Q. We plan to build two rooms in our basement, one to be finished with tile, the other with carpet. One person says to use a seamless polyvinyl sheet as a vapor barrier and another advises up to raise the floor. There are two places where we do get water during a hard rainstorm. Also, my clothes washer has been known to overflow. My husband could construct the raised floor so that there would be a clear path to the drain in case of water. What do you advise? J. Libby Andover, Conn.
A. First, wateproof the basement walls with a process equal to Sealwall, made by an Eastlake, Ohio, firm. We have written about it many times. If you thus waterproof the basement, then a vapor barrier may not be necessary, nor even a raised wood floor.
Certain tile and carpet mastics are on the market shelf these days and are quite impervious to moisture. Consult a local tile and carpet company for what type of mastic to use in your basement.
If you have a subcontractor furnish and install the tile and carpet, expect from him a written guarantee for at least a year. He may not furnish such a guarantee if the basement conditions are suspect. The key to the whole idea is a dry basement before any flooring is laid.
As to the prospect of an overflowing washing machine, this may be solved, or at least minimized, by installing tile instead of carpet in the laundry room while, at the same time, making sure that the drain is close to the machine.