How to Choose the Right Flooring for Basements That Get Wet

Smita Pandit Dec 19, 2018
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Whether you are using the basement for storage purposes or as a living space, waterproofing its floor needs to considered. It prevents the problem of water or moisture seeping through the basement walls and floor.
While considering the flooring options for a basement, one must keep in mind the humid environment and the possibility of underwater seepage. Basements can get wet or flooded due to the direct contact between the basement's concrete sub floor.
Water can seep through the cracks in the concrete and damage the flooring. Even mold and mildew can grow in the presence of moisture.
Thus, homeowners must ensure that there aren't any cracks in the concrete. Installation of a good flooring is the best way to ensure protection against moisture.

How to Check your Basement for Moisture

Before deciding the basement flooring , check if the basement is protected against moisture. For that, consult a flooring specialist. If you wish to convert it into a livable space, ensure that your basement is sealed against moisture.
Imagine spending all that money on a wooden flooring, only to find it getting damaged due to moisture.
If you are not too keen on calling a flooring specialist, you could check the basement for moisture on your own. You need to take a piece of impermeable plastic and place it on the concrete and tape it in such a way that no air can pass through it. Check it after 24 hours.
If you notice any moisture on the underside of the plastic sheet, you might need to look into basement waterproofing. If you don't do that, the moisture in the concrete will make its way through the cracks and weaken the adhesive and damage the flooring.

Flooring Options

Before you look for best flooring options for basements that get wet, you must figure out the causes of moisture in the basement. Bad planning by the architect could be a reason. If the basement drains are located at wrong places, you could call a contractor and have the drains relocated and the basement floors leveled.
Installing a sump pump can also keep basements and crawl spaces dry. Other options include the use of a vapor guard, polyethylene sheet, or basement dehumidifier. Once you solve this problem of moisture by waterproofing, you could check out the flooring options.
Epoxy paint and sealed concrete are good flooring options for the basements. Just have the concrete sealed and treated with a waterproofing compound. You can also have it painted or stained, if you are planning to convert the basement into a living space.
You can opt for stamped concrete, which is created by pouring slab concrete and patterns are imprinted or embossed on it to provide it a texture. With this procedure, the floor can be made to resemble materials like wood, tile, stone, slate, brick, etc. Stenciling and faux finishes could also be checked out.
Other types include ceramic tile flooring, stone tiles, engineered hardwood floors, and laminate flooring.
If there is slight moisture that can be controlled using dehumidifiers, go for the ceramic or porcelain tiles. The choice of flooring must be made after deciding how you wish to use your basement. If you live in a humid region, install concrete floors.
In places that are not very humid, you could have the hardwood engineered flooring installed. The layered structure made using several hardwood materials will certainly resist the changes in humidity in a better way than wooden flooring.
Opt for laminate flooring to tackle the moisture problem. The wood is treated and has an aluminum coating that protects it from scratching or staining.
Though hardwood engineered floors and laminate floors might look good, these aren't suitable for a basement with high levels of humidity.
On a concluding note, concrete flooring is the best option for basements with high levels of moisture. However, make sure that a varnish or sealant that is resistant to hydrostatic pressure is used.
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