It’s been said that purchasing carpet is one of the top 3 most expensive purchases that an average homeowner will make, falling right behind the purchase of a new home and a new car in sheer dollar amounts. The problem with this purchase though is it’s typically made for the wrong reason as most will simply seek to select the appropriate color to match the surroundings. As a homeowner, though, you should know that carpet is not a very conducive material to have as a basement flooring. Not saying that it’s impossible, but that you should be ready to make sure basement is prepared before you ever decide to install carpeting.
First let’s take a look at some of the advantages as to why you would want basement carpet. If you are planning on turning your basement into more of a living/media/playroom type setting, carpet can help in cutting down noise filtering throughout your home. Studies have shown that carpet can absorb nearly 10x more noise than most other flooring material. Carpet is pretty and you have an absolute ton of choices stemming from colors, designs and textures that you could use to really make your room pop. Carpet can make the difference of you feeling like you are in your home versus being in an office somewhere. There’s just something about it that makes most people feel comfortable in a room that’s carpeted. Carpet can also be a great insulator. There’s quite a difference at times when stepping down on a freezing cold floor versus a warm, plush carpet. So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on.
The problem with carpeting the basement though is that most all basements have some type of water issue at one time or another. And if you’ve just installed some high-quality Berber, you surely don’t want to see it get ruined which is why most basements are not the place for carpeting without some good renovation tactics up front. Even if your basement doesn’t seem to show any signs of water problems or leaks, you could still be vunerable to high moisture levels and not even know it. In fact, it’s sometimes common for ill-functioning gutters to drop enough water close to your home so that it build up all around your concrete slab and walls. This is a recipe for disaster as if it gets to be too much, it will seep through a solid concrete floor or wall.
If you think you’ve got all your moisture issues under control and can maintain it, you should still probably take a few extra steps before carpeting the basement. If you don’t have a dehumidifier already, you should be ready to invest in a quality one. Basements are notorious for stagnant air which in turn becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Ceiling fans can also help to improve the situation by keeping the air flowing, if you have the room, plus it’ll help to maintain a comfort zone that you’ll like. You will likely need to get under the carpet to and it’s suggested that you get a good anti-microbial carpet pad. This will help in keeping the carpet from forming mold problems from the concrete up.
Once you are sure that your basement can support the installation of carpeting, there’s really no other special requirements to get it down there. I know up to this point it’s sounded fairly discouraging and even though it’s not one of our preferred solutions for a basement, it’s certainly something that can be done. As in any other room of your home, the rules still remain the same as to whether or not you would want a loop or twist or anyother type of carpet. Just remember that it’s going to take some care and caution through the years to maintain a beautiful looking basement and with the inherent problems that a carpet will likely face sub-level, I wouldn’t suggest a top of the line, expensive brand.
Precautions and Tips:
Pay attention to how the carpet is made and what type of fibers it has. Look to see that the carpet fibers are chemical-resistant in case you ever need to really get in there to clean something up. Also, you only want synthetic type products. Stay away from those carpets with a jute-backing. These simply will not hold up to the wear and tear of a basement. Doing this will help to maintain your carpets health for many years to come barring any disasters.
Alternatives to Basement Carpet:
If you really like the soft feel of carpeting and don’t mind taking all the precautions ahead of time, then it’s certainly possible for you to have some basement carpet. However, carpet can be one of the more expensive flooring options and if you are not up for that expense, there are certainly cheaper alternatives. You could certainly stain or paint the concrete floor. A good staining can bring out quite a unique flooring opportunity. Either way there though you would still need to invest in some rugs. You could even do some laminate or engineered flooring. Another good alternative would be to use carpet tiles that can be replaced individually without replacing the entire floor in case something happens.