Flooring for a below-grade family room

jenesMarch 5, 2011

I would like to replace the vinyl flooring in my family room with an eye on resale. The current floor has some damage from moving furniture and I was thinking of removing these built-in planters, but I don't have any spare tile to fill in. It's also very dark, sucking the light out of the room.

The rest of the house has hardwood, but I know that's out since it's below grade. There's never been water down there, but I'd still like to consider that there might be one of those 1000 year floods some time. The room is over 500 square feet. The house is an starter home, not something really upscale.

Any ideas for what would be a good choice? I tried searching through the flooring forum, including the faq, but didn't find anything that helped me make up my mind.

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They have engineered hardwood that is made for basements or cement floors. Its a floating floor, also pergo is a nice choice, easy to clean, looks like hardwood, but is low maintenance.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 11:53AM
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I think the rubberized mat squares would be the way to go. Easy to clean or replace and they help cushion the feet and knees from the hardness of walking on concrete.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 2:48PM
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Also check out the faux wood vinyl planks...they look like the real McCoy, easy to install, inexpensive, and not a problem with water. Check out Konecto.com to start. A friend used them in the bathroom...they look amazing.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 5:20PM
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Why not use a neutral wall to wall carpet?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 5:36PM
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Carpet and water are not the best combination if one wants flooring that won't be a problem if water intrusion does occur.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 11:25PM
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I put berber carpeting in mine. Looked beautiful. I was going to do Pergo but carpet was less expensive. I put it before we listed.

Prior to this, we had carpet for 20 years which did get wet once. Our water softner drain came loose one night while it was backwashing and flooded the basement. Our insurance would not replace but sent a company which dried it out. The carpet was fine for years after.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 1:24AM
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Thanks everyone, lots of great suggestions for me to check out.

Carpet would be a great choice it it weren't below grade, since it's perfectly acceptable in houses like this and much less expensive than hardwood. I did consider putting in carpet as a way of saying to buyers that our basement (or whatever it's called when it's half below ground) doesn't flood, but decided that sort of hubris might be punished in too ironic a way.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 5:50AM
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Here in NOVA, EWV, WMD, we looked at a lot of houses (15+) for sale last year and I don't recall seeing a walk-out or below-grade family room that wasn't carpeted. One might have been vinyl, can't remember for sure.

Maybe I'm outside the norm, but I never looked at one and thought about it flooding. If that was a realistic concern, I wouldn't consider buying the house regardless of the flooring.

Since you are selling, carpet seems like the best ROI; not sure someone will pay extra for wood down there. What do the comps in your area have?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 12:39PM
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Carpet can be inexpensive and would provide some warmth on a cold, below grade floor. If you have a water problem, that must be fixed first.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 9:07PM
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I've seen carpet in similar homes, but I've also seen what I think is vinyl. I'm not always sure what different floorings are to be honest.

I guess I've assumed that any below-grade room can flood under the right circumstances. Maybe that's not true.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 11:34AM
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To do carpet it must not only be dry, it must also not be damp. If there is high humidity down there and it isn't addressed the carpet will take on a funky smell. My basement is bone dry, but in the summer the humidity rises enough that we use a dehumidifier.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Thanks. Maybe because it's only half below ground, it's never felt humid to me -- but it does stay cool in the summer, which I love.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 11:21AM
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We had a raised ranch with a family room like that. We put dricore down before carpeting.

The previous owners had carpeted right over the concrete, you could break a hip falling on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dricore basement subflooring

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 5:42PM
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Our house had vinyl tile over concrete before we put down carpeting. We had padding under the carpet so it was not hard. We never had dampness or water and the carpet held up well with a lot of use.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 7:00PM
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