Home > Basement Flooring, Carpet Tiles, Ceramic Tiles, Rubber Flooring, Treated Concrete, Vinyl Flooring > Flooring for Flood Prone Areas / Basements

Flooring for Flood Prone Areas / Basements

We have been inundated with questions from Hurricane Sandy victims for a few weeks now and decided to write a helpful guide to explain flood resistant flooring options.  First of all, we would all like to say that we are very sorry to hear about all the hardships you all are facing and we would like to help.  If you have been a victim of Sandy, please use code Sandy30 when you checkout to save 30% off your order until the end of the year.

The most common questions we have been receiving have been:

  • Does rubber flooring help to waterproof your basement floor?
  • I had rubber flooring in an area of my house that was flooded, now what do I do?
  • What is the best type of flooring for a flooded basement or a flood prone basement?

We are going to start this guide by answering these questions.  After that we are going to explain the pros and cons of numerous different flooring options including rubber, vinyl, ceramic tile, epoxy’s, concrete stains, and carpet.  Hopefully after all of that, we will have put together a decent guide for flood victims going forward.

  • Does rubber flooring help to waterproof your basement floor?

Unfortunately the answer to this question is a resounding no.  The best way to waterproof your basement is to seal your basement walls and flooring with a proper floor sealer.  The other thing a home owner should do to waterproof their basement is to make sure all your homes gutter and downspouts are in proper working order.  For more information on how to water proof your basement, a whole litany of guides can be found here using Google.

  • I had rubber flooring in an area of my house that was flooded, now what do I do?

Most people who have flooding issues have them either in their basement or on the first floor since they may live in an area that is prone to flooding.  If you have either of these issues, the first thing we recommend is to contact your insurance provider and see if you are covered against flood damage.  If you are, you should be able to replace your current rubber floor with a floor covering that is the same or similar in value if it has been ruined.  With that being said, rubber flooring is designed to handle very wet environments.

If you had rubber tile flooring, most people only need to lift the tiles up and take them to a warm and dry environment to dry out.  If you have rolled rubber flooring (which is usually larger, heavier, and harder to move around), we often recommend putting a fan on the rolls to aid in their drying out and flipping the rolls over to dry some more if they have not been adhered down.  Once the flooring is dry, the next thing to worry about is mold and mildew.  In any flood, organic materials are often deposited on floors, walls, or whatever else gets caught in the flood.  These organic materials can act as a food source for bacteria, fungi, mold, and mildew.  To prevent this, we recommend disinfecting your rubber flooring by cleaning it thoroughly.  The best way to do this is to clean the rubber with a rubber floor cleaner followed by disinfecting the flooring with either a mild alcohol and water solution or a bleach and water solution.

  • What is the best type of flooring for a flooded area or a flood prone basement?

This question is probably the hardest one for us to answer since there is no perfect answer.  There are many types of flooring options that may fit your needs however we usually try to identify what your needs are in order to find out what will suit you best.  The most common types of flooring that are generally recommended for use in wet or flood prone areas are vinyl, ceramic tile, concrete that is either treated (stained or epoxied) or waterproofed, rubber, and believe it or not, an inexpensive carpeting solution.

To help explain the benefits of each type of flooring, we will go through each one individually by providing a brief description of each and explaining the pros and cons of each.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is available in rolls, tiles or planks.  Vinyl is usually adhered down using a latex flooring adhesive.  Many vinyl tile options are self-sticking and can be installed easily by the average home owner.  Some vinyl plank flooring options also include an interlocking edge that allow the tile to be loose laid (put down without adhesive) however it is generally recommended to adhere down vinyl flooring in an area that is prone to flooding.

Pros

  • Easy to clean surface that is resistant to mold and mildew.
  • Rolled vinyl will have very few seams which will give water the least amount ok places where water can try and get under the flooring surface.
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be installed by the average DIY home owner.

Cons

  • Vinyl tile and plank flooring options will have more seams where water con potentially work its way under the floor surface.
  • Bad insulator and will often feel cold to the touch.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tile flooring is available in numerous shapes, sizes, colors, and surface patterns. Ceramic tiles have to be adhered down with a thinset mortar if used in a wet environment. Ceramic tiles can also be adhered down using premixed mastic adhesive however this is generally not recommended in wet environments or areas that are prone to floods.  Ceramic tiles should usually be installed by a professional installer.  Tiles that are rated with the highest density are often referred to as Porcelain tiles.

Pros

  • Impervious rated tiles are extremely resistant to water, mold and mildew.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Very durable (Once installed, the highest density porcelain grade tile are incredibly resistant to wear and tear)

Cons

  • Usually should be installed by a professional.
  • A bad insulator and will feel as cold as your sub floor unless a cork underlayment or radiant heating is installed under the tiles.
  • If installed over a concrete sub floor that is cracking or settling, the tiles could crack and settle with the sub floor.

 

 

Treated Concrete

Stained Concrete

Treated concrete usually refers to a concrete floor that has had a coating applied to it.  The most common coatings that are used on concrete floors are stains and epoxies.  A stain is very similar to a wood stain in that it adds color and a sense of depth to the floor surface.  An epoxy floor coating is the most common floor coating found in garages since it is resistant to oil and solvent spills however it can be used in basements too.  Either option can be installed by a confident DIY home owner however a professional is usually recommended.  Stains usually are about as easy to apply as paint once the sub floor is cleaned.  Epoxy tends to be a little more complicated of an install.

Epoxy Flooring

Pros

  • Stains are inexpensive.
  • Can be installed by a confident DIY home owner.
  • Moisture resistant.

Cons

  • The install has to be done just right.  The base concrete has to be perfectly cleaned and the finished surface should be treated with a sealant for stained concrete.
  • The worst insulator out of the bunch and there is no way to add radiant heat to help warm the floor surface.
  • Epoxy coatings can be more expensive.

 

Waterproofed Concrete

Waterproofed Basement

Waterproofed concrete is the no frills least expensive flooring option that can work well in basements.  This is the raw sub floor that is already in your basement that has been sealed with a waterproofing floor and wall sealer.  Once applied, your floor will look like it was painted with a white paint.  It won’t look pretty exactly but it will be functional, clean looking, and aid in keeping your basement dry.

Pros

  • Minimal cost.
  • If you can paint, you can apply a water proofer.

Cons

  • Also a bad insulator.
  • The least attractive of all the options.

 

Rubber

Rubber Flooring in a Home Gym

Rubber flooring is available in all kinds of colors and thicknesses.  Rubber is also available in interlocking tiles, straight cut tiles, and rolls.  The most common rubber flooring purchased is black rubber flooring since it is low in cost.  The reason for this is because the rubber comes from an inexpensive raw material; recycled rubber tires.  Rubber that is bright in color is usually more expensive since it is made from a more expensive raw material; virgin rubber.  When rubber is used in a flood prone area, we recommend to loose laying the flooring down or adhering the flooring down with double sided carpet tape.  This way if the area does get flooded, the flooring can be lifted up and moved to a dry place to dry out or flipped over so that both sides of the floor can dry out.  If you would like to adhere a rubber floor surface down in an area that may flood, we recommend using moisture cured polyurethane adhesive.  This type of adhesive will hold together well in the event of a flood.

Pros

  • Mold and mildew resistant.
  • Black rubber flooring is low in cost.
  • The installation can be done by the average Do-It-Yourselfer.
  • If loose laid, the flooring can be removed to allow and the area and the flooring to dry quicker.
  • An excellent insulator against sound transmission.
  • Slip resistant.

Cons

  • Colorful rubber can be more expensive.
  • A poor insulator against temperature transmission.  The floor will feel as cold as your sub floor unless radiant heating is used under the rubber.
  • Can be quit heavy when using large rolls of rubber flooring.

 

Carpeting

Inexpensive Carpet Tiles (~$1.50 / square foot)

So we are guessing you are asking yourself how carpet could be a good floor covering option in a flood prone area.  Well it’s simple.  Some forms of carpet can be very cheap.  Carpet is also available in the form of square cut tiles that can be adhered down with double sided carpet tape.  This makes for an easy installation and an easy removal of the carpet should the tiles get damaged in a flood.  We don’t generally recommend that broadloom carpet (roll out carpet) be used in an area that might flood however cheap bargain grade carpet tiles may make for an excellent solution depending on how often the area is likely to get flooded.

Pros

  • Lowest in cost for low grade carpet
  • The best insulator and will feel the warmest to the touch.
  • Carpet tiles can be installed easily with double sided carpet tape.
  • Carpet tiles allow for only damaged tiles to be removed and replaced should flooding occur in a smaller area.

Cons

  • Least durable of all the options.  Will most likely have to get replaced in case of a flood.
  • Mold and mildew can develop on carpet fairly easily if an organic food source and water is present.
  • Roll out broadloom carpet should be installed by a professional.

While no floor covering should ever be considered 100% waterproof, there are numerous options that can work well in flood prone areas.  We hope this guide has been helpful to anyone who has or had flood concerns in and around their home.  No matter what flooring option you choose, we always recommend asking for samples.  If you do have any questions or information to share which will help others who have had flooding problems, please leave them in the comment section below.

  1. Marry liza
    December 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm | #1

    Every people want how the home design or outlook and how home color such as floor color wall color etc.Thanks! Look for additional posts on this topic soon. Thanks for sharing this info.

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