Having a basement as part of your property can mean one of two things. Either it’s a storage area for the junk you’ve accumulated over the years, or it’s an opportunity to take advantage of a potential extra room. Whether you’re building a man cave or making a serviceable utility area, it’s important to make sure you choose the right flooring.   

Carpet tiles for basement flooring are increasingly popular. They’re versatile, cost effective, and have insulating properties. In the current market, there is also a growing range of styles and materials available.

So what do you need to consider when deciding whether carpet tiles are the right choice for your basement project? We’re going to give you an overview of the key areas for focus, along with some practical guidance on their effective use. 

What Are the Different Types of Carpet Tile?

When it comes to aesthetics, your design options can stretch beyond monochromatic or checkerboard patterns that were popular in the past. These modular panels come in triangular, diamond, rhomboid, and even herringbone shapes, among others — allowing you to be more creative in the patterns you can arrange them in.  

One of the key choices you’ll also need to make is about the backing. While this is not the visible part of the carpet tiles that you’ll see every day, it certainly makes a difference to their feel and performance. In most instances, you’ll need to decide between three options:

Hard Backed Tile

In this instance, the carpet fibers are attached directly to a thin base of PVC. One one hand, this can make for a sensation of stability and security underfoot, and tends to be the lower-priced option. However, these are not always the most suitable choice for basements as there is no insulating layer to protect against the cold, or against rising moisture.

Closed Cell Cushion Tile

This option has a similar PVC backing to the hard backed variety, but is separated from the carpet fibers by a layer of compressed foam. This adds some insulating properties to the carpet tile, and the potential for shock-absorption extends the lifespan of the carpet. 

Open Cell Cushion Tile

Like the closed version, this type also has a foam layer sandwiched between the carpet fibers and the PVC backing. The key difference in this case is that the cells in the foam cushioning are not as densely packed. The core’s ability to inflate after being compressed underfoot means that it is a more comfortable, durable, and insulating carpet tile for basement floors. 

How Much do Carpet Tiles Cost? 

The cost of carpet tiles for basement floors generally comes down to these factors:

Cushioning

The more comfortable and insulated the tiles are, the higher the price tends to be. Hardback tiles can cost as low as $0.94 per square foot, while the open cell variety averages at around $3.20 per square foot.    

Locking

For additional stability, there is also the option for tiles that interlock. Some of these have a visible “jigsaw” appearance, others lock beneath the surface. These come in at around $2.80 per square foot

Sealant

When installing carpet tiles for basement refurbishment projects, it’s important to bear in mind that these rooms can be subject to greater degrees of cold and damp than other areas of your home. As such, it’s advisable to seal the floor with an epoxy concrete sealant before laying the tiles. A gallon of this can add around $26 to your budget. 

Adhesive

Many carpet tiles come with peel-and-stick adhesives already applied to the back, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, if your basement is particularly susceptible to damp climate or moisture, it’s important to apply your tiles using a moisture resistant adhesive. A gallon comes in at around $17.

Assuming that you have various accessories such as carpet knives, tape measures, trowels, and paint rollers already to hand, the average cost of carpet tiles for basement projects measuring 100 square feet is around $300. 

How to Install Carpet Tiles 

Basements can be notoriously tricky to remodel, but the good news is that carpet tiles are one of the more simple options when it comes to installation. Depending on the condition and shape of your basement, there can be some preparation involved, and if you have ambitious pattern plans it is essential to plan ahead.

For the most part, though, you’ll find installing carpet tiles for basement floors runs as follows: 

  • Remove Old Flooring — if you previously had full carpets, ceramic tiles, or vinyl you’ll need to remove this first. Use a scraper or pry bar to pull up all pieces of glued down materials. 
  • Make Repairs — assess the state of your basement floor; are there any cracks, holes, or dips? If so this could affect both the finish and safety of your carpet tiles. Use concrete filler or floor leveller to create a smooth, stable surface. 
  • Sweep and Clean — make sure that the area is free of dirt and dust that could interfere with the solid bonding or curing of your sealants and adhesives. Make sure the cleaning surfaces are entirely dry before beginning your installation. 
  • Apply Sealant — follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but this is usually applied by using a paint roller to spread evenly about the surface. Avoid walking on the wet sealant, and make certain the room is well ventilated while you’re occupying the space. 
  • Test Your Placement — if you’re using a complex pattern, it’s helpful to place the tiles as intended before committing to gluing them down. This way you can assess where adjustments need to be made. 
  • Install the Tiles — it’s advisable to start from the center point of the room and work your way out toward the edges. Work patiently, applying adhesive to one tile at a time, and press the tile firmly in place on the floor. Remember that until the adhesive has cured, the tile can still be subject to shifting, so be careful as you place the other tiles that you’re not inadvertently nudging others out of position.

Conclusion – Why Carpet Tiles?

The reason to choose carpet tiles for basement flooring is more than a simple budget-friendly consideration. Today, cushioned cores can help create a cosy underfoot feel, as well as insulate from cold and damp conditions. They’re easy to install, which makes them not only ideal for DIY enthusiasts, but also cuts down on labor costs. The variety of designs available means that you don’t just have to settle for drab squares, you can make your floor a key feature in your creative remodeling plans.