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Carpet in Your Basement

Carpet is
often chosen for comfort: as a flooring option, it is warm underfoot and soft
to the touch. However, it’s not necessarily the most comfortable choice for
every room. When deciding if you want to use carpet, consider potential
problems with moisture. Other than this drawback, carpet has enjoyed decades of
use in millions of homes for many reasons, from durability to versatility.

Pros:
Carpet absorbs a lot of noise; it’s soft on the feet and warm to the touch. It
comes in many colors, patterns, and piles. The price can vary from dirt cheap
to top of the line expensive – giving you many choices in-between.

Cons: Of
all the flooring types’ available carpet is the least desirable for basements
due to common moisture problems and periodic floods. If you must have carpet
then avoid installing the carpet directly on the concrete to avoid mold. If the
floor doesn’t have congenital dampness problems, use carpet without an attached
under-padding. A separate rubber based pad resists humidity more effectively
and should dry easily if flooding occurs. You may want to consider installing a
sub-floor before installing carpet.

Carpet is a chosen flooring option because it is warm underfoot and soft to the touch. However, when used in a basement environment where moisture is common, carpet can become rather troublesome. Here are the facts.

Costs

While the cost of carpet can vary greatly depending on the quality, you can expect to pay $19 to $38 per square yard, including installation. If the padding is not included, that can tack on an additional $2.50-$6 per square yard. Get a price quote for your carpet installation to learn more.

Pros

Carpet absorbs a lot of noise; it muffles sound and is soft underfoot.

It comes in many colors, patterns, and textures.

The price can vary from dirt cheap to top-of-the-line expensive—giving you endless choices in between.

Cons

A sub-floor usually has to be installed before installing the carpet.

Carpet is usually the least desirable flooring for basements due to common moisture problems and periodic floods.

To avoid mold and mildew, it shouldn’t be installed directly on top of concrete.

Durability

While carpet may last quite a while in other areas of the home, it can be damaged rather quickly in a damp basement environment. To avoid these problems, a separate rubber-based pad should be installed to resist humidity more effectively and help the drying-out process if flooding occurs.

Maintenance

The amount of maintenance required for basement carpeting depends on the amount of traffic the area receives. Usually just a regular vacuuming will do, but if spills or pet stains occur, then a professional carpet cleaner may have to be brought in to do the dirty work.

Common Questions and Answers

What different types of carpet are available?

On the low end of the price spectrum is polypropylene (also known as polyethylene or olefin). Acrylic is still fairly low-priced, while polyester and nylon are considered mid-grade. Wool, silk, and linen are some of the most expensive types of carpet avai

How thick should the carpet padding be?

There are several grades of carpet padding available, but as a rule of thumb, the padding shouldn’t contract more than half of its thickness when pinched between the fingers. If it does, then the chances of it lasting the wear and tear of a basement envir

History

While carpets have been used all over the globe for centuries, the United States didn’t begin manufacturing carpet until William Sprague started the first carpet mill in 1791 in Philadelphia. Today it remains one of the most popular flooring options available.

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