As unfortunate as it might be, basements are some of the largest sources of moisture within a house – concrete not only lets in moisture, but it actually draws the moisture in through the concrete pores. As a result, installing mold resistant basement flooring is really the only viable solution to prevent this moisture from becoming a hazard in your home. Mold growth caused by moisture retention in basements can actually cause serious health problems for yourself or your family, so it is vital to consider mold resistant flooring in the basement.
Mold Resistant Flooring Options
Hardwood lumber and sapwood lumber are both relatively mold resistant, though if you want a guarantee against mold growth, the best options are PVC, porcelain, ceramic tile, and rubberized flooring. However, if you want to expand your choices, the process gets a little more complex since you’ll need to put down an extra layer of subfloor.
The best way to begin installation is by laying down a subfloor above the concrete, since that will keep the finished floor away from any direct contact with the cold concrete slabs. This will help to ensure that your flooring stays warm and dry – and if it does happen to come in contact with moisture through spills or plumbing leaks, it’ll be able to dry out easily without water retention.
Once the subfloor is laid down, you can install bamboo, carpet, tile, linoleum, or wood overtop – but make sure that any and all cracks in the floor have first been caulked, in order to minimize potential moisture issues. And regardless of how tempting it is, never lay down carpet directly onto the cement floor – wet carpet is a breeding ground for mold.
A Detailed Look at Flooring Options
1) Tile: If you’re laying down tile as a mold resistant basement flooring, you need to place down an air-gap membrane to keep water vapor from permeating the tile. You’d end up with cold, slippery floors and subsequent mold growth – so make sure you put the subfloor down correctly.
2) Linoleum: Linoleum is inexpensive, comes in a wide range of colors and textures, and is mold resistant since it’s made of plastic. Place this over the top of multi-ply board, and it can be quickly installed.
3) Laminate: Some laminate tiles are made specifically for areas that are prone to moisture and mold growth. Though it’ll cost slightly more than linoleum, it comes in styles that mimic cork, wood, marble, and almost anything else you can think of – and resist mold.
4) Carpet: In your basement, carpet will only work if you’ve taken the time to lay down the subfloor correctly, though some companies have now created more mold-resistant carpets to help reduce the problem. If water vapor isn’t controlled, the basement will smell musty and mold growth will build between the carpet backing and subfloor. Recently, basement floor radiant heating systems have become popular with homeowners wanting carpet in the basement, which can help dry out any moisture and also assist in heating the living space.
5) Hardwood: Reviews on using hardwood floors in the basement tend to be mixed, since certain types of hardwood are far more resistant than others to mold and mildew. If you’re installing a radiant heating system under the hardwood, be aware that the glue can become damaged by the heat – instead, wood laminate might be a far better option and will avoid these potential issues.