inexpensive basement flooring options

bert76June 21, 2009

I've been searching this and other sites for months, but I still can't seem to figure out what to do with our basement floor.

It has been finished in the past before we bought the place with carpet over a thick pad. We had a flood in our bathroom that ruined part of the carpet, and on closer inspection the rest of the carpet has old pet stains.

Needless to say, it all has to go. But my husband said I can't pull the rest up until I have a replacement flooring in hand. We have rather low ceilings, so I don't want anything that adds too much height, and we need it to be reasonable and probably DIY.

It's gets cold in the winter, so I'm skeptical of hard tile. What about vinyl tiles?

Any and all ideas are appreciated.

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Vinyl tiles directly applied will lift as water vapour that is passing through your basement floor accumulates as water.

If there is no particular water problem, I have found that an unpadded commercial carpet works well. If your DIY level includes ceramic, by all means go for it. There are always lots of closeouts, ends of lines etc. that can be gotten for next to nothing. Use an uncoupling underlayment such as Ditra to avoid cracked tiles.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 12:15AM
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Thanks for the information. I was suspect of the vinyl tile idea for just that reason.

Ceramic tile seems like a little too much work for what we want out of the space, which is a comfortable enough place for a playroom for my young kids. Plus, there might be a major remodel in five years or so if my sister moves in when she retires, so I don't want to put too much money into it at this point. We just want it livable and not smelly.

I'm hoping to find some closeout carpet tiles to make the installation easier. Any ideas for online sources?


    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 12:51PM
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Carpet tiles could work. I'd avoid glue-on types to save you trouble in the future and problems now if there ever was any incompatible adhesive on the concrete. But I don't know any online sources.

Since this is planned as a long time residence, it could be well worth it to spend a bit more and use Dri-Core, Delta FL or XPS on the floor, so you can upgrade or change the flooring later with no concern of water wrecking your new flooring. Major flooding excepted.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 10:32PM
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Worthy: How much height do Dri-Core, DeltaFL or XPS add to the floor? That's a big concern for us because we are tall people. The height concern outweighs having the option of changing/upgrading the flooring in the distant future. In all likelihood, if my sister does move in, she'd have at least part of the floor dug out to gain more ceiling height. That's how much the low ceilings bother her.

My current new flooring choice really needs to be a here-and-now solution for my family alone - and we don't have a lot of money. Anybody else have any specific ideas?


    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 1:04PM
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I am not sure what you mean by "not a lot of money" but I am planning on putting in laminate wood flooring. There are several places around here that advertise on Craigs List for less than a $1 a square foot.

If the size is small you also might be able to get some really cheap where someone bought to much for a project and are looking to unload it.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 6:10PM
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I laid ceramic tile i got cheap from Hobo. the grout and morter cost more than the tile. We laid half the floor one weekend and the other half the next. If we had better knees it could have been done in one weekend. I love it. An area rug in front of the couch keeps your feet warm. we pulled up carpet that always smelled of mildew.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 8:10AM
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Dricore is 7/8" thick. I just noticed another alternative in a Big Box the other day. It's squares like Dri-Core, but the bottom layer is about 1/2" of XPS.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 9:43PM
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DH wants to setup an old couch and the Guitar Hero game in our basement for DSD since we don't have AC. I'm all for that being out of the way =D We are going to get 1 (or more) area rugs and just throw them down. I love area rugs. I have 3 now and while 1 stays in the LR always, the other 2 have been re-purposed multiple times.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 10:55PM
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how much was that dri core type stuff with the XPS on the bottom?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 9:01AM
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What about staining the concrete and using area rugs in the areas you live in? always has great fun clearance rugs.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 9:08AM
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We have also been looking into budget-friendly flooring options for the basement. You could use laminate or engineered wood flooring. The laminate would probably be the thinnest, and is easy to install. It's easy to find the laminate for less than $1.00/sf, and the installation isn't has difficult as tile. Another alternative is cork, which would be warm underneath. However, it is a little more expensive. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 12:32AM
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We did a floating laminate in an old house of ours (moisture barrier between the floor and the panels).

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 1:40PM
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We did dri core in our other home with laminate floating. I have since moved to a rental unit, not sure what to do here. the basement is 100% undone, need at least two rooms for kids. was thinking of those big foam squares walmart sells for my daughters play area. I would do a fabric carpet, I did this in my livivng room, works great and was cheap and I can wash and dry it. I spent $80 including the non skid underlay got at len's mills. it covers 8x12. I might do this in basement or i might get discount carpet to go over the foam. Is there maybe a better option that is cheap to keep the cold off my little one while she is playing? also what would i do for walls? any idea's we are not allowed to put up dri wall or anything that stays or is permanent.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 7:07PM
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