Best Flooring for Damp Basements with Moisture Problems
Damp Basement Floor Tiles, Raised Basement Floor Tiles
Related Product: Max Tile Raised Floor Tile
By Brett Hart
If you spend any time in your basement, it's likely you've had to deal with moisture problems at some point. Some of those issues can be solved as easily as running a dehumidifier during times of heavy rain or high humidity. For others, it's a persistent problem that not only leaves pools of water on your basement floor, but can cause thousands of dollars in damage to flooring, furniture and other possessions.
Basement moisture can be caused by a variety of factors including floods, roof runoff, condensation and permeation.
Most basement foundations are made of concrete. Concrete, while extremely durable and readily available, does have its flaws. One of which is its porous nature. Concrete allows water vapor to permeate through it. This becomes especially troubling as concrete ages and begins to crack.
The problem with basement moisture
Hardwood and fiberboard are generally discouraged as a basement flooring option as they will absorb moisture, expand, warp and rot. They also harbor mold and mildew, creating a hazardous environment for your home and family, tainting air quality and possibly causing structural damage. Flooring made with organic materials will need to be replaced in the event of flooding or persistent moisture.
Keep in mind that just because a flooring material may be waterproof, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is fit for use in wet areas. Some waterproof flooring may not be damaged by water or moisture, but may trap water underneath the floor if not installed correctly. This can create the same mold and mildew issues as wood and carpeting.
There are several methods of battling the problem of basement moisture, including landscaping, creating vapor barriers and raised floors. While proper landscaping can direct rain water away from your house, it doesn't always solve the problem of water vapor. In extreme cases, such as flooding, a sump pump may be a necessity. Vapor barriers typically involve sealing your concrete walls and/or floor with coatings of paint or adhesives. It can also involve large sheets of felt or plastic.
Why Raised Flooring?
Raised flooring prevent moisture from becoming trapped, by creating a gap between your flooring and the concrete. Air flows under the floor allowing the moisture to dissipate without having to remove your flooring at each occurrence of moisture buildup. Who has the time to check for trapped moisture on a regular basis?
One of the simplest ways to create a raised floor is to purchase flooring tiles designed just for that purpose. Most of these tiles feature a waterproof plastic base with holes or channels that allow for air movement. Some even offer a perforated top that permits air flow horizontally and vertically. Most raised floor tiles also have some form of interlocking system that will allow for easily installation, removal and re-installation without damaging the flooring. Below we'll identify some of the top forms of raised floor tiles you can use to convert your damp basement into a home gym, family room or kids play area.
Carpeted family room
If you are set on turning your basement into a carpeted family room, but fear the moisture will cause problems, raised carpet tiles are your answer. You'll want to find a raised carpet tile with a waterproof base material and preferably a waterproof carpet fiber as well. Greatmats offers a raised carpet tile called CarpetFlex Floor Tile that features a polypropylene base topped with a polyolefin ribbed carpet. The carpet top is environmentally friendly, chemically resistant and won't decompose in wet environment. It is made of the same materials as active wear, known for the ability to transport moisture away from the body. Meanwhile the waterproof raised base keeps the carpet out of standing water, giving you the ideal carpeting system for your basement.
Den or Man Cave
Create your very own sports den or man cave complete with artificial turf by using artificial grass turf tiles. These raised tiles can be used indoor and out as the polypropylene grass is attached to a perforated polypropylene base that allows for superior air flow. They are 100 percent waterproof and have a lush surface with a carpet feel and outdoors look.
Dance and fitness area
Give your basement family space a wood or stone floor look with Max Tile Raised Floor Tiles. These tiles feature a waterproof raised plastic base topped with a commercial grade vinyl surface. Extremely versatile, Max Tile floors are popular for dance floors, aerobic and exercise flooring and show room floors and feature a 7-year wear layer. They also have the option of ramped border edging and feature a 5-year warranty.
Kids play area
Design a colorful kids play area with raised play flooring like the Ergo Matta CushionTred tiles from Greatmats. Available in eight colors,
these Rubber and PVC tiles offer excellent sound dampening qualities and have a non-slip diamond shield tread design. Available with edge ramps, these tiles are also guaranteed for 5 years.
You can use those same Ergo Matta CushionTred tiles for creating a home gyms as they offer anti-fatigue benefits. Another option for home gym flooring in damp areas are the Staylock Bump Top Tiles which are durable like rubber and cushion like foam. They will help protect your from the floor and the floor from your gym equipment while cutting down on noise.
If you use your basement as a workshop, StayLock Tiles durability and anti-fatigue properties can make your space much safer and more user friendly. Made of durable recycled PVC, they are also waterproof, resistant to most acids and oils and easy to clean. In addition to the bump top surface, StayLock tiles are also available with orange peel and perforated surfaces. To top it off, there are multiple color options available to help you create interesting designs, patterns or color schemes. StayLock tiles feature a 5 year limited warranty and also come in different surface options. The expected life span of this type of flooring is 20 years.
Accessorize your basement bathroom with perforated tiles like SoftFlex Floor tiles. These soft PVC tiles are designed specifically for wet areas such as showers. With a perforated top, the raised tiles allow water and air to flow through in any direction and will not absorb moisture.
Note: Foam and rubber basement flooring is also available, but may not be the best choice for damp basements as most of these options sit flat against the existing flooring and can trap moisture.
Covering your dirt floor
While most basements have a concrete foundation, some are dirt. But that doesn't mean you can't have a finished floor. It just means you may need to get a little more creative in the way you cover these surfaces.
You'll most likely want some sort of plastic perforated playground tile such as StayLock Perforated Tiles or Ergo Matta perforated tiles. These non-absorbent tiles are designed for outdoor use and are resistant to mold and mildew. They also offer fall protection that would make them fitting for a basement play area. Perforated plastic tiles are flexible and interlock, allowing them to be placed on slightly uneven surfaces and prevent separation.
Now that you know what tools are at your disposal, go ahead and create a basement space you'll love. You'll be glad you did.
For more on this topic please review our Basement Flooring product page.