Basement Carpet The Right Way
Installing basement carpet, or any other type of sub-grade installation for that matter, you need to make sure that your basement is dry. Due to being underground, basement rooms are usually a moisture magnet. There are some precautions that you need to take in waterproofing the room. Unless it’s completely dry, year-round, a carpet is going to cause you problems and you’ll end up replacing it more often than not and more than you’d want to. However, if your basement is dry and you’ve done all the precautionary measures to protect your investment, then you should be able to install some good carpeting.
Is carpeting the best choice?
Al Cloern from Basements Unlimited thinks so if you’re remodeling! He compares it to tile and other styles of flooring like Pergo laminates. The main downfall for tile is that it’s hard and cold and may not persuade you into a warm environment for this type of room. And, if you decide to go with laminates, you still have the moisture issues to deal with but will still leave the room feeling cold.
While carpet, on the other hand, will provide the warmth needed in a room like this. Yes, it still has problems with moisture but if you are proactive in a cleanup situation, you can get it cleaned up to where it’s still usable without any problems. Plus, just ask any kid what they would rather lay on, a warm carpet or cold tile? Bet you already know the answer to that one.
Things to Consider
Well, there are definitely a few things that you’d need to check out first. First, it’ll depend a lot on what exactly you are planning to do in your lower level, like whether you are having it as a family room, workout room, or laundry room. That’ll determine whether or not you should use carpeting or some other form of flooring. If it’s going to be a laundry room you’re not going to want to put carpet in it, maybe something more along the lines of some ceramic tile.
The second is whether or not you have a dry basement. If you don’t have any water problems and never had any to start with and you can without a doubt say it’s dry, then you should have no problem using carpeting. I would suggest installing a good subfloor first just in case you do ever come about some water issues from leakage or seeping if you have the headroom and to also protect the carpet from getting wet and producing mold or mildew.
What is the best then?
There is nothing particularly required for installing or selecting a carpet for your basement, but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind to get the best basement carpeting for your needs. You’d really go about it any way that you would choose carpeting for any other room as to whether you’d want a loop or twist style carpet. If it’s going to be a high-traffic area or a place where you’re pets are going to roam free, you might consider an inexpensive version or brand that you won’t mind replacing after it’s had a few years of use as you would any other of this type. But if you’ve addressed all those other issues and want one that’s going to last for a while you’re going to have to spend some more money.
How To Choose?
The only real item of importance on my list when selecting a carpet for the basement is that it won’t have a jute backing. This is a pretty normal backing for most less expensive carpets these days as it stands up well above ground level. But due to its strong resemblance to an old potato bag, you can bet that it’s not going to stand up to any type of moisture pressures that could be put into it below grade as you can tell from its picture just to the right.
It’s quite porous and the water will seep through to the carpet fibers. I do like the carpets that come with the new Dow polyurethane backing. This will offer your carpets a strong tuft bind, moisture resistance, delamination, and anti-edge raveling. Not only will they retain their characteristics but they also have a natural adhesion to nylon fibers. This makes them able to stand strong in those high-traffic areas for years to come.
Additional Precautionary Measures
So let’s just say that you are able to qualify your lower level as being “dry”, there are a few other things that you should consider to help you along the process of keeping it that way. The first thing to do is try and create a very dry environment to keep the mold and mildew down. These little buggers simply thrive in a moist environment like a basement and will ultimately end up making your freshly installed carpet smell to high heaven.
By installing a quality-rated dehumidifier you can get one step closer to solving that issue. Just make sure it’s one that’s rated for basements as the air is typically much cooler down there and harder to remove the moisture from.
The second step is if you have the headroom, put in a ceiling fan. This will keep the air moving and not allow it to get stagnant, not to mention keep the room a lot more comfortable in the process. The third thing is if you are going to use carpet padding, make sure it has an anti-microbial built into it. This will help in that it won’t be a conducive surface that will support mold and mildew growth. If you’re going to put carpet downstairs, you might as well take the precautions to protect it fully.
Although it’s not an impossible task to carpet a basement especially if you dead set on the look and feel of it all, it’s probably the right choice for you. Even if you have the driest basement on the block, you still have some alternatives to basement carpet that you should keep in mind as they could save you some money in the long haul. One of the newer trends is actually staining and finishing your concrete basement slab.
Although beautiful with some of the more decorative surface patterns being etched in, I’m still not a very big fan of implementing this in a basement as you’ll end up with the same cold surface for your feet as you had before. Sure you could throw some rugs down to cover the more trafficked areas but I guess it depends on what you have planned for the room, hey, to each their own.
What About Carpet Tiles
Instead of a fully laid carpet, you could use basement carpet tiles over a properly installed underlayment. These aren’t just your regular carpet squares here. They are thick pieces of rubber-backed carpeting that come in a multitude of decorative designs and patterns. You can really design your whole flooring with these and in the end, still, look like you have a one-piece carpet installed.
There are many other alternatives to carpeting that you can choose from and instead of going into all of them here, I’ve just listed a few. If you want more feel free to click around the site for other options for your floor.
Carpet Squares For Basement Floors
So you are looking to finish off a family room, playroom, or spare room in the basement but don’t really know what kind of flooring to use. You’ve thought about tile but don’t really want a hard floor that’s also going to be cold on your bare feet, especially during the winter months. You like the thought of having wall-to-wall carpet for all its benefits like having a soft and inviting room that’s also warm to your feet, but don’t want to deal with the problems associated with carpeting in the basement. Well, with technology today, some possibilities have just opened up where you could use some rubber-backed carpet squares to cover your basement floor.
When you start talking about putting a carpet below grade, you are going to run into some obstacles as well as varying opinions and personal tastes from people that both do and do not like this type of flooring in a basement. Some of the arguments you’ll hear are that there is too much risk for damage. And that carpets will sometimes harbor a musty smell after a period of time. But, using quality rubber-backed carpet squares for basement floors is a good step in the right direction when you are looking for better options for better carpets at a better price.
What Are Tile Carpet Squares?
Carpet squares can give you all the comfort that you are seeking from a traditional carpet but in a new and effective way. Simply put, they are flexible pieces of carpet that come in a more practical tile format versus a huge roll. Some manufacturers are also implementing a touch of green-ness to them. As well as they are building them with both renewable and recyclable materials. Plus, they come in a very wide range of designs, textures, and colors. Making them a perfect combination of responsibility and style for your basement floor.
Carpet tiles are constructed uniformly in various sizes but the most common are 24×24 and 36×36 inches square. They really come in two different types, those that have a self-adhesive backing and those with no adhesive backing. The ones with adhesive backing work basically just like vinyl tile. In that, you just peel and stick it to the concrete basement floor. For the other ones, they are typically stuck in place using a double-sided carpet tape that is sometimes furnished with the product.
Basement Carpet Tile Squares Versus Rolled Carpeting
So what’s the difference between carpet tiles for the basement versus standard carpeting? Carpet squares come in multiple different types from fibers to piles, manufacturers to adhesion. So basically what this means to you is that if you are looking for a certain type of carpet, you are likely to find it (or something eerily similar) in a tile version.
The big difference, other than the obvious, is the backing material used on tiles versus standard carpet rolls. There’s another item that you need to look out for as well. And that’s the warranty as they will and should be different. You will have different issues with tiles versus rolled carpet like buckling and curling.
Advantages of Carpet Tile Squares on Basement Floors:
If you are looking at putting carpet tiles on your concrete basement floor, you’ll be surprised to know that there are quite a few advantages to doing so:
Installation. Carpet squares are so much easier to install than standard carpeting. You don’t have to mess with the tack boards and all the securing and carpet stretching involved. They make for the perfect weekend warrior as a simple DIY project. And if you get the kits, most come with very precise and clear instructions. So it’s really hard to mess up.
No Carpet Padding. Carpet tiles come with a backing already installed. So there’s no need to mess with rolled carpet padding here. Plus you don’t have to with any messy glue to get them to stick.
Easier Care and Cleaning. This is probably one of the biggest pluses of using carpet tiles in your basement. With tiles, you can actually remove them from the floor. Do the deep cleaning you need to do to it versus the entire carpet, and then simply reinstall it. Plus, if it’s un-cleanable or without repair, you can simply just replace it with a new tile.
Design Freedom. You can easily mix and match or layout a design to your liking with carpet tiles to get the proper combination and color for your basement floor.
Disadvantages of Using Carpet Tile Squares:
It’s not all peaches and cream with carpet tiles though; there are some things that you should be aware of:
Cost. Depending on the style and brand, carpet squares can be a little more expensive than rolled carpets. Where you save is the self-installation.
Subfloor. Just like carpet, you will still need a fairly clean and stable concrete basement floor that’s relatively flat without any moisture issues. You don’t want to run the risk of entering into a mold or mildew problem.
Wear and Tear. Now I really don’t have a lot to back this one up. Because everything I’ve both read and seen looks to be fine. But you will find some out there that say in higher traffic areas they won’t hold up as well as rolled carpet. I’m not really sure where that’s coming from. Because depending on the type of carpet, some just hold up better than others.
Installation Issues. You do have to be careful while installing them as you can’t simply just throw them down. If you do you are likely to have places and patches where the seams may show a little too much or just seem uneven. You can combat this by taking your time and setting the seams to where you are satisfied with the job by removing any trapped yarns with a credit card by simply running it through the seams. Just ensure that the panels still remain snug after doing so.
Different Types Of Carpet Squares?
Most major manufacturers make carpet squares including some of the top industry giants like Milliken, Mannington, Shaw, and Mohawk. Here’s a sampling of some of the more interesting ones that I’ve seen.
Commercial Carpet Squares
If your basement is going to be a more interactive high-traffic area, you may opt for commercial carpet squares instead. They offer all the same benefits as regular squares like ease of installation, flexibility, and modularity to create fun and interesting floor designs in your basement. But they are made to withstand years of high-traffic wear and tear. These may be just what you are looking for in an entertainment room, kids’ playroom, or home office.
If you don’t really know what commercial-grade carpet squares are, take a look the next time you happen to be out and about. You’ll run into these most likely when you are at an office building, daycare or school, hotels, some restaurants, and maybe even your local church.
If you are planning on installing carpet squares in your basement you might want to pick up a few extras as well. Just like you would do with laminate basement flooring. It’s always nice to not have to go back later and try to match it up in case you run into a problem with one or two of them later in their life cycle. As with almost any product, the actual colors and designs can change from time to time. Having them on hand will allow you to make quick and easy replacements and repairs to your floor. Just in case there are damages found later.
Carpet squares are becoming more and more predominant as basement flooring applications. This is due to their simplicity in installation. And also the variety of designs and styles that can be purchased. It’s a simple, effective, and easy way to change the look of your basement today.