If you want hardwood flooring in your basement, is that possible?

If you want hardwood flooring in your basement, is that possible?

When putting hardwood flooring in your home, you may run into the issue if you have a basement. Basement flooring is usually concrete unless you are on the side of a mountain and you have just a multiple level home on pillars. When shopping for hardwood flooring, most professionals discourage putting hardwood in the basement. The basic reason is moisture. Wood and water don't mix well. Concrete by itself can't stop moisture from coming through the floor or walls of any home. That doesn't have to stop you from putting hardwood flooring in your basement though. There are products though that can allow you to install hardwood floors over concrete in a basement by stopping the moisture from coming through the concrete.

If you decide to put any flooring in your basement, you must make sure that the area around your home will stay dry. Gutters must work properly and drain water away from the house. The landscaping must also allow the water to run away from the home. Once you know that the home is safe from water damage from the rain and drainage, you can work on the interior of the home. Use a RH meter for the concrete floor and measure if it has a high or low moisture content. If you have to file for a warranty claim, you will need this information. 

Before starting on treating the concrete to stop moisture, you will need to check or your contractor will need to check how flat your floor is to install hardwood on it. Many times with concrete, it isn't perfectly flat. There are minor dips and areas that are higher than others that you will need to level out best you can. For large basements, it may be worth contracting out a company to pour a new thin floor over the concrete that levels itself out. This can be expensive, but it will ensure you that the floor will be flat. For smaller homes, you can mix what you need and use a long level to find the low and high places to flatten the floor. Any damage to the concrete will need to be patched as well. Wood flooring companies usually have specs that will give you an idea of the level of height difference in a set distance.

The product line that I would use is made by Wakol out of Germany. They have all the products that you will need and together they will make a complete system. When it comes to leveling the floors, I would use Wakol Z 31 and Z 15 leveling compound. The higher numbers in the Wakol line will always mean higher quality and strength. If there are any cracks, fill them with PS 205 crack filler. Once you have flattened the floor, then you will be ready for the next step.

The next step will to be sealing the concrete. PU 280 is a blue liquid that you roll onto the floor with a paint roller. It doesn't take long to dry, but you will need to do it twice. This product is a barrier to prevent vapor from coming through the concrete. The concrete must be surface dry at least 28 days old and must have an intact waterproofing membrane beneath the slab also for this process.

This next step may be harder for a home owner to do, but possible. The wood flooring that will be installed in the basement will need to be unboxes and placed though the basement. This will allow it to acclimate to the same temperature and moisture level that is in the basement. The heating and air conditioning must be working and on at this point if it is new construction. You will need to take moisture readings of the interior wood molding to find out what percentage is in the basement. The wood flooring must get to that same reading. If the flooring reading is lower, then you may need to spray some water on the floor to evaporate and increase the flooring measurement. If the flooring is higher, then you will need to have a dehumidifier to dry it out or give it a few days to work itself out.

The next process would be to install the wood flooring. Wakol recommends MS 260 or MS 290 for this. This adhesive will work for all types of wood flooring. Solid or engineered and pre finished or sand & finish. This process is not something you will want to rush through, but take your time to do it right. Hardwood flooring is a beautiful floor and gives any home a unique feel to it. Please consult with a representative from Wakol when doing this process. They can make sure that you are doing everything right and can help you find a professional that has used their products before. I wouldn't recommend a homeowner attempting this, but you will be able to make a better decision on what you will want to do if you want hardwood flooring in your basement. There may be other processed available for this, but Wakol has been doing this for many decades with success.

Are you looking for a flooring solution for your basement? Contact us at BPS Flooring to see how we can help you if your in Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina. If you are looking for wood flooring options, come see our selection here in Rutherfordton, NC or on our website.