How to Remodel a Dirt Basement Floor

Empty basement
  • 168-264 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 200-300
What You'll Need
Vapor Barrier
Ceramic or porcelain tiles

A lot of older homes were made with a bare dirt basement floor. Such basements were considered to be unused spaces, but these days many people who own classic and historical houses look for ways to maximize the use of every available space within the house. If they do a home improvement on their properties, the construction almost always includes converting dirt floors on the basement so that the area can be used as an extra living space. Here are the steps involved in the process.

Step 1 - Install Vapor Barrier

To keep your basement floor from being invaded by insects and moisture, a vapor barrier must be installed. They are usually made from foil or plastic sheeting that is resistant to the diffusion of moisture through walls and floor structures, thus they will not compromise the foundation of your home or create more humidity on your the floor.

Too much moisture and humidity can penetrate the subflooring of the main level of your house, causing damage to the wood. Your basement can also turn into a breeding ground for insects, mold, and mildew.

Step 2 - Increase the Effectiveness of Your Vapor Barrier

vapor barrier sheeting

To make your vapor barrier more effective, look for moisture problems and correct them as soon as you can. To identify potential sources of moisture on your sewer and pipe lines, have your basement checked by a building inspector.

Look for improperly installed drainage and inspect the ground slope on the outside of your house. Water should be flowing away from your house to keep moisture from turning your home into a collection ground.

Step 3 - Pour Concrete

basement floor

To create a permanent and low cost cover for the dirt floor of your basement, pour a concrete floor. The material is very effective at sealing out dust and moisture. It will keep pests and insects away from the dirt. Correctly installed concrete flooring can last more than a hundred years.

Mix the cement and aggregates on open ground. A wheelbarrow is needed to transfer the concrete into the basement. Use a concrete feed that can be fed through the basement window.

If your intention is to finish the flooring in your basement so that you can use the area as a living space, check the building codes in your locality for the required height of the ceiling. You may have to remove some of the dirt on the basement floor in order to meet the requirements for ceiling height and to have the proper thickness of the concrete poured on the floor. Also ensure that your flooring is level.

Step 4 - Finish the Floor

Various finishes are available for concrete floors, including paint, sealant, stain, and tiles. For a strong and long-term finish, tiles are better. As compared to linoleum or laminate flooring, porcelain or ceramic tiles can survive flooding and can last for many years without losing their nice appearance.