Basement Remodeling, Best Practices for Laying a Sub Floor in The Basement

Installing a sub floor in your basement during a remodeling project can serve a couple of purposes.

  • First, it provides a layer of insulation between the floor and the cold concrete beneath it. This can give the floor a warmer feel.
  • Secondly, basement floors are often cracked, and a sub-floor offers a consistent, smooth service on which to install your flooring.

In this Complete Home Remodeling Guide we will discuss how a basement sub floor is installed and offer tips for laying a sub floor in the basement.

Tip #1: Decide on Insulation

In warmer climates, you might not think you need insulation in the floor. However, even in warm climates the basement floor will be cool since it is significantly below grade, and temperatures 6-10 feet in the ground remain fairly cool year round.

If you do decide to install a layer of insulation, polystyrene sheets are the best choice. Choose 1” or 1.5” sheets and install them directly on the concrete. Leave  6”-12” of room around the furnace, hot water heater, and other permanent fixtures. You can finish the gaps later with trim.

Tip #2: Choose Quality ½” Plywood Sub Floor

Half-inch sub-floor will give you the strength you want, especially if there is foam insulation beneath it. The ½” plywood will prevent the floor from feeling squishy.

To secure the sub floor, pre-drill holes and then use concrete screws to fasten the perimeter of all boards. Sink the screw heads so that they are level with the floor, preventing them from poking through or causing problems with the flooring your select.

An alternate option is to use newer wafer boards that are interlocking and are backed by a moisture barrier. They are more expensive but might be easier to install.

Tip #3: Install your Basement Flooring

The plywood or wafer board will provide an excellent base for any type of flooring you choose. If your basement tends to be damp, you might want to consider something other than carpet, since carpet can hold moisture which might lead to mold. If you choose carpet, consider something with a short knap that is easy to care for.

Vinyl, linoleum, laminate, tile and other water-resistant materials are all a good choice for basement flooring.

For guides on basement remodeling, kitchen remodelingoutdoor remodeling, and bathroom remodeling projects, visit our helpful learning articles for tips and tricks!

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