The issue of protecting a building’s basement floor usually arises on either of these two occasions: it is often the lady of the house who suggests making the basement floor look more aesthetic or a more rational need manifests itself, that is the need to protect the constructions from moisture and changing temperatures.
Needless to say, the basement floor of any building should match the appearance of the rest of the building and there are several ways to achieve this goal. One of the easiest methods is to use cement boards enriched with natural pebble gravel but should this option be chosen, the issue of insulation needs to be considered as well.
In case the visual effect is of the essence, the cement boards can also be attached directly to the basement façade. This results in an improved aesthetic appearance but since the cost of insulating would be rather low considering the scope of work and the investment needed for such an installation, it would still be reasonable to go through with proper insulation as well.
Anyone can cover the basement floor façade since the EPS boards, also known as extended polystyrene boards, are attached to the basement façade using adhesive foam and the same method can be used for attaching the boards directly to the insulation layer. It is advisable to use the corresponding construction chemicals to provide a hydro insulation layer since the boards cannot protect the construction from moisture damage. While installing the boards it is important to leave a 3- to5-millimetre joint between the boards to allow for the boards to expand. Using joint tape in linking areas gives the basement floor façade an aesthetic appearance and avoids the moisture and UV-rays from getting behind the boards, thus protecting both the insulation layer as well as the framing.
The installation accessories used while installing cement boards include metal profiled baseboards and eaves flashings that are used for external angles and on areas where the boards cover both the basement floor surface as well as the façade surface of the building on the horizontal level.
Where additional cuts need to be made to a basement floor board, the pores inside the cut side of the board need to be closed by using a moisture-repellent base paint or primer. This must be done immediately after cutting to prevent the moisture from absorbing into the pores of the board.
With reconstructed buildings where the basement floor is not as level and smooth as it is in the case of new buildings, it is advisable to use lathing before attaching the boards to ensure that the boards attached to the walls are stuck firmly and levelly. The wood used for lathing must be deep-impregnated and it is advisable to use screws for attaching it.
The boards must be attached onto the lathing by using stainless screws, preferably screws measuring 3.5x40 mm. The order and method of installation used for attaching the screws is important as well: the first screw needs to be attached in the middle of the lathing and screwed directly into the lathing but starting with the second screw, holes need to be drilled into the material before attaching the screws – these holes need to be1.2 times bigger than the screw tails so that they could slightly move without breaking when the boards expand. The distance between the screws should not exceed 400 mm and you will need approximately 10 screws per square metre.
In addition to the speed and ease of installation entailed with covering the basement floor with cement boards, the strength of the wall is a great advantage compared to plastering as well. However, should anyone cause physical damage to a wall covered with a cement board, the initial appearance can be easily restored by simply replacing the damaged piece of the board.
Read more how to protect the constructions from moisture and changing temperatures.