Looking for the right subfloor for basement

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Posted by: from Vancouver
3/12/2013 at 8:18:13 PM

This probably has been discussed many times, but I haven't seen the comparisons of the subfloor products that are out there.

I have a basement that I'd like to renovate--it's about 1500sqft. Even though weather in Vancouver is pretty moderate, tiles on concrete floors during winter still feels pretty cold. I want to install new tiles and laminate flooring.

So few ways that I've found are: using 2x4 with plywood, DRIcore, Barricade, or DMX 1-Step with plywood.

What's the pros and cons of these? Will I be framing on top of these? Are there better products out there? I'm kinda leaning towards Barricade right now.

Thanks for replying,


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Gaby from Amg Renovation in Hearst
Date/Time3/12/2013 at 10:51:13 PM

Hi Rich,

The way I would go (even for my client) depending on the budjet of course is 12 x 12 plywood board with ruber pading under, this way if it hapens water can go to its drain without any damage, but your floor has to be level or very close. This product is safe and good for all the years of the house, check it out. But again its a bit expensive but you will never have to touch this floor again, (Depending on the knowledge of the carpenter or handyman). Also good for laminate flooring and won't be cold as you said to.

Anyway thats my opinion but would be perfect. Good luck on your project and have fun!

Gaby Lacroix

Amg Renovation.

Amg Building Inspector.

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Date/Time3/12/2013 at 10:55:32 PM

I'll go with barricade. If you are installing tiles on it use ditra first.

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Gaby from Amg Renovation in Hearst
Date/Time3/12/2013 at 10:58:27 PM


I forgot to tell you the price here in Ontario those subfloor are about 6-7$/board. Like I said expensive but no maintenance and for all the wood you want to buy anyway it will come very close the same, and for instalation its just like laminate floor so easy. And just to make sure the joint sould be criss cross just like 12 x 12 laminate.

Again good luck and if you have more questions, well we are here for you bud.

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Date/Time3/12/2013 at 11:30:45 PM

I'll go with barricade. If you are installing tiles on it use ditra first.

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Date/Time3/13/2013 at 8:23:01 AM

If you are installing tiles, you can't put them on Dri-core or DMX. For Barricade you have to install 1/2'

cement board over top of it, then your tiles. That gives almost an inch of extra height to the rest of the floor.

The way I do basements is Planton foundation water proofing rolls, then high compression rated pink or blue ridgid insulation sheets. You can have 1/2",1" or 1 1/2" thick (2" if you can find long enough screws). Lay it over the floor and tuck tape the seams, that gives you the vapour barrier that the others don't other than DMX. Lay down 5/8" plywood and tap con them down every 2' for carpet and laminate. For tiles I screw every 12" and use ditra underlayment.

This system is cost competive, but far superior in everyway. You have more insulation (warmer floor and basement), vapour barrier, moisture and water barrier/drain, you can install any kind of flooring you want, it conforms to any uneveness in the floor better than the rest, you can build every wall on top, except load bearing walls.

All the systems you listed are good and better than nothing, but they do have there limitations and/or extra steps depending on the finished floor you choose.

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Date/Time3/13/2013 at 1:47:18 PM

DRIcore is the route to go for many reasons.

First, the size of the panels and the manner in which they fit together is superior. The made particulate is thick and tough. But most important is the blue plastic product on the underside. It is strong and tough. It will last here other products will break down. And take a good look at the channeling system designed into for water to move quickly and freely if you have a water escape of any kind.

Plus, the product breaths. It is installed 1/2" of the concrete foundation. If you ever have dampness below it can dry. The product is also strong enough to build over. I build walls over the product and then ramset them in through the product and into the concrete.

It's not cheap, but when I have clients willing to spend the money it is always what I use. I am currently finishing about 1800sq" of my own basement with the product now. I am also glueing 2" R-10 foam to the concrete foundation and then applying an air tight seal with tape.

Thats my 2 cents.

Good luck with your project,

James Fram

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Date/Time3/26/2013 at 1:35:50 AM

I agree with James (Phoenix). Rona sells a product similar to the Platon it's called Delta, I usually butt up or over lap joints and tape with Tuck Tape. Then you can install the laminate directly over that. Or you can install T&G 5/8" 4x8.

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Steve in Brampton
Date/Time4/30/2013 at 2:14:56 PM

if you are looking to install laminate flooring, make sure you note that DMX 1-Step does NOT require plywood if the laminate is greater than 10 mm thick.

The foam on the bottom of DMX 1-Step makes the floors warmer because it absorbs the cold from the concrete floors.

You will save clear height and cost, DMX 1-Step is half the price of Dricore and Barricade, with higher compressive strength and R value.

Quite a remarkable product, I have used it myself and it does exactly what it says.

Go to their website, they have great videos and comparative charts.

Hope this helps,


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Arn in St Thomas
Date/Time12/8/2014 at 12:04:30 PM

Recently decided to go with DMX 1 Step in my basement, because of cost, insulation for heat/sound and the obvious continuous moisture barrier.

I'm going to install 12mm laminate flooring, which I'm told can go directly over the DMX, but I need to raise my floor by 1>2" from the existing concrete.

I thought that putting 5/8" T&G OSB between the DMX and laminate would solve the problem.

But if I tapcon the OSB, I'm putting holes in the DMX and losing the continuous moisture barrier

Any suggestions?

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