I’m Floored!


January 20, 2015 by Decorum DIYer

No, really.  I am floored (well my basement is, not me).


{Feel free to skip around and just look at the pictures, but please also feel free to comment below with your thoughts. }

It has taken the better half of six months here and there, late nights, long weekends, but we have a perfectly useable floor in the living area half of our basement. It is approximately 800 square feet (half of our first floor’s total footprint, as the basement is the full size of our ranch style home).

When I shared with you our progress with painting the basement walls with Behr’s Basement and Waterproofing paint in Silver Jade, I mentioned that we had plans to install a faux wood floor.  Luckily for my husband and me, I received notification from Lumber Liquidators of a flash sale for clearance/discontinued flooring.  At $.29/sq. ft., this option of Black Forest Oak, 6mm tongue and groove laminate flooring fit our budget and the driftwood/coastal vibe I wanted. (Special Note:  This flooring is still in stock, but at slightly higher price.)  So, back in September I attempted to make the purchase online for the flooring, but it was sold out online.  Of course, I didn’t take no for an answer, so I called the company’s national customer service and was told which stores in my area (within a 100 mile radius) had the exact same flooring at their location.  Luckily for me, a store in Beltsville  had just what I needed and the price of $.29/sq. ft. was honored.  SCORE!

Having the flooring, we knew we needed to get moving with the DriCore installation. (Click here for DriCore’s demonstration.)  I shared with you last time our progress with the DriCore panels scored on Craigslist.  Of course, we still needed to purchase about 400 more square feet to cover the remaining living area.  Well, it was a hectic weekend, but we purchased them and lugged them home.  They sat for a week, as we just didn’t have time to spare.


This past weekend was a flurry of activity and thankfully the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday gave us a 3-day weekend.  Granted, it was punctuated with the constant needs of three kids, but it was very productive.  All of the DriCore panels have been installed.  We had to negotiate two support poles and demolish a wall next to the stairs, but it was all in the pursuit of progress.


This is the disassembly of the staircase’s side wall. It does not have any structural benefit to the stairs, other than it contained the right side railings.


Some expert measuring and cutting by my husband. (See, we use MATH every day! Stay in school, kids!)


We want as much on top of the DriCore panels as possible, but removing and reinstalling the staircase would have been brutal. So, expert cuts around will do. However, we have plans to alter the landing and will built that above the DriCore.IMG_0421

After making cuts around the stairs and poles and removing the side wall’s framing, we thought placing the DriCore under the stairs would be easy – it wasn’t.  To keep things tidy and less dusty (uncoated cement floors just create dust), we had placed several sheets of vinyl directly on the cement floors. It had only been there for 5 years.  THIS WAS A BIG NO-NO!  As we have learned the hard way, and through our research that has led us to choosing DriCore flooring, this allows the moisture released via the cement/concrete floor to condense and harbor mold. Also, if there is a leak or some other inundation of water, it will allow it to flow under the DriCore tiles and into drainage areas (in our case, french drains).  Remember, this isn’t our first time at the mold rodeo (the whole reason our basement was gutted and professionally treated before we moved in), so we were prepared and knew how to handle this type of mold.  Before we could proceed with the DriCore under the stairs, we removed and trashed the vinyl sheet and scrubbed the floor with hot water and bleach.  After it dried, we proceeded.


Ewww! That mold smelled as bad as it looked. Goodbye vinyl sheet. I guess I won’t be reusing this for our future laundry room?


Here you can see the mold on the cement floor.


This is me executing the glorious job of scrubbing mold with bleach water. Note the fashionable gloves and sweat pants.


Now on with the floor!

First, we sanded out any ridges between DriCore panels and vacuumed the DriCore surface.


Then, as with the DriCore, we set the edges of our foam underlayment and laminate flooring a few inches in from the walls to allow for expansion and contraction.  This is a free-floating floor.  My husband made a little jig from a 2″x3″ and shims to inset the appropriate amount.


We plan to add drywall at some point, so we were sure to leave room for the framing to be set atop the DriCore, but in from the edge of the cinder block walls.  So, our flooring was laid with real walls in mind.  Until we add framing and drywall, we will have a large gap between the flooring and the DriCore, and a slight gap between the DriCore and the cinder block walls visible.  This is not the standard order of operations, but we are doing what we can within our budget.

Things were going smoothly: roll out foam underlayment, tape seams, lay floating laminate floor with staggered rows, and make cuts when necessary. Repeat, ad nauseam.

IMG_0478 IMG_0479 IMG_0480


We reached the proposed walls for the closet and staircase playhouse.  During this time, things were going swimmingly with the floor, but my husband and I were having a discussion as to whether or not there may be mold under the larger sheet of vinyl (about 10’x12′ and under our ginormous washer and dryer) adjacent to the proposed living area.  We had decided the dimensions of the closet, the playhouse under the stairs, and the hallway that would separate the two.  It was this area that was adjacent to the living area.


In this view, the playhouse under the stairs would be to the right (including the pole in its framing). The proposed closet (woohoo for my linens, outerwear, and seasonal toys) at the back wall, to the right of door, and protruding towards the pole. The hallway is in between to the right (where the flooring boxes are).

It was also at this time that my husband and I had different understandings as to where and how the flooring was to stop for this stage of basement finishing.  I had calculated and ordered enough flooring to cover the living space and its adjoining hallway.  I was expecting to install the flooring into the hallway a bit and then find a reasonable stopping point to place a transitional floor piece (allowing us to pickup on the floor installation at a later date, but with the same Black Forest Oak – once we had more DriCore and framing for the laundry room and bathroom).  My husband was only thinking of creating a giant rectangle of flooring that stopped at the proposed closet’s framing/wall. *Whoops*  This was a huge miscommunication on both our parts.  And, of course, it involved the “I wonder” mold area, too. Grrrr…..


This view is into the playhouse under the stairs. There would be a standard door in the opening for access to the space under the stairs. Where the flooring ends on the right is where my husband wanted to stop and place the transition piece. I insisted that the it needed to stop at the wall framing to the left of the doorway.

The problem I had with his plan?  Well, the transitional flooring piece would be smack dab in the center of a doorway.  The other problem would be that stopping there would preclude us from continuing the same flooring down the hallway without a huge hassle later on – potentially ruining all of the work we were completing now. No bueno.  He didn’t see the problem and I was annoyed that I couldn’t explain myself clearly (even though I had one million and one sketches that I had shared with him).  I really felt horrible that our plans didn’t align and that the solution was one we both hadn’t planned to tackle just yet.

The solution:

1. Remove the large sheet of vinyl.

2. Assuming there was mold (which there was, I peeked), clean with bleach water and allow to dry.

3. Install more DriCore panels to cover the extended area into the a hallway past the door opening.

4. Extend the foam underlayment.

5.  Extend the flooring into the hallway area and make the appropriate cuts.


This is the area of concern. We made sure we had enough DriCore left (the very last pieces) to cover the area and started prepping our surface.

So, we took an hour detour and found a short cut.  Instead, of removing the entire sheet that same day, we cut out the portion we needed to cover with flooring.  After following the mold clean-up procedure as we used for under the stairs, we added the final DriCore panels, laid the foam underlayment, and then installed the flooring.


My husband scoring the offending piece of vinyl sheet.

Of course, we plan to remove the rest of the vinyl sheet soon, but would need to unhook and move the washer and dryer.  That will be an all day process in and of itself.

Once we got to the staircase, it was business as usual.


Last night we left off at this point with plans to finish today.


We passed the halfway point!


And we expertly negotiated fitting the flooring around the poles. Don’t worry, I have plans to use molding and encapsulate this with a column.


Now, just this corner awaits.

Thanks to a few snowy days, we were able to squeeze in some time to finish things up by Wednesday.


Tada! I can’t believe we have actually made it this far in less than a week’s time.


I really do love the color.  Of course, we still need to properly clean the floor.IMG_0504 IMG_0508


This project was fairly easy and straight-forward.  Luckily, my husband and I do well with math, so the measuring and cutting wasn’t difficult.  The hardest part was finding time to do this when our three children were home and awake.  Because of the noisy sawing and hammering,  this wasn’t something we could do while they slept.


The most difficult portion of installing the floor was navigating our way through all of our junk.  Because we were attempting to use this space as a living area before the floor and because it is our only real storage space in the home (no garage, no linen closet, no pantry, no laundry room, no mudroom, etc…), it is full of stuff.


To date, this flooring project cost us: $1,264.08

DriCore (Craigslist @ $2-$3 ea., and some from Home Depotl)     $850.00

(Compared to Retail  of $6.00/2’x2’panel, 800 sq. ft. = $1,200.00)

Lumber Liquidators’ Black Oak Laminate     $252.08

(Compared to Retail of standard  laminate flooring @ $2.00/sq. ft., 800 sq. ft. = $1,600.00)

Lumber Liquidators’ Underlayment  Foam     $162.00

We have saved ourselves an estimated  $1,697.92, conservatively.  I am pretty excited about that!

Please, if you any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments.  I can’t wait to continue this journey.


7 thoughts on “I’m Floored!

  1. Amazing progress on the basement! I’m really digging the Black Forest Oak laminate. Looks really nice. Our house is slab on grade. We have laminate in the living and kitchen, but carpet in all the bedrooms. I want to eventually get rid of the carpet. The Dricor looks like wood sheeting, but it’s designed to go on top of concrete floors? I’m intrigued. Congrats on your new floors!

    • Thank you, Bethany! Yes, DriCore is something you should look into. I edited this post to include a link to a YouTube video posted by DriCore. At $6.00/ 2’x2′ panel, it can be costly, but it is worth it; considering the alternatives. I wish you the best!

  2. […] Chris and I are chugging along with our basement remodel, we are encountering an impasse.  Although we are attacking this renovation a little out of order […]

  3. phoenixrestoration says:

    Pinned! We have a basement apartment with cold ugly tile. This seems like a practical, affordable, and really attractive solution for basement. Thanks for sharing all the details. It looks fantastic (congrats)!

  4. Great color choices for a basement, since they tend not to have much natural light! I look forward to seeing the rest!

  5. […] walls (Behr’s Basement and Masonry Waterproofing Paint in Silver Jade), flooring from Lumber Liquidators (Black Forest Oak, 6mm), and subfloor from Dricore.  Everything else has been thrifted, gifted, or sifted through our […]

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