Carpeting Basement Floor

The basement is very often the last place in the house to get your decorating attention, probably along with the loft and the garage. These days though, it is becoming more and more commonplace for families to take advantage of the space and possibilities that the basement provides. A little time and creativity can go along way in making the basement a comfortable place for the family to hang out.

If you are thinking about carpeting your basement, there are a few extra things to think about, in comparison to carpeting an upstairs floor. Basements usually have concrete floors, they are often plagued with dampness and they sometimes leak during rainy whether. All of the above can pose a challenge to choosing carpeting as flooring for your basement. Still, carpeting will make the basement warmer and it will provide your family with a more comfortable floor to walk on.

Prep Work

It is not impossible to have carpeting in the basement you will just need to do some preparation before laying the carpet down. Simply laying a carpet on top of a damp concrete basement floor will create mold and your carpet will not last very long in these conditions. So, whether you are laying down a carpet for the first time or simply replacing a worn out carpet, it is important to do things correctly and in a way that allows you to enjoy your handy work for some time to come.

If you have leaks and excessive dampness in your basement, be sure to deal with these issues before laying down your carpet. If you are paying someone to put in your carpet, find out whether they are qualified to also deal with leaks or whether thy can recommend someone to do it. If you are a do-it-yourself (DIY) buff, gather the right materials and take care of this task yourself.


Most experts recommend the use of multiple layers under any carpeting that will be used to cover a basement floor. . Layers should include a sub-floor and various layers of padding. Ultimately, you will have dryer carpeting, a mold-free environment and much more pleasant, softer carpet to walk on. I recommend the use of 4 different layers over your basement floor. That includes the actual carpet itself. Here is a list of the layers you will need. Be sure to have all of your materials purchased and ready in advance:

    -½ inch sheets of dimpled polyethylene or 6mm sheets of plastic
    -½ inch plywood
    -Foam padding
    -New carpet

There needs to be enough of each of these materials to cover the entire area that will be carpeted. It is best to lay the first three layers before the carpet is even in the house

I will provide you with two different sub-floor/layering options to choose from depending on your basement conditions. For basements that leak at times, the first layer, the layer against the concrete, should be polyethylene. You should use the dimpled type sheets that are found in most hardware or home improvement stores.

Next you should lay down the sub-floor. The sub-floor should be made up of sheets of plywood that are approximately half an inch in thickness. Next should be a layer of normal foam-type padding and lastly, the carpet.

If you are confident that your basement does not leak and that it is not damp then rather than use the dimpled polyethylene sheets, you can simply place a thin piece of plastic sheeting against the concrete floor. This sheet can be as thin as 6 millimeters.

See Also:

Basement Ventilation
How to Clean Basement Floors