Below-grade flooring refers to any kind of flooring that is installed below the surface of the earth. This could be anywhere from 4 inches to more than 30 feet below the ground. Below-grade flooring usually indicates basement flooring in residential properties and can be installed by your local Los Angeles floor installation service contractor.
As below-grade flooring is at an increased risk of water vapor damage and mild flooding, organic flooring materials like hardwood and bamboo are not recommended to be used for basements. This is especially important in regions that experience high humidity. The soil underneath your home constantly absorbs water and moisture from different sources like underground plumbing and the runoff water. This means that the below-grade flooring will be exposed to higher amounts of moisture when compared to the flooring on the upper levels of the house.
Porous flooring materials will absorb water and moisture from the ground quickly. This could eventually lead to an eroded foundation, fungi and mold growth, and other serious damages to the flooring. That is why home remodeling contractors recommend hard and inorganic materials, such as tile, vinyl, and concrete, in the basement. It is also advised to properly seal the floors to avoid any kind of moisture buildup. Besides, you should also have the gutters installed in a way that they drain the water away from the foundation of your house.
Single-layer, monolithic floors are always a good option for basements. They dry out more easily than multi-layered flooring systems. Concrete is the best choice here. It is hard and does not deteriorate due to the effects of moisture. You can also install ceramic and laminate tiles on the concrete slab to boost up the aesthetic appeal of your basement. If you are choosing laminate flooring, you can add a layer of foam underlayment as well.
Some of the below-grade flooring systems may require a raised subfloor. This could be a traditional sleeper system or a subfloor system made with plywood and two-by-fours. You can also use carpeting on a raised subfloor in addition to installing vinyl or laminate tiles. If you have set your mind on hardwood, you should choose engineered wood flooring instead of organic natural wood flooring.
Engineered wood is designed to withstand moisture buildup in most types of basements. However, it may still not be a good choice for areas that experience heavy rainfall. Any mild flooding can cause severe damage to the engineered wood flooring system as they are made of multiple layers of natural wood. Only the top layer is a plastic laminate veneer. So stick to inorganic materials if you want to ensure a more durable below-grade flooring system.
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