Choosing a new flooring for damp basement

Here’s the situation: I have a laundry room in my basement that is… gross. It’s just plain dirty everywhere. So I’m embarking on a project to clean it up, paint some stuff, new shelves, etc.

The dilemma is the floor. The room has asbestos floor tiles that just will not do. They are in respectable shape (in that they are not breaking, peeling, or falling apart, but there are a couple that are missing). My plan is to go over them with some type of covering, but the hitch is that a few times a year there is some water seepage in the basement – not a lot, just enough to make parts of the existing tile visibly damp. I just want to make sure I’m putting down something in the right way that will be able to deal with the dampness.

So, my questions are:

  1. I’m thinking vinyl flooring is probably the best option… right?
  2. If so, any recommendations on whether I should prefer vinyl tiles or sheets?
  3. Any thoughts on how to deal with the couple of spots where an existing asbestos tile is missing?
  4. Any thoughts on prep work or what adhesives to use?


Not an expert, but maybe an epoxy floor paint would be a good idea, rather that putting down another layer of material that will be ruined by moisture.

I have thought about that, but something tells me that the work of cleaning the tile to prepare it for paint is just not worth the time. I just think that going right over the floor with something new will yield better results.

Damp basement? Where is the damp coming from, seepage from the ground or say a leaky faucet or overflow from a dehumidifier? In any case Forget about vinyl, the epoxy paint sounds like a solution short of ripping out asbestos tile and damp proofing the basement.

Another vote for a good prep and floor paint.

Most DIY sheet vinyl flooring has a paper backing that will be Mold City in no time at all if there is an existing moisture problem.

For the missing tiles, you can glue down solid vinyl tiles. No guarantee that the thickness will be an exact match, but it should wind up better than completely missing tiles.

Hm. Well, I sense a trend here… I’m not totally enthused about a painted floor, but I guess it makes sense.

I have seen epoxies at Lowes meant for garage floors that are permeable to moisture. Likely available elsewhere and perhaps a good choice.

Me, damn the asbestos, rip the old out, and put down sheet vinyl.

Put in a floating floor - no glue. Then you don’t have to worry about glue, obviously.

There are floating floors made specifically for moist areas. For example:

First put down a vapor barrier to block most of the moisture (you can glue that down). Use a simple embossing leveler - a special cement you can get at the flooring store or Home Depot - to fill in where tiles are missing.

Don’t pull up asbestos. It’s incredibly hazardous and could contaminate the entire home forever.

I’m presuming the moisture is from seepage from the bottom and not flooding. If it’s flooding, put in ceramic tile and put a throw rug over it.

Paint may or may not work on the tile. You might need to prep it first somehow. Read the label carefully.

Damn the fearmongerers. I can’t find the figures, but mesothelioma is quite rare in people without direct or indirect occupational exposure.

Uh, yeah, random anonymous guy on the Internet who can’t find the figures is saying that asbestos can’t hurt you! So go for it! :rolleyes:

You’re not going to get cancer from pulling up 10 0sq. ft. of asbestos tile. Asbestos is dangerous when the filaments become airborne…and, like thelabdude said, when you inhale a shit ton of it.

Unless you’re in California, where the existense of asbestos in neighboring states has been found to cause cancer.

You’re probably right.

But I’m not going to take advice on whether I can get cancer from a hazardous substance in my home from some random guy on the internet.

You don’t see how pulling up tile can make the stuff airborne?

Like I said, doesn’t matter. I don’t take advice of this kind from random strangers on the internet, and nobody should.

(Yes, I know I gave advice too - but what I meant was don’t pull them up unless an expert says its okay).

Well sure I can see how, potentially, you could break a tile or two. But it’s not going to hurt you.

An expert will charge you a couple grand, tent your basement with plastic, and walk in there with a respirator and Tyvek suit.
My point is that if it’s pulling up a few tiles that’s keeping the guy from having a nice finish on his floor, it’s probably nothing that he really needs to worry about.

Sure it’s not.

Yep, it’s all a scam!

Probably. But he shouldn’t be asking us that before he decides.

Let that sleeping tile lie, keep the tiles in the dark, a floating floor sound slike the next best thing. What about lead paint? Old house, maybe with lots of coats of paint, can assume it’s there too.

ANother tack, check out local programs that might help homeowners mitigate these hazards in your home…esp if young childeren are in the home.

aaack asbestos in the basement!!!:wink: your own little shop of horrors…:stuck_out_tongue:

Even without asbestos, it’s so much easier! Pulling up tile sucks. If it’s an issue with the tile not sticking due to moisture, pulling it up and gluing or mortaring down something new could just have the same problem. Hence floating floor.

Another option - this kind of underlayment made for wet floors:

I have taken up several floors. Usually the old tile comes up quickly. I was a little late to one group project. The tile was mostly up except for a few stubborn ones. My torch made quick work of them.

Why do it in this case though? Just put the new floor over the old. No asbestos, no extra work.

I lost track of this thread for a bit… thanks for all the responses.

My reluctance to pull the tile is probably 50-50 on the tile being asbestos and it just being a pain in the ass. The area I am cleaning up is probably, oh, 150 square feet, so my thought was simply going over the tile would save a lot of work.

I will check out the floating floors and the Dricore stuff some more. I’m still working on cleaning and repainting the walls right now, and my motivation to make progress has waned slightly with the heat. I’ll probably start dealing with the floor in a couple weeks.

I am a trained in asbestos abatement and can clarify some facts in the asbestos removal debate.
Vinyl asbestos floor tile is classified as a non-friable asbestos product. The asbestos fibres are bound or locked into the product matrix, so that the fibres are not readily released. Such a product would present a risk for fibre release only when it is subject to significant abrasion through activities such as sanding or cutting with electric power tools.
Removal of these tiles is considered a Type 1 operation which is defined as one that does not generate appreciable levels of airborne asbestos and generally presents little hazard to workers or bystanders.

What this means is that with hand tools it is virtually impossible for you to create particles small enough to become airborne and potentially enter into your lungs.

A small area of 150 sq. feet is a small enough project that you could perform the work yourself or if you are uncomfortable you could hire a professional.

Personally, I would remove the asbestos because the potential hazard in the future.
I believe that The Brotherhood of the Right Way would agree with me that burying the asbestos under another floor is not the conscientiousness thing to do.

Also, count me as another vote for Dricore or for larger areas, Platon with 5/8" OSB.