Flooring Dilemma/Questions, looking for advice

9 Replies

Hi BP -- so I'm actually asking for my current property which has a basement. Here's the skinny:

  • We just had someone come and rip out all the flooring (carpet/carpet pad)
  • We ripped out the carpet because our cats I think were marking territory (likely from the previous owner's dog marking his), and it grew to a point where we needed to remove the carpet.
  • I'm not entirely sure what the ground is under -- clearly its concrete, but with some painting veneer on top (see pictures)?
  • I think I would want to put something on top of the concrete, its uneven in some spots, has some weird bubbles/ridges on it
  • Total space size is ~350 sq feet, but its not a perfect square or rectangle. Lots of right angles, unfortunately.

Also, the max height of the basement right now is ~75 inches (6'3") and I don't want to lose more height if I can help it.

I'm looking for flooring options based upon budget, and knowing we will continue to have cats. The concrete definitely has some odor to it which I would also like to clean and I am looking for thoughts around landlords who have had to deal with that as well.

Appreciate your insights and thoughts!

The cat urine probably soaked into the concrete. Need a cleaner with an enzyme to work on killing that smell. 

As for flooring options: Floating vinyl planks might work. If a cat decides to ruin a few planks - and it very well might try again if that smell isn't totally gone, you can always replace the planks without having to rip up and replace the whole floor.  That being said, you're going to want to make sure the floor is cleaned up and level before laying the floating vinyl. 

To add to @David Halprin 's point, vinyl is fantastic. Definitely make sure that your subfloor is level. Unless you get the higher quality vinyl, which has a base that helps it hold its shape, the vinyl will flex to the flooring below it. Meaning, you will have gaps and compression points that defeat the attractiveness and functionality of the flooring. 

Probably not the thing that I should be sharing, but I have definitely played beer pong on mine with lots of spills and we wiped it up and moved on like it never happened. Vinyl is as close to idiot proof flooring as you can find.

Thanks @David Halprin and @Kristina Heimstaedt - would you recommend quickcrete to try and level off as a DIY or perhaps some other option including bringing in a professional?

I would agree that the sheet vinyl is a better option rather than repairing the planking.  Easy to clean and sanitize as well.  The other option is ceramic tile which can be cleaned as well and the only down side is the grout lines which would be porous but can be sealed before letting the cats around.  Good luck with your project.  If going with ceramic I would use multi-purpose thinset which will adhere great to painted concrete.

@Joe P. @Charlie DiLisio If you need to ask, it's probably time to call the guy (aka the professional). I understand and appreciate the ease sheet vinyl, but the plank looks so good and looks just like wood. 

The ceramic is also an option. I personally don't like it as much not only because of the grout lines, but also because it is so much harder and has less give than anything else. If for whatever reason someone fell head first, I don't know that I would want to see the results of that on tile. Vinyl isn't drastically different, but it's got a little more give than tile. 

If you do this right, your friends will all think that you sprung for wood flooring in your basement.

There are flooring underlayments that will absorb small irregularities. If you are talking about significant dips and voids in the concrete, you will want to use some kind of floor leveler before starting.

As for animals, nothing is better than vinyl - absorbs cat pee or beer pong equally well (!Ha @Kristina Heimstaedt ) and won't be damaged by moisture in the basement. Sheet vinyl is more impervious than planks, as any liquid is going to sit on the surface, but planks look better. Your choice. Planks are easier for DIY than sheet vinyl. 

Polished concrete? Should take around 2-3 days with 2 guys. Grinding the concrete will surely remove surface impurities and etc. They go around 5/sf in LA. Won’t be great for cat scratches though.

Make sure that you completely eliminate the smell before putting down any new flooring. Then when you think the smell is gone invite someone over whom does not have a cat and ask them if they smell it to be sure. Sometimes when you have pets you can get used to animal smells and not even realize it. Once all odors are gone I would recommend vinyl.

Have you looked at the vinyl options? In my own home in a basement I would do vinyl planks. Your subfloor doesnt have to be as perfect (the planks are much thicker than the vinyl sheet or glue down). I would think you will be happy with the 3mm planks on concrete vs spending up for the 8mm lifeproof....I am assuming the 8mm is to match other flooring or to add stability to a wood subfloor install. The 8mm does look durable and is probably warmer.

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