Best flooring option for the basement

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Posted by: from Mississauga
12/13/2012 at 5:44:22 PM

The more I have been reading about flooring options for our basement (which is being finished) the more confused I feel. Would really appreciate feedback on which way to go.

Mostly I've been encouraged to look at laminate and I found some at Rona that looks fabulous and also have been recommend to use the Delta system underneath.

The basement will have a gym, theatre, and bar.

Appreciate feedback on this.

Thank you!

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Matt from Millwerx Inc in Beamsville
Date/Time12/13/2012 at 6:33:02 PM

Hi Jess

That's a question i hear often. Its difficult to get a straight answer from Google searches and contractors because we all have different views and thoughts on the matter. The truth is there really isn't a proper answer...

Here's why!

If you have a 100yr old house, damp issues, potential foundation cracks from a low property level or cold cold floors then you may want to think about using a floating sub floor. Very expensive but in my thought, the best way to go. Then any flooring you want can be applied on top, excluding tile (directly).

If your property level is high and have a dry basement then go ahead and install a laminate floor, an engineered hardwood floor or glue able floor or just straight carpet with a very good under pad.

In all regard you should test the floor first! Take a 2x2 piece of 6mm poly (plastic) and tape it to a clean spot on the concrete. Leave it for 24 Hrs and pull it up. If your floor is covered in moisture or dark in color then your going to want to seal the floor with a roller and sealer. If not then install your flooring with the under pad insuring the under pad tapes at the seams to complete a vapor barrier. I have had people install 6mm poly across the entire floor with tuck taped seams instead of using the floor sealer but I have also had responses stating that mold continues to grow under the poly and asthmatic issues have occurred. I cant verify that but i always side with any project that is not a quick and painless fix, that method despite all conversations with other contractors and methods has never done me wrong.

If you have a gym, think about rubber flooring. If you have a theater your best with carpet, for acoustic reasons. If you have pets or young children hardwood is not your best bet for longevity. Its up to you what you want, every type of floor can be installed if you just prep properly.

One last thing!

As a contractor i often make recommendations based on the many questions i just covered, and so many more... For more on this please call or email me as i have run out of space on this thread.

Do it right, take the time, spend the money and enjoy a properly installed floor for years!


Millwerx contracting

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Date/Time12/13/2012 at 6:45:55 PM

Yes the laminate is clean and easy to install and great for the budget. But if you are going to spend money on the Delta system, I suggest you go for a radiate heated floor system. I know of a carbon fibre heating system that I'm presently getting involved with and represent. It's not copper wiring which draws heavy wattage, its carbon fiber like your hair and it resist the electrical current which uses less wattage but heats us the carbon fiber slower but get warm! Very economical all round.


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Date/Time12/13/2012 at 7:12:48 PM

Hello there,

I would recommend a cork flooring for a gym, but that requires a sub floor of 2" above the cement at least. If you have a limited budget for this project, laminate floor is the best solution for your need, only make sure it is not laid strait on the cement to prevent any moister from the laminate.


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Date/Time12/13/2012 at 7:14:35 PM


Just to add to the situation, make sure your cement is smooth and level prior to adding a sub-floor. It is like anything else, the foundation is the base from which all rises and if it isn't plumb, level, and in decent shape, problems will arise.

There are so many new options for heating the floor, they all have there place. Cost is a factor but so too is the quality. If something goes wrong how accessable is it? The actual finished floor is a matter of prefference. Laminate is quite good for all general purpose flooring ... as long as it doesn't get wet.

Good luck with this one. Take your time and do it proper.

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Steve from OMC Contracting in Kitchener
Date/Time12/13/2012 at 8:45:26 PM


If I understand your basement is being finished now by contractor. I assume, good contractor should know what is the best solution for the basement. The whole idea is not to trap the moisture under neat, most people think by installing plastic they solve the problem on the contrary, what they done is trapping the moister under, witch eventually will start to smell more and more.

Before any material is installed either is laminate, hardwood or carpet, DRICORE subfloor must be installed on concrete floor without any plastic or coatings. Drycore is system I use is 6' rolls and must overlap 2'' minimum then 5/8x 4'x8' tang and grew plywood install on top of it, then you can install your finished product what ever that is.

To go step further I bring down 3'' air supply trough the wall and forcing it to under the floor and this could be on one side only, then on the other three sides I install air grills, so there is constant circulation of air under neath. You can't forget to install damper on air supply, when air condition is working trough the simmer You want to close the damper just live it open only when heat is working, at summer time the ground is dry and there is no moisture in the ground as much.

I hope this helps you some what.


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Date/Time12/13/2012 at 8:56:08 PM


I would recommend laminate flooring but would suggest a minimum 12mm or thicker. If there is a Costco near you they have a 15mm that is around $2/ft.

As far as a sub floor the Delta system is good but fairly expensive . If your having a contractor doing the work you can buy a product that is available at Lowes or Home Depot that comes in a roll 6 1/2 ft by 65. I think it's called Platon then you can install 5/8 t&g OSB on top which is the same as the Delta system but less expensive.

Hope this helps Scott

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Date/Time12/13/2012 at 9:08:14 PM

As mentioned there are a lot of options and personal preferances.

For me I put down a drainage membrane (Planton), 1" ridgid foam high load insulation, 5/8 T&G plywood screwed to the concrete every 2 feet ( every foot if you want ceramic tiles). This gives a very warm basement and nice feeling under foot. The basements I've installed this in, the customers actually have to close down the heat registers.

If you go with Laminate, I'd at least use the Delta or Dri-core system. It provides some warmth underfoot, but mostly if you have a water or moisture problem your floor won't get ruined. Laminate can't take any water or moisture, it swells up.

Cork is great in a basement, but it's rather fragile when it comes to dogs, heavy weight and scratchs.

Engineered hardwoods will also work and take moisture problems better. It really comes down to what flooring you want and work it out from there.

Some options are more expensive than others, but anything is possible.

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Date/Time12/14/2012 at 7:52:42 AM

There are so many answers to this question.

A great product to use for your subfloor is DRIcore. You can then apply whatever floor (not including tile) to it. It's fast and easy.

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Steve from OMC Contracting in Kitchener
Date/Time12/14/2012 at 8:25:06 AM


I have bin reading different comments from contractors, I'm amazed that no one understands the physics. The whole idea is to ventilate the concrete floor. Concrete floor is like sponge, it absorbs moisture from the ground and that is what you need to get rid of.

By installing drycore subfloor you are creating air space under neath, by adding air vents you are drying and venting all moisture and not trapping it as suggested by some contractors. It is the same thing as having your attic enclosed and not being vented. As you can see every attic is vented.

System that i'm using is tested and it works, it is weary sturdy. You can install any finish floor over it even a tile floor. Just for tile floor you need to staple the wire mash and scratch coat and then you can install the tile.



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Date/Time12/14/2012 at 9:29:06 AM

The Delta system is nice, but could be an added expense.

I don't know what the concrete is like in your basement, but a 10 to 12 mm laminate is a very nice flooring for a basement.

I would recomend an upgrade in the underlay for increased R value, sound and for comfort. keep in mind, that if you are putting in a home gym, the rubber or foam interlocking mats are best for the home gym to placed on.

Good luck,

Steve Rose

Rose Home Renovations

705 733 5453

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Simo (Sam) from Manifest Contracting in Kitchener
Date/Time12/14/2012 at 12:20:17 PM


I have done numerous basement floors including my own. Laminate is a good option. It is designed to take a basement environment.

If your basement floor is at least 4' below the outside grade of the house you don't need a subfloor like Delta.

You should also consider engineered hardwood. Here's a link to describe it. - It is also designed to withstand basement environments but you have the advantage of a real hardwood look.

Make sure you do not skimp on the underpad. It makes a big difference.

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Date/Time12/14/2012 at 6:29:29 PM

I have installed a flooring product from Allure. I have had great success installing in basement applications.

There are 2 grades of flooring, 1 good, 1 better. Several styles and colors available. Some may be special order. This is a diy flooring.

Good Luck.

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Date/Time12/14/2012 at 8:05:29 PM

We use 1 1/2 " SM foam board on floors which gives you a real R value of 7.5. On the floor we lay down

Typar then the foam and use 2x4sleepers ram set down. We then install 5/8 T&G ply screwed and glued just like the up stairs should be.

Spacing the foam board to accept spray foam is a must ....don't use tape it wont last...weld the boards together to achieve a therm o brake. No moisture !!!! Tie this end to the 1" SM on the block wall and you have a moisture free and mold, smell free environment Build your 2x6 wall and you have R28 in the wall and R 7.5 in the floor. The up stairs will be warmer and you will use less energy and the basement will be warm and dry. Humidity in the summer is 75% in unfinished basements and 25% in the winter.

Do not use Hardwood below grade manufactures won't warranty it. Check out engineered hardwood. We have done fitness rooms ...use hard wearing Berber.... Weights kill Laminate We have used Allure Flooring from Home depot with good results following this system.

Yes....... this costs more but you will forget the cheaper route when you have mould smell and moisture problems always.

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Date/Time12/15/2012 at 5:40:46 PM

I have recently installed laminated flooring in a basement, I put 6mm poly on the concrete and installs the laminate over that. Simple and cost effective.

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Steve from OMC Contracting in Kitchener
Date/Time12/15/2012 at 9:37:25 PM


Most of this contractors are right, when they say good lack, that is precisely what you need if You take approach they are suggesting.


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