Basements are notorious for being damp. Even if the space is well waterproofed, there’s just something about an area that is surrounded by damp soil and which gets no sunlight that makes for moisture. Although basements can be made into extra living space for your family, you need to be very careful about the building materials you use, the accessories you add, and anything you plan to store down there to make sure that nothing is going to soak up the moisture and start mildewing. The questionable areas include such things as the sheetrock on the walls, upholstered furniture, and basement carpeting.
You’re probably already aware of the fact that certain items literally soak the moisture out of the air. This was a major problem prior to the advent of air conditioning, because all of the summer humidity was absorbed into furniture and carpets making them feel clammy and causing them to start smelling bad. The same is true of the things you put in the basement, because even with air conditioning, moisture can still be a problem there.
Because of the on-going battle with moisture in a basement environment, experts do not recommend using carpet as a flooring there. As tempting as it might be to cover up cold concrete floors with something cozier that feels better on the feet, carpeting needs to be avoided. Even rubber-backed carpeting can be a problem.
A number of years ago we purchased a home with a finished basement. The flooring was rubber-backed carpet, and it looked really nice. Unfortunately, one night after a huge amount of rain, the city’s storm sewers overflowed, and water backed up into our basement. As you might imagine, we had a real mess, and repairs cost thousands of dollars. In order to keep the costs a bit lower, we opted to dry the carpet out and keep it. After all, it still looked really nice.
As the years went by, though, I suffered from a great deal of sinus trouble, allergies, and headaches, even in my air conditioned home. Finally a contractor told us that even if the basement carpeting had dried out and was kept dry with a dehumidifier, mold spores had been trapped under it during our flood and were growing there yet. So, we tore up the carpet, and there, underneath, it was just like he told us. There was mold growth everywhere which had been spewing spores into our house, and triggering my mold allergy.
There are many flooring choices that will be more appropriate than basement carpeting. The two best options are to paint your concrete floor and use throw rugs. Another excellent choice is a stone flooring made of hardrock. The stones will add texture and interest to your floor while withstanding basement conditions well.