Should You Carpet Your Basement Floor? 7 Questions to Ask
Have you been thinking about carpeting your basement? Where do you even begin? There are way too many websites with contradicting advice about basement carpets. Save yourself some time on research, and think about the following questions before you go any further.
What Are Your Moisture Levels?
The first step in making this decision is to consider the level of moisture in your basement. While some carpets are more suitable for sustaining moisture, if your floor moisture is too high, carpeting might not be the most ideal option for your home.
You can easily test the moisture levels of your basement by taping a piece of plastic (around all edges) to the cement floor for one day. If no dew forms beneath the plastic, then you have nothing to worry about! On the other hand, if dew does form beneath the surface, your moisture levels may be too high for carpeting. You will want to determine the severity of the problem and figure out the rate of water transmission to match flooring options that can withstand it. Keep in mind that high levels of moisture should prevent the implementation of carpeting unless the specific cause of the moisture is found and corrected.
What Carpet Best Fights Moisture?
Certain carpet materials are better than others when it comes to areas of moisture. Olefin face fiber carpet is an excellent option for basement carpet because it resists mold, and the fiber resists damaging cleaning chemicals and dries quickly. This carpet may not be as pleasing to the eye and touch as other carpets; however, Olefin is cheaper to produce than most basement carpet recommendations, and it should be a cost-effective solution to your damp basement.
Should You Use Pads?
If price is not a factor for you, think about laying down open-celled pads before installing the carpet. Open-celled pads, opposed to close-celled, allow moisture to freely pass through. Pads provide:
- Moisture breathability
- Extra comfort
- Heat insulation
For an extra dollar or two per square foot, you can also buy odor-resistant pads. For basements with higher moisture levels or heavier traffic, the odor resistant pads will definitely be a worthwhile investment.
Do You Have a Sump Pump?
Many homes seem to pre-date the popular use of sump pumps. Without this flood-preventing device, water and moisture can quickly and easily ruin carpet. Mildew, mold, and dust mites will then present painful problems if water becomes trapped under the carpet. Additionally, any carpet overrun with water will need to be replaced.
Sump pump systems are costly; however, the benefits they provide outweigh the initial cost. Some contractors suggest using sub-floors, but this ineffective procedure is only a quick fix. If a sump pump is simply not an option for your home, find alternative flooring options to perform the same tasks at a most cost-effective rate.
Do You Have Children or Pets?
If your finished basement puts up with a heavy amount of traffic per day, you may find that your carpet is wearing out quickly. In these cases, individuals should avoid buying expensive luxury carpets if children or pets are present because the constant wear will require more frequent replacements. Heavy foot traffic also contributes to unwanted odors. Getting rid of unpleasant aromas does require extra money and time. You may want to figure out your ideal budget for basement carpeting and set aside some money in order to maintain clean carpets.
How Do You Make Carpet Last?
Whether you plan on heavy traffic or not, a clean carpet means longer use. Unfortunately, annoyances like mold and dust mites wreak havoc on basement carpets, causing owners a lot of unwanted stress. If left unchecked, mold growth caused by high moisture levels could significantly ruin your carpet.
A dehumidifier is an excellent resource to help eliminate some of the extra moisture and can keep the humidity levels below 60-65%. Also, synthetic carpet materials (like nylon) are less prone to mold growth.
Avoid the untimely demise of your carpet by vacuuming regularly – at least a few times a week. Weekly vacuuming helps to stop:
- Smelly odors
- Carpet wear
- Dust mites
Is Carpet for You?
Don't let anyone tell you installing carpet in your basement is impossible! By asking yourself these questions, you have the tools you need to make carpet possible for your home. Find out what type of carpet is right for you.