Profile picture for user29

Suggestions for basement flooring

We just purchased our first home and money is a little tight (we had to buy a fridge, had to repair some things, etc) but we are starting to work on ideas for the basement. We are having it gutted next week (water damage) and then we will waterproof it and do basic finishing (we are leaving the cinder blocks exposed and just painting them), but I would like to finish the floor. Right now it is a concrete slab with vinyl tiles on it. I will remove all the tiles before putting anything down. I would like to use ceramic tiles on the floor, but was told by a neighbor that it probably wouldn't work. Any thoughts, suggestions? I don't want to use carpet.
  • July 31 2007 - US
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Answers (6)

Profile picture for robin398
First, you need to check the floor to see if it can be painted. Take a plastic trash bag or a piece of plastic drop cloth and spread it over a dry section of the basement floor (at least 1-foot by 1-foot). Using duct or masking tape, tape all four sides to the concrete, so no air can escape from under the plastic. Let it sit for 24 hours. Pull the bag up, and inspect the concrete underneath. If the concrete is damp, you have a moisture seepage problem and the concrete cannot be sealed. If it's dry, you can paint it. Most home improvement stores carry garage floor paint, which is an epoxy-based paint that will seal the concrete and provide a durable finish. The prep work is labor intensive, but you should be able to complete the project in one weekend plus an evening after work. It's relatively inexpensive. Figure about $200 for a garage-sized area. This includes all the necessary prep materials.

What will work depends on whether the moisture problem is something that has always been a problem or a recent thing caused by this year's excessive rainfall in many areas. If you have a moisture problem, you need to solve it. Often, cleaning gutters and routing downspouts away from the house can resolve the problem. If the excess rain caused it, wait until the moisture dries up and keep a dehumidifier in the room before you start or you will not be able to get the paint to set properly and mildew/mold will be a constant problem. You can test for excess moisture by taping a piece of plastic to the floor or wall and sealing all the edges with duck tape. If there is moisture under the plastic when you lift it, you need to stop the water coming in. Moisture on the outside of the plastic means you have condensation and need a dehumidifier.

I would use three to five colors of concrete paint to make a "tile" or "vinyl" look floor. Vinyl look is the easiest. Remove everything from the room, and cover anything you don't want paint to splatter onto. Use a neutral color like vanilla
  • July 31 2007
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Profile picture for BruceRTalbot
I would not recommend a retail super store garage floor paint, as you will not get the wear quality needed. Go one step up to a "micro overlay concrete" process. Just do a Google search on those key words and you will have a prodoct that will look like tile, stone or solid color and will not scratch or lift like garage floor paint. My 2 cents.
  • August 01 2007
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Profile picture for mcfriendlyosx
I would suggest you purchase UGL concrete paint for your concrete walls. This paint holds out "moisture" and you can paint whatever color you want over it.
  • August 09 2007
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Profile picture for greg1231
Is the water problem solved from the outside first? I recommend installing a curtain drain outside as a first step.

Seal the walls and the floor with the proper sealant for your climate. In humid weather the floor may remain tacky for a few days. Install a dehumidifier in the room and run a large fan to dry the floor.

Indoor/outdoor carpet of a good quality or a medium grade of vinyl flooring that is easy to keep clean. Yo have lots of choices here.

Ceramic tile may buckle to temperature extremes in the summer and winter. I would check with a local flooring store first.

BTW we used the garage flor paint in our unfinished basement; after several years it still looks good. It helps to keep down the dust too, but colors are limited.
  • August 09 2007
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Profile picture for CLMATH
Hello
We live in New England and have removed old vinyl tiles and replaced them with ceramic tiles and they are fine. We do keep a dehumidifier going in the larger room of the finished basement. Get advice from an installer.
Good luck with your new home.
  • August 10 2007
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Profile picture for rayebee
If you want to stick with the concrete, a low-cost option would be to polish it and do a stain and then seal it. It'd give the space a sleek, urban look, especially if you pair it with lots of chrome/stainless steel.

But since basements tend towards dank and cold, you might consider cork floor tiles.

You can get cork tiles for less than ceramic, they're easy to install, they hold up incredibly well in high traffic areas, they don't crack or break, they do well with moisture, they absorb sound (sometimes concrete rooms can have really bad acoustics), and they give a room a warm, rich character. They come in all sorts of colors and grains, in square tiles or in plank lengths. I just love it.
  • August 12 2007
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