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Best choice for the basement flooring?

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Posted by: from Toronto
8/6/2012 at 5:21:50 AM

Hello,

What are the best bulletproof choices for the basement flooring in terms of moisture protection and mold prevention, but also liveability? Our basement was flooded and needs to be redone ASAP.

I was told that ceramic floor over concrete is the best; but is it very cold and I wonder if it gets moist and spoils furniture from the bottom?

Also, I saw DRIcore subfloor at the Home depot and was very tempted to put that in my basement with vinyl flooring (tiles) over it. It claims to capture moisture released by concrete and provide air gap for its circulation.

Thanks,

Olga

REPLIES (17)
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Date/Time8/6/2012 at 9:25:27 AM

Hi Olga,

Unless you have already concidered adding heated flooring to your basement tile will always be cold and if you have water problems again your fears of ruining your furniture will most likely come to light because the water will be forced to run on top of the finished surface to the floor drains.

Dri-core is a very effective product when it comes to drainage and dealing with moisture build up. If any water should seep through the concrete floor it would either dry up or navigate its way to the floor drains in your basement. Another more cost effective way to achieve this is laying down a layer of dimple membrain on the concrete and then laying a subfloor over top. This membrane is used to promote drainage along the outside of your house against your foundation walls and works really well at doing the same on your basement floors.

Also, the air gap that either of these options creates coupled with a high quality foam underlay will also make your floors quite a bit warmer by reducing thermal bridging from the concrete.

Thank you for your question,

Kevin

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Olga in Toronto
Date/Time8/6/2012 at 9:34:47 AM

Thanks again, Kevin, this is very helpful.

Olga

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Date/Time8/6/2012 at 10:36:32 AM

Olga,

I totally agree with Kevin. Any "hard surface" like ceramic would simply mask the issue of water drainage and would maintain the temperature of the concrete flooring, It is best to add a subfloor to creat a "pocket" between the concrete slab and the finished floor.

Good luck.

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Olga in Toronto
Date/Time8/6/2012 at 10:48:21 AM

Thanks a lot, Mark. Really appreciate your response.

Olga

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SVS General Contracting in Conklin
Date/Time8/6/2012 at 11:18:43 AM

Drycore is a good option how ever one thing that needs to be thought about is all your doors will have to be adjusted for the higher level of the floor after the drycore goes in alot of times the doors will have to be trimmed back to leave the proper space at the bottom of the doors.

Yes drycore does leave a space for moisture to stay away from the floor finish so that would allow a lot more flooring options.

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Kevin from Precision Carpentry in Barrie
Date/Time8/6/2012 at 12:13:25 PM

There is a product called Okaform underlay that you can put down over the concrete and has an insulation value and acts just like ditra underlay. The Okaform is thinset down and then you would tile on top of it just like you would over ditra. The Okaform is almost like a rubber mat so that moisture can't penetrate it and it makes it feel like you have put ceramic tile on wood floor rather than concrete. It is sold at the Tile Master store in Barrie.

Hope this helps.

Kevin Jackson

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Olga in Toronto
Date/Time8/6/2012 at 12:38:55 PM

Thanks, David and Kevin. I am glad I asked on this forum after weeks and weeks of banging my head against the wall :)

Olga

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Date/Time8/6/2012 at 1:17:39 PM

Hello Olga:

I am a local flood restoration contractor from the West Coast area (Vancouver), and as you may or may not know the lower mainland is considered to have the most rainfall in Canada. I have been using the dry-core sub floor system for the past 6-7 years and have never had a call back. I have been back to a couple of past clients only to remove and supply new floor. They both happened to be sewer back ups, which could not be re-installed. I suppose if you ever did have another flood (depending on the amount of water, you could potentially re-install it. I am yet to find another product as versatile as this one.

The pros are:

Easy to pick up (as in transport home without renting a van or truck).

Product could possibly be re-used again if flooded (most likely not if it was submerged in water).

Easy to install as a home owner as it just fits together.

You do not need an array of contractor tools.

Has air flow dimples to allow continuous air to travel underneath the entire floor for ventilation and also prevents musty smells.

You are most likely limited to the type of flooring that you may out down. My understanding that the only tile that you most likely will not be able to install is vinyl composite tile (VCT) and ceramic floor tiles as these will need a subfloor beneath them. All other types of flooring can be installed i.e.: carpet, laminate floors, nail down hardwood floors (although not highly recommended as the dry-core does has small amounts of movement), cork flooring and parquet flooring.

The cons are:

Pricey as it's a long term product.

Might need the floor to be levelled is the slope of you concrete slab is great.

Cannot be re-used of submerged in a flood.

See, as you see from the above, the pros for this product far greatly out weigh the cons. If it were my home, this is the product that I would definitely use.

Hope this helps you in your upcoming renovation.

Regards,

Joe (KDL Carpentry)

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Kevin from Precision Carpentry in Barrie
Date/Time8/6/2012 at 2:22:31 PM

As far as I am concerned the Okaform is the longest lasting solution, even if it did flood again you would not need to replace it as it does not absorb water.

As far as having air flow between the concrete and sub floor, that is unnecessary as the okaform acts as a barrier so that moisture can't wick up through the floor. I have done many basements with just a high quality underlay and carpet right on the concrete but have painted the concrete first with an epoxy based paint to seal it and have never had a problem with moisture.

If the basement is prone to flooding, that problem should be addressed first, maybe installing some back flow preventers could avoid future floods.

Kevin

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Olga in Toronto
Date/Time8/6/2012 at 6:02:49 PM

Hello Joe,

wow this is fantastic help. Thanks for taking time to share your experience and advice. We will go the dri-core direction because it is endorsed and it is easy to do by ourselves. You are saying that vinyl composite tiles are not good over dri-core. We are thinking vinyl planks with easygrip feature, they worked well for us in the bathroom. Any objections?

Thanks

Olga

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Kevin from Precision Carpentry in Barrie
Date/Time8/6/2012 at 6:41:48 PM

Just to let you know, concrete floors do not need to breath! In fact they wick moisture up and the only thing that will be separating you're basement from that moisture will be the plastic on the bottom of the dricore.

In my opinion dricore is way over priced especially considering, if your basement floods again, the dricore will be garbage. If you do go that route I would highly recommend sealing the concrete with an epoxy paint first to avoid the moisture wicking through and possible damaging whatever finished floor you install after.

Okaform costs $2 per sq/ft can be cut with a utility knife and is just thinset down with a 1/4" notched trowel, any flooring can be installed on top of it and it will last forever. Just seems like a no brainer to me.

Cheers

Kevin Jackson

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Olga in Toronto
Date/Time8/7/2012 at 5:15:58 AM

Hi Kevin,

That sounds attractive too. I will check out Okaform.

Cheers,

Olga

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Mark in Cambridge
Date/Time8/7/2012 at 6:40:17 AM

The allure product is is excellent along with DRIcore. Easy to install and also easy to un-install. That combination make is a great for those times when the unexpetced happens

Mark Geier

TEMPO HARDWOOD FLOORS

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Date/Time8/7/2012 at 11:27:23 AM

Hi There,

By installing ceramic tile over concrete doesn't prevent moisture to build/up under the tile and come/up trough grout. DRIcore sub floor is the best if done properly. DRIcore witch is sold at Home Depot 2'x2' is NOT solution because, the moisture will escape through joints between sections. Best method anybody can use is 8' wide rolls of same material as DRIcore applying it on concrete and next layer overlap for 2''then install 4'x8'T&G plywood, after what you want for finish floor is personal theist. Lost think needs to be done is opening floor vents, so the air can circulate under it and to improve this circulation is advisable to install 3'' air ducts in to the wall and focus them to under the floor, so the circulation of air is grater, on air ducts damper needs to be install, because You want to close air ducts at summer time when air condition is on.

This is the system I have been using and I don't know any contractor using this approach, the fact is You need to keep floor under DRIcore dry at any point of time, otherwise You end up with moisture and smell after wile.

I hope this clarifies your dilemma.

Regards

Steve

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Date/Time8/7/2012 at 11:25:28 PM

Hi Olga,

Dri core is a good product if you doing this yourself. If this is a insurance claim or if you are hiring a contractor, I would go with Steve suggestion from OMC as it is the same concept as dri core but more cost effective way of doing it also the heat runs is also very helpful with keeping the floor warm and helps dry up any moisture.

Good luck with either way you choose.

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Olga in Toronto
Date/Time9/16/2012 at 7:19:38 AM

Thanks everybody. We looked at special flooring plywood and dry core, and the price was about the same, so we went with dry core. Install was very easy, We chose vinyl planks looking like Maple wood and it was a fantastic choice for the basement.

Thanks to all. I appreciate your advice as you gave me affirmation that this would work, and also many other ideas, each of which I have considered.

Cheers,

Olga

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Ron in Toronto
Date/Time4/17/2015 at 8:25:13 AM

Concrete floor or carpet tile would be my option to take. Carpet tile is easy to install and also easy to maintain. Though they are not waterproof but you can replace them any time.

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