Basements are often thought of as the room in the house that needs no attention paid to it. It’s usually the place where you’ll do your laundry and store a bunch of stuff. However, basements can be pretty useful if you utilize them properly. You can turn it into a second living room, you can turn it into your mancave, into a playroom, or you can let one of your kids have the basement.
Basements can be stylish, just like any other part of the house, and the floor is an important part of that styling. That’s why we’ll be taking a look at your options when it comes to carpeting your basement.
There are many things that you can do with your basement in the terms of carpets.
Let’s get started!
Synthetic carpets actually aren’t a specific enough name, as synthetic carpets are usually not made from either naturally sourced fibers, like wool, but are made from synthetic fibers, such as nylon, polyester, polypropylene, or triexta. We’ll be putting all of these under the magnifying glass to determine which one is the best choice for you.
Synthetic carpets are usually recommended by experts because they retain less moisture than natural fibers. We’ll be talking a whole lot about moisture in the basement later, and you’ll learn why this is so important. For now, it’s just important to know that technology allowed us to take natural ingredients to the next level and make them even safer for us.
Synthetic carpets are also usually more resistant to staining – this can help with mold, as the chances of mold growing under the carpet are smaller. It’s smart to look for a carpet with synthetic backing, as those carpets are better at ‘breathing’, allowing the moisture to leave the carpet.
When it comes to polyester carpets in the basement, there are a few pros and cons, just like with any other carpet on this list. Polyester is cheaper than other carpets, and it’s also soft and resistant to staining. Since synthetic fibers don’t absorb water as natural fibers do, polyester carpets are really good at dealing with moisture in your basement.
If you have kids playing in the basement (if it’s a playroom, for example), then the fact that polyester isn’t straining too much is only an additional plus. If someone spills something, you won’t have too hard a time at the cleanup.
Polyester being that cheap also plays a massive part. Even though it’s likely more than capable of dealing with any damage that can be caused by moisture, if it does get damaged – you’re going to have to replace it. Since it’s the cheapest out of all our options, it’s definitely the easiest one to replace. If you bought a more expensive carpet and had to replace it after a few years, you might be looking at a bank-breaking expense.
The only con of polyester is its durability – this isn’t its strongest point. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend buying a polyester carpet for your living room (it’s reported that sunlight damages it easily).
However, if you’re only using your basement occasionally and you don’t mind that your carpet is going to show signs of wear and tear with time, then this shouldn’t be a problem.
- polyester carpet is very cheap, if a time comes for you to replace it, it won’t be a problem and it’s not going to dent your bank account
- polyester is great at fighting moisture, so it’s unlikely that you’ll see mold growing on your carpet
- since it’s stain-resistant, it’s easy to clean up if something is spilled
- durability – polyester isn’t very durable, so it’s not recommended for a room with much traffic
Nylon is similar to polyester, but it’s much stronger in every sense of the word. It’s much better for fighting moisture, and it’s more durable than polyester. Basically, take every single thing you saw with polyester – nylon makes it even better, and it doesn’t have the problem of durability.
The problem with nylon? The cost, obviously. Since nylon is so good, it’s not going to cost the same as polyester does. Nylon actually costs double or almost double as polyester for the same amount of carpet, so it’s going to be a problem if you’re on a tight budget.
Nylon also isn’t stain-resistant like polyester, so it’s not as easy to clean after someone’s spilled something on it.
- more durable than polyester, it can last for a long time
- better at fighting moisture than polyester
- much more expensive than polyester – you’re going to need a big budget for this
- it’s not stain-resistant, so clean up after a spill is going to be a problem
Triexta is a sort of new material on the market, so it’s still being explored. However, for now, it’s known that triexta will resist moisture, and it supposedly has even better resistance to staining than standard polyester. It’s also more durable, so it’s another step up from polyester.
It’s sort of a middle ground between nylon and polyester. It’s not as durable as nylon, but it’s not as bad at durability as polyester. It’s also not as expensive as nylon, but it’s not as cheap as polyester.
- it has the best resistance to staining out of all synthetic materials
- it’s more durable than polyester, but it’s not as durable as nylon
- it’s more expensive than polyester, but it’s not as expensive as nylon
Loop pile carpets, also known as Berber carpets, are a common option for basement carpets. It has a somewhat flat, textured look and feels – it’s also more durable in comparison to many other options on this list, as it can last up to 20 years.
It’s super easy to install, and it’s not even that expensive. A good option for your basement would be a polypropylene carpet, as it’s not that expensive as other options. It’s prone to soiling and staining – but if your basement isn’t a high-traffic area, then that shouldn’t be a problem.
- very durable, capable of lasting several decades
- very easy to install
- prone to staining and soiling, avoid if your basement is an area with a lot of traffic
Carpet tiles are a great option if you don’t want to hassle yourself with too much installation. They’re traditionally used in commercial spaces, but you’re free to combine any basement tiles with any other tiles of different styles, so you can easily make your basement floor as stylish as possible.
They’re very easy to install, affordable, rugged, and even simple to replace.
The installation itself is a very simple process, and you can even do it without hiring a carpet installation professional. Most carpet installation professionals are going to complete the job in no time, and you’re going to end up with perfect results. You should always talk to experts for counsel about styling and installation.
Since you have the option of combining many different styles and end up with a finalized product of the perfect carpet, you’re allowed to let your mind get as creative as possible. You can simply add a pop of color, and as most tiles are interchangeable, there’s an infinite number of patterns that you can use with your carpet. This will surely be fun for kids, and since carpet tiles are very durable, it’s going to last for a long time.
Both maintenance and repairs are easy with carpet tiles, so you don’t have to worry about the idea of repairing your floor if something happens to the tiles. The greatest benefit for this comes from the fact that carpet tiles are still single units, they only work together to complete a whole carpet. If something happens and one carpet tile is damaged, all you need to do is replace the one tile – not the whole carpet.
This is a massive advantage in comparison to wall-to-wall carpets.
They’re also easy to clean, as they’re low-pile carpets (we’ll discuss the meaning of this later) and they don’t collect much dirt. Vacuuming is all that’s necessary.
As I’ve already stated, carpet tiles are very durable, more durable than other carpet options on this list. Carpet tiles can take almost everything – unimportant if you want to install a home gym (however, in that case, I’d recommend rubber flooring over a carpet), or if you have your pets and your kids running around wreaking havoc – carpet tiles are going to take the abuse.
They can take almost anything life throws at them because they’re low pile, looped, and very tight. Most have some sort of added stain protection, so it’s likely that they’re going to last even if something gets spilled, so you don’t have to worry about that.
This carpet also ensures that there’s much less waste (of both carpet and money), and it’s logical if you think about it. If you have a perfectly sized room that’s just the right size for a carpet to fit, you’re not going to have any issues with any sort of carpet. However, if your room is not perfectly square – then you’re going to find that it’s much easier to install carpet tiles than a carpet that’s a single unit.
Since carpets are usually square, you’re going to have a lot of trouble if your room is not square. You can also install tiles in whatever way you’d like, so you can cover your whole floor with very few problems.
Another important aspect of this is the fact that if it floods or if one of the tiles starts growing mold that you can’t get rid of – you don’t have to throw away all the tiles. You can just get rid of the tiles that are flooded or if the ones that have started to grow mold. If you have a whole carpet, though, then you’ll need to replace the whole carpet – that’s both expensive and requires more time.
Carpet tiles are also more resistant to water than some other alternatives on this list. That’s because of their tight weave and strong backing – they’re not completely waterproof (few carpets are), but they can definitely hold their own against an occasional spill and basements that have trouble with moisture.
There are different kinds of tiles you can get for your basement.
You can choose to go with ‘peel and stick carpet tiles’ – they belong to the group of the most luxurious carpet tiles for basement settings. They usually have a half-inch padding on an 18×18 inch square tile. They usually last for a long time, and their qualities also provide resistance to stains, bleach, and fading!
These tiles are easy to install – all you have to do is clean the subfloor, after which you just peel, stick, and press the tile firmly into place.
Then, we have commercial-grade carpet squares’ – these tiles are designed for areas with heavy traffic. They’re designed to be durable and easy to clean and both of these benefits will do a lot for your basement.
The quick glue-down process ensures that they’re easy to install, as well as to clean and maintain. You can also deep clean it periodically with dry foam, dry extraction, and hot water extraction.
We also have ‘interlocking foam-based carpet tiles’ – these tiles provide the cushion and warmth of traditional carpet, and they’re very popular with families with children. The tops of these tiles are usually covered with durable carpeting that is bonded to a soft closed foam base, which results in a durable tile that can deal with foot traffic, furniture, and both children and pets.
This is an ideal solution for your basement floor if you have children or pets that spend time in the basement. This carpet tile is odor-proof, easy to clean, and provides a comfortable anti-fatigue and insulation value similar to traditional carpet.
- easy to install – carpet tiles are very easy to install, which comes in handy if you have to reinstall them after a flood or if they’ve started to develop mold
- more cost-effective than the alternatives – carpet tiles can be removed and replaced individually – instead of replacing the whole carpet, you can cheaply replace a single tile (if the situation requires you to)
- creativity – you can get as creative as you’d like with this option, as you can combine any tile you want to
- carpet tiles are very durable and are definitely going to withstand a lot of foot traffic, some carpet tiles are treated to deal with spills, as well
- if you’re not careful with the styling of the carpet, you might end up with a terrible-looking floor
What Makes a Carpet Great? What Problems Should You Think About?
Now that we’ve covered all the options for your basement carpet – let’s talk about a few things you should have your eye on when you’re installing your carpet.
Firstly – moisture. I’ve already mentioned previously that moisture is the most important thing to have in mind when you’re installing your carpet. Why is that? It’s because the carpet is made of fiber, and fiber is heaven for the growth of mold, mildew, and various fungi.
If you have a problem with moisture in your basement, then you’re going to have to get that sorted out before you install any sort of carpet. Sure, some materials handle moisture better than others – there are also materials that are considered to be moisture-proof. However, with time, every carpet is going to start deteriorating because of moisture.
If you’ve noticed that you have a problem with moisture, it’s best to call in an expert and let them handle that – you’re not going to be able to install anything until you’ve resolved that, as moisture will eat your carpet quickly enough and it’ll become a massive black hole that won’t stop sucking your money in.
Another thing that has to be mentioned is that moisture is really bad for your health, so you should definitely have that looked at – regardless of whether you’re installing a carpet or not.
Floods are absolute killers for carpets. Even though they’re rare, a carpet is ready to be thrown away after a flood. A carpet is the absolute worst option for your floor if you live in an area that’s prone to flooding. The same applies to having your washing machine in the basement – if that machine floods, you’re going to have to throw your carpet away (or at least some of the tiles).
Obviously, you can try drying it in the sun, but it’s likely that it won’t help. If you live in an area where you’re justifiably afraid of floods, I recommend that you look into ceramic tiles, vinyl, and rubber as alternatives to carpet – as carpet definitely can’t handle massive amounts of water.
Style and Shape
Since not all basements are shaped the same way, it’s possible that you’ll find a carpet that fits your basement perfectly. It’s also possible that you won’t be able to find that carpet for months. It’s important to find a carpet to cover your whole basement, wall to wall. If you’re having trouble with this because of the specific shape of your basement, it’s best to turn to carpet tiles.
Carpet tiles give you the freedom to install a carpet in any specific way, and they ensure that your basement is properly covered.
The second thing that has to be discussed is the style of the carpet. Even though everyone has the right to their own taste – not all carpets will fit your basement the same way (talking from a stylistic point of view). It’s best to compare different patterns before finding the one that’s a real home run.
I can not stress this enough – do not buy a carpet that can’t breathe! Different carpets are made from different materials, and more breathable materials ensure that the carpet can ventilate properly. If a carpet doesn’t ventilate properly, then it’s going to smell.
If you buy a carpet that’s not ventilating, you’re going to have to take it to the cleaner a few times a year just to ensure it’s fresh.
Carpets that are more breathable take much, much longer to develop these unpleasant smells, and that’s why I would definitely suggest that you talk to your carpet retailer when you’re buying your carpet. Even though breathable carpets are a bit more expensive, they’re definitely worth the price.
Another thing about maintenance is the fact that not all carpets are easy to clean up. Some carpets need only a vacuum cleaner while other carpets need you to put the gloves on and put some elbow grease in. Keep this in mind when you’re buying your carpet.
What Will You Use Your Carpet For?
Not all carpets fulfill the same purpose, so you’re going to have to plan ahead when you’re buying. If you’re buying your carpet just to fill an empty space in the basement and not too many people are going to walk on it, then you’re good with literally anything you like.
However, if you’re building a home gym, breathability and durability are going to be very important to you. If you’re using it as a playroom (with darts, billiards, pinball, etc.), style is going to be very important to you. If you’re using it as a playroom for kids, it’s crucial that the carpet can take spills and that it’s thick enough so no kids hurt themselves.
You get the gist – think ahead, before you buy your carpet, and plan your shopping accordingly.
Those are all the problems that you need to keep in mind when you’re buying your carpet. Let’s move on to the things that you should check when you’re buying your carpet, as they’re the features that really define a good carpet!
There are many ways a carpet can be built. If the carpet is said to be low-pile, then you should know that that’s a good thing. Low-pile carpets are easier to dry (in case they get wet), and they’re not as difficult to maintain as high-pile carpets.
That’s great in case of spilling, as well as maintenance – you won’t need to put as much work in when you’re cleaning in comparison with high-pile carpets.
Cut-pile carpeting is different from low-pile, as it’s more durable and it’s easier to extract water from it (if that ever becomes necessary). It’s usually made of fiber loops that can be left as-is, cut, or combined loop and pile.
Many carpets have padding under it – that’s a big plus. This provides an extra layer between the subfloor (be it concrete or hardwood floors) and the carpet itself. It won’t make the carpet lose heat quickly, and it will also make the carpet easy to walk on.
Carpet padding is usually also very dense and acts as a sponge to trap water within and underneath it. It’s basically another layer to protect the carpet itself from moisture and water.
Since most carpets that don’t have paddings require the installation of padding, you’ve already covered that if you purchase a carpet with padding.
The only downside to a carpet with padding is the fact that it’s much more difficult to dry – the padding takes longer to dry than the carpet itself, and that can often pose a problem.
Nylon, polypropylene, etc. – these materials will hold their own against water and moisture much better than natural materials like wool. They simply won’t drink up as much water and they won’t hold moisture for that long a time. That alone makes them a better solution for your carpet, rather than natural materials.
These carpets are usually very rare and much more expensive than non-waterproof carpets, but there are certain manufacturers that produce carpets that are entirely waterproof. They’re processed with specific chemicals and they won’t let any water through.
Know, however, that these carpets are entirely useless if you’re not living in an area that’s prone to flooding – they’re only useful if you expect your carpet to be completely covered by water at some point.
This is very simple – more durable carpets usually cost more, but they’re worth more too. When you’re purchasing your carpet, try to find one that will last for more than 20 years!