Best flooring option for occasionally wet basement floor

Sueb20March 16, 2010

We added onto our basement (under a kitchen addition) 3-4 years ago. We had had water issues in our existing basement previously, had a french drain installed, and that fixed the problem. Knowing we had drainage issues, an effort was made to alleviate that when the new part of the basement was added (which is one step down from the original room). We have two sump pumps now, etc. Anyway, we still have a problem about once a year because of the way our yard sits down from the neighbors' -- all their water runs from their yard into our yard, and every so often it's too much for our pump. Like over this past weekend when Boston got 10" of rain! Now our carpet is soaked once again. We think we have a solution to the water running -- we're going to have some kind of berm installed at the edge of the yard -- but I don't trust that anything will be 100% foolproof! Since our carpet has now been soaked 3 times (and dried out), we are thinking that carpet may not be the best option for that floor. (I know, you're thinking: Duh.) I'm wondering about epoxy coating the bare (cement) floor, topped w/ an area rug? But figured I'd ask for other suggestions. DH was thinking maybe ceramic tile, but that's a lot of tile. The room is about 18' x 25' or so. Any suggestions?

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Wow, I would so hate to have a problem like that. You might want to look at the FLOR carpet squares that can be individually picked up and hand washed in the sink.

Here is a link that might be useful: FLOR

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:35AM
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I have a basement that I can't trust either. We had a bit of water this weekend from the rain we got for the first time in 15 years. I think I saw the Queen Mary floating in my yard not sure.
Anyway, if I was going to finish my basement- I would use epoxy paint which comes in so many great colors, and an indoor outdoor area rug that can be hosed off and dried outside.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:44AM
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I would have to agree about the ceramic tile. There are so many beautiful ones now and I think it will be the most resilient under the circumstances.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:45AM
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We had seepage that two years ago (during "100 year" flood) ruined the previously installed (before we moved here) padded berber carpet. Very expensive and impractical to replace. Our room is smaller, 250 square feet. We had some cracks in the walls as well, so had to repair those first. Big pain in the neck, had to remove/replace drywall, use mold remover behind the baseboards. We elected to paint the floor with tan garage floor paint, and put down inexpensive area rugs. This was one week ago. When we get more money we will tile. It looks pretty good, but be prepared for the paint fumes, they were pretty strong (enough to cause bad headache) so use good ventilation.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:48AM
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After having a wet basement twice in ten years we ripped out the wall to wall and installed 22" porcelain tiles in the finished part of the basement and had epoxy paint put down in the utility area. The epoxy is easy to vacuum or sweep, much better than the bare, dusty concrete that had been there before. I love the tiles so much that I only put down 2 area rugs - that way they can be hauled outside if necessary to dry out.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:51AM
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Depending on how much water is involved, there may be another option. We get an occasional trickle in our basement, what would amount to less than a quarter inch deep puddling area in ours. But we also live in a cold climate, where I desperatly wanted to warm up the floor. They are several companies that make a raised subfloor system for basements. We put those in and put carpet tiles on top. -I wish I could remember tha name of ours, but I can't. The sub floor tiles are 2x2' and have 1/4" plastic with ridges on the bottom. There are several companies that make this stuff. We bought ours at a local big box home remodeling stores. They allow the water to run underneath to the drain without getting rest of the floor wet.

I will probably sound like a commercial, but it was the best investment we made. The biggest bonus is the floor does not feel cold anymore either. We wound up losing an inch in ceiling height, but a warmer, usable basement was well worth it. We have twice had "river incidents" and eveything is still dry and not smelling musty.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 12:20PM
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We had our plumber install a battery backup system that will keep up with huge amounts of water (but it was $900 or so). It's this one if you're at all interested in going that route: .

I remember someone here used Novalis vinyl wood-look planks in their basement and loved it. I searched and found a very informative thread about it. When we finish our basement, we'll likely go that route. (I don't trust anything 100% either!)

Here is a link that might be useful: Novalis info from flooring forum

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 2:04PM
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dainaadele, one of the names for the system you described is Dri-core. We put it in our basement and it made a huge difference on the warmth of the floor. I also don't worry about minor floods with this in place.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 2:46PM
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Dri-core!! That was it! I kept getting stuck on a version of "dry lock" and couldn't find anything. Yup, I love the stuff.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 3:30PM
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We used this and like it

Here is a link that might be useful: Duragrid

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 4:44PM
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Sorry, I probably wasn't clear on the source of the water. I don't think something like Dri-core is necessarily our solution. The water isn't coming up through the foundation/floor. It's coming in through a door from an unfinished room where the sump pump is. The pump gets overwhelmed and the water comes over the doorway and into the finished basement.

DH is planning to rip up the carpet this weekend and then we'll decide what to do from there. I have a neighbor who has the epoxy on her basement floor but it didn't work out well for her -- the finish scratched, took 5 coats, and so on -- supposedly (according to the installer) because she used one of their "new" colors, but who knows. Maybe I'll leave it bare concrete and go for an Industrial Chic look!

The FLOR tiles are tempting because we have a pool table -- at least with the tiles we can cut around the pool table legs instead of worrying about how to move it!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 5:15PM
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I saw ceramic tile that looks like wood (and is laid like wood) on one of the
shows on HGTV. They put it in a bathroom. It was beautiful.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 10:22AM
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You can apply epoxy yourself. It should take a couple of coats and should not scratch. We've used it in a garage before with good results.

Good thing you are getting that carpet up. I hope you don't have any mold issues.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 9:33AM
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We solved the problem by having two sump pumps, they keep all problems under control.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:00AM
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We had a perfectly dry basement before a contractor put an overlay of 3" of exposed aggregate over our patio and sloped it TOWARDS the house, not away from it. The contractor declared bankruptcy shortly thereafter, so there was no legal remedy, and we ended up spending $21,000 for drainage.

Fast forward a year, and we are now renovating our basement. We had a combination of tile and carpet down there, and are ripping out both to put in brick. It is expensive, but I don't ever want to have to replace it again, and this is the best combination of style and durability I can come up with.

Sue, if you don't want to put in brick or stone can you get a bigger sump pump-- sized for the worst possible scenario?

This post was edited by kswl on Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 10:48

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:10AM
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With FLOR tiles, do you just plop them down on the concrete floor?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 4:18PM
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I have the same problem-- the house has only taken in water twice in 25 yr but both times were in the last 4 yr. I am not ready to invest in flooring until I know the water issues have been addressed (they may have been) and yet, we anticipate the basement will be a living space by the end of the year. My mid-term plan is to use epoxy.. hoping to go with a deep purple for interest-- with throw rugs on top.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 8:26PM
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Folks -- I don't know how this got resurrected but this post is almost 3 years old! Anyway, if anyone's wondering, we ended up installing ceramic tile. And of course have not had a drop of water since.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 8:49PM
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