Wait a few months to carpet new basement?

indygalDecember 9, 2007

We're hoping to begin building this month, if the weather permits the digging and pouring of the basement. We anticipate a lot of snow and rain in the basement before the house is dried in. The basement will be totally underground with three window wells. I've read on this forum that carpet should not be used in a basement for obvious reasons. If we do decide to carpet the basement, would it be best to let the concrete dry for several months to a year before installing it? We plan on running a dehumidifier. There will also be a direct vent fireplace in one corner that should help with the drying out process. Should we allow extra time for the floor to dry before putting down any type of flooring or cement finish?

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FYI, your concrete slab will be way dry before any attempt on finished floor installation (unless you're posting this from an episode of House Makeover).
I would worry more about house & soil movement/settlement after moving in. Pending on your local rainy season, I'll leave it alone for 1 year minimum IMO.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 11:34AM
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I would wait. You don't know what potential problems that first spring rain storm will bring, or settling that may crack. Best t let the house acclimate to the surroundings and flush out any potential wet issues before investing thousands into carpet.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 12:54PM
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Common sense tells me it would be best to wait awhile for the carpet installation. However it's going to be awfully hard to deal with concrete in the family room and bedroom that will be finished right away. We might wait through the summer and get it carpeted late next year. I think it would be awfully cold down there in the winter months with no carpet on the floor. We hope to move in by early summer...if the weather cooperates.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2007 at 3:37PM
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In the lst 12 months I have witnessed three remodel or addition jobs where they didn't wait.

#1: One was behind our house. They had installed a large concrete patio, gutted and redid the entire interior, and had a rental family in for a couple months. During a large spring rain spell, suddenly at 2:00 am there was a bunch of commotion outside as they frantically tried to figure out what to do. A couple weeks later they tossed all the wall-to-wall carpet and other items, probably since they didn't air it out quick enough.

#2 Was a couple doors down. Similar. The entire foundation was redone, along with an addition. Another multi-day downpour led to water in the basement. They had to dig up the backfill and correct it somehow. Luckily that basement was still bare.

#3 was a new addition with a below grade storage room. Same thing, A few solid days of rain, and whammo, water in the storage room.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 9:09AM
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...actually, I guess one of them did wait. Anyway, the main point is to wait and see. That way you can inspect the interior perimeter for moisture and address any problems.

And sometimes the remedy is as easy as adding to the backfill that will settle, extending gutter spouts, etc.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 9:41AM
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That's a good idea to wait for finish grading and one good storm to make sure you're drainage is good. Then again, your grade could be so well sloped that it's not a concern.

We lay 6-mil plastic down *before* the cement is poured. This allows the concrete to only dry in one direction, making the process a little slower. I'm not sure 1 year is necessary, but I do know that ours took at least a couple months to fully cure.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2007 at 5:22PM
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Buy some remnant carpet or a large area rug if it is space you need right now. Get something inexpensive and see what happens. Carpet isn't the only thing that makes the room feel warmer. I assume you have plenty of vents and a good return in the basement as well?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 3:39PM
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Homebound: All your examples were for remodeling jobs. Did the same crew do both of the houses close to you?
Bungeeii: You said it took two months for your concrete to cure. Was that after the house was completed or two months after the basement was poured?

Dgmarie: There's just the two of us; so we're not going to be overly crowded in the new house. It's just the idea of having workmen coming back in later and dealing with the inconvenience. Plus DH doesn't adjust well to messiness. Since the house isn't started yet, I have no idea about the vents and return in the basement. We have friends in KY with a basement that's like a freezer in the winter. They had some inexperienced men finish it off for them and what a mess! The guest bedroom is down there and we dread sleeping in it. To make matters worse, the bathroom is way on the other corner of the basement. It's torture to get up in the middle of the night to make a bathroom trip.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 9:40PM
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Different crews for each. Whether it's new construction or a new addition, if there's any new foundation, then it's not a bad idea to wait and see.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 10:05PM
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Let me think about this....

We poured the basement in about early May.
The house was set later that month.
We spent the next 3 months finishing the 2nd floor, garage, porch, etc..
We moved in late August / early September.
I started framing the basement rooms in January.

While we were moving in and setting things up in September, you could still see dampness where something plastic had been setting. (Not so much damp, but the color of the cement would be a little darker where, say, an extension cord was laying.)

By the time I was working in January, we were dry. There were no signs of moisture under anything, anywhere.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 12:07PM
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I've mentioned 1 year minimum just so the house can experience all the extreme temperature flux and possible raining seasons in between.

I'm in a similar dilemma as the OP in having a game table in the unfinished basement.
We just wear shoes till my basement was done. An area rug would be just nice and a cheap temporary fix.

Glad I waited out did since the following Spring (we moved in Oct), it sprang a leak. Heard a few of my neighbor's finished basement sprang a leak here and there too.

Also keep in mind, with an unfinished basement, you can also check on HVAC duct work connectivity above. Not all my ductwork was sealed properly.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 4:39PM
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