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Basement Flooring: Installation

This article applies to ModuTile’s basement flooring and other indoor installations where you have 4 walls and no major outdoor entrance. This type of installations do not require the use of ramp edges. The information provided in this article would not apply to a garage flooring installation. This article will help you understand the proper installation procedures and recommendations.

In order to save time, proper planning is important. Knowing the dimensions of the room and knowing your pattern selection is key. For an in depth explanation about layout design, please refer to the “Basement Flooring: Design” article(s). For the purpose of this article, we assume that you have already planned the layout of your basement and purchased your tiles.

Basement Installation: General Information

ModuTile’s basement floors install directly over any hard surface, including cement, wooden floors, flexible PVC tiles (rubber floor tiles), vinyl tiles and other standard floors. For a permanent installation, we do not recommend you to install these interlocking floor tiles over carpet or other floors that compress or move.

If you are planning to use the interlocking floor tiles to create a floor mat for a temporary or short-term use, installing on carpet would be okay. Please remember that these basement floor tiles interlock together with a loop to peg system and they do not form a perfect watertight connection. This is done by design to allow the tiles to expand and contract with changes in temperature. Also, if you spill liquids on top of the tiles, the liquid will seep through between the tiles. This is okay if installed on a solid surface but when installed over carpet, the liquid would soak the carpet and could potentially allow mold to grow. When installed over concrete (or other hard surface), the tile would allow water to drain and eventually dry off. The tiles have grooves underneath to allow water and air passage.

Subfloor Floor Preparation

For a basement floor, we recommend that you clean the floor by sweeping any debris. In a basement, you should also disinfect the floor prior to installation. Careful consideration should be taken that organic material is not left behind as it may promote the growth of mold or fungus. Bleach is a good disinfectant, but other chemicals exist that can help you in this process. Please always refer to their instructions for proper and safe use of bleach or other chemicals.

Repair cracks where the floor has a vertical displacement of more than 3/8th of an inch. These tiles interlock using a peg to loop system, so major vertical displacements could cause the tile to unlock when pressure is applied on top of them. Minor horizontally displaced floor cracks or gradually uneven surfaces do not affect the interlocking system.

If the floor is not already sealed, it is recommended for you to seal or cure it prior to installing any floating floor. If the basement is not properly sealed, you may get too much moisture under the tiles. Of course, these interlocking floor tiles are designed to be installed and removed to allow periodical cleaning. Many of you may have already given up on sealing the floor and this is one of the reasons why you are purchasing our interlocking basement floor tiles. If this is the case, the drain tiles (interlocking perforated tiles) may be more appropriate than the solid top tiles. The drain tiles will raise your floor by ½ inch and allow maximum airflow. Essentially, the tile will create separation between your damped cold floor and your feet.

The tile will install easily as long as the surface is flat. The flooring will also install properly even if the floor is not perfectly leveled, as these basement floor tiles would conform to the floor over time. Large horizontally displaced cracks (1 ½ inch or larger) should be repaired for better performance.

Installing the Basement Floor Tiles

It is highly recommended for you to start laying out the tiles from a corner of the room. Make sure the loops are pointing inwards. Please refer to Figure 1. If you are uncertain about how to interlock the tiles, please refer to our article called “Basic Installation: Interlocking Floor Tiles”. This short article shows more illustrations on the correct way to interlock the tiles together. The section below will explain how to draw the starting lines. You will use these lines as a guide to follow while laying down the tiles.

Basement Installation Starting Point - Multi-Color Design

Locate the center of the room and draw chalk guidelines (Center Lines) that pass through the middle of the room. The guidelines (Center Lines) should be perpendicular to the walls. If you are uncertain how to draw the center lines please refer to our article called "Basement Floor: Drawing Center Lines". This short article explains how to do this.

Drawing Starting Lines:

Once you have your center-lines, determine how many full rows of tiles fit between the center-lines and the wall. You can determine this by calculating how many full tiles (multiples of 12 inch) fit or by laying the tiles along the center lines. Make sure you measure from two opposite sides of the room and place an “X”. Then draw a line going through the X’s. This is done so you can get starting lines that are parallel to the center lines. One you have done this, you will have your starting point to start laying down the tiles. Remember to point the loops inward toward the opposite walls.

Figure 1
Basement Flooring: Starting Lines

Once you have your starting point, you can lay down the tiles one row at a time making sure you follow the color pattern design you have chosen. If you have followed the instructions correctly, you will have a basement floor mat that is lying directly on the middle of the room. To finish the floor, you will need to cut the remaining tiles to fit. Make sure you leave at least a 3/8-inch distance between the wall and the edge of the tile. Because these tiles interlock using the loop to peg system, we recommend that you begin at the starting point as illustrated on Figure 1. Cut one tile at a time to make sure it fits properly. This is especially important for irregular room sizes.

Drawing the Center Lines of a Rectangular or Square Basement

The following section explains how to find the center point of a room and draw center lines that are perpendicular to the walls. Please note that you would use this technique for indoor installations (ie. basement floor installation). This may not apply when installing a garage floor or any room where you plan to use ramp edges.

In reference to Figure 2; from an arbitrary location close to Wall D, measure the distance from wall A and C. Place a small “X” at the midpoint of your measurement. Repeat the same procedure on the opposite side of the room close to Wall B. At that point, you will have two small “X” marks at the opposite sides of the room. Draw a guideline that goes through the two points (through the two X’s). Once this is done, measure the guideline and mark its center. Using a carpenter’s square, draw another guideline that is perpendicular to the first one. Please note this method is used because many rooms are not a perfect rectangle. Using this method will give you the room’s center point.

Figure 2
Basement Flooring: Center Lines

To finish your room, we recommend that you purchase baseboards from any local hardware store. This will give the room a finished feel to it. When placing the baseboards, make sure they don’t press down on the tiles. This will allow the tiles to expand and contract with any change in temperature. For walkways or doorways, we recommend that you use transition boards. Our ramp edges are usually not needed in 99% of indoor installations.

Please visit our basement flooring section to view all our interlocking floor tiles available for basements.