With bans on construction lifted, contractors have begun picking up where they left off and fielding projects from homeowners who are looking to update their spaces to be more functional and beautiful. Last June, Houzz reported home professionals and contractors saw a 58% increase in inquiries from homeowners regarding home extensions and additions. An underutilized space, such as a basement, could be the perfect solution for those homeowners looking for some extra space.

A basement renovation can be seen as a daunting task as it usually serves as a home’s hub for old furniture, storage boxes and other household items that may take up too much space elsewhere. But instead of letting this space go to waste, why not transform your basement into a warm and inviting space for you and your guests to enjoy, while also boosting your home’s resale value? 

When taking on a basement renovation, the best place to start is by prioritizing a major surface such as flooring. A new tile installation can be a cost effective way to enhance your basement’s vibe and aesthetic because it’s durable, easy-to-clean and to maintain. Plus, with basements generally in areas subject to tornado activity or with foundations below the frost line such as Canada and the American Midwest, it’s no secret that this space is commonly affected by water or high moisture vapor damage. In North America alone, it has been estimated that the cost of floor covering failures due to excessive moisture vapor emission from concrete floor slabs exceeds $1 billion per year. Installing new flooring coupled with a professional moisture vapor emission mitigation product can help provide peace-of-mind while minimizing issues that may arise in the future. 

With this said, tile installers should be educated about what a successful tile installation looks like when it comes to updating a basement, which includes being informed on the necessary moisture vapor emission mitigation practices and how to mitigate any long-term damage. 


Determining How Much Moisture is on the Jobsite  

Moisture is the number-one cause of failed flooring installations, and as previously stated, basements are the most susceptible room in the home to water damage. If customers take the risk and don’t have their basement floors tested and treated for moisture, there is an increased probability that mold and mildew will grow. One of the first things contractors should do prior to installation is to pay attention to the landscape outside the house. If the ground around the foundation slopes away from the home, that will help shed water that comes off of the roof, if foundation drainage is not available. However, if there’s an excess of water collecting in low spots around the foundation and proper drainage is not installed, water can inevitably find a way into the basement. 

To determine exactly how much moisture vapor emission and concrete RH is present on a job site, there are various approaches and testing methods that can be used to assess moisture conditions, such as using relative humidity meters in accordance with ASTM F2170. It is important to note that although testing is essential, the results can only indicate what the current situation looks like and cannot guarantee moisture will not become a problem in the future. 


Using Proper Products Based on the Application 

Once moisture testing is complete, installers should consult manufacturers about the products they wish to use prior to installation. With floor sensitive materials such as luxury vinyl tile, vinyl composition tile and carpet tiles, it is imperative to address any water infiltration and moisture vapor concerns and which products can combat them early on in the construction process. Addressing moisture vapor emissions should be a key component of proper surface preparation across the entire industry, and if not addressed, could result in additional costs and repair time for flooring installation failures in the long run. 

This step will easily save contractors headaches later down the road when costly repairs may ensue from improper choices. Using one manufacturer as a single source of materials for a complete system can also be a great advantage and offer peace of mind to ensure product compatibility and full systems warranties. 


Controlling Moisture Vapor in Your Basement’s Interior 

Protecting your home’s interior from moisture is the next essential step in helping to prevent moisture vapor from getting into the concrete. With proper care and expertise applied in these demanding applications, the results can be a breathtaking and enduring completed project. 

Selecting the right products for the job is just as important and is why it is essential for the installer to work closely with their installation materials manufacturer for recommended guidelines. A moisture vapor barrier product is highly advised for use before placing underlayments or finished flooring in these conditions.

 

The Key to an Enduring Floor Install 

A successful basement floor redesign will not only add value to a home, but will also allow homeowners to explore other ideas that they often can’t apply to their main living spaces. When considering remodeling your basement, keep in mind that the need for moisture protection has become a significant step in the process over the years as savvy construction professionals continue to recognize the long-term benefits offered by relatively inexpensive prevention mechanisms.