Switching Laminate with Carpet

After living with the laminate flooring downstairs in the basement for a little more than 5 months, we decided we didn't really like and decided to tear it all up and install carpet instead.

Are you kidding me?! We loved that laminate.  I loved the flor tiles that I painstakingly picked out to match everything.

But we tore out the laminate and replaced it with a giant piece of carpet anyways.  Why, you may ask?  Because that's what you have to do when your basement floods.

The basement that we've lived with for 4 years that never had a water issue before.  The basement that we spent months of our lives renovating and carefully planning every detail that would prevent water from things like the washing machine or water heater from destroying got destroyed by several gallons of water last week.

It's been really weird weather here lately and last week we had a massive thunderstorm hit the area.  We're talking rivers and streams flooding roads, highways shut down due to flooding, the works.  I came home from work and stupidly was working upstairs thinking, "Gee, I'm so glad I'm not stuck in the rain and that me and my house are safe".  Seriously, I was working on wedding crafts literally thinking how great it is not to have to worry about water damage.  I went downstairs to set up for a project that needed a little more room and nothing seemed out of the ordinary until I stepped on the floor and it was squishy.  As in, I heard the water underneath. 

I would show pictures, but I've said before that I'm not a blogger that thinks, "I should document this for the blog", I'm more the type that says, "What the F***" and starts cleaning up.

I called Mike and made him leave work to come home and help figure out what needed to be done.  There was a couple hours where we went back and forth about trying to clean it up/save the laminate, but after some research and a phone call to a pro we faced the inevitable.  The laminate was trash.  Once it gets wet, (remember it was under the boards), it's toast.  The laminate soaks it up and if you were able to dry it out it would just cup/warp, and it also leads it open to potential mold growth.  We spent Wednesday night, with the help of my sister, tearing out all the flooring. 

I was able to remove all the boards without damaging the trim and quarter-round, (something that Mike didn't think I would be able to do - just want to note that for future reference!), and my sister and Mike carried it upstairs to the truck bed to be dumped at Mike's jobsite.  We shopvac'd all the water up and used fans to dry the floor out overnight.

Since we have a little thing called our wedding coming up, the last thing we wanted to deal with was a project.  After the wine leak we feel like we just can't catch a break when it comes to this basement.  We weren't able to figure out where the water came from.  We've done our fair share of preventing water from draining towards the house.  We connected all the downspouts and extended them out into the backyard into a drywell we excavated during the garage build.  We also replaced the sloped concrete next to the driveway.  The reality is, our house it 85 years old and the old foundation mortar just couldn't handle the amount of water we had.  You know the term 100 year flood.  Well we were lucky enough to see one!

Since we didn't want to do anything permanent, (not before we knew the water issue was never going to happen again), before the wedding, but still wanted the room to be functional, Mike called the flooring contractor from his job and they were awesome and delivered a carpet remnant to the house the next day, for free!  It was left over from an office building so it's definitely commercial grade and has a pad attached.  Mike and I laid it out on the deck the day after the rain and cut it down to fit the room.  We carried it downstairs and after some folding and shifting, was able to install it under the quarter round for a finished look.

No styling, just real life.  I took these photos this morning before work when I realized I haven't written a post in a while.

The carpets not bad, but it's not what I would have chosen.  But for free, you can't really be picky.

To be honest, for such a shitty thing to have happened last week and to still be able to use this room this week, it's awesome.  The carpet is a really low pile so I'm not worried about dirt that much, the pad definitely makes it feel like your not walking on concrete, and it softens the room.  To be honest we're actually talking about carpet being the permanent solution for the space.  We'll revisit it after the wedding.

We have all my lovely carpet tiles that I bought that were all able to be wiped up and saved that may be used as a full floor covering down the road.

Right now it kind of makes me sad that I have to stop decorating since we don't know what will happen down here, and things like that cute striped rug that used to live under the bench no longer make any sense.  But, I keep reminding myself that it could have been a lot worse.  A lot.  No walls or drywall were damaged.  The tile was safe.  And none of the furnishings were damaged either.  It also reiterated that Mike and I are an awesome team, even in crisis, and that's a good thing when we're about 1 month out from signing up for forever!     


  1. I think this is a really good article. You make this information interesting and engaging. You give readers a lot to think about and I appreciate that kind of writing. Carpet cleaners Bexley

  2. Just curious, what color and company was the laminate flooring you had? We are currently looking to do laminate in our basement but are looking at only waterproof brands to prevent something like this from happening. Was your laminate waterproof? I really like the color though even though it didn't hold up against that water leak

    1. The laminate we used was called St. James Meade's Ranch Weathered Wood from Lumber Liquidators (http://www.lumberliquidators.com/ll/c/St.-James-Meade%27s-Ranch-Weathered-Wood-Dream-Home-St.-James-12WW/10024135). There's not really a "waterproof" laminate on the market. Laminate is usually made up of composite wood and once it's compromised with water it's done. Unlike real wood, laminate is a little more "water-resistant" and won't necessarily stain if water sits on it for a while, but that's just a small amount, not a flooding situation.

      Luxury vinyl is a more waterproof option, and they have wood planking and tile lookalikes available. Good luck with your search!