Basement Flooring
February 8, 2004 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Flooring. We're doing the basement floor and trying to pick the final product. Click/no-glue or Tongue and Groove/Nail? Bamboo or Cork? Linoleum? More Downstairs...

The basement has been waterproofed (interior perimeter drain), and we're putting in sleepers+plywood subfloor. We're most interested in cork, quite interested in bamboo, and almost as much interested in Linoleum. We'd like to do a decent job (i.e. not have to tear it out in 5 years) and want something that will stand up to some abuse (dents and dings don't ruin the floor for life). $4 a square foot is probably getting close to too much.

  • Is solid (bamboo or cork) really better than engineered?
  • What's the ratio of labor between installing tongue and Groove vs. Click lock?
  • Anybody have experience with online flooring material sellers? Ifloor & their derivatives?
  • Should we be worried about cork 'denting' under heavy furniture?
Other thoughts or recommendations?
Thanks in advance...
posted by daver to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
No idea on your questions, but some minor advice:
- tap very softly. damn stuff can "wrinkle" at the seam if you bash it.
- cut very close to the walls. the allowance doesn't need to be anything remotely close to what's recommended. Too much and you end up with unsightly gaps at the baseboards.
- jigsaws rule.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:48 PM on February 8, 2004

Your local flooring shop should be able to answer your questions and help you pick the best product for your needs.

Personally, I hate lino. I'm all about hardwood, berber, and ceramic tile. If you do go with lino though be aware that the cheap stuff is very cheap and will not last. I guess you could say that about all flooring, but I'm more wary about lino. I couldn't give you a pricerange to watch out for though, sorry. This is where your local store comes in handy again.

That said, it is just your basement. If you can find a good quality lino at a price you can live with, all the power to you.

Having never seen cork or bamboo on a floor except in magazines, my interest is piqued. About the strangest thing I ever saw was some sort of woven dried mexican grass (no, not that kind). I couldn't walk on it in bare feet, it was so prickly. Expensive stuff too. But yeah, I can't help you out with either of these as I have no experience.
posted by ODiV at 9:47 PM on February 8, 2004

Cork tiles are great and have the advantage of being able to replace individual tiles in the case of damage. If you go for the 'click-lock" style fake timber flooring, consider that it may not be possible to replace a single board later and there is no way of repairing damage to the film they use for the fake woodgrain. If you go for real wood in tongue and groove, it is possible (though not all that easy) to replace an individual board or section of board anywhere in the floor. Don't buy any cheap vinyl flooring, as it will not lay well or last long and will be very susceptible to damage.
posted by dg at 11:03 PM on February 8, 2004

Not entirely sure if this is the same stuff you're looking at, but we have tongue-in-groove bamboo plank flooring in much of our house. I think it's beautiful stuff, and love the whole renewable-resource thing -- but it might not stand up to heavy abuse... it's harder than most wood, but will still dent if you drop something heavy on it, and the varnish can scratch if you're sliding heavy furniture around. (So use furniture pads.)

On the plus side, though, it seems to be immune to water damage: we have one corner where water was seeping into the subfloor for a couple years; there's a little dark stain around each nail, but the wood itself is fine; it didn't swell or warp at all.
posted by ook at 8:35 AM on February 9, 2004

Is solid (bamboo or cork) really better than engineered?

I've never heard of solid bamboo--can you describe it further? The bamboo flooring I've seen (but have yet to see installed) is basically thin strips glued together to form planks that end up looking almost exactly like regular tongue-and-groove hardwood flooring. I don't know if solid bamboo would provide the size or dimensional stability that you'd want. Bamboo is quite faddish now, and can be inexpensive but there are differences in quality between suppliers--Greenwood is supposed to have a good reputation. As a general rule, engineered lumber will always be more stable (i.e. less prone to warping) than convential lumber, but you may be concerned about the adhesives used in the manufacturing process, which may emit formaldehyde.

About the strangest thing I ever saw was some sort of woven dried mexican grass (no, not that kind). I couldn't walk on it in bare feet, it was so prickly.

Probably some kind of sisal carpeting. An office I worked in a couple years ago had it on the floor--nasty to walk on, and what we had stained with plain water. Bleah.
posted by LionIndex at 8:40 AM on February 9, 2004

Avoid the laminate flooring ("Pergo", etc) if you're going to have any moisture at all. One of our cats puked on a laminate floor while we were gone overnight, and there's now a "puffy spot" where the floor soaked up the moisture. Other than that, I prefer the "click together" type flooring that doesn't require glue.

As with the poster above - MEASURE CAREFULLY.
posted by mrbill at 9:25 AM on February 9, 2004

One of our cats puked on a laminate floor while we were gone overnight, and there's now a "puffy spot" where the floor soaked up the moisture.

That's puzzling. My former housemate and I had pergo flooring and it survived many cat pukes, spills, etc. without any visible damage. I think we cleaned up spills pretty quickly so that may be the difference.
posted by rdr at 10:13 AM on February 9, 2004

You may want to check this out:
posted by argus at 1:03 PM on February 10, 2004

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