I am hearing some good things about cork for a basement as well as vinyl plank water resistent flooring as alternatives to laminate. I currently don't have any water issues (house is 8 years old and dry as a bone, concrete floor). I am looking to cover around 400 square feet and want to be very reasonable about the cost.
Suggestions with pros and cons and what I can expect a contractor to charge for materials and labour, do they require a sub floor or a vapour barrier etc?
Good questions and I am glad you are doing some research before making the investment.
Just a couple of things to consider - although your basement floor is actually the same temperature as your basement, it probably feels colder as do any stone, ceramic, or porcelain type floors. I am glad to hear that your house is high and dry but there is also gravity to account for - any leaks in any plumbing in your house are probably going to wind up in the basement somehow! They always seem to for me!
For these reasons, I always recommend a sub floor of some type - you can go for something that provides for drainage like a dricore or home made version, or lay down 1" (or more) of rigid foam - the blue or pink type - and overlay with 5/8 or 3/4 tongue and groove sub floor material. Both will provide a barrier between the concrete and your feet and would provide a suitable base for any of your flooring choices. The foam would also give you a minimum R5 insulation value, depending on the thickness you choose. The chances are you are only going to do this once so you might as well do it as well as you can to protect your investment. The more comfortable and appealing you make it, the more you are going to use and enjoy it. You can also photo document the process and use them if and when you decide to sell.
I would not advocate any specific type of flooring because once you get the field narrowed down to what can be used in a basement, it ultimately comes down to your personal choice - is it an adult area or a kids play room? etc. Each different type of flooring has its own installation requirements so your cost question is difficult to answer.
Good luck with it!
Kettleby Handyman Services
Hi, Stewart here of Sct Floorcoverings. I would suggest the 15mm "High gloss Random lenghths "Laminate flooring for the basement floor. You do not need a subfloor for it, just a chap vapour barrier pad-Low cost, Beautifull and comfortable to walk on.It is 3/4 of an inch thick,so their is very little floor prep required-this will save you time and money.
Laminate with proper moisture barrier product under it. A good laminate is $1.29-$1.79 per square foot.
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