Carpeting Basement Floors

Previously, we discussed a number of viable flooring options for basements. We learned that choosing the right flooring can be tricky when it comes to basements due to moisture issues. Although carpeting is not always recommended due to the prevalence of moisture, if you prefer carpeting, here are a few tips to ensure a mold-free, moisture-resistant, scenario.

If you plan to spend a modicum of time in the basement, there is no doubt that carpeting would provide a warm, more comfortable environment for your family. Basements typically have concrete floors which must be taken into consideration. It is not advisable to lay carpeting directly onto the concrete as this will create mold and severely shorten your carpet’s life. If you have an issue with excessive dampness, you should resolve this issue before laying down carpet. Professional flooring companies will ensure all moisture issues are resolved before the carpeting is installed.

Most flooring professionals recommend the use of multiple layers under carpeting for basement floors. Ideally, the layers will include a sub-floor and thick padding. Flooring experts recommend the following:

• ½ inch sheet of dimpled polyethylene or 6mm plastic sheets
• ½ inch of plywood
• Padding (preferably foam)

We recommend placing the first three layers down before the carpeting is installed. If your basement tends to leak, you should lay the polyethylene down first. Dimpled sheets of polyethylene against the concrete tend to work well.

The sub-floor should comprise the second layer. Plywood sheets about ½” of thickness are recommended. This layer should be followed by padding, preferably foam. Finally, the carpet is ready for installation. Keep in mind that layering will raise your floor by 1-1/4” to 1-1/2.”

If you follow these basic steps, you should enjoy moisture-free carpeting for many years to come! As always, consult a professional flooring contractor or company before installation.