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Basement Flooring Construction Material Issues

Building and fitting out a basement presents construction challenges because of the major problem: water. Basements attract moisture and are threatened constantly by leaks due to being below ground level. In areas where the water table is high, a basement may be particularly prone to flooding and the effect of water, which in turn will promote mold and mildew growth and unsafe, unhealthy and unsightly conditions.

Some materials should be avoided when building or renovating a basement because they are susceptible to attack by water. Nothing needs greater attention than the materials you use to construct the basement floor because this is at the lowest and most threatened level of the entire home.

Materials Which Should Not Be Used

Basement floors are a focal point for moisture despite the efforts to protect the room. It makes sense and is best practice to avoid using certain materials in constructing your basement floor. Wood is an obvious choice for many floors, however even when it is treated for moisture and water resistance and no matter how well it is maintained, wood will eventually succumb to the adverse effects of water.

You should also avoid using carpet or carpet tile to cover the floor because again, carpet will attract and retain water and is easily damaged. It is also a breeding ground for mold and mildew which will create a health hazard too.

Porous or soft ceramic tile should be avoided because this will absorb and retain moisture which will also provide a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Materials To Be Considered

Basement floors obviously need to take into account the aesthetics while combating and preventing damage by water. Concrete floors can provide an effective water barrier, especially when treated and sealed as well as carrying anti-fungicidal additives to ensure mold and mildew do not find a home, however, bare concrete is hardly a warm, comfort-stirring material to look at and walk on.

Slate is a fantastic material for constructing basement floors (and walls) because it is a completely natural product. It provides color variation between olive green and light brown, with a wide variety in texture and granular appearance such that no two slate tiles will be identical. Slate is also completely water proof and impermeable, plus it provides no natural habitat or food source for mildew and mold. In addition, when it does become wet, slate is a non-slip surface which adds to the safety factor.

Hard or non-porous ceramic tile is also suitable for use in basement flooring. It is hard wearing and relatively easy to install, and provided it is non-porous, it provides a good water barrier. Ceramic tile also comes in a very wide range of colors and styles because it is man-made and can effectively customize your basement décor and style. Ceramic tile does have a disadvantage in that it will become slippery and hazardous when wet.

Vinyl flooring and linoleum also provide effective water barriers for a basement floor and are largely unaffected by the impact of water. Water can have an impact on adhesives used to fix the flooring, so the floor to which they will be affixed must be completely dry for a good seal and fit. Vinyl tiles have the added advantage that they are very cheap to source and install, though they do not impart the same look and feel as a slate or ceramic tile floor.
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Article Added on Tuesday, November 8, 2011
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