Canadian Contractor

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Don’t let fear of floods dictate basement flooring

Canadian Contractor

Yes; Basements can flood, but there are preventative steps to take

It’s shocking how many ‘Expert Help’ web sites assume a renovated basement floor will be installed directly over a concrete slab, dismissing the addition of a sub floor (or better yet an underlay like DMX 1-Step) as an avoidable expense in the rush to get the project completed. As a result, most of these so-called ‘Experts’ ignore the risk of moisture and mold, and are fixated instead on catastrophic flooding, and advise against any form of hardwood, laminate or engineered flooring. Instead, they steer consumers towards ceramics, epoxy coatings or even carpet. However, such ‘expert advice’ doesn’t result in a warm, comfortable or mold-free basement.

The average Ontario water claim cost is $28,000*
Any basement flood is a problem, no matter what the flooring material. Why not take steps to mitigate the risk?

Flooring is the least of a homeowner's worries when it comes to catastrophic flooding

Flooring is the least of a homeowner’s worries when it comes to catastrophic flooding

In addition to the well-known exterior measures that can be taken to ensure that drainage around the foundations is correct, there are preventative measures in and around the home too. Ensuring basement floor drains are clog-free will make them effective in the event of an overflow. Disconnecting roof downspouts from the home’s sewer drains and keeping eaves troughs clean can also reduce the chance of a backup or foundation leakage.

Cash grants for flood mitigation
Some cities even offer cash grants (in Toronto up to $3,400) to owners of single-family, duplex and triplex residential properties to install flood protection devices, including a backwater valve, a sump pump, and disconnecting external weeping tiles from the sewer system by severing and capping connected pipes. Other municipalities have programmes for sewer line inspection and replacement where required.


Know your system
Understanding the home’s sewage system and applicable grant programmes will give homeowners the knowledge needed to have a preventative backup system. If past area history or geography suggests a high risk of flooding, the homeowner may well be drawn to tiles, vinyl, linoleum, even carpet despite having a backup plan. In those cases, flooring is the least of the worries; furniture, wall coverings and electronics will all be at risk. However, prior to any catastrophic event, the comfort of the basement will suffer noticeably without a sub-floor or underlay.

A basement underlay leaves all flooring options open
No one can predict or always prevent a major flooding disaster. However, an underlay like DMX 1-Step should be part of the day-to-day drainage plan to ensure small amounts of water will dry quickly without touching the flooring material and will be ventilated to prevent mold underneath. All options are then open to many of the warm, eye-pleasing flooring materials that the on-line ‘experts’ tend to discourage.

* Source:


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