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Basement flooring

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by velvetfoot, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I'm trying to figure out how to finish the floor of the basement I'm ever-so-slowly fixing up.
    It's pretty dry - no water, and no drain either.
    I don't want to spend incredible amounts of money and don't want to run the humidifier.
    The foam I've put on the walls make it pretty dry in summer - no musty smell.

    I'm tempted to put an inch of xps foam on the floor and some plywood or osb on top of it, tapconned or glued down.
    Then, what on top, laminate? Carpet? Both prob. would need a humidifier, I imagine, but maybe not with the foam on floor.
    If there was a pipe break, or something, everything would have to be taken out, I imagine: big and costly job.

    An approach that seemed more rugged could be ceramic/porcelin tile or maybe staining the concrete.
    I've seen some nice stained concrete floors, but I don't know if I could pull it off right the first time.
    The floor would have to be acid etched, I guess as well.
    For tile, a lot of back breaking work, but it could look good, and material costs rival or are less than sheet or plank vinyl, laminate, engineered wood, carpet, etc.

    There's a fair amount of stuff down there I'd have to move to finish the floor, but maybe the tile could be done piecemeal, rather than the staining with all that swabbing.

    I guess I could paint it too, but the can recommended acid etching as well.

    Any suggestions?

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  2. bpm44

    bpm44 Member

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    There seems to be quite a variety of concrete stain manufacturers, and I bet they don't all require acid etching. I would definitely stain it if it were mine. My Dad had a thing for linoleum, tile ( both ceramic and vinyl, sheet and squares ) and it always seemed to be a problem without a de humidifier going full bore - sweating, lifting and it was practically a code red if the sump pump failed or the cracks in the walls did their usual seeping.

    I think a good shop vac job, wash and rinse with a floor mop and unless you have issues with the concrete you should be in good shape. Some of the stains go on just like paint, except they are not paint, so you should be able to pull it off ok and even do it in sections if you wanted.

    Make sure to read the label for flammability and ventilating so you stay safe too. Some products can be pretty smelly and even a disposable mask -usually gray and a couple dollars more than the plain white ones, do a remarkable job of helping you retain the brain cells you have;)
  3. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    No matter what type of flooring you decide on you should pencil in as "a have to do", properly etching & sealing the concrete floor. Wish that the building code addressed this but it does not, so it usually falls to the homeowner. If there is any lag time between sealing the floor & installing new flooring you will probably find your moisture issue greatly lessened perhaps gone altogether as that unsealed floor has been wicking moisture through to the house since day 1.
  4. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Recently started to see full vinyl flooring that installs and looks like laminate wood flooring. Looked pretty nice but mostly zero moisture issues and should be durable, good for basement. Might be worth a look, can be found in the usual places.
  5. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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    Staining adds appraisal value compared to floor paint if ANSI Standard Z765 is used to calculate square footage. Bare concrete and painted concrete are appraised the same. Stained concrete is treated the same as carpet and other flooring. This is appraisal value, not sale value. But if it appraises at a higher value, the loan may be easier to get. Not important if you do not plan to sell.
  6. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    It is a gauge, though, of what people like.
  7. woodburn

    woodburn Member

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    Unless your floor is stained or has a lot of mineral deposits, you should not need to etch. I personally don't recommend tile for basements as it will get very cold in the winter. I used dryloc on my basement floor before I put my carpeting. An oldtimer lifer floor installer (my wife's uncle) made sure I used hair and jute padding as it is breathable. I think if you have a dry basement, and don't have to worry about any water, carpet is the way to go. Just my oppinion.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    +1 on the cold floors. I had my office in the basement in our last house and the cold floors sucked the warmth right out of you. If you only use the basement occasionally then I would just prep and paint the floor. If you use it a lot, then I would insulate and cover with a fairly moisture resistant product like tile, linoleum or if you want a wood-like product, consider bamboo.
  9. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    I have a new build and here's what I did in my basement: I simply installed a vapour barier and 2mm thick foam under 15mm laminate that won't scratch. My basement has a big screen TV, laundry room, bathroom, storage, etc etc. I am down there about 30% of the time. I have a floor drain and there is no moisture issues in the basement at all.

    Do the floors get cool in the winter? Yes. Cold? No. My basement floor is 5 feet below ground. My basement is heated. The floors don't get that bad. They are no cooler than the ceramic tiles in the bathroom and kitchen which are upstairs.

    Initially I was going to do the 1 inch foam and OSB or 1/2 inch plywood on top but decided against that. I didn't want to start losing head space,if it flooded somehow have to tear everything up, etc. I know foam won't rot but I would still want to lift is all to ensure there was no trapped water.

    Andrew
  10. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    When I remodeled my basement, I scored some engineered maple flooring off craigslist for about 50 cents/square foot. I put down a premium underlayment/pad which consists of a vapor transpiring plastic against the concrete, a layer of loosely packed styrofoam pellets, and a moisture blocking plastic on top. (about 1/8 to 3/16" thick overall) So far I have no complaints. I had originally considered carpet for the 'in case of water' feature. But the good deal on the maple and 1/2 dozen spilled glasses/drinks later, I'm 100% convinced hardwood/maple was the way to go.
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Good deal on the engineered wood.
    Was it used?
  12. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    I am planning on putting down the XPS and framing a floor on top of that as well as doing new walls so i can get some significant insulation in there. Have not figured out if framing floor with 2x4 on flat or not. with the framing, you get to add another layer of XPS between the studs. Then plywood on top. As for flooring, was planning on doing 1/2 the room around the hearth/stove in a terra cotta - like tile and the other half in prefinished wood.
  13. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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    You might check the compressive strength of the XPS. It may be strong enough to support your floor system without having to introduce wood floor framing. This would save headroom in the basement and complexity.

    If your basement is of average depth, insulation may not be necessary unless you have a radiant floor heating system. If your soil temperature under the basement is 55 °F and you keep your floor surface at 75 °F the heat flow can be quantified. A 75 °F floor surface feels the same regardless of the insulation in the floor. Heat flow is a function of the insulation and can be calculated.

    Q = UA (Δ T) The area A and Δ T are going to be the same regardless of the floor insulation. If your floor system has an R value of 2, then U = 1/2. If your insulated floor system has an R value of 7, then U = 1/7. If your basement floor area to be finished is 1000 ft ² and the Δ T is 20 °F(75-55) Q for the R=2 floor is approximately 10,000 BTU/hour. For the insulated R=7 floor Q is approximately 2800 BTU/hour. If the floor is R=12, Q is approximately 1600 BTU/hour.

    Investing in basement floor insulation depends on how much your heat cost now and will cost in the future. If your ground temperature is 60 °F and your floor surface is 70 °F the calculated heat flow would be half that shown. These may be more realistic temperatures.

    During cooling season, heat flow out of the basement floor is free air conditioning.
  14. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    For laughs I put some left over ceramic tile on 1" XPS and walked on it.
    "Oh, that's not bad", I thought. Maybe some movement but if the grout was flexible, why not?
    I'll tell you why not: after standing on the toes of one foot a few times on an already-chipped tile, it broke.
    Conclusion: substrate for tile must be stiff.

    It was a 12" tile.
  15. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    +1 I've installed a laminate over XPS with excellent results.

    There are some nice laminate floors available now with waterproof substrates such as Allure.
  16. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Would that be equivalent to the 1/2" of sheetrock recommended as a fire block?
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    1/2" Durock?
  18. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    XPS is supposed to be covered with fire resistant stuff.
    Laminate or the like over XPS doesn't seem to qualify, but I might go for that anyway.
  19. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I finished a 16' x 28' foot basement area with 3/4" solid white pine planking, 18" widths in one room and 12" widths in another room, which came from some of our trees. This area is about 6' below grade, an old basement with just a concrete floor. It is subject to some condensation but not standing water or flooding risk. I put down DRicore first and then screwed the planking to the Dricore. It now is in effect a floating floor, been in place for 3 years and no known problems. An impressive looking floor.
  20. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Cool. The planks are abutted to one another?
  21. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I just butted the planks, using a wedge to make the butt very tight. The planks were acclimated to the basement for about a month before I laid them, and I did it during winter when the humidity is lowest. Not a single plank has split. The whole floor can expand and contract as one unit due to the float.
  22. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Just one more question: the screws are exposed? Stainless?
  23. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I used what I think are called siding screws, very small heads, square drive, and just a bit shorter so that when countersunk they wouldn't puncture the plastic bottom of the DRicore. Have held very well, none have popped loose, even though DRicore is a dense OSB kind of material. The screws are barely noticeable.
  24. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    A fire-protective coating over foam is required for walls but I was unaware that this was required for floors. It doesn't seem to make much sense when you think of the kinds of things that cover floors and the nasty stuff they produce when burned.

    I see a lot of recommendations to cover foam on a floor with plywood before carpet or something else is installed. It doesn't seem like carpet and plywood would qualify as "fire-protective".
  25. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Jim.
    It'd sort of be 'removeable' too, I suppose.

    SP: Apparently 5/8" of plywood (or so) is good enough too, or so says the web.
    It'd slow the fire and give you enough time to get out.

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