Figuring out the which flooring to use is always a question when finishing your shed or remodeling a basement. This article describes several types of floorings that are typically used in shed and basement finish projects.
This article discusses the different types of floor finishes for basements and the pros and cons of each one. We also have some great pictures of most of the flooring types discussed.
For all of the shed and basement floorings described below you will need to make sure to fix any cracks in the concrete floors when finishing concrete and test for moisture in the concrete. If you are installing wood flooring or carpet
Installing wood flooring in your shed or basement finish project is a beautiful way to finish your floor. There are several types of wood flooring. Each has its advantages.
Wood floors can be installed on both concrete floors and wood sub flooring. So even if your shed is built on a concrete slab you can still install wood floors.
Regular sawn wood boards: Solid sawn wood flooring offers the abiltiy for refinishing many times whereas engineered floors often have only a thin layer of the actual wood that you see on top so it it is not as easy to refinish them.
Engineered wood boards: Engineered lumber offers a huge variety of finishes and colors that are often harder to get from sawn solid floors. Installinga wood floors like hand scraped style is very easy to do when using engineered lumber.
Polished concrete requires special equipment to perform but it is worth it. Polishing concrete is done by using rotating discs attached to a machine that looks like a floor buffer. The discs have cutting heads that slowly cut down the surface of the concrete until it is smooth. Finer cutting heads are installed as the concrete gets closer being very smooth.
After the polishing is complete the concrete surface is coated with a finish. These finishes can be a stain, or clear.
Polishing concrete is a very beautiful and durable way to finish your floor.
Simply finishing the concrete with a stain and then putting a clear water borne epoxy over the top to seal it and give it a durable finish is a great way to finish a basement floor. There are a myriad of colors to choose from. You can pick bright blues and greens or go with traditional concrete stain colors like browns. There are two basic types of concrete coloring systems.
There are solid color epoxy's and clear epoxy's. Clear epoxy's are used to go over bare or stained concrete, as described above. Solid color epoxy's are installed over bare concrete and totally hide the concrete after they are applied. You can find both solid and clear epoxy's at paint stores or better yet a concrete coatings store.
Most people are familiar with solid color epoxy's being used to finish garage floors. The kits you can buy at paint or home stores come with two cans of liquid, the hardener and the epoxy. You mix them together and then paint them on the floor. The kits include granules that are sprinkled onto the epoxy before it hardens. For a Basement floor you may not want the granules so you will be glad to know that epoxy paint can be purchased without the granules. Epoxy's are a very durable floor.
There are also other things that can be mixed in with epoxy. There are metallic and pearlescents. Check with your local paint store for different options. Make sure you follow the manufactures application instructions. The basic steps to applying epoxy to concrete are:
Stone and epoxy floorings are simply a epoxy that has small stones mixed in with them. They are most often seen being used around swimming pools and on driveways but also work well in basements. The reason I mention them here is that stone and epoxy floorings have the ability to withstand a lot of moisture. So stone and epoxy flooring is often used in basements that have ground water problems.
Stone and epoxy floorings should be professionally applied because of the complexity of installing them but you can buy the materials to install them yourself, and probably get lots of help, from your local concrete coatings store.
Carpet is most likely the gold standard for finishing basement floors. The things to watch out for when installing carpet on basement floors is the amount of moisture that is coming up through the concrete from the earth below. If there is a lot of moisture coming through the concrete then you will have mold problems. Read more about testing for basement floor at the end of this article.
Tile is always a fun and easy to install basement flooring idea. There are many types of tile and stone materials that will work great on a basement floor. Tile is one of the basement flooring options that works well in damp conditions. Check with your tile supply store to make sure you get the right thinset to set the tile. You can read more about the different types of thinset in the article What Is thinset Mortar?
Vinyl floorings have progressed a lot in the last decade. The colors, textures and patterns are so realistic now that it is hard to tell the difference between a vinyl floor and wood floor at first glance. There are two basic ways that vinyl floors are sold and installed:
Rolled or Sheet: Sheet vinyl's are harder to install because it it takes practice to learn how to properly glue the seams together. It is not impossible to do but you may want to hire a professional installer to install the vinyl sheet floorings for you.
Individual Tiles: Purchasing the vinyl flooring in individual tiles makes it very easy for a homeowner to install. The tiles come in pieces that resemble their intended type. This means that if it is wood plank vinyl then the flooring comes in pieces that look and are the same size as their wood plank counterpart. The same for tile or stone patterns. They are installed by troweling onto the concrete a adhesive with a notched trowel and the setting the tiles.
This type of concrete finishing is done by putting a concrete slurry on top of your concrete and then stamping a pattern into the thin layer of concrete. The The overlay mixture is spread out on the concrete floor Prime the existing concrete. The thickness of the concrete slurry needs to be twice the thickness of the stamp that you are using.
There are two ways of addressing concrete cracks depending on how you will finish the basement floor
Fix Cracks Before Finishing The Floor: When installing carpet, tile, vinyl flooring and some epoxy's you will want to patch any concrete cracks or control joints using a troweled on cement based concrete patch.
Fix Cracks After Finishing The Floor: Usually when floors are stained or finished where you can see the patch you will want to apply crack fillers after the finish is applied. This gives a cleaner finished look.For joints you can use a liquid concrete crack filler that you simply squeeze out of a bottle into the crack and it self levels and hardens. these types of crack fillers flex with the concrete and is simple to install.
Test For Moisture:
If your basement is damp or smells moldy you may have a moisture problem under the concrete slab. Moisture can cause major problems with some basement floorings so take the time to make sure the amount of moisture coming through the concrete is at an acceptable level before investing in your basement flooring material. A simple way to test for moisture under concrete is to tightly tape a 18 inch square piece of plastic to the concrete floor, wait a day, and see if there is condensation under the plastic. If there is moisture present you should have the moisture content professionally tested. There are several basement flooring options described below that breath and do not allow mold to grow on them.