ventilated and dry (which I doubt), you have inwards moisture migration - either from the floor or from the walls or from the countless small openings or from the rim joists or from the laundry machine etc etc. Moisture tends to travel inwards mostly during the summer, a bit less in winter, and sometimes it goes out - but it moves all the time, so you either have to control it before it comes in or deal with it once it's there.

As it comes in, it moistens studs and any cellulosic product like certain types of carpet and usually creates a mould-factory. Those tiles came up easily because the moisture prevented them from bonding in the first place and dissolved the glue over the long-term. But you found some mould - not a lot because there wasn't that much to feed on.

Wanna know a cheap solution? Keep the dehu working and keep the air moving with a cheap oscillating fan. Lower moisture = lower mould.
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
So, the cheap tiles underneath your carpet came up easily, did they? I'll give you two choices as to why that happened - but you don't need two.

Look, unless your basement is actually well-ventilated and dry (which I doubt), you have inwards moisture migration - either from the floor or from the walls or from the countless small openings or from the rim joists or from the laundry machine etc etc. Moisture tends to travel inwards mostly during the summer, a bit less in winter, and sometimes it goes out - but it moves all the time, so you either have to control it before it comes in or deal with it once it's there.

As it comes in, it moistens studs and any cellulosic product like certain types of carpet and usually creates a mould-factory. Those tiles came up easily because the moisture prevented them from bonding in the first place and dissolved the glue over the long-term. But you found some mould - not a lot because there wasn't that much to feed on.

Wanna know a cheap solution? Keep the dehu working and keep the air moving with a cheap oscillating fan. Lower moisture = lower mould.
I must admit, the tiles that popped up easily looked very similar to some cheap self-adhesive tiles I'd installed years ago in the kitchen and entry way of my previous home, and they also popped up very easily later on. A little too easily, in fact, and I never used those types of floor tiles again. But I certainly won't disagree with the theory that moisture was also a big factor, since the chance of moisture in any basement is 100%.

The floor still appears to be dry and it looks like there's no signs of water penetration along the walls either from yesterdays rain. My plan at this point is to go ahead and reseal the floor while I've got the concrete exposed. Then it sounds like I should go ahead and get a good moisture indicator, and take into account we're heading into winter so it will likely read low.

As for the dehumidifier, the good news is I've had one running non-stop since I bought this house. (Well, almost non-stop. I don't run it during the winter when the static electricity gets unbearable) And this room has ductwork from the central air, plus it has a ceiling fan that I run on occasion, so your "cheap solutions" have already been in process for the last couple of years.

Do these moisture indicators take into account using them in drier months?
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spaceman spif

I must admit, the tiles that popped up easily looked very similar to some cheap self-adhesive tiles I'd installed years ago in the kitchen and entry way of my previous home, and they also popped up very easily later on. A little too easily, in fact, and I never used those types of floor tiles again. But I certainly won't disagree with the theory that moisture was also a big factor, since the chance of moisture in any basement is 100%.

The floor still appears to be dry and it looks like there's no signs of water penetration along the walls either from yesterdays rain. My plan at this point is to go ahead and reseal the floor while I've got the concrete exposed. Then it sounds like I should go ahead and get a good moisture indicator, and take into account we're heading into winter so it will likely read low.

As for the dehumidifier, the good news is I've had one running non-stop since I bought this house. (Well, almost non-stop. I don't run it during the winter when the static electricity gets unbearable) And this room has ductwork from the central air, plus it has a ceiling fan that I run on occasion, so your "cheap solutions" have already been in process for the last couple of years.

Do these moisture indicators take into account using them in drier months?
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:06 AM   #15
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Carpet in basement


Even without moisture coming up through the floor, even if you put waterproofing paint on the concrete floor surface, there is a tendency for the concrete underneath to get moist and more so if you have insulating material over he concrete. This is because the normal ground tmperature (under the house) is lower than room air temperature.

Just run the dehumidifier a lot during late spring, summer, and early fall.

You might try something like Dricore (tm) which is a subfloor with air channels underneath and put the carpet on top of that. Add a radon mitigation fan smack dab in the middle of the basement to change the air in the channels under this subfloor system and prevent moisture buildup.

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