For many homeowners, their basement is a place to store Christmas decorations or house their furnace and water heater. However, if you've decided to renovate your basement into usable living space, chances are carpeting isn't your first choice for flooring. Before you discount this versatile option, keep in mind that carpeting is an inexpensive option that will provide your cold basement with the warmth and comfort it needs. Here are a few tips to help you install and maintain the carpet in your basement:
Prevent Moisture From Entering Your Basement
Before you install the carpet, it is important to ensure your basement is as dry as possible. According to Green Building Advisor, the easiest way to test the moisture level on your basement floor is to cover it with a plastic sheet for 16 hours. If there is moisture on the underside of the plastic sheet, you have moisture coming from your basement floor.
Even if the plastic is dry, you can still benefit from utilizing these suggestions to keep your basement dry in the future. Here are a few simple changes you can make to ensure your basement floor and carpet remain dry:
- Walk around your home's perimeter and check the ground surrounding the foundation. If it slopes toward your foundation, rain, snow and other moisture will leak into your basement. This can be corrected by installing a French drain, a system that involves digging a trench around your home's perimeter. A pipe that features several holes and a few layers of dirt and rocks are then placed in the trench to help divert water away from your home.
- Cover your basement walls with a masonry waterproofing paint. This product binds with your basement walls to prevent water from entering the basement.
- Contact a professional to have a sump pump installed in your basement floor. The pump will keep any excess water from pooling on your basement floor.
Installing Carpet in Your Basement
Once your basement is as dry as possible, it is time to prepare the floor for carpeting. To begin, install a vapor barrier on your concrete basement floor. This will help prevent any moisture from seeping from the porous concrete into the carpet pad and carpet. There are several varieties of vapor barrier available, including types that are painted onto the floor or adhesives that prevent moisture from seeping into the flooring.
However, when it comes to laying carpet in the basement, the best option is a polyethylene or plastic sheeting. The sheeting is secured to the floor with concrete screws.
Next, cover your vapor barrier with a layer of plywood. This provides you with an additional layer of protection from moisture, in addition to giving you something to adhere the carpet pad to. Finally, cover the plywood with carpet pad and carpet. The carpet pad and carpet you choose is dependent upon your budget and preference.
Maintaining Your Carpet
Now that you have a beautiful new carpet installed in your basement, it is time to maintain it properly. Just like the carpeting throughout the rest of your home, it is important to vacuum the carpet in your basement regularly.
In addition to vacuuming your carpet weekly, it is important to shampoo it regularly. According to Angie's List, if you have children you should consider shampooing your carpets every six months to one year. If you are a pet owner, it is best to clean your carpet every three to six months. Additionally, one of the best ways to keep your basement carpet clean and free of mold and mildew is to place a dehumidifier in your basement. The dehumidifier will eliminate any remaining moisture in the air, which will keep your carpet looking and smelling great.
Having a beautiful, lush carpet installed in your basement might not be the obvious choice, but it is one you should consider. However, it is important to learn how to prepare your basement and install and maintain the carpet first!