10-26-2011 08:00 PM - edited 10-26-2011 08:02 PM
I am planning to finish the basement of my SFH and I need your advise on the choice flooring. It is about 700 sq ft, quite dry with no signs of any seepage or moisture in the past. I did the basic aluminium foil test on floor and walls and it came out fine. I have a dehumdifier running all the time. I intend to use it as one big multipurpose room for family and entertainment.
From my research it seems that carpet is cheapest, not easy to clean, mold friendly and most comfortable and tile is most expensive, easy to maintain and cold to the feet. Laminate and vinyl seem to be in somewhere in between. Hardwood is not recommended for basement and engineered wood is still wood.
From what you have seen, what type seems to be most common in New England? If you in the market for buying, what would you prefer? Do you have strong feelings about any particular type?
All inputs are highly appreciated.
10-27-2011 04:27 AM
Well if I were buying my first choice would be some kind nice tiles treatment with radiant heat built-in. Short of that I think the most common treatment is carpet. For me personally though I hate other people's carpet for some reason but always like it when I install it. . weird right? I think because of how dirty it gets I prefer not to inherit other folks dirt. . .carpet is almost a personal choice. If you do go with carpet however a good quality neutral berber style is the most popular. Another treatment I see frequently is the floating wood-like floor system. Think Pergo. This handles the temp changes in ground floors well, and has improved greatly over the years. Finally, and this one is rare, probably my favorite basement treatment of all time is polished and stained concrete. . .with radiant heat. . .sweeet. This treatment takes area rugs well, and in the right type of home, is contemporary and chic and easy to maintain. I've seen this treatment in a classic carriage house where the lower level was converted to a library and all was rich wood -- walls and ceiling. . .wow, and I've seen it in a new construction condo building-- same dramatic effect. But I digress.. .
Installing tile can be dicey too as everyone has different taste and its easier to remove carpet and replace it and less costly.
10-27-2011 06:31 AM
Ahh, tiled floor with radiant heating. I get dreams about that . From what I saw, radiant heating easily runs into thousands of dollars for 700 sq ft. Add cost of tile installation and we are talking serious $$.
I looked into acid stained concrete. I found it hard to find contractors and the pricing to be competitive with tile.
10-27-2011 03:44 PM
Radiant-heated tiling does certainly sound nice.
However, the most common flooring I've seen is carpeting. However, tiling seems to be preferred by some builders, and seems to make more sense. In case of a flood, at least the carpet will not be likely to be compromised. And mold is less of an issue, although you'll probably have a vapor barrier underneath, regardless of which flooring you choose.
Good luck with the project.
10-28-2011 05:49 AM
I agree with the pergo comment. we had carpet, which just looked dingy over time. Went the laminate/floating floor route and it's been great. Looks great and easy to clean and wasn't that pricey.
The only thing to be aware of is that it will expand and contract with the amount of temp and moisture so the contractor laying the floor down will want to leave room against the walls for it to expand so it doesn't buckle.
Radiant tile sounds nice, but the cost to put it in and then the cost to heat it may be more that you'd want to spend for a basement. In a master bath, sure, but for a finished basement... not so sure.
10-28-2011 08:15 AM
@Seeking_Peace, what kind of vapor barrier are your referring to, moisture barrier underlayment? What about gluing down carpet directly on the concrete?
side bar: I already have a radon mitigation system, some claim that it cuts down on the vapors. Anybody heard this before?
10-28-2011 08:18 AM
Having a dry basement is the key to success. Sounds like you are in good shape there, so the choice comes down to cost/lifestyle preference/maintenance. Here is my experience and some observations.
My basement is much like yours it seems, and we’ve been very satisfied with carpet. We only run the dehumidifier in the summer, on the low setting, so we may be unusually dry compared to others. After a pipe leak some years back where 2 inches of water covered the basement the professional cleaning company came in and put everything back to good order, and only suggested we switch out the pad from foam to a jute/natural fiber as that allowed air to pass through and whatever moisture there might be to dissipate.
A friend in a very expensive new build has a basement with a berber style carpet and is likewise very satisfied. Done right, it provides more comfort and warmth than any hard product and as mentioned elsewhere, can be swapped out at a much lower expense than most other options. Sub-floors are worth considering, although I've seen more without than with.
With proper insulation in the perimeter walls and the right amount of heating for the space, I don’t see how you can go wrong with carpet.
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10-28-2011 10:02 AM - edited 10-28-2011 10:05 AM
RK, I don't think it's a full subfloor, but there was linoelium tile over the concrete which is still underthere so you might need something if it's bare now. But I remember with this they put down a carpet pad sort of foam on top of that.
I'm sure a good floor guy/gal would know... I just wrote the check
I think your call on this also depends on the use for it. We use as a home office, but if it were a playroom you might want carpet for the inevitable falling kids.
10-28-2011 02:56 PM
The vapor barrier question is an important one, especially for buyers considering buying a house with a finished basement. Quality finishing is important for durability and mold prevention.
I had an interesting experience using panels of the pressed wood with the polyethylene eggshell--type backing that is placed facing the concrete surface. It does create the effect of some insulation, combined with a vapor barrier to help minimize mosture. There was, however, some tendency toward mold after several years on the pressed wood surface of the subflooring.
In contrast, using a vapor-barrier quality paint has been excellent for above grade concrete foundation walls in my garage, but this is controversial to use on a concrete foundation slab due, in part, to concerns of build-up of hydrostatic pressure.
Overall, I'd defer to the flooring pros on this. Its great that you're being conscientious about doing it correctly, and that type of attention may be a useful additional selling point for your home in the future.