A majority of homes don’t use their basements to their fullest potential. A common issue with most underground spaces is flooding, where excess water seeps into your living space affecting your quality of life.
Intense flooding can severely damage certain floor types, but others can withstand the detrimental effects of high water accumulation.
Here’s what every homeowner should consider
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Can flooring withstand flooding?
When it comes to providing a waterproof option for a flooded basement, some flooring options perform better than others.
Those who live in flood-prone areas shouldn’t install engineered wood, hardwood, or carpet flooring on their basement floor as they can readily deteriorate after a flood. Carpets take in lots of water and might become subject to mold and mildew growth after the water dries out. Getting rid of mold on your carpet can be a challenging task that requires professional help (including reconstructing sections of your floor).
Hardwood, laminate, and engineered wood floors also have issues concerning flooding. Laminate floors, for instance, lose their original shape and might have bumps, air pockets, and other distortions when submerged in water for a considerable time.
Engineered and hardwood wood floors are susceptible to rotting and color changes (might turn black if left unattended) which affects the overall look of your house.
However, some floors can withstand flooding quite well. Concrete, rubber, and tile floors are the best options when laying a floor in a flood-prone section of your house. You can readily dry excess water and clean your floor for quick restoration without additional costs.
Best Flooring for a Basement that Floods
Basement flooding can be a nuisance for any homeowner who wants to make the most of their living spaces.
Installing proper flooring can help you to mitigate against the damages caused by excessive water intake on the lower sections of your home and minimize having to undergo additional maintenance and repair costs after a period of heavy rain.
Here are the best flooring alternatives for a basement that floods.
Concrete floors are an affordable and durable option for a flooding basement. Some homeowners don’t like the idea of spending considerable amounts of money to repair their basements (and other sections of a room) that are susceptible to floods.
Such individuals can decide to install a concrete floor during the dry period to create a safe living space for their families. The average installation cost for most concrete flooring ranges from $0.5-$1.00 per square foot (though rates vary depending on the region and desired aesthetics).
Concrete is highly water-resistant, so your floor can remain relatively unscathed despite remaining submerged in water for an extensive period. Maintaining a concrete floor is very convenient. All you have to do is wipe off excess water and clean your flooring after the storm subsides.
Contrary to popular opinion, not all concrete floors are rough, ashy, and unappealing. A polished concrete floor can enhance your basement’s appearance while protecting it from water damage.
Rubber is becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners looking to overcome flooding damage on their basement floor.
A primary benefit of rubber stems from its waterproof features, which are highly effective in reducing the harmful effects of excessive water on their basement floors. You rarely need to replace your rubber floor after a period of heavy rain.
Rubber offers excellent surface grip on your floor. People often suffer injuries from slips and falls during cleaning and maintenance exercises. Having a rubber floor can help prevent such cases (and help you to ensure the safety of others within your living space).
A rubber floor is relatively easy to install and remove compared to other alternatives. It discourages the growth of mold, mildew, and other fungi that can ruin your floor surface if left unchecked.
Besides, rubber has a soft texture that offers additional cushioning to your feet as you move around your basement.
Ceramic Tile Floors
Ceramic tiles remain one of the best alternatives for a flood-prone basement floor. The tiles provide a long-lasting solution to different levels of flooding without suffering extensive damage.
You can choose from different sizes, patterns, and shapes for your ceramic tile floor. The glazed surfaces are invulnerable to moisture even when entirely submerged for extensive periods.
Ceramic tiles are best suited to deal with water intake from the top side of your basement instead of having moisture seeping in from under the surface of the tiles.
The grout layer between individual tiles is vulnerable to damage when water seeps in from underneath the floor. However, installing a waterproof membrane under the tiles can effectively help to remedy the situation.
Ceramic tiles give your basement a polished and authentic look though installation might cost more compared to other options within the list.
Vinyl floors consist of using synthetic materials that make them an ideal option for a flooded basement.
The product comes in a variety of options as rolled sheets, tiles, or planks. Some vinyl floors come ready with pre-prepared stick-on adhesives such that you only have to spread your flooring over a surface, even it out, and give it time to attach to the floor.
An interlocking vinyl floor design might not always have a latex adhesive to provide additional waterproofing protection ( perhaps because it’s not part of the intended design) and might be sensitive to moisture leakage where water seeps in between the spaces.
A rolled vinyl floor might be a better choice. It features a long vinyl sheet attached to your basement surface using a sturdy, waterproof latex adhesive. The large sheets inhibit water leakages by limiting the space for such an incidence to occur.
A notable downside of using vinyl floors is if the flooring is submerged underwater for an extensive period. The floodwater seeps in through cracks and spaces and causes damage to your subfloor. Mold can also grow beneath the floor’s surface.
You can protect your basement floor by installing additional waterproofing features such as a waterproof membrane underneath your vinyl flooring (or simply installing a vinyl floor over tiles or concrete to protect against such damages.
Vinyl flooring is easy to maintain and gives you a cost-effective, aesthetic finish to your basement surface. The floor type is remarkably straightforward during installation and does not always require you to hire a professional.
Can a finished basement be waterproofed?
You can effectively waterproof a finished basement without having to replace the existing floor surface.
Homeowners have several options when waterproofing a finished basement surface. Some of the best techniques include using silicone sealants, adding layers of rubber, laminating your floor, etc.
It’s never advisable to use organic materials such as wood on a basement floor, especially if you are uncertain of the floor’s ability to withstand water leakages during periods of heavy rains.
Organic materials are vulnerable to water damage (and might need additional waterproofing) to safeguard against the same. Laminating a wood floor might offer improved water-resistant qualities but might not be the best option when dealing with substantial quantities of water.
You can decide to use silicone and other sealants to work on the gaps and seams between interlocking pieces. Constant exposure to moisture coupled with wear and tear might have you spending considerable time on repairs.
Adding a rubber layer is one of the best strategies to completely waterproof a basement floor. However, you might also have to reconsider the overall look of your basement.
The best option includes polishing a concrete basement floor (or adding tiles on your existing surface). Both options give your flooring a quality finish and are exceptionally durable.
Can vinyl plank flooring survive flooding?
Vinyl planks can survive flooding, but it depends on the vinyl design, subfloor composition, installation method, and extent of the flooding.
Most vinyl planks can only withstand wet conditions for a limited period before the water leaks cause damage to the sub-layers of the floor. There are small spaces around interlocking vinyl tiles edges that may allow water to seep through, a problem when working on a flood-prone basement.
Vinyl flooring with a waterproof membrane layer between the floor surface and the subsurface can withstand higher water levels and moisture during a flood.
However, a vinyl sheet is a much better alternative to using vinyl planks on a flood-prone surface.
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Will putting engineered hardwood over vinyl tile from 2009 keep the phthalates from leaching out or does it need to be removed?