Today Robert writes:
We have a moisture problem in our basement but need to install new flooring what do you recommend? We were considering hardwood but the salesperson said that was unwise. How come? What flooring for a damp basement makes sense then?
You don’t want to put solid hardwood flooring in a damp basement with moisture problems because hardwood does not do well in moist conditions. As the moisture in the air changes, the solid hardwood floor expands and contracts so much it will swell, buckle or have huge gaps in between the boards. Also if the area is exposed to moisture too long, you could mold and the expanding of the floor will cause problems with how it fits together. So in general it would be best to just avoid it all together below grade.
If your moisture problem is minimal, you could use a laminate or engineered wood floor, but I would still use a moisture vapor barrier before installing the flooring. This will help keep the moisture that is seeping through the concrete from being exposed to your laminate or wood floor. To check to see if you have a moisture problem tape down a piece of plastic with duct tape, leave it down a minimum of 24 hours and check to see if the area of concrete is darker or if there is any condensation on the plastic.
If you have a serious moisture problem, I’d suggest using something that isn’t easily affected by moisture, like vinyl. Either in sheet goods and full spread adhesive or in planks that stick to themselves, like Traffic Master’s Allure or Armstrong’s Lock Haven. You can get both of these types of vinyl in the wood look without having to worry how the material will work in your basement over time.
If you still want real wood on the floor of your basement, have the ceiling height to raise the floor and are willing to spend a little extra money, consider installing DRIcore. DRIcore is a subfloor material with a moisture barrier built in. The bottom moisture barrier creates air channels between the subfloor and the concrete, thus protecting the indoor air quality of your basement by allowing your concrete to breath. So there are no worries about mildew and mold. Using DRIcore will also give your floor a warmer feeling because now you have 2 layers between the concrete and your feet.
Whether you use DRIcore or go with a flooring that can take the moisture, it is important to know your options before making a costly mistake and putting down a flooring that is not right for the area.
Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!