Basements are traditionally damp, dingy areas. Unless yours is completely dry, year round, guaranteed, you should really consider only using temporary flooring solutions. When you go shopping for a basement floor covering, disregard expensive, permanent products because you will only come to grief at the first sign of mildew or mold, and wind up ripping the entire thing up and starting over.
The best kind of basement floor covering if you have any problems with moisture, minimal or significant, is one that can be easily replaced if necessary, won’t cost the earth, and preferably can be sectioned to remove only the affected areas.
Loose-laying carpet is a good start. Often, you can find room-size cast-offs that may or may not be finished around the edges, and you can bring them home in rolls, lay them where you want them and cut to size. This is a very economical basement floor covering because the cast-offs were left over from other, larger jobs. Color and style choices may not be what you would hope but you can usually shop around and find something suitable.
If you want the comfort of carpet, but the practicality of a tile, carpet tiles are a great solution as a basement floor covering. With a size of around 20 x 20 inches, they’re perfect in terms of laying and replacing if necessary. Supposing a section of the floor falls victim to dampness, spills, leaks or stains caused by usage of the room, it’s a simple matter of lifting the affected tiles and substituting them with clean, new ones.
Carpet tiles are made with the same materials as regular carpet but they are manufactured with an extra stable backing material to prevent shrinkage, curling and buckling. Second hand carpet tiles can often be purchased at yard sales, liquidation centers and even on ebay.
Create a Subfloor
If you’re looking for something more permanent for your basement floor covering, you’ll first need to prep the floor to avoid damage by moisture that can seep through the concrete. A 1½” to 2″ thick layer of extruded polystyrene foam against the concrete, and a plywood layer of 5/8″ on top, screwed in place with Tapcon screws (intended especially for concrete) into pre-drilled holes, should do the trick beautifully.
With your newly created subfloor, you’ll enjoy a warm, dry surface on which you can install carpet, linoleum or even wood, although for a basement floor covering, it’s still advised to go for laminate instead of actual wood, just to be extra sure.
Provided your basement floor covering is chosen and installed with your home’s dampness factor and precautions in mind, you should be assured of a long-lasting, effective solution that will be comfortable and pleasing to the eye.