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Rotting Basement Floors?

Basement water has flooded over this wood floor, leaving rot, mold, discoloration, and buckling in the wood materials.

Basement floors rot when organic materials are exposed to flooding water or prolonged periods of moisture and humidity.

Installing custom-designed basement flooring will ensure long-lasting value and enjoyment for your investment.

Whether you're finishing your basement, or you're just tired of looking at the bare concrete in the space, you should carefully consider what kind of flooring you'll be installing.

At Basement Systems, we've seen thousands of finished floors ruined by humidity and flooding. And in many other cases, homeowners have voiced their regret over their choice, saying that their flooring is cold, hard, and uncomfortable.

What Makes Great Basement Flooring:

  • A Warm Comfortable Surface Underfoot
  • Inorganic Design - Will Not Support Mold
  • Installs Quickly, Without Grout Or Adhesives
  • Stands Up To Humidity & Flooding
  • Multiple Attractive Design Choices

Your local Basement Systems dealer has exclusive access to our selection of nine different flooring options -- each warranted and custom-designed for the basement environment.

Get a Free Estimate

Our basement experts can help you choose flooring for your basement that will stay beautiful and functional for decades to home!

To schedule a free basement flooring installation estimate with your local Basement Systems Dealer, contact us by phone or e-mail today!

What Causes Rotting Basement Floors?

Moisture and flooding are the key culprits for mold and rot in basement flooring materials.

This moisture can make its way into your home through a variety of ways. Once it reaches your floor, it will allow for the growth of mold and rot in your floor.

Flooding groundwater pooling on a basement floor.
Efflorescence buildup on a concrete basement floor.

(Top) Flooding groundwater entering a basement through cracks in the basement floor.

(Bottom) The white, powdery substance known as efflorescence on a slab floor -- a sure sign of moisture.

Basement Flooding

Basement flooding can occur from groundwater infiltration or by a plumbing failure, such as a bursting water heater.

When a flood occurs, the floor takes the brunt of the damage, immediately being soaked by the water. Once moisture has reached organic materials in a basement, it can be difficult to dry it out, and mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours.

A perimeter drainage system will prevent groundwater flooding, while the most common plumbing issues can be prevented with a few simple precautions.

Moisture Through The Concrete Floor

Concrete is filled with open pores that readily absorb moisture from the soils around the basement.

This moisture passes through the concrete, making its way into your basement, where it immediately enters the air in your home.

If you place organic materials on a slab floor, such as carpet or wood, this moisture will become trapped underneath. Over time, the moisture will build up, creating damp conditions on your floor that will encourage the growth of mold, rot, and mildew.

As the moisture passes through concrete, it will bring minerals with it. As it's absorbed, it leaves this minerals behind, which then crystallize into a white mineral salt called efflorescence. One good way to tell if moisture is passing through your slab floor is to look for this white, powdery substance.

A floor that's been removed to reveal a moldy, rotting crawl space below.

Rotting Floors Over Crawl Spaces

As crawl spaces grow mold, rot, and mildew, damage will spread to the flooring materials above.

Sinking floors, odors, and inflamed allergies are all signs of mold and decay in below-grade spaces. Along with rotting flooring, a rotting crawl space will also cause structural damage, and a potentially serious health problem in the home. Termites, rodents, and many other pests are also attracted to these environments.

Sealing the crawl space with a crawl space vapor barrier and dehumidifying the space is a great long-term solution to this problem.

What We Do NOT Recommend

Like many other home improvements, some options are much better than others, and some don't work at all. Choosing the best ones for your own projects will make all the difference between a sound investment and the need for costly renovations and basement problems later on.

Let's look at some of the flooring options out there that we at Basement Systems do NOT recommend.

A wood sub floor ruined by basement flooding.

Wood Or Cork Flooring

Wood or cork basement flooring provides a warm feel and natural look, making them a very popular request from homeowners looking to finish their basement. Additionally, some contractors will install wood sub floors underneath carpeting as part of their installation.

These floors are susceptible to moisture and humidity passing through the concrete below, which will cause the wood to expand and buckle. Over time, it will also grow mold and rot, leading to serious damage.

If your basement ever floods, wood flooring will be next to impossible to dry out. Along with groundwater flooding, basements can also flood from bursting washing machine hoses, failed water heaters, bursting pipes, failing upper level flooring, or through basement windows.

Serious mold growth showing on a damp, discolored basement carpet.

Carpeted Floors

Sometimes, our basement experts will find carpeting installed directly on the concrete slab floor.

Carpeting installed directly on concrete slabs will absorb moisture passing through the pores of the concrete. As this moisture builds up in the carpet, it will lead to must odors rising up from the carpet. Over time, it can also lead to mold and rotting of the organic materials within the carpet.

Carpeted floors installed directly on the slab floor tend to be adhered to the surface. These adhesives tend to break down as moisture builds up, and they provide food for mold, mildew, and rot. Once the carpet has been ruined, these adhesives will also make it difficult and time-consuming to remove the flooring completely.

A heavily leaking basement wall crack.

Stone, Ceramic, Or Marble Tile

High-quality tile flooring is a long-lasting option that stays looking great for a long, long time. They're also very expensive, costing as much as $25/foot.

Low-quality tile flooring is porous, and continuous maintenance will be needed to prevent darkening and staining of the tiles. The pores can also become a growing point for bacteria and fungal growth.

Either type of tile is not your best choice for a basement floor. While tiled flooring will not support mold growth, it soaks up cold from the slab floor below, making for an uncomfortable surface to walk on. And if you ever want to remove the tiles, they're grouted to the floor and will be expensive and labor-intensive to remove.

Plastic and chipboard basement sub flooring tiles.

Plastic And Chipboard subfloor tiles

One of the worst options for basement flooring that are available on the market today are the plastic and chipboard sub flooring tiles that are being sold in hardware stores today.

Typically, these have a dimpled plastic material on the bottom, with chipboard installed on the top, and are meant as a sub floor tile.

While they've got the right idea with the plastic bottom, the chipboard extends beyond the plastic bottom, where it's exposed to moisture from the floor. This allows for mold, rot, and mildew to thrive. And if there's ever a plumbing leak, these plastic dimples are facing up, and will fill with water, which spells doom for your organic flooring materials.

Rotted linoleum and wood sub flooring in a basement.

Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum flooring has the advantages of being inexpensive, fast to install, and available in many different colors, patterns, and designs.

However, installing linoleum on a basement floor is fatally flawed. When installed on a wood sub floor, the wood floor will grow rot, mold, and mildew. When the linoleum is adhered directly to the concrete slab, the adhesives will break down due to moisture, while the organic adhesives will become food for mold and mildew.

Additionally, this thin sheet of linoleum will soak up cold from the concrete slab below, and the final result will be a cold, hard floor that will eventually begin to blister and separate from the concrete slab.

Recommended Basement Flooring

By either installing waterproof materials on the basement floor or by installing a waterproof vapor barrier on your basement floor, you can protect your flooring from moisture penetration through the concrete slab.

At Basement Systems, our dealers provide a variety of warranted basement flooring options that are designed specifically for the basement environment. Our options include all of the following:

Wood laminate flooring installed on a basement floor.

MillCreek Flooring™

MillCreek Flooring™ is a 100% waterproof basement flooring product with a woodlike finish. It can be installed quickly in a home, and is ready to use immediately upon installation.

MillCreek includes a durable floating floor design that attaches to the floor with no adhesives. It's easy to clean, is stain-resistant, and will never support the growth of mold, mildew, or rot.

At 3/20" (3.88mm.) thickness, it takes up virtually no head room in the basement, maximizing the available space in your upgraded basement. Available in Rosewood, Natural Oak, and Mahogany designs.

More about MillCreek Flooring™

Carpeted floor tiles in our Charcoal design.

ThermalDry® Carpeted Floor Tiles

ThermalDry® Carpeted Floor Tiles are inorganic interlocking floor tiles that are made specifically for the basement environment.

Designed with 100% waterproof materials, our carpeted tiles are designed with raised plastic pegs on the underside, which create a thermal break on the floor. This makes the carpeted surface up to 10 °F warmer than the cold concrete below.

Like our other floor designs, our carpeted flooring installs as a floating floor, with no adhesives, and no subfloor necessary. These floor tiles can be mixed and matched, or combined with our ThermalDry® Tiled Flooring for a custom look. Available in Charcoal and Mocha designs.

More about ThermalDry® Carpeted Tiles

Parquet floor tiles installed on a basement floor.

ThermalDry® Tiled Flooring

ThermalDry® Tiled Flooring is an ideal way to create a warm, dry, and visually appealing basement floor.

Like our carpeted flooring, our tiled floors feature a completely inorganic design that includes a raised plastic peg design that allows the floor surface to be up to 10 °F than the concrete floor below.

ThermalDry® floor tiles install without grout or adhesives, making them fast to install and easy to replace. These tiles can be mixed and matched with out carpeted designs for a custom look. Available in Canyon Beige, Sandstone Gray, and Parquet Floor designs.

More about ThermalDry® Tiled Flooring

Gray waterproof subfloor tiles that are ready for custom carpeting.

ThermalDry® Floor Matting

For some homeowners, a custom-design carpeting, or flooring that matches the decor' upstairs, is the way to go. For these cases, we suggest installing our ThermalDry® Floor Matting as a sub floor.

These floor matting tiles offer all the advantages of our other ThermalDry® flooring, including a warm surface temperature, a 100% waterproof design, and a fast installation that needs no grout or adhesives.

ThermalDry® Floor Matting installs as a vapor barrier on your floor, preventing any moisture or humidity to rise up and touch your carpet. This makes it ideal for protecting any organic carpeting or flooring from moisture intrusion through the basement floor. Compatible with tack strips for carpet installation.

More about ThermalDry® Floor Matting

We Can Upgrade Your Basement Floors!

We have nine different basement flooring options for homeowners looking to upgrade their floors and add lasting value to their home. Our flooring options are custom-designed for the basement environment, and they install quickly in your home, with no grout or adhesives.

Your local Basement Systems dealer can provide you with a free, no-obligation estimates to install basement flooring in your home. These estimates include an on-site personal inspection and measurement, a written cost estimate, and a complimentary copy of our full-color basement book.

Our network of locally owned and operated dealers are located throughout Canada and the United States. To schedule your free basement waterproofing estimates, call or e-mail us today!

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Quality, Innovation, Patents, Awards

Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.