Age old Basement Flooring Questions

andrelaplume2August 23, 2012

Please clarify. Regarding water issues in the basement and flooring�I believe there are two issues;

1) Some sort of catastophic event�.waterheater leaks, washing machine hose bursts�etc. In this, my understanding is no matter what you have done�your flooring is going to be an issue�repalcing wood. pulling carpet, perhaps even a painted floor peeling.

2) I understand the concrete needs to breathe and water vapor comes up thru the floor. I have heard from worthy and company (if I understand correctly) that, to prevent mold, the water vapour needs to pass thru what ever flooring you put down�UNLESS you are putting foam board down first. I AM NOT PUTTING FOAM BOARD DOWN FIRST!

So, I think I understood that you could put carpet down but it needs to be made of a particular fiber that 'breathes'. I understand no padding should be put underneath. Is this correct? Do they not make a breathable padding?

If you go with vinyl flooring (like the ALLURE stuff from HD�how does that allow the flooring to breathe? Does in not trap mositure underneath it�will that not mold or is is it such a minute amount it does not matter? It says it can be used in basements?

What about tile�same issue no?

I want to get this right. To be honest my first thought was to stain the concrete and use area rugs. Asthetics aside (this is a hangout area�its nothing fancy down there) I have read that the concrete stains are pretty much more like paint�and they peal�so much for that idea... I have seen rubber flooring, like at a gym�still the bretahability issue arises.

Whats the cheapest product, easistest to install and least aggravation to deal with should there be a flood? I think I have come full circle back to some sort of carpeting�.would it be stupid to put some sort of low pile carpet down and an area rug on top it in areas where the kids might be on the floor?

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Foamboard is just one solution to safely putting down moisture sensitive flooring in the basement. You can also use Delta FL(or equivalent) or Dricore (or equivalent).

Vinyl flooring on concrete is just asking for bubbling and oozing water.

I have often successfully used low-pile synthetic carpeting directly on the concrete with no under padding in basements and wouldn't hesitate to use it again.

Tile or natural stone works well. And you can soften the ambiance with area rugs. I have severe dust allergies so I'm partial to hard surfaces on all floors.

Here is a link that might be useful: Understanding Basements

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 7:02PM
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What about the RUSTOLEUM product used on garage floors with the speckle chips you throw in..its an epoxy...It says for concrete and I know its popular in garages...?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:41AM
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With appropriate preparation, epoxy coatings should work well. Building Science regards high-quality brands as appropriate for basements.

I have no personal experience with them, but others here have.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Apply Epoxy

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 12:36PM
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read some of the 'understanding basemen't stuff...still confused.

So stone type tile hith with the propper adhesive would apparently let the floor 'breath'. It seams synthetic carpet would as well.

Then what are these vapour barried pads they push for under the carpeting? what about the carpet advertised for basements with the padding built in? To me that blocks the water vapour from passing thru. The carpet people say the material will not mold so its fine and that I would not be getting puddles of water anyway. Ditto say the HD folks on the Allure vinyl floating floor product.

Another question...I was hesitant to try concrete stain as it seams its more a layer of paint that will peel. Well I spilled some grey wood sideing stain in the work area of my basement. I wiped it up. It seamed to penetrate the concrete...begs the question...will a fence stain work on the floor...

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Allure vinyl planks are suitable for a basement, according to the manufacturer Halstead International. The gaps around the edges of the installation and joints are not as tight as vinyl tiles and the planks are not glued down. So that would presumably handle the moisture drive problem.

what are these vapour barried pads they push for under the carpeting?

I've responded on thisbefore.

will a fence stain work on the floor.

Probably, if it's a solvent-based stain. However, it would seem to make sense to use stains designed for concrete.

On new concrete floors in unfinished basements I've often used concrete floor paint to keep the dust down and have noticed no problems for many years.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 2:23AM
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Here is my experience with Allure-
After researching floor options to death, we installed Allure vinyl planks in our basement in April. We installed it ourselves in about 5 hours (~300 sq ft), for $600 or so. (I loved that HD had free shipping and lets you return unused boxes)

Our basement is dry and we have great drainage, but we seem to have bad luck with flooding - drains backing up, hot water heaters belching water, and such. True to form, a few days after installing the Allure, our laundry room flooded with 3" of water. (this time it was washer installation error.)

Amazingly, the floor is fine. It was a little squooshy at first, but I toweled up the water as it came up through the joints over a week or so (It is pretty water tight, but it's certainly not 100%) and have had no problems since.

Anyway, we've been really happy with it-- at this price, I had really low expectations. I am keeping an eye/nose on the laundry room, but I expect it will smell musty if mold is present (this happened with the carpet in another part of the basement that flooded a while back), and it hasn't at all.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 3:15PM
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so there was no need to remove the allure stuff and let everything dry?

So what kind of tile is good for a basement...HD has .68 sq ft ceramic tile that does not look bad. What will be resilient to stuff getting dropped on it, be non slippery and inexpensive...ideas?

How hard is it for a DIY'er to install...I am thinking about trying it my work room...before I hit the main areas..of the basement...if I screw it harm done there! I assume there is a special premix adhesive for basement concrete? I do not want grout lines so I assume tiles can abut each other.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Was just at the depot and saw some real cheap ceramic tile that did not look half bad. I did not get the PEI # though. I think I saw some that was unlazed. I assume this would not be slippery. Is this:

1) suitable for the basement

2) how will it hold up...I mean its only .68 sq ft!

3) how hard is it to install?

4) I hate cleaning grout. Are there disadvantages to NOT have grout lines...

I am thinking of trying it out in my workroom..I am the only one in there so if I screw it big deal. If all goes well I'd run a path from there to my washer and up to the the walking areas. The remaining area I'd carpet as Worthy mentioned. Thoughts...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 2:41PM
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Tile chips if you drop something with concentrated weight on it. Like tools in your workshop. Or pots in your kitchen. So-called porcelain tile has colour throughout, but is expensive. I'd suggest using throw mats for a work area. Easier on your legs too.

Tile requires a grout line. The standard for fired clay tiles is 3/16"-1/4" wide. Aside from looks, the grout is where the water vapour comes through the flooring. It's why impermeable roll vinyl or rubber backed carpet are lousy choices for a basement floor.

When I was a real estate broker I would often walk across newly-laid tile in a basement, cracking a piece with every step. Some amateur had obviously not bothered to level the floors or sweep every last pebble away. Aside from a few bathroom wall tile repairs, I've left tiling to the pros. More people should.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 8:23PM
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Well worthy, I spoke with a lot of people this weekend, installers, sales folks and a contractor. Let me says that I understand that the concrete will to 'breath', release water vapour of some sort�we all seam to agree with that. I can see how it can do so thru the grout on a tiles floor. I can see how it could do so via a synthetic non-padded carpet as well. I can not see how it can do that thru the Allure vinyl flooring sold at HD that we spoke of. The joins overlap and stick in place�I see no way for vapour to pass thru�it would get trapped underneath. What I did come to understand is that is not necessarily a bad thing so long as:

1) the product is mold proof
2) you are not getting puddles of water underneath!

Further they claim they sell water/mold proof pads that could go under carpet OR are part of the carpet. Similary they have mold/water proof vinyl products that are perimeter glued.

I could have been fed a bunch of hooey�or maybe they thought process is different here in the states. I am not sure. I just know I am not comfortable putting carpet in from of all my appliances (washer, hot water heater, water softener.)

That leaves labor intesive tile, allure flooring or a vinyl product that lays on the concrete, glued on the perimeter that is supposedly mold proof.

At least that is what they tell me�.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 12:13PM
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I could have been fed a bunch of hooey

It comes down to whether you take the word of the building scientists or the vinyl flooring salespeople.

As mentioned above, Allure is not glued down, so the moisture drive is likely accommodated by the gaps.

Even materials that don't provide food for mould can be covered in mould feeding from foreign matter, such as dirt and skin flakes, on the "mould proof" materials. That's why it's important to remove any bulk water ASAP with vacuums and heat and use dehumidification in basements to keep the RH at least below 50%.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 1:09PM
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the only gaps with allure is the 1/8" gap left arund the perimeter...the sticky stuff seals gaps between 'boards'...with allure snaps in place...says no gaps...says waterproof...still investigating...

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 12:08AM
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With appropriate preparation, epoxy coatings should work well. Building Science regards high-quality brands as appropriate for basements.
I have no personal experience with them, but others here have. Here is a link that might be useful: How to Apply Epoxy

...just read thru the original link....
So, its not the vynil that the problem if you put down vinyl tile its the adhesive...

So how about the very thick armstrong sheet vinyl they sell at says no adhesive require...just tape around perimeter..I'd assume the vapour would still rise thru concrete, hit this mold proof barrier and dissapate back into concrete..

I have had a 24 x 24 peice of plastic taped to floor for a week...thru rain, cold and warm moisture yet...

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:48AM
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this is soooooo frustrating...a different story from everyone at big box stores and flooring stores..and I have found few folks who have:

1) ceramic tile in basement
2) carpet with no pad

They are pushing the mold proof, water proof or resistant sheet vinyl big glue down...tape around perimeter. I agrue floor won't breath...they claim so what...vinyl won't mold....vapour will go back into concrete...

I am quite tempted to try the vinyl...I see no difference between this and the allure advanced snap together flooring...very frystrating...I really dont want carpet with the cats unless its an area rug thing....sheet vinyl is my second choice...area rug on top...wife against ceramic tile....which is likly cheapest!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 5:59PM
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The moisture doesn't go back into the concrete. It gets trapped beneath the vinyl and the concrete and feeds mould growth on the bottom of the "mold proof" vinyl.

As long as you put the uneducated self-interested views of flooring product salespeople on par with building scientists you'll be trapped in your conundrum. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 10:16AM
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if its this simple I do not see how so many different 'safe for basement' flooring products are sold. I am also dubious of the whole Allure flooring line. To me there is NO difference between the snap together stuff that claims to be waterproof...and sheet vinyl...yet the Allure Advanced snap together is marketed as waterproof and mold proof.

Is it possible that these products are made of something that does not feed mold? I am tempted to take some of their samples and soak them and tape them down in the garage and see if anything grows!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:03PM
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We have a basement that does get dampness in the air, but no visible dampness on the floor. We had allure flooring down and i LOVED it -- just the right warmth and it looked beautiful. BUT we had a sewage backup issue and had to take the floor out, and saw plenty of mold on the bottom of the allure (that was not from the sewage as we took it up immediately and it was in areas well beyond the sewage). So, in a nutshll, even though the floor may be mold resistant, it will still form if you have enough vapor coming up on the bottom of any non permeable surface... hope my experience can help someone!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 4:31PM
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Good feedback. And exactly what I would expect.

The point that people forget is that even if the product doesn't provide food for mould, the foreign matter on it--dust, human skin flakes, organic fibres etc.--provide food for mould. That's why you find mould prospering on concrete--and vinyl--when their other vital needs, considerable moisture and the right temperatures, are available.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:43PM
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Well, I see no solution in site. I would have thought of the floors were swept before the mold. I am at a loss as to what to do. I like the carpeting idea but the carpet guys say it won't well w/out padding. Plus I have the cats to consider. Plus the area where the washer, water softener water heater etc etc etc are. I have a guy who want tp put down that Rustolium product typically found in garages...but I am not sure I trust it either.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 9:28PM
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