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vseven 09-21-2010 09:05 AM

Finishing a cement basement floor with carpet and tile - no subfloor?
Not sure if this should go here or under remodeling but I'll try here. I have been working on finishing my previously completely empty basement (Re: and have finished 90% of the walls and electrical and am waiting on some quotes for taping/mudding. The foundation is Reward Wall System (ICF), floor is smooth poured concrete. The house was built 11 years ago and I've lived in it for the last 3. In that time I have had a slight bit of water going over one of the foundation walls because a back stone porch was installed incorrectly (too high) and was damming the water up and over the foundation. I have since fixed that issue. There is also a walk out on one side so I'm not sure if you would rate the slab as below grade or not (one side is 80% below grade and the other side is level if not slightly higher then grade outside...the house is on a slight hill). There are stress cracks every 20 feet or so, one runs the entire length of the basement (side to side) and then two run front to back so the floor is divided into 6 big pieces.

I will eventually carpet the majority of the living spaces and tile the floor of the bathroom. Due to money (or lack there of) I planned on tiling the bathroom this year and painting all the rest of the floor and will carpet next year. I have had a temp and humidity meter in the basement since last November and check it regularly; The basement stays 45 - 55% humidity year round and 68 - 71*. I also have ducted 5 supplies from my furnace/AC in, one for the bathroom (and a exhaust), one for my storage area, three for my large common area, and none in a small utility room which is a interior room.

Because of the stability of the temperature and lack of moisture I plan on putting carper directly on the concrete with a pad behind it. I also was going to put the tile directly on it but I'm thinking I should use cement backer board. A couple small closets and both my storage and utility rooms will not have the floor carpeted ever...just remain concrete. My questions:

1) Should I use a cement backer board on top of the concrete and then attach my tiles to that? If so do I just glue that directly to the floor? Any worries about moisture for this?

2) Should I fill the stress cracks with some type of flexible caulk to make sure nothing comes up through them and also so the floor is smoother?

3) I want to paint this year and carpet next year or the year after. What kind of paint should I put down? Does it need to be moisture/mold resistant? Would it help knowing I'm going to put carpet directly on it?

4) The concrete right now is covered in drywall dust and it's not cleaning up very well and I'm resistant to use water since the drywall is up and I don't want to get it wet. How do I prep the floor for paint?



rusty baker 09-21-2010 09:18 AM

Carpet and pad can go right on the concrete, no problem. No backer board. If the cracks run into where the tile is going, use a membrane, then set your tiles in thinset. Scrape and mop the floor for paint. Unless you soak the floor, you shouldn't get the drywall wet.

vseven 09-21-2010 09:41 AM

My upstairs (which I'm trying to mimic as close as possible) has carpet run right up to the tile in each bathroom and they are the same height (carpet height and tile height). There is no like door sill to cover the slight gap, they just butt up against each other centered on the door so when it's closed from the inside you just see tile and from the outside you just see carpet (it's kinda nice actually). If I need to increase the height of the tile by 1/2 inch would it be easiest to use backer board or something else?

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