Very old/ugly/nasty basement floor. What can I do with this? (pic)

14 Replies

Here is a picture of a 80 year old home I looked at today.

You can see it is uneven, rough, ugly. The black is adhesive left from them prying up the asbestos tiles. What in the world can I do with this floor to make it more appealing to a tenant?

Simplest: paint it. But I'm not sure if paint will even stick due to dusty gravelly surface. 

Expensive and may not be worth it: Level it with self-leveling compound.

At least its a floor... half the houses I go to look at are dirt floors...

Does the basement have water issues? That might change peoples suggestions to you, just a thought.

I would look into concrete flooring.  A professional can give you any look you want.  Just google concrete flooring and you'll see how versatile it is.  When professionally stained it can look like tile, wood, and other textures.  It's low maintenance, and cost effective.  Not sure what your budget is per square foot. But when you say "appealing to a tenant", there's going to be some expense.

I would get a floor grinder and sand down the top coat of the cement. Fill and level any uneven areas then lay an epoxy basement / garage paint. This will last for years to come. If you plan on adding living space there then you should substitute the epoxy to laminate flooring that is water and mold resistant.

I agree with @Steve Babiak .  I think it's the easiest solution to making that floor look great.   Just make sure to properly clean and seal it (the existing floor) so that the adhesive will properly stick to both floor and vinyl planks.  

I would look to level the floor.  Then I would pait over it with the heavy duty garage paint with the shinny flakes, then I would hit the side walls with Drylock White paint,

On a good note, you almost cant make the floor look worse, and most of your fixes are relatively cheap.

To your success


Originally posted by @Nayeem Khan :
I would get a floor grinder and sand down the top coat of the cement. ...

Although this might normally be good advice, the OP stated that the flooring had been asbestos. And that usually means that the adhesive contained asbestos - you don't want to grind or sand asbestos as that releases the fibers into a form that is then readily inhaled. 

Best options are to get an asbestos remediator (read: expensive) or to cover the floor as is. 

Ceramic floor tile , cement it down . Go to the local tile distributor and see what they have that they cant sell , pick it up cheap , or go to HD and get their $ 1.00 a sq ft tile . Basement floods , not a problem.

Level it and then ASTROTURF! Oh, I'm not serious. But I would make sure it is fairly level before I do anything. 

Cover it with concrete as @Tony Christian suggests and make sure the concrete is properly sealed, a job that is best left to professionals. We have a basement similar to this in one of our rental houses. We painted the walls white and the cement floor with red patio paint. We added good lighting and the tenants find it very attractive.

If making it a finished basement, cover it with luxury vinyl plank (LVP) or luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring, as @Steve Babiak suggests. But I would use the waterproof interlocking floating type. The interlocking type can be taken up and moved if necessary, so if there was water intrusion at some point or a need to get to the subfloor if would be fairly easy to do so. However, the glue down type is less expensive so that is one advantage of going that direction and it wouldn't need baseboards to secure it in place. Whichever type you choose, the floor needs to be level before installing LVP or LVT.

Cant tell how textured the surface is but I have used a ton of floating vinyl plank and really like it. It works well for me and installs diy easily, cost about $1.50 or less per sf

I've used this stuff before:  

floor sealer

Buy a 10 dollar pump sprayer from HD and seal the floor so you don't have water penetration.  I did 3 coats.  

Next I'd level any really bad spots and put down plastic sheeting.  HD has 4-10 mil sheets for short money.  Overlap seams, duct tape and run the lip up the wall if there will be any baseboards, but against if not.  On top of the sheeting you put underlayment, then any floating floor you want, wood or vinyl.  

I had a floor that looked exactly like this- no asbestos though. I rented a floor buffer from home depot, along a with carbide tipped blade attachment. The glue and residue was gone in about an hour. I prepped the surface- you might need some concrete leveler, bought a gallon of concrete stain and wet-look concrete sealer. In a day, and for about $125, we had a fantastic and unique floor. With asbestos, you'd want to get a propertly trained and insured crew in there to clean up the glue for you. But heck, even if you don't like the final product, your only out a few bucks and you can still lay the plank vinyl. 

By the way, I've used the plank vinyl on a few jobs this spring. It's awesome too. Inexpensive, looks great, fast and easy to install and durable. 

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