Carpeting a Basement: Is It A Good Idea?
Carpeting can add warmth, softness, and a finished appearance to a concrete basement floor. However, it also can add many indoor air quality problems including mold fungus, dust mites and other biological allergens. These organisms can trigger asthma and allergic reactions.
Many basements have at least an occasional water leak or water seepage through walls and flooring from damp soil in contact with the concrete. Even occasional moisture can create an environment in which a carpet can become contaminated with mold fungus. High humidity is often a problem in our region and can contribute to mold growth. Some carpets today have been treated to be microbe resistant however they require regular cleaning to maintain the resistance. Dehumidifying the basement or air conditioning will also help reduce potential condensation from occuring on the basement floor but may not eliminate it.
The safest way to avoid potential indoor air quality problems will be to use area rugs rather than permanently installed carpeting. These rugs can be removed periodically for cleaning. To cover the concrete you might consider painting the surface with latex or oil floor enamels that have been developed specifically for concrete surfaces. In addition to selecting the appropriate paint, preparation of the concrete prior to painting is very important to ensure long term paint adhesion to the surface.