What flooring did you do in your finished basement?

kerry331September 23, 2006

We are in the process of finishing about 1200 sq ft of our basement, 75% done.

We have 3 kids who will be using a bulk of this area as a play area. There is a separate room for our exercise equiptment (husband wants rubber mats for this floor) and in another part of the basement i want to use as an art activity center for the kids (paints, messy stuff, etc) ..so we are thinking of using ceramic tile for that area. H wants to actually tile the entire basement in case there is ever a water issue- we built our home 2 yrs ago. I can't see us having any real issues where we are with flooding or whatever, but i suggested perhaps tiling the perimeter of the entire basement in case we ever got a leak of some sort this way water would sit on the edges where the tile would be, should water ever trickle in. Dumb idea???? Then use carpet for the rest. He really is kinda trying to sway me into agreeing on ceramic tile for everything, i just think it would be soooo cold in the basement, esp with a kids play area. I don't know. I just know I don't want to ever hear the "I told you so" from his mouth!! I want it to be comfortable for the kids. should i just let him tile the whole thing and use area rugs over it??? Anyone tile the entire basement? How is it? How cold does it feel?

And if you use carpet, did you put down padding first? Anything under the padding??

I can use some suggestions...

Thanks everyone!

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We will be finishing our basement in December and have decided to use ceramic tile. In our last home when we finished the basement we used a berber carpet with a special padding that is used for basement installation. It prevents mold from growing in the event of a flood. Traditional carpet padding is sponge like and would absorb water which would allow mold to grow. We also installed a low pile carpet(berber) because in the event of a flood it could be vacuumed up with a shop vac and would dry faster than a thick pile carpet. The carpet was nice and made the basement feel cozy but it was such a pain to vacuum such a large area. I always felt that I missed something. The carpet was tweed so it didn't show dirt or lint. In this home since we only have carpet in the bedrooms,we felt that ceramic tile and an area rug would be the best choice. We have 2 boys 11 and 14 they don't play on the floor the way younger children do so a cold floor is not a concern anymore. If you do an inexpensive ceramic tile and it turns out that you don't like it you can alway carpet over it. IMO tile is more sanitary in the basement because it can be washed down with disinfectant. I am by no means a germaphobe but even finished basements sometimes develope undesirable oders.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 11:26PM
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I like tile too. I just had my basement finished this summer. I put new carpet down. Sure enough, the storm sewer backs up for the first time in 10 years and the carpet had to be removed! I will be tiling up the area this time around.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 9:24AM
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I've finished basements with ceramic tile, slate and direct glued carpet.

For kids, I'd always go tile. Even sealed slate, my two small boys have managed to damage with some unknown colourant; carpet in our last home, after a year was ready for the garbage.

One note, I'd use an uncoupling membrane, such as Ditra underlayment, to prevent cracks in the finished tile that will otherwise develop at stress points; otherwise, be sure to keep lots of the original tiles handy to replace the cracked pieces.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 4:31PM
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We're about to put flooring down in our newly finished basement (approx. 800 sq. feet). We decided to use carpet tiles, because we can pull them up in the case of water or spills.

We are using the high end Miliken Tesserae squares (the "Spectrum"). They have integrated, fairly thick padding as well as a vapor barrier. I am hoping we'll have the feel of wall to wall (or close to it) with the flexibility of easy removal in the case of a problem.

We have 2 boys, ages 5 and almost 3, so having a comfortable, warm playing surface is important to us.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 7:38PM
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Worthy, please tell me more about the coupling membrane..how much more cost are we looking at with that??

And lisa, can you tell me about carpet squares??? Can i expect that to cost more than common wall to wall carpet in traditional widths? Does yours have a pattern?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 8:55PM
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We installed ceramic tile in our basement in 1993. We never have had cracked tiles (made sure floor was level before tiling).

We have a large area rug where the teens do their video game thing... and a runner and throw rugs elsewhere.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 9:17AM
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my ideal would be cork with radiant heat underneath. We put carpet down 2 years ago, and it looks awful.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:15AM
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The carpet tiles we are going to order are Miliken's Tesserae. There are a few versions of the Tesserae--the most expensive one is the Spectrum which has nice, thick padding (for carpet tiles) and dense, medium-pile frieze fibers. The Spectrum comes in 24 colors, most of which are varigated, some more subtle (looks almost like a solid), and some more obviously multi-colored. Each tile is 24 X 24 inches. The cheapest I've found them is $2.78 per square foot plus shipping from a site called floorshop.com. This is substantially better than the price I was quoted at a local carpet store and even through other online retaliers. Most charge closer to $4.00 per square foot.

This is supposedly an easy DIY product. HOPEFULLY, it really is easy--dh and I are not particularly handy. The tiles can be laid directly on the concrete. I have been trying to figure out if we can place a vapor barrier under them, but I am concerned that I will get slippage. The bottom of each tile is not sticky but is just ever so tacky. It seems like it would grip the floor. The next trick is getting our floor clean enough--cleaning up all of that drywall dust from construction.

We are going to take a sample square to a carpet store and get as close of a match as possible for stairs. If we find a store that sells Miliken, we should be able to get really close.

Below is a link to check out:

I would also check out the Miliken site for more detail and design ideas:

Hope that helps,

Here is a link that might be useful: Tesserae at floorshop.com

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 8:34PM
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Ditra flexible underlayment runs about US$1 a sq. ft. on line,. (I have not used this e-tailer, just an example.)

I had the cracking problem in my own new home (I'm a builder) with a 6" slab on 6" granular fill and 6x6 webbing. Still, other homes I have built had no such problems.

Non-structural concrete slabs do crack and the cracks can affect the tiles above; there are stress points at walkouts, for instance and even at partition walls, which, through settlement can be taking loads, especially in older homes. Mild earth shocks are said to be a source of many cracked basement floors in our area.

In my latest personal home, I used Ditra under the marble basement bathroom floors but took a chance under the 800 sf of thick slate; the tiler used a quality mortar, which he says will afford some flexing--I also bought lots of extra slate just in case.

The home with the cracked tiles was built on sand; the current one on heavy clay, so perhaps that, too, has an influence.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ditra underlayment

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 9:40PM
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Thank you Worthy for the information. My husband is pushing for tile or some other kind of 'safe' foolproof surface...however, Lisa, i have to say i love the carpet tile idea. Where if something should happen i can easily change out damaged tiles. I was looking on the website you provided then checked out the floorshop website- i love the colors. I Am definitely going to our local carpet dealer with this one, and going to see what i can get it for there first. I keep thinking i would love to go the safest route here, but then i just feel like tile would be too hard for a baby, a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old. I keep thinking 'comfortable ' it is going to be about 1000 sq ft of playroom. Part of this will definitely be tiled for messy activity but i would like them to be able to run and fall like the maniacs they truely are; without having to go to the ER. ha ha.
THANK YOU for your suggestions.

Oh yeah, any takers on laminate flooring like pergo for the basement or is this just a bad idea?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 9:04AM
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I vote for carpet or carpet tiles. Also, I like the laminate floor idea.
We did carpet because we live in a cold climate, plus we're a no-shoes house.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 9:44AM
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We put down WilsonArt Estate Plus laminate in the pattern seen in the link below last summer in our gameroom section of the basement. We love it. It's easy to clean and vacuum and non-slippery. Also, it's not nearly as cold as tile.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 9:49AM
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I'm doing Pergo laminate on top of Dricore panels. I've got the Pergo and the Dricore is on it's way. I don't have issues with moisture, but I like the idea of something between me and the concrete and the Dricore seems like the way to go.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 11:58AM
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I'm installing Miliken Legato carpet tiles. I did a 24x13 room yesterday. It only took a few hours, and it looks great. I was going to put sheet vinyl in the rest of the basement, but now I'm going to go ahead and put carpet tiles down in the rest as well.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 1:28PM
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We are currently having installed 1300 sqft of BR-111 engineered hardwood flooring (American Cherry). It's a floating floor with underlayment going ontop of already installed DriCore panels. Should be finished tomorrow. Looks good so far and hopefully will be nice and warm and dry.

The bathroom is ceramic tile with NobleSeal anti-fracture membrane. FYI a small bathroom (50 sqft) gets really expensive (per square foot) when you need 5 boxes instead of 4, the membrane and shipping is all included. Probably came to $500 in total with the tile being only $3.50/sqft.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 10:56PM
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You will love the BR-111. I didn't think it was recomended for basements though? We have BR-111 (brazilian teak) throughout the first floor of our home..every room!! It is GORGEOUS stuff!!!
thank you for your suggestions!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 8:03AM
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Annette Holbrook

Even if you have tile you may have to replace it or at least re-grout in the case of water leak or septic/sewer issues.
We put down lock-tile, which is a flexible rubbery tile. It is not hard like the race-deck type stuff made for garages. Although race-deck tiles would work just as well, they are much harder and not a comfy to "play" on for kids. We have had it down for almost 3 years and love it. We had to pull up one and replace it (circular saw issue!).
It was very easy to install, no glues or anything, we used a bandsaw to cut any we needed to and a rubber mallet to put them in.

Here is a link that might be useful: lock tile

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 9:31AM
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Our family room in our downstairs (bi-level) has Shaw medium height (1/2") pile that is extemely soft to the touch and fun to play on for our young son. It, combined with the standard foam pad, does a good job of insulating from the cold poured concrete floor beneath. It is a 100% nylon soft backed carpet.

In my office and our spare bedroom, I installed Bruce engineered oak flooring. This is the standard stuff you can find at any big box store. It is pre-finished and gunstock stained. I glued it down. It has been very stable and works well for low traffic applications. I would not recommed it for high traffic due to full beveled edges.

The bathroom has sheet vinyl in a light color to brighten the windowless room.

If the basement ever floods due to drain backup or sump-pump failure, the insurance will cover it. The premium is $60/yr. for $10K coverage with a $250 deductible. This is not considered overland flooding which standard homeowners' insurance dosen't cover.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 1:38PM
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Don't be so sure about the flooding thing! You just never know. I actually plugged my laundry sink, turned it on, and then WALKED AWAY. (I have three young children and it was just a crazy day.) Yeap, 2 hours later I had a HUGE flood in my unfinished basement. The perimeter of the basement wasn't the only thing affected b/c the water traveled through the vents. Needless to say I will try to never leave the water on and leave again but if the washer ever breaks down I now know what the result will be!

I have a friend that has her concrete sawed and etched? I am looking into this as an alternative to tile.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 2:43PM
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We are about 95% finished with our walk out basement. We have a detached garage that is off the basement level and this is our main entry to the home. We used 18x18 travertine in the entry/mudroom, wetbar area, hobby room and guest bath. In the kids playroom and home gym, we used the Miliken Legato carpet squares. I really wanted to use an engineered hardwood in these two rooms but the kids really wanted carpet, so I gave in. I like the way it looks. We chose a neutral tan that blends really well with the travertine and you can't tell it's carpet squares at all. In our guest bedroom and home theater we are going with a traditional carpet with an upgraded pad. I felt the carpet squares just weren't thick enough for these two rooms. Carpet will be installed this week. I hope to post photos when all is done.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 9:14PM
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I'm with cheerit -
Basements are the most likely place in a home to suffer water damage for one reason or another.

After much consideration - we decided to do an inexpensive type berber carpet - I'm not chancing a thing in the event of water. The carpet & pad will be easily removed and a new one will replace it once floor is totally dry & clean.
I don't want to guess what is growing under flooring following flooding.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 10:40AM
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We have a berber with a thick padding. The berber is inexpensive HD polyprop berber and is fine. Neutral color. We have a huge basement (3,000 sq ft) English and the carpet provides warmth and soundproofing. Plus in cold weather can't image tile or vinyl down there without shoes on.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 11:05PM
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Did you put the berber carpeting on your stairs as well? How does that look?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 10:06PM
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For the people with the carpet tiles, how did you finish off your stairs? Did the carpet tiles work on them?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 10:31AM
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where am i, my stairs were already carpeted with conventional carpet. I just carpeted around the stairs with the tiles. Both carpets are neutral, one shade is just a little darker, so IMO it matches fine. I used Miliken Legato tiles, and they don't reccommend using it on stairs.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 11:16AM
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We went to a carpet store and had them try to contact Miliken to see if we could get a match. Miliken wouldn't (or couldn't) do it. Said Tesserae was a private label?

So, we found a carpet by Shaw that is close. Hopefully, it will look okay. I'll post pix when we get it all finished. Should be another 3-4 weeks, I think.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 3:35PM
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We went with mostly onsite finished, engineered hardwood flooring glued down to the concrete. We had special attention paid when pouring and floating the concrete so as to achieve a floor free from dips and ridges. Our basement is over 3000 sqft of which the card room, billiards room, game room, social room and hallway are wood, the bathrooms and 2nd kitchen are ceramic tile, the kids' loung and the theatre room are carpet for accoustic reasons, the exercise room is cork and the workshop is rubber. So we have some of just about everything. The engineered hardwood being the most expensive.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 3:09PM
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have you finished your basement? I too am thinking of installing Dricor and I am wondering how it went. Is it worth it? Did you put the partition walls on top of the Dricor panels?
Can't decide if I should put down a sub floor or not.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 4:03PM
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I too am wondering how he made out! Looks like a good idea, BUT is it really worth all the trouble?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 10:36PM
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We used 12 x 12 vinyl tiles which we adhered with an adhesive in order to level any minor imperfections in the concrete.

We also set the water heater into a pan and ran a line to the floor drain. Plus back-up sump pump.

Our reason for vinyl was primarily the non-skid surface we selected and that we can easily clean should there be a spill.

The vinyl is noticeably warmer than the concrete but certainly does not have the insulating effect of carpet.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 12:31PM
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I need all the height I can get, so Dri-Core is out, and maybe even ceramic tile is too much. (7' from the bare floor to the ceiling joists in my case - and 6'4" to the boxed in HVAC ducts.)

Also, our concrete floor is always releasing dust, so I'm considering having the concrete finished and sealed - and then doing something with area rugs, etc.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 10:19AM
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Most of our basement is done in laminate. We have radiant heat in our basement, so it is not cold in our basment. I have been very satisfied.

We have a daylight/walk-out basement. Seventeen foot geotech holes showed no water, and in the 18 months that we have lived here, our sump has not kicked in once.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 11:21AM
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I'm using *commerical* carpet tile, which is very cheap if you find a remnant you're happy with. As this is mostly used for office buildings, etc, "remnants" are often big enough to do a basement with. Buy extra in case you have to replace some. The backing is waterproof, the carpet is EXTREMELY hard to damage (it's designed for far heavier use than even a home with small children will give it), and it's still reasonably comfortable. Not quite as cushy as a high-end broadloom with a premium pad, but quite acceptable IMO.

They're quite easy to self-install IF you're detail-oriented. If you can draw straight lines and carefully lay the tiles in straight, the instructions for where to draw the lines are quite simple and carpet tile is more forgiving than ceramic, etc, in any case.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carpet Bargains (where I bought my carpet)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 12:41PM
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I did our basement floor with Delta-FL (like dricore but all plastic) as a "subfloor" and Allure linoleum floating floor from HD.

It meets requirements (cheap tough dry play room) but it is not a proper installation. The delta product wants a sub floor if the laminate is not used. Because the floor does not have a proper subfloor it is really soft - which is great for 4 young kids banging their heads, but not for heavy furnature feet.

We have had problems with water in the basement. I have made some changes outside (grading and downspouts) that I hope fixes the problem. However, I still plan to have water down there at somepoint. The Delta keeps the floor off the concrete and a sump pump makes sure it gets rid of any water that might accumilate. If the pump fails or some other problem and the basement floods, the linoleum is water proof.

Delta is $0.51/sq ft and the Allure was $1.67/sq ft.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 1:09PM
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We used durastone in the craft area and bath, berber the rest of the space with an insulated T&G plywood subfloor. Staircase and landing are all red oak.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 12:51PM
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dlubin: What type of carpet pad did you use under the berber?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 10:26AM
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We are using a laminated floor - click type installation. Our friend is a flooring pro and he recommended that solution - we did not want carpet because the kids are too hard on any soft surface.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 6:52PM
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I think you should make sure that your basement is waterproofed first and then think about what kind of flooring or carpeting you might want to use. In my experience the best type of padding for a carpet in the basement would be a solid rubber underlay as opposed to a foam or felt type pad. The rubber won't absorb any of the moisture present. Rubber padding is significantly more expensive but in this case well worth it I would think. Good luck

Here is a link that might be useful: Carpet Padding

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 7:16PM
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