Best DIY Flooring Options for the Basement


Creating living space on the basement level of your home can pose some challenges. With the often damp conditions and particular characteristics of concrete floors, your flooring options are more limited than in other areas.

Carpet works, but the underpad must be rated for the dampness and extremely breathable. Mold may be an issue as well, since carpet is prone to hold wetness in. You can install a subfloor over the concrete, providing a smooth wood surface that will take vinyl flooring well. Otherwise vinyl floor will discolor from that pesky moisture. Ceramic is an excellent alternative to vinyl, creating a cool finish that is perfect for bathrooms and laundry on the lower floor.

Regular hardwood is not rated for installation below grade. Engineered hardwood on the other hand is perfect for basement installation and makes for a fine DIY flooring project. With little training and some patience, you can work through this project to create a warm, attractive flooring.

Tips for Engineered Hardwood Installation

Start with a floor as level as possible. Use leveling cement to make this happen. Then put down an underlayment for cushion and as a moisture barrier. It will be thin, but is essential for a comfortable finish.

You can glue the engineered hardwood slats together with specially made hardwood/laminate glue available at local building stores. This creates a floor that will be able to move without splitting, straining or damaging the pieces. With a subfloor installed the engineered hardwood can be nailed or stapled down. This method works fine in the basement, as the fasteners are angled and can offer a little flex. But with the limited headroom in many basement levels, adding a subfloor is not the best option.

Mix up the boxes of engineered hardwood to ensure you have the different colors and grain patterns spread evenly across the flooring. It will take some time to piece together your flooring, especially if you bought a brand with a variety of plank sizes. Think of it as a jigsaw with more than one correct answer.

Tips for Ceramic Flooring Installation

As a DIY flooring option ceramic tile is straightforward. If you are an exacting person who doesn't mind taking your time on a project, this flooring is for you.

Start with a clean surface. Wash down the concrete and seal it with a concrete sealer rated for indoor use. Make sure you have the right tools on hand. A wet tile saw, tile spacers, a heavy duty mixer for the mortar, notched trowel and a chalk line are all important.

Your starter course is the key and needs to be done right for the balance of the floor to work. Use the chalk line to make it perfectly straight and lay it out dry before applying the mortar.

Once you have that starter course laid and ready for attaching, mix the mortar and get your trowel cocked. As you work, spread the mortar in manageable sections and work carefully. Ceramic tiling is extremely difficult to fix or remove once attached.

When it's time to grout, do that step all at once for the best coverage. Spread it evenly and don't worry about the tiles, they will wipe clean once the whole thing is done. Use a colored grout for a more decorative look.

Afterward, it's important to seal that grout with a special sealer and paintbrush. Complete this DIY flooring project without leaving any steps undone. From washing and sealing the concrete through to sealing the grout and washing the tiles, this flooring job is meticulous.

Both of these basement flooring options will provide an excellent finish that stands up to the particular conditions on below grade levels. And they're great projects for DIY fans of all kinds.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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