One thing we wanted to do to our house before listing it for sale that wasn’t on our big To Do List was replace the flooring in the basement. I don’t know why this didn’t make it on the original list, but it’s something we’d been wanting to do for awhile. As in, from the moment we took ownership of the house, nearly 3 and a half years ago.
We were really lucky to find a ranch with a finished basement. But, we weren’t entirely sure why the previous owners put carpet in the basement in such an odd design. You can kind of get an idea of the strange swoop-like S figure they laid out the carpet and linoleum floor in with this (horrible quality) photo:
This is obviously not the best picture but – and I’m kicking myself for this!! – I can’t really find a picture that shows the carpet very well. (Side note: This picture was taken the day we had the ugly linoleum floor painted, so that’s why there is tape around the carpet edge and the tile looks really shiny. The linoleum’s colors didn’t even remotely match the tones in the carpet.. we thought for sure it was there before the carpet but, when we pulled up the carpet, we learned that no… the owners actually chose that flooring. I just don’t get it, but whatever. I digress.)
We didn’t have a budget to put in hardwood like the rest of our house has, plus we didn’t feel like hardwood really fit the vibe of our basement. We wanted something that was moisture resistant (hello? It’s a basement!), durable but also looked good and would be a good enough match in color to our current hardwood.
We ended up going with vinyl planks that have the look of wood, but all the durability of vinyl. Pretty cool, right? By the way, that link is not the exact flooring we used. Unfortunately, you can’t view the flooring we used online; you have to visit an authorized reseller. But, the flooring in that link is really close to what we chose, so you can get the idea of what we were going for.
We priced out a few different suppliers, but went with a local flooring store to purchase and install the new flooring. Since we were covering a fairly large space – basically all living area in the basement, plus the bathroom and the landing at the foot of the stairs – we expected to spend a lot but actually came in under what we had originally budgeted for. It helped that we demo’d out the carpet and padding, removed the toilet and prepped the floor for the most part ourselves. When all was said and done, the project came in at around $2,700 for the purchase of materials and installation. Not too bad!
A couple days before we were set to have the new floor installed, Alex pulled up all the old carpet and padding. Our city allows residents to throw old carpet away as long as it’s cut into strips, rolled up into a tube and duct taped closed. That was really nice to not have to figure out how to dispose of 300+ sq ft of carpet.
Here is the landing looking all bare and sans carpet, and the painted linoleum. You can also get another view of the carpet on the stairs. We actually decided to leave those carpeted, for now.
Alex cleaned the concrete with bleach water and rolled some Killz paint over a few spots that looked like they had stains on them. He had a little bit of fun with that part, if you couldn’t tell. You can also see in this picture that that carpet took up a good inch or so from the concrete to the bottom of the baseboards. It was some thick stuff.
Alex also removed the old toilet (and he also later broke it… oops….). We stored the toilet in the garage and covered the open sewer tube so nothing would fall down into it (or come up??). You can get a peak at the old flooring that we painted in the photo below.
It took the installer about two days to get the floor down. The first day he did some of his own prep work which mostly involved leveling out the area where the concrete met the old floor and patching nail holes from the toe strip.
The second day, he finished installing all of the floor and lowered our baseboards by about a half an inch. There was still a small gap between the floor and baseboard, so he installed quarter round around the entire room. He also installed a flat piece of flooring on the facing section of the landing at the foot of the stairs so it seamlessly blends into the floor.
I think what was most stunning about this entire project were two things:
Carpet makes your basement smell. Seriously. Our basement always smelled like, well, a basement. Until we removed the carpet. Now, our basement smells like nothing. It’s amazing and also kind of gross at the same time. Makes you wonder what that carpet was harboring?
- Having one type of flooring throughout the entire basement instead of a mix of carpet and vinyl did so much to make that area feel even larger than it already is. The basement is about the length of our home, minus the two bedrooms that are above the garage, so it’s a large space to begin with. But, now, when you walk into it and the area isn’t broken up by multiple types of flooring it feels even larger. It was a nice change and went a long way to making the area feel like one large living space rather than something we had to break up into segments.
Really amazing, right?? It’s a little dusty in the pictures above. I mopped the floor three times to get rid of all the dust – I used Bona’s Stone, Tile and Laminate Floor Cleaner – which was crazy, but necessary. Now, to keep it dust free, I swiffer about every other week. Easy peasy.
We had to store everything in the garage and it was a lot of fun playing with the layout once we the floor was set (24 hours) and we could bring everything back in. But… we set it up basically the same. I’ll save pictures of what it looks like furnished for another post.
One last thing. I mentioned Alex accidentally broke the toilet.
Yeah, oops. He was walking over the toilet with a hammer in his hand, and the hammer accidentally knocked the tank of the toilet and… as you can see… it cracked.
So, not only did we get new flooring but we got a new toilet, too! Toilets actually aren’t as expensive as you would think. We spent less than $100 and got a slim toilet so it fits better in the bathroom anyway. Happy accident? I think so.
There you have it! Our upgraded basement flooring. I would definitely use this flooring again if we were ever finishing out a basement. Which we might find ourselves doing when/if we move?! Exciting, right?!