Monthly Archives: January 2017

5 Tips for a Smooth Basement Floor DIY Install

installing luxury vinyl plank in a basmentWe’re stating the obvious: home projects do not always go as planned.  A little bit of research can go a long way toward a smooth project, especially when it comes to installing new floors in your basement.  Whether you’re looking forward to new luxury vinyl floors, carpet tiles, or engineered hardwood, use these tips to get your flooring project from start to finish efficiently and easily.

Be very careful about MOISTURE.

Most basements are made of concrete or cinder block, both of which are very porous.  Moisture seeps through the wall and floor—and into the air.  That’s why you should stay away from solid wood floors, which can be damaged by the moisture.  There are several other (beautiful) basement floor options to choose from, but make sure you keep the humidity in the room down—both for the floor and your furniture.

Excess moisture can cause mold to grow on furniture, make your basement smell musty, and damage your floors if you don’t keep the humidity down.  Use a humidistat to measure the moisture in your basement.  If you find the air is too moist, use a dehumidifier to maintain a level between 30-50%.

Make sure you’ve resolved basement flooding—or choose floors that can take the water.

Swimming pools should be outside—NOT in your basement.  When you decide to finish your basement, make sure you have resolved any issues that could cause your basement to turn into a swimming pool OR choose a floor in that can take an occasional flood when it happens.  Vinyl flooring is your answer; we’ve seen this floor look great even after being under two feet of water.  As a bonus, new luxury vinyl floors come in a variety of colors that look great (and even mimic the look of wood perfectly).

Buy more than you need.

“Measure twice, cut once” is the old home project saying.  For flooring installs, use another saying, “measure twice, buy more.”  Always purchase more flooring and supplies that you need for those just in case situations (just in case you find a bad board, underestimated, things don’t go as well as planned, etc.).  If you are buying a large amount, you may also be able to get a discount for buying in bulk.  When installing plank floors, make sure you mix and match planks from each box to make sure you get an even look.

Acclimate your floors before you install.

Installing new basement floors is not as easy as buying a box of new flooring, bringing it home, and laying new flooring.  New basement floors need to be acclimated to the room for a smooth install.  It’s easy to do: after you buy the flooring, put the boxes in the room for at least 48 hours before you start install.  This simple step prevents the flooring from being damaged during install.  Radiant floor heating should also be turned down to about 60 degrees while the flooring acclimates.

Use the experts and their advice.

If you want a smooth project, don’t get at it alone; even if you’re doing a do-it-yourself project, talk to local flooring experts about the supplies and information you need for your install.  A simple conversation or contact can help you with your basement flooring project; they’ve helped other homeowners and get information straight from the flooring manufacturer.  As an added perk, staff at your local flooring store can also help you get more supplies if you don’t buy enough; everything you need to get your flooring installed smoothly so you can enjoy the finished project.

What flooring can be installed in a basement?

carpet in basement that can handle basement moistureWhen winter hits, Wisconsinites head down to our basement for some indoor fun.  If you haven’t finished your basement getaway, it’s time to plan all the important details: space design, construction, wall colors, flooring.  Your last choice may be the most important: not all types of flooring are meant for basements.  Most notably, wood flooring can warp and crack from the moisture that seeps through your basement floors and walls.

If your basement is constructed like most homes, your basement walls and floor are concrete or cinder block. Though durable and affordable, basement walls made of concrete and cinder block are porous, allowing moisture to seep through the floor and walls.  While hardwoods are not a great floor choice for basements, there are still many floor choices that do work in a basement—and many of these floors have the look of wood (or stone or whatever look you want…).

Luxury Vinyl

luxury vinyl flooring that looks like woodLuxury vinyl comes in planks (as a free floating floor) or sheets, and looks spectacular.  The benefits don’t stop there: luxury vinyl is easy-to-clean, durable, and can be installed professionally or as a do-it-yourself project.  Many luxury vinyl plank products snap together, making it suitable for DIYers who want new, durable flooring they can install themselves. Luxury vinyl flooring can also be glued or installed with grout.  If you want to install luxury vinyl on your own, you can buy large quantities at a discount at your local flooring store (and get excellent advice to go with it!).

These floors require literally no maintenance. As a bonus, luxury vinyl flooring can handle any kind of water spills, and has even been known to withstand some minor flooding. As a basement flooring, luxury vinyl can handle water puddles (great for basements near pools and lakes), porous concrete, and all the traffic that your family wants to throw at it through winter and summer.

Engineered Hardwood

If you really, really want wood, consider an engineered hardwood floor for your basement. Engineered hardwood is not as prone to problems with temperature changes because engineered hardwood is constructed of layers.  Since it’s a wood floor product, it looks beautiful.  Engineered hardwood is also durable and easy-to-clean.

Some engineered hardwood floor products can be sanded down and refinished as needed.  Ask your local flooring store which options are available if you want a floor for the long-term.  There is one downfall, however: engineered hardwood flooring can be damaged from water spills. If you choose an engineered hardwood floor, make sure you keep a rag handy to clean up puddles.

Carpet

carpet remnants for basement floorsMany people say that carpet seems warmer that hard floors, and that’s probably why it’s such a popular choice for finished basements.  Carpet is soft, affordable, durable, and comes in a huge variety of colors and options.  It’s also an easy option to clean, though not as easy as hard floors. If you’re trying to finish a small basement space on a budget, ask your local flooring store about carpet remnants which are discounted because they are only available in smaller sizes.  

On the flip side, carpets need to be vacuumed and deep cleaned on a regular basis to rid your carpets of allergens and maintain their look.  This ‘flip’ all depends on how you look at it; it’s easy to schedule a professional deep clean to keep them looking great.

Carpet squares

If you want a durable, easy-to-clean, and fun floor idea for your basement, carpet squares are your answer. Carpet squares come in a variety of colors and styles, and can be laid down as a fun pattern.  If a carpet square gets dirty, just pop it up and replace it with another carpet tile.  Carpet tiles are a very popular choice for basement playrooms.  The only downside of carpet squares is that they don’t usually have a carpet pad under them, making the feel a bit harder under your feet.