What's the best way to level this basement floor?


My family remodeled and has dealt with old and new layers of cement. I suggest the following plan based on our educated, though non-professional experience.


If it is safe to rinse the floor, you should wash the floor with cement cleaner (an acid requiring a special brush). This is will remove the less sticky and more corroded surface of cement, however this is optional, because there is a better way to correct this problem.

Alternately, You can use special concrete grinder. The aim is to take off the highs as well as expose the inner cement. This is messy, and you will have to be thorough about your cleanup.


Next, if moisture ever was or ever will be a problem, then you have a serious risk that is common in 90% of Puget Sound area: mold. Mold can grow slowly and invisibly through the materials of you home, gradually poisoning the home. University studies found that in areas of the United States that were less moist as much...

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For an easy, attractive look, begin with a thick coat of paint in a light, neutral color such as cream. When it dries, apply a darker paint. Swirl three more paint colors over the wet second coat, and let the floor dry for several days. The swirling, random color patterns are visually interesting and camouflage dirt, dust and scuff marks.

House Logic reveals that moisture seepage is a serious problem in many basements and must be addressed before painting or otherwise covering the floor. The simplest way to test for seeping floors is to use duct tape to attach a one-foot square of plastic sheeting to the floor. Leave the sheeting undisturbed for 48 hours, then remove it and inspect the floor for moisture. If the floor is moist, fix the leakage before covering it.

Cleveland.com columnist Roxanne Washington explains that painting is not the only way to cover an ugly concrete basement floor. Artificial wood planks look elegant and expensive, but they are actually...

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With a basement remodel underway, Jeff Dieterle weighs his options for a trouble-free floor. "We want to do the kitchen and bathroom in tile or stone and the rest of the area in wall-to-wall carpet," he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor.

So far, he's found two products that would seem to work: Ditra-Heat under the tile or stone sections of flooring, and a product called Delta FL in tandem with tongue-and-groove plywood under carpeted sections.

Dieterle has never had a bulk water problem in the basement in the 17 years he's lived in the house. Even so, he's not sure that the Delta membrane/plywood combination is a good idea.

"Not fond of the T&G plywood in the basement as everything else will be mold-proof," he writes. "Are there other options beside inorganic individual tiles? Or is the Delta FL system reliable?"

That question is the start of this Q&A Spotlight.

Two potential water problems, not just one

There are two types...

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Good afternoon Paula and Len,

Welcome to the community, we are glad you are here.

Asbestos tiles, as you may have read already here on this thread, is dangerous when the particles become airborne. Therefore, if you removed them or broke any tiles, that would be a health hazard in that instance.

If the tiles are in good shape, and the floor is level, then you can go directly over the tiles with peel and stick, as well as other vinyl flooring of your choice.

I generally have reservations at least with peel and stick vinyl of your existing floor, due to the fact that if you ever want to remove them in the future, you could remove any layers of asbestos tile underneath as well.

The best vinyl in your situation to use is a floating system, such as Allure, Allure Ultra, or even glue-free sheet vinyl linoleum. These systems work by not using adhesives directly on your existing asbestos tile floor, but rather float and/or use very little tape to achieve...

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More often than not, while indulging in a construction project for the basement, you are confronted by a hurdle that you never thought of; uneven flooring. If you want to tile your basement or even carpet it, it is important that the flooring of the basement be completely leveled and have absolutely no inconsistencies. Having a level floor also ensures that there will be no problems of having water collect in your basement. Leveling the flooring is a weekend project that you can do yourself.


Having an uneven flooring can be an eyesore and even in the scenario that you intend to leave your basement flooring as it is, there are chances that you would want to level it, just to make it look more appealing.

The things that you will need for the project include a broom, a dustpan, pry bar, hammer, caulking gun, concrete caulk, expansion tape, trowel, leveling compound, bucket, wheelbarrow (optional), stirrer, water, and a rake. The process of leveling a...

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Leveling a basement floor is not a terribly difficult job, but it will take several days to do properly. Be sure to research the different products used for leveling a basement floor, and understand that the compound, once dry, will not be able to support a significant amount of weight on its own. Another type of flooring such as tile, wood, or stone is often placed over the finished product to help support the weight of furniture or other heavy objects. When starting the project, be sure to clear out the space completely to allow for an open workspace.

The first step in leveling a basement floor is to clean and properly fill the existing concrete. Caulk can be used to fill in small holes and cracks, and the caulk should be pressed into the hole and flattened at the top to ensure a smooth finish. Let it dry for the amount specified on the product's tube. In the mean time, clean the rest of the concrete by sweeping it thoroughly and getting rid of all debris. Tape the...

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Let’s take a look at a small but important difference in British and American English: the naming of floors in a building.

In British English the floor of a building at street level is called the ground floor. The floor above it is the first floor and the floor below is called the basement.

In American English, however, the floor at street level is usually called the first floor. Go up one floor and you are on the second floor (which, of course, is the first floor for the British). The floor below street level is called the basement, the same as in British English.

One or two of my American friends tell me that in public buildings in the US it’s also possible to call the street-level floor the ground floor, like in Britain.

Storey, storeys / story, stories

Another important word to consider here is storey. This word describes the level (height) of a building and the total number of its floors. Thus we say that a building has eight storeys, or is...

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Having done this job more times than I can remember, here are a few thoughts.

- Dig out the floor, stop trying to rationalize some other nonsense.

- Warner is probably right, that cement is most likely 2" thick more or less. Old basement floors like that are very common here. It could be thicker but the odds are low. It's easy to break out and dig. It's messy, sloppy work but good work for a bunch of teenage boys. Have a teenage son with friends? Buy a few demo hammers and shovels. When we used to do these jobs when I was a teenager, my old man would let me know and I'd get some buddies together. Worked out great, we'd get paid a lot more than anywhere else; it was a lot cheaper for the old man than paying real men.

- Around here $7 a square foot is fairly average for repour by a contractor

- Do you have floor drains? Check the floor drain to see how far down it goes prior to the trap. This will give you an indication of how low you can dig without...

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Photo: shutterstock.com

I’d like some advice on how to level a concrete floor. We plan to finish the basement in my house, and there are going to be a couple of sump pumps, so we no longer need the old drain in the middle of the floor. Thanks!

There is no one way to level a concrete floor. Of all the methods available to do-it-yourselfers, which should you employ? That largely depends on how level you want to make the concrete. And that question, in turn, hinges on a related but different question: What type of flooring do you plan to install in your basement?

If you envision carpeting or another type of floor that forgives minor variations in subfloor grade, such as engineered wood or click-and-lock vinyl, then you can probably opt for the least labor-intensive method. Here, a concrete grinder would do the bulk of the work. (You can rent this tool from your local home center.) You’d use it to grind down the most prominent ridges in the floor. To finish the...

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When people think of a basement of a house, they often think of an old, dark and storage place, which is usually "abandoned" and no one, wants to spend time in there. But the truth is that basement flooring has come a long way and the time has come that you can actually re-designing it and use it for different kind of purposes

You have to think is how many hours of your time will spend in this room, in order to begin planning how to make it. For example, how will you use this specific area of your home and design it accordingly. We will give you some ideas of how you can transform your basement as to be friendlier and more comfortable.

If you think about your basement area and how you are going to make all the appropriate arrangements, it can definitely become a great challenge for you. In fact, you can turn it into a nice family room for resting, playing or just spending some quite time. For instance, you can add some carpets, as to look like a theater room or you...

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When you like the look of wood but need some durability, laminates make a choice alternative as a basement flooring idea due to several reasons. But again, just like carpets, you're going to want to make sure that you have done the prep work and installed some sort of subfloor to begin with before installing laminate flooring in a basement.

First let's start off with what is a laminate floor. Basically, laminate flooring is not wood. In fact, it doesn't even really have any wood pieces, more like several layers of a plastic resin. Then using some very high pressure, these resin layers are compressed to form a high fiberboard. Then, they apply a melamine backing and place a printed pattern on the surface and, walla, you have laminate flooring. These printed patterns come in many more designs other than wood, they can come in flagstone, marble, tile, basically anything picturesque. But the woods are definitely predominate.

They are easy to install with the tongue and...

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An uneven basement floor can either prevent the completion of a basement upgrade, or it can undo your hard work when the tiles crack and water collects. Concrete basement floors settle easily because of their proximity to the foundation of the house and the natural tendency of the materials. Before you can add tile or carpeting to you basement floor, you must level the surface. This task is relatively easy and can be done with inexpensive materials. Follow these steps to level your basement floor.

Step 1 - Clean the Floor

Remove all boxes, furniture and other objects from the floor of your basement. Having done that, sweep all debris out of the area and collect it in a dustpan for removal.

Step 2 - Fill Holes

If your concrete floor has cracks or chips, use a caulking gun with concrete caulk to repair any abnormalities. Follow the instructions according to the caulk manufacturer for application. Be careful to properly trowel any excess caulk that...

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Most of the comments are right on about having to get rid of the source of the moisture first, otherwise you will have a permanent battle on your hands. If it is general light mold around the basement and there is no staining from outside water instrusion, then you probably have a general humidity problem. You could check on that by tearing a hole about a foot around in the worst looking spot if it is drywall or panelled - if there is mold smell or black or fuzzy white mold/fungus on the back of the piece you take out, on the studs (or rust or free moisture if metal studs), or mold or dampness on the foundation wall then it is more than just interior humidity - you probably are getting moisture through the wall from outside. This is the most likely case, unless your basement has no circulation with the rest of the house.

Another clue would be if any metal items (pipes, joist nails, etc) in the basement are rusting. Also, if the mold is appearing on spots other surfaces in...

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Dealing with a wet basement is a real nuisance. It can turn a potentially usable place into a dank, dark and uninhabitable cave. Even regular storage becomes unlikely because the floor is too moist. With some of the the best flooring for basement options, the lower level environment becomes less of a cavern and more like a manageable and even livable room. Luckily, there are plenty of types of flooring to choose from.

To start with, let’s consider the worst options, such as basement carpet, solid wood and laminate flooring. Sure, basement carpet is warm and cozy, but where there’s water, there’s going to be armies of nasty mold and mildew collecting inside of it.

Hardwood floors exposed to moisture, let alone fluctuating humidity, will eventually swell and ruin.

As long as the laminate flooring is glued, it will at least be slightly harder for water to enter the underneath “wear layer”, but if it does, it immediately splinters and destroys itself.


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Updated March 30, 2016.

Basement flooring does not play by the normal rules of flooring.

Even when the weather is dry, basement flooring can leach residual moisture in the form of vapor due to its close proximity to the ground. In deluges, basements can be the scene of up-to-your-ankles flooding that we all fear and which keeps the insurance companies in business.

So your primary thought with basement flooring is always moisture: how to avoid it and how to wring the flooring dry in the event you cannot avoid it.

Understand Below Grade vs. Above Grade

"Below grade" flooring does not refer to cheap, sub-standard flooring.

"Grade" is what a contractor, architect, or designer may say instead of "ground-level."

Everything above grade is safe from water vapor migration. It is safe, too, from most normal instances of flooding.

Everything at or below grade is at risk of water vapor damage and even mild...

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Which Way Should Hardwood Floors Run?

Do you notice the direction hardwood flooring runs when you walk into a house? It can make a big difference in how it looks and how it behaves over time. Rule number one in laying hardwood flooring is the wood boards should run perpendicular to the floor joists below. This allows the boards to “span” from one joist to the next and be much more solid. If the boards were run parallel to the floor joists, most of the boards would sit only upon the plywood subflooring and not on any of the joists. The plywood is flexible and will “give” fractionally when walked upon. This is a recipe for squeaks and large gaps.

But another rule in laying wood flooring has to do with the aesthetics or look of the flooring. As a general rule, wood flooring looks best when running in the same direction as the longest dimension of the room. For instance, if the room is ten feet by sixteen feet, the wood flooring will look best when running in the...

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I'd like to install flooring over the uneven, out-of-level concrete slab in our basement. Is there any way to level the slab without reducing the already limited headroom?

— Milivoj Antic, Williston Park, New York


Tom Silva replies: The easiest way to level a floor is to use a self-leveling compound, also called liquid floor underlayment or floor resurfacer. You mix it with water and pour it out on a floor; the material flows out like thick syrup, then hardens into a smooth, perfectly level surface, sometimes in less than an hour. The only places you'll lose any appreciable headroom will be in the slab's low spots.

In a basement, you should use a compound that contains portland cement rather than gypsum because it won't be affected by moisture. Before you pour, give the existing slab a thorough cleaning with a degreaser to remove any contaminants that might interfere with getting a good bond. And before you lay your flooring, check the...

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I am a new homeowner who discovered vinyl asbestos tile beneath some carpeting in a few bedrooms in my house. I did the removal myself and wanted to share my experience. The long and short of it is, if the tiles are in relatively good condition, you should leave them alone. If you have/really want to remove them, you probably can do the abatement yourself (so long as state and local regs allow it) and save some money. But unless you are on a really tight budget, the cost savings do not justify the time and effort you have to put into the abatement; you're better off just coughing up the extra money to have a professional do it. It will cost you, but it will save you time and give you peace of mind.

If you decide to abate and your considering DIY, check the state and local regs to make sure you're allowed to do it yourself. Under federal law, a homeowner can remove asbestos from a single-family home that they live in, but some states and localities are more strict and require...

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