According to the NAHB Research Center’s annual survey of builder practices, more than 28% of basement floors in newly built homes are finished with carpeting. “Most of our clients want carpet in the basement,” says Sherrille Sabo, operations manager for COS Construction in Edwardsville, Ohio, a construction company that remodels about a half-dozen basements per year into finished living spaces. “It’s warmer and adds a level of soundproofing.” Low-pile carpets such as Berber or other looped varieties show less wear than cut-looped or shag-like carpeting and are less expensive; all or partial nylon blends also are more durable and less costly than all-natural options. Wall-to-wall carpeting is among the least expensive and easiest to install options for basement flooring. A mid-range nylon Berber carpet costs about $1 to $3 per sq. ft. With glued-down perimeter tack strips and a standard pad, plus professional labor, the cost to buy and install a new carpet is about $1,200 to $2,400 for a 600 sq. ft. basement. If you’ve addressed any moisture issues in the basement but are still concerned about dampness or the chances that liquid spills or pet accidents may occur, consider a pad that is made to block moisture from either seeping up into the carpet or seeping down through the pad to the concrete floor. Moisture-resistant pads are about 70% more expensive than standard pads. They may reduce cleanup chores, but they will not solve chronic moisture problems. Also, consider carpet tiles. Nylon pile 20-inch squares come in a variety of colors and styles and cost $2 to $4 per sq. ft. Most are made with integral pads and self-adhesive backings for easy, do-it-yourself installation. By: Rich Binsacca
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