Learning More About Hardwood Flooring

What To Do Before You Install Flooring When You Finish Your Basement

by Juanita Perkins

As families grow, their homes shrink. If your family has grown to the point that you and your children need more space, you may be considering finishing your basement. But, before you do, there is an important thing to consider about a common basement problem that could affect the new flooring in your finished basement—moisture. Not only can moisture damage flooring, moisture also causes mold growth. Here's what you need to know so you can keep your new basement flooring dry.

Is moisture seeping through the concrete? 

Moisture from the ground underneath your foundation may be seeping through the concrete, which could damage the flooring you install even if it's just a tiny amount. To see if there is moisture seeping through:

  • purchase a large, thick sheet of plastic from your local home improvement store
  • tape it to the concrete floor in your basement
  • wait several days, preferably when rain is in the forecast

To take a look at whether or not any moisture has accumulated in between the concrete and the plastic, simply remove the tape and lift the plastic sheet. If you can see droplets of water, you clearly have moisture seeping through the concrete. If you cannot see any droplets, place a newspaper on the concrete to see if it absorbs any moisture. If there is even the slightest bit of moisture, the newspaper should soak it up.

How can you protect the new flooring when finishing the basement?

If there is any amount of moisture at all, it could ruin the new flooring before you even have a chance to use the new living space, especially if you are installing carpeting or hard flooring that has an adhesive backing. Fortunately, there are several ways you can protect the flooring and help keep your new living area dry.

  • apply a waterproof sealer or paint to the concrete
  • cover the concrete with a waterproof membrane
  • install a raised sub-floor
  • install (or improve) a French drainage system
  • get a stronger sump pump

A combination of any of the above is also a possibility and could provide more protection than one method alone. For the best in protection, especially if you will be keeping expensive electronics and furniture on the floor in the basement, it's a good idea to take several waterproofing measures. That way, you'll have a greater chance of keeping the moisture at bay so you and your family will be able to enjoy the new living space without worrying about moisture damage and mold growth. 

For more information on flooring installation, consider contacting companies like East Penn Hardwood Flooring Corp.