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Carpet in the basement

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Posted by: from Comox
5/15/2011 at 12:01:20 PM

I've pulled the old carpet in the main part of the basement and the underlay in some corners has stuck to the floor. Is this a result of water weeping up through the concrete? When I put down new carpet is there a special underlay that I need to put down to prevent this from happening again?

There is also a section of the basement that was originally part of the garage that the previous owners framed in and used it as a living space. I know that in the remaining part of the garage that if I place anything on the ground that after a few days I lift it and the concrete is wet. I have to say that this portion is not heated however the section of the garage that was framed in is heated. I want to install heated tile floors in what will be the laundry room and carpet in the other room within this reclaimed portion of the garage. Can I install these items (presently there is linoleum and carpet and if so is there anything I need to put down on the floor before laying the heated tile and carpet. I'm concerned that the moisture issue in the garage section will also be going on in the living section of the converted portion of the garage.

Thanks,

Blaire

REPLIES (1)
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Dave in Oshawa
Date/Time5/18/2011 at 1:26:07 PM

Hi Blaire,

First off - concrete, although it seems solid enough, is a sponge and will wick water or moisture from the ground. Ask your carpet supplier about underpads and make sure to tell him that it is for a basement. There is a foil-backed underpad that should keep the moisture out of your carpet.

As for the damp spot on the floor below the box, have you ever spilled on a carpet and used pressure on a paper towel to 'draw' the water out of the carpet? This is essentially what is happening with the box on the floor. The cardboard is drawing the moisture out of the concrete and because it can't readily evaporate with the box on top, it's showing as a damp spot. What that tells me is that your concrete slab is sitting in a little bit of water. This is generally not a problem unless you plan on finishing and using your basement (which it sounds like you are). If you have a sump pump, you might want to check on the level of water in the pit and perhaps adjust the float switch on the pump. If you don't have a sump pump, then you *may* want to consider something more invasive like investigating the drainage system (weeping tile/Big O - what ever you want to call it). The entire perimeter of the basement does not have to be excavated to investigate - a test area can be dug particularely in the area that is causing you problems. It isn't cheap though, so you should get several quotes.

If you want to ease the dampness problem, a polyethalene vapour barrier over the floor before you finish the area will help - but I stress, if you have a water problem, this is not a fix. It is a bandaid. The bandaid may be fine depending on the severity of the problem and how often it occurs (seasonal). The point is, if you have a damp basement floor all the time, putting poly over it doesn't fix anything and can encourage mould growth.

Hope that helps!

~ Dave

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