Author Topic: Best Type of Basement Flooring  (Read 4481 times)

TheFrugalEngineer

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Best Type of Basement Flooring
« on: April 10, 2018, 07:21:30 PM »
Iím in the midst of a basement renovation and Iíve just started ripping up the old carpet, so now Iím thinking more about what type of flooring Iíll be replacing it with. Underneath is concrete, which appears it had been redone in someway before the carpet went down. Itís in good shape, but quite uneven ó the low point is 2Ē to 3Ē lower than the highest point.

I had been planning to do a laminate wood floor, but I am somewhat concerned about moisture issues in a basement. I assume Iíd probably need to pour some self-leveling concrete and put down a vapor barrier/underlayment. Iím also considering one of the high-end vinyl faux-wood products, as well as possibly tile. Iím looking for easy and inexpensive, but obviously want something that will look good and last.

What are your folksí experiences with these products and with basement flooring?
Let me know!

FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 07:43:47 PM »
As much as I love wood and have purist tendencies, after checking out all the faux-woods I wouldn't use anything else.  Either vinyl plank or porcelain tile would be great.  With real wood or wood-product laminate there's always the risk of moisture damage. 

Various concrete finishes can be great too.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 08:35:25 PM »
My choice of floor for the basements in order of preference is
  • Vinyl Plank: Waterproof. Easy to replace any damaged tiles. Looks quite good. Easy DIY
  • Cork: Is soft and warm on the feet, not impacted by damp.  Looks quite good. Easy to replace. Easy DIY.
  • Porcelain Tile: Cold on the feet. Not easy to fix broken/damaged tile. No problems with damp. Moderate DIY[\li]
I have laminates in my basement. There were no Vinyl plank then and cork was a very new product. Thank god, my basement has not flooded. Laminates (like Pergo) are warm on the feet, look good. They have problems if they get wet. They are not easy to fix if you have any damage. It is also easy to DIY.

Never ever use carpet in the basement. It is a mold-generating device and you and your family will have allergies all year around!

You are most likely not allowed to use a wood floor since it is below grade. Those are the rules here in NJ, but could be different  where you live. Check with code-enforcement.

If I had to do it all over again, I would do the self levelling compound to fix the low spots. Put in radon mitigation if needed (very easy to do now). Put in sump pumps etc. Then do a vinyl plank floor, keeping a box in reserve for future fixes.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 08:41:49 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

Jon Bon

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2018, 06:00:42 AM »
LVT is pretty great.

Its pretty much invincible to everything. Cheap, easy to install no mess. I have not tried it over uneven floors. I feel like it has slightly more give then laminate, and it probably would not 'click' as badly over uneven floors like laminate does.

Laminate on the other hand is just really hard cardboard.... so if you get that wet/damp it is not going to hold up.  Ive never seen laminate that I like, or have even tolerated. Part of it is its usually DIY installed and done poorly.

Undercut your damn doors people!

tralfamadorian

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2018, 06:41:44 AM »
+1 for cork.

I have it in a basement and it looks great, was inexpensive and easy to DIY.

Dave1442397

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2018, 07:02:20 AM »
I went with vinyl plank, Konecto sierra plank, to be exact - https://www.floorcity.com/collections/sierra-plank

I put this down in 2008. Installation was very easy, and it looks exactly the same now as it did ten years ago. This is a heavily traveled room, and there are no signs of wear.


strongmag

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2018, 08:33:12 AM »
Agree with the others on a high end vinyl plank. We have some in a kitchen that was redone in the 90's and it still looks good in that high traffic area.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2018, 10:24:49 PM »
You're in Minnesota.  Any thought to insulating?  One thing some people do is put down extruded polystyrene with plywood or T&G above it Tapconned to the concrete.  Then you would put your vinyl, carpet, or whatever on that.  I researched into this quite a while back, but I have a dry walk-out basement.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 05:21:26 AM by DreamFIRE »

justchristine

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2018, 06:03:22 AM »
I went with vinyl plank, Konecto sierra plank, to be exact - https://www.floorcity.com/collections/sierra-plank

I put this down in 2008. Installation was very easy, and it looks exactly the same now as it did ten years ago. This is a heavily traveled room, and there are no signs of wear.

Do you happen to remember the name of the color you got?  I'm in the planning stages of a whole house flooring project and have finally decided to try DIY install of vinyl plank.  Now I'm agonizing over colors.  I really like the looks of dark floors with the pale neutral walls and white trim like we have but we have a lot of dark wood furniture too.  I've been thinking dark floors would be too much with the furniture.  So now I'm looking at lighter colors, but again there are just too many choices for someone as indecisive as me :)

Papa bear

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2018, 06:22:21 AM »
I'm using LVT over an underlayment product that allows air to move, is waterproof, and has a bit of insulating properties. It's called DMX airflow. I believe it's a new product.  It's supposed to work fine with LVT...  we'll see. I think it has too much "give" to it and I have some minor issues with the LVT popping out from the end joint. 

Jury is still out on this and I can give a better review in a few years haha. One drawback of LVT is that it can still feel cold and hard over concrete.  I was attempting to alleviate this problem as well as allow any moisture issues a chance to dry out on its own.

Anyway, this is the third basement I've installed LVT. That's my recommendation. 




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Mgmny

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2018, 09:22:42 AM »
In my basement, I have installed vinyl plank, laminate planks, and carpet, and my favorite is honestly the carpet. I live in Minnesota, so a warm, comfortable floor in the basement is a must in the winter. The vinyl and the laminate always feel cold on my feet, and I prefer the warmth of a high-pile - I don't think it can be oversold. For some reason, it seems like a lot of people online hate carpet, and I'm not sure if it's a regional thing, but in Minnesota, carpet is VERY commonplace and is not looked down upon in my opinion. We're getting carpet installed in our bedroom in the next few weeks with a high-pile from Lowe's and an upgraded pad for $2.80 installed / ft^2. Don't hate on the carpet!

Also, I think laminate plank would be tough on your concrete if you have moisture problems and the height changes on your floor might be a challenge with the laminate plank floating floor, in my opinion.

TheFrugalEngineer

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2018, 06:22:12 PM »
Wow, thanks everyone for the advice!

I was starting to lean towards tile after mulling it over in my head as I went to sleep last night. Iíve tiled before, and I havenít done any other type of flooring, so thereís a degree of confidence there. It also seems it would be more forgiving over sort of uneven floors. But it certainly is cold... Part of why Iím re-doing the basement is to install a MMM style radiant floor system (post coming to my blog soon) in the joist space for the first floor. Seems silly to wind up with a cold tile floor in the basement.

Since I had been planning on a floating type floor I picked up some cheap super thin electric floor heat mats on craigslist awhile back. Unfortunately it canít be used with tile, but Iíd consider a patch of electric in floor heat if I did tile as well.

All the positive comments about vinyl are definitely going to make me check that out though. Thatís typically a floating installation too, right? Any recommended brands or retailers?

Thanks!

kenmoremmm

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2018, 12:23:32 PM »
your electric mats will spend a lot of energy (i.e. infinite) to heat your concrete slab that's touching the dirt.

i put down 1.5" XPS foam with 3/4" T&G advantech (nearly waterproof) subfloor. anchored with some drive pin concrete anchors (tapcons suck, simpson screws are better, but still prone to stripping). thick carpet. thick pad. it's pretty posh. i also put 3" of XPS foam all around on the walls and basically vapor barriered and insulated the crap out of my basement.

Fishindude

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2018, 12:43:55 PM »
I like plain concrete floors in a basement, then just use throw rugs or carpet remnants where you need them.
When they get crummy, just throw them out and get another.

Dave1442397

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2018, 01:00:56 PM »
I went with vinyl plank, Konecto sierra plank, to be exact - https://www.floorcity.com/collections/sierra-plank

I put this down in 2008. Installation was very easy, and it looks exactly the same now as it did ten years ago. This is a heavily traveled room, and there are no signs of wear.

Do you happen to remember the name of the color you got?  I'm in the planning stages of a whole house flooring project and have finally decided to try DIY install of vinyl plank.  Now I'm agonizing over colors.  I really like the looks of dark floors with the pale neutral walls and white trim like we have but we have a lot of dark wood furniture too.  I've been thinking dark floors would be too much with the furniture.  So now I'm looking at lighter colors, but again there are just too many choices for someone as indecisive as me :)

I still have a couple of boxes, and all it has is a Style Number: 11063 U

I Googled that and found a link that seems to show the right color - http://www.efloors.com/konecto-sierra-plank-quincy-floating-locking-floor-system-11063/luxury-vinyl-tile/konecto/catalog_6512.htm



DreamFIRE

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2018, 05:14:30 PM »
your electric mats will spend a lot of energy (i.e. infinite) to heat your concrete slab that's touching the dirt.

i put down 1.5" XPS foam with 3/4" T&G advantech (nearly waterproof) subfloor. anchored with some drive pin concrete anchors (tapcons suck, simpson screws are better, but still prone to stripping). thick carpet. thick pad. it's pretty posh. i also put 3" of XPS foam all around on the walls and basically vapor barriered and insulated the crap out of my basement.
Advantech is what I bought to do the same thing, except I went with 1" XPS on the floor, 1.5" XPS on the cement wall, and a framed wall with fiberglass insulation inside of that.  I went with Tapcons because that's what everyone seemed to recommend at the time.

justchristine

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2018, 05:58:07 PM »
I went with vinyl plank, Konecto sierra plank, to be exact - https://www.floorcity.com/collections/sierra-plank

I put this down in 2008. Installation was very easy, and it looks exactly the same now as it did ten years ago. This is a heavily traveled room, and there are no signs of wear.

Do you happen to remember the name of the color you got?  I'm in the planning stages of a whole house flooring project and have finally decided to try DIY install of vinyl plank.  Now I'm agonizing over colors.  I really like the looks of dark floors with the pale neutral walls and white trim like we have but we have a lot of dark wood furniture too.  I've been thinking dark floors would be too much with the furniture.  So now I'm looking at lighter colors, but again there are just too many choices for someone as indecisive as me :)

I still have a couple of boxes, and all it has is a Style Number: 11063 U

I Googled that and found a link that seems to show the right color - http://www.efloors.com/konecto-sierra-plank-quincy-floating-locking-floor-system-11063/luxury-vinyl-tile/konecto/catalog_6512.htm
Thanks foer looking that up.  That's about the color I'm considering at the moment.

Dave1442397

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2018, 10:23:05 AM »
I went with vinyl plank, Konecto sierra plank, to be exact - https://www.floorcity.com/collections/sierra-plank

I put this down in 2008. Installation was very easy, and it looks exactly the same now as it did ten years ago. This is a heavily traveled room, and there are no signs of wear.

Do you happen to remember the name of the color you got?  I'm in the planning stages of a whole house flooring project and have finally decided to try DIY install of vinyl plank.  Now I'm agonizing over colors.  I really like the looks of dark floors with the pale neutral walls and white trim like we have but we have a lot of dark wood furniture too.  I've been thinking dark floors would be too much with the furniture.  So now I'm looking at lighter colors, but again there are just too many choices for someone as indecisive as me :)

I still have a couple of boxes, and all it has is a Style Number: 11063 U

I Googled that and found a link that seems to show the right color - http://www.efloors.com/konecto-sierra-plank-quincy-floating-locking-floor-system-11063/luxury-vinyl-tile/konecto/catalog_6512.htm
Thanks foer looking that up.  That's about the color I'm considering at the moment.

You're welcome!

I have to say, we didn't pick the color in advance. We headed to the remainders section of our local flooring warehouse, and found the Konecto there. The guy at the store said I'd be cutting it close with the number of boxes they had available, but I ended up with 2.5 boxes left over.  At 60% off, it was a bargain.

TheFrugalEngineer

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2018, 07:56:12 PM »
So Iím still sort of stuck between tile and the vinyl plank. I think the biggest consideration is becoming how they deal with the flatness of the floor. Iím thinking about pouring down some self leveling concrete, but after some testing Iíve determined that doing the whole basement would require a HUGE amount. Iím thinking one or two bags should fill in the lowest area where the floor drain once was (since filled in) and where the slope is most severe. This is roughly in the middle of the basement and so filling in a ~3í radius around that reduces the overall variation significantly, but itís still sloping towards this point from all directions.

Is it possible to install vinyl plank flooring when the variation in height from the corners of the room to the center is 1Ē-2Ē? Would I realistically need to level the whole thing? I suspect I can overcome this with tile a little easier since itís not a floating floor and the thinset can fill gaps as necessary.


Dave1442397

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2018, 05:35:52 AM »
So Iím still sort of stuck between tile and the vinyl plank. I think the biggest consideration is becoming how they deal with the flatness of the floor. Iím thinking about pouring down some self leveling concrete, but after some testing Iíve determined that doing the whole basement would require a HUGE amount. Iím thinking one or two bags should fill in the lowest area where the floor drain once was (since filled in) and where the slope is most severe. This is roughly in the middle of the basement and so filling in a ~3í radius around that reduces the overall variation significantly, but itís still sloping towards this point from all directions.

Is it possible to install vinyl plank flooring when the variation in height from the corners of the room to the center is 1Ē-2Ē? Would I realistically need to level the whole thing? I suspect I can overcome this with tile a little easier since itís not a floating floor and the thinset can fill gaps as necessary.

Vinyl plank will conform to that height variation. That's one of the nice things about it - it's flexible. I bought a roller to make sure the seams stuck properly. I know our floor is not level - it slopes towards the back of the house to some extent.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-Extension-Handle-Roller/3030693

TheFrugalEngineer

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2018, 05:51:46 AM »
Arenít vinyl plank floors floating though? I thought they didnít stick down to the floor?

Frugal Lizard

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2018, 06:12:09 AM »
Last summer we ripped out the carpet and put cork click flooring down in 90% of the area.  The remainder (around the drain and laundry area we used real linoleum in the sheets.  Didn't even glue it down.  The cork needed a vapour barrier/thin foam sheeting while the lino went directly on the concrete.
We did this to reduce the potential of radon coming up through cracks in the slab - we have a radon mitigation fan as well.  But I just wanted suspenders as well as the belt.

The cork is not terribly durable but man does it feel good underfoot and so clean compared to the 47 year old formally beige carpet. I love how easy it is to maintain.  The linoleum on concrete is easy cleaning but not soft like the cork.  We didn't want to block the floor drain or alter the slope to it- one bust hot water tank, one blocked washing machine drain, a waterfall through the basement window and an improperly closed shower curtain above has me thanking that floor drain and committing to it in perpetuity.  I don't want to chance another freak flood episode.

The great thing about the linoleum is the colours are fantastic.  The draw backs - it is expensive compared to vinyl and only comes in a 6 foot wide roll.  But it is made with linseed oil from flax not ancient plants.

Dave1442397

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2018, 05:12:48 AM »
Arenít vinyl plank floors floating though? I thought they didnít stick down to the floor?

Yes, the floor is floating. The roller is just to make sure the individual planks are well stuck together.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2018, 08:38:51 AM »
Re: the uneven floor, any thoughts on the cause?

There are also  polymer products you can inject under concrete to level it that way.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2018, 09:25:20 AM »
I would level the floor. If it's a ridiculous amount of concrete I would install a false floor (subfloor)
https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/rooms-and-spaces/floors/how-to-level-a-floor
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/install-false-floor-over-basement-slab-65393.html

The wooden subfloor will be warmer than concrete, thats a bonus. But now you have wood down there on the floor, so basement flooding becomes a potential issue. Make sure you have backflow preventers and such; it would suck to trade one problem for another down the line.

I also am in the process of installing moisture sensors (on order) to automate my main water valve. I recommend getting sensors and incorporating them into the low spots. Before starting the current project its nice to prevent future problems. Basically you would get an alert on your phone if there was moisture under your floor for whatever reason; busted water heater, leak in a pipe, overland flooding etc. Then you would know to start the drying process before it became a problem :) 

I get an insurance discount, they'll basically be free if I use my discount to pay for everything (including the samsung hub).

GuitarStv

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2018, 09:48:24 AM »
I put down rubber horse stall mats in my basement over the area I workout.  They came in 6' x 8' 1 inch thick slabs that were kinda heavy, but easy to cut to size around corners.   If I had to do the whole thing again, I'd put them down over the entire basement rather than building a subfloor and putting laminate over top.  The rubber mats are shock absorbing, comfortable to walk on, waterproof, conform to irregularities on the floor, don't move around at all, are easy to clean, should last forever, and look neat/tidy.

CptCool

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2018, 09:00:41 AM »
I put down rubber horse stall mats in my basement over the area I workout.  They came in 6' x 8' 1 inch thick slabs that were kinda heavy, but easy to cut to size around corners.   If I had to do the whole thing again, I'd put them down over the entire basement rather than building a subfloor and putting laminate over top.  The rubber mats are shock absorbing, comfortable to walk on, waterproof, conform to irregularities on the floor, don't move around at all, are easy to clean, should last forever, and look neat/tidy.

I've thought about doing something similar. I got some 4'x6'x3/4" that I used as part of a lifting platform.

Where did you get yours from? Also, how would you join the pieces together? Or would you just put them up to each other and use the friction to hold everything in place?

GuitarStv

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2018, 09:56:38 AM »
I put down rubber horse stall mats in my basement over the area I workout.  They came in 6' x 8' 1 inch thick slabs that were kinda heavy, but easy to cut to size around corners.   If I had to do the whole thing again, I'd put them down over the entire basement rather than building a subfloor and putting laminate over top.  The rubber mats are shock absorbing, comfortable to walk on, waterproof, conform to irregularities on the floor, don't move around at all, are easy to clean, should last forever, and look neat/tidy.

I've thought about doing something similar. I got some 4'x6'x3/4" that I used as part of a lifting platform.

Where did you get yours from? Also, how would you join the pieces together? Or would you just put them up to each other and use the friction to hold everything in place?

I got mine from a farmer supply store.  I've seen them for sale at exercise places as well.  There's no real need to join the pieces together, they've got flat edges and fit reasonably close to one another (less than 1/8" gap).  Given that each piece weighs about 80 lbs and is made of grippy rubber, they are quite difficult to move around once laid down.

dcozad999

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2018, 12:36:49 PM »
I put down rubber horse stall mats in my basement over the area I workout.  They came in 6' x 8' 1 inch thick slabs that were kinda heavy, but easy to cut to size around corners.   If I had to do the whole thing again, I'd put them down over the entire basement rather than building a subfloor and putting laminate over top.  The rubber mats are shock absorbing, comfortable to walk on, waterproof, conform to irregularities on the floor, don't move around at all, are easy to clean, should last forever, and look neat/tidy.

I've thought about doing something similar. I got some 4'x6'x3/4" that I used as part of a lifting platform.

Where did you get yours from? Also, how would you join the pieces together? Or would you just put them up to each other and use the friction to hold everything in place?

I got mine from a farmer supply store.  I've seen them for sale at exercise places as well.  There's no real need to join the pieces together, they've got flat edges and fit reasonably close to one another (less than 1/8" gap).  Given that each piece weighs about 80 lbs and is made of grippy rubber, they are quite difficult to move around once laid down.


How did you get rid of the smell though?  The horse stall mats put off a really strong odor. I've never had one inside the house.
I so have a 4'x6' one out on my deck with my smoker and grill on top to protect from stains (mainly for the smoker, but since they both fit).

GuitarStv

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #29 on: April 25, 2018, 01:14:57 PM »
I left the stack of them in my garage for about six months.  There wasn't any noticeable smell from them at that point, although they didn't smell strongly to begin with.  If you go on the floor and put your nose right against them they smell like rubber, but even a foot up you can't smell anything.

pecunia

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2018, 03:33:48 PM »
Any moisture in the basement?

FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

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Re: Best Type of Basement Flooring
« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2018, 09:44:24 PM »
The horse stall mats are interesting, would be a good vapor barrier too if taped together.  You could also lay them over foam for insulation.

On that note, loose-lay vinyl plank is great, but on the expensive side for vinyl plank ($4-plus per square foot).  Karndean has been pioneering it but there are probably others now too.

I love cork too but is it really OK with moisture?  How about minor flooding?  We have dampness coming through the slab, and water coming under the doors and walls during major storms.  It's just a thin layer, not inches.  It ruins carpet but is no problem for vinyl with waterproof glue.  Would cork survive this?  Also more expensive, but nice enough to be worth it, if it could work.