Sub-floors for Basement Developments

When preparing for your basement renovation, one thing that you should consider is whether or not you want to add a sub-floor.

The decision on whether or not to add a sub-floor generally comes down to a question of cost vs benefit.

For many of our clients, the added cost of a sub-floor does not justify the additional cost, and that can be just fine.

However, there are three key benefits to adding a sub-floor to your basement.

These are:

  1. Insulation
  2. Moisture Protection
  3. Creating a Level Surface

The most common reason that our clients will add a sub-floor when developing their basement is the improved insulation they provide, which makes your floors warmer to the touch. This is especially noticeable with hard surface floors such as laminate or vinyl.

While there are different types of subfloors which we will discuss in another video, each acts to create a separation from the flooring and the concrete foundation. This separation allows an insulation barrier between the surfaces keeping your floors warmer than if you were to place them directly over the concrete floor.

When our clients choose not to add a sub-floor, carpet with a good underlay is usually the best option as they will generally feel warmer than hard surfaced flooring.

The second important advantage of a sub-floor is moisture protection.

By separating your flooring from the concrete foundation, the sub-floor protects your flooring by allowing and groundwater to evaporate underneath the sub-floor rather than compromise your product.

With laminate floors, they can warp very quickly with even a small amount of water. Similarly, carpet underlay can grow mold or get a stale smell from having the moisture sink in.

The third important advantage of adding a sub-floor in your basement is that it helps to create a more level surface.

The concrete foundations that builders pour tend to vary a lot in terms of quality. Almost all concrete floors will have areas where there are humps or dips that can lead to some unevenness.

The result of this is that your flooring and finishing can appear uneven after completion. Laminate floors will have air-pockets under some dips, and baseboards may appear to be placed too high in spots around the perimeter of your basement.

Tongue and grove/ plywood subfloor generally do a better job of creating this level surface than roll-out products do.

These advantages are definitely important to weigh against the price when considering whether or not to add a sub-floor for your basement renovation or development.