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Environmentally-Friendly, Waterproof Basement Floors: A Guide

Environmentally-Friendly, Waterproof Basement Floors: A Guide
Today we’ll help you strike a balance between water resistance and ecological responsibility when choosing a basement floor.

More than ever, ecological responsibility has begun to play a role in the choices we make when building, furnishing, and flooring our homes. The fight against planned obsolescence might mean buying a Miele vacuum for 20 years of service, a Kucht range for buy-it-for-life cooking, or a home floor designed to last for decades without need of maintenance. If you’re in the market for environmentally friendly flooring for your basement, you’ll want a floor that’s hardy enough to stand up to flooding, high humidity, and the other unique challenges of a below-grade installation. Today we’ll consider the best basement floors to resist moisture and mold while respecting the environment.

Consider the default option – concrete basement flooring

Environmentally-Friendly, Waterproof Basement Floors: A Guide
Concrete is the most sustainable flooring option because it already exists in just about every basement.

The most environmentally friendly floor you can install in a basement is the one that’s already there: concrete. It’s the most natural option because every modern home is built on a large slab of concrete–the foundation. As a result, instead of adding an additional floor on top of it, you’ll do the least damage to the earth by sticking with the existing floor.

While it’s not the most attractive flooring option in its natural state, you can easily stain it or change its color if you wish; you can also polish it or design it in a number of different ways to lend it a beautiful, marble-like look in below-grade environments. And as noted above, even though you might need to treat the floor to change its appearance, you won’t need any additional flooring materials, and concrete is highly durable and water-resistant as long as you promptly seal any cracks that appear.

Ceramic and porcelain basement tiles – low maintenance and easily recyclable

Environmentally-Friendly, Waterproof Basement Floors: A Guide
If you don’t choose concrete, consider ceramics and porcelain tiles for a blend of waterproofing and sustainability.

If you don’t want cement, or want a floor that’ll look more attractive out of the box, consider ceramic and porcelain tile floors. Ceramic floors (and porcelain, which is just a refined version of ceramic flooring), is primarily made from clay and sediment; these are natural materials that are found throughout the United States and Canada and can easily be broken down into their natural state once no longer needed. As a result, they are also environmentally friendly choices for basements. The raw materials vulnerable to water intrusion, which is why you’ll always find ceramics and porcelains with a protective glaze on top of them that makes them essentially waterproof and stainproof. You’ll also want to make sure the grout between the tiles remains sealed to keep out moisture.

Brick basement floors – not as good, though workable

Environmentally-Friendly, Waterproof Basement Floors: A Guide
While brick shares many of the properties of ceramics, its porousness makes it a poor choice for watertight situations.

Brick floors are gaining popularity as above-grade flooring choices and are also making their ways into basements around the US and Canada. At first glance, they share many properties with ceramics, including a clay and natural sediment base that is baked to provide a hardy and weather-resistant surface. Like ceramics, bricks are also environmentally friendly and can be easily decomposed into natural materials when no longer needed in construction applications. However, unlike ceramics, brick cannot be made waterproof to the degree porcelain and ceramic tiles can. As a result, a brick floor isn’t the best choice for a basement floor unless you’re dealing with an absolutely dry basement. That said, you can reduce the effects and risks of moisture penetration by regularly sealing your brick floor. You can also dramatically increase its water resistance through the application of a water barrier layer sandwiched between your concrete foundation and your brick floor.

Which vacuum cleaners best work with bare basement floors?

The Best Flooring Choices for Bathrooms, Basements, and Kitchens
A Parquet floor head is one of the most effective ways to deal with a bare floor, whether in a basement or elsewhere.

Regardless of which floor you choose for your basement, you’ll need to clean it from time to time, whether for general upkeep and tidiness or to make sure water, mold, and moisture have not begun to claim its surface. A Parquet head is a good choice for a dry basement floor because it’ll help clean up dirt instead of merely pushing it around with air currents that circulate from the vacuum’s head.

The Best Flooring Choices for Bathrooms, Basements, and Kitchens
A Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog is a buy-it-for-life vacuum that blends power with ecological awareness.

However, unless you have a home completely free from carpeting, you’ll also want a vacuum with multiple cleaning heads to help you care for both bare floors and carpeted ones without changing machines. This is why we generally recommend high-end canisters such as the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog (reviewed here and here) or Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (reviewed here and here) to help you clean every surface with one machine. Both feature both Parquet heads for bare floors and powered electric heads for carpets of every pile and style. Perhaps most importantly, both are designed to last for decades, reducing their environmental impact by allowing you to use one machine for as long as you own your floors instead of cheaper machines that break down in a few years and fill up landfills.

You  can buy the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog here on Amazon or buy the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ here.

Canadians can buy the Miele C3 Cat & Dog here or buy the Compact Electro+ here.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home cleaning tools by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.

A Guide to Slide-In, Drop-In, & Freestanding Ranges: Pros, Cons, & Comparisons

A Guide to Slide-In, Drop-In, & Freestanding Ranges: Pros, Cons, & Comparisons
Want a new range? Here’s how to choose between them.

No matter what you choose for kitchen flooring (e.g., hardwood or something more traditional),  you’re going to need a cooking range. Your main options are freestanding units, slide-in and drop-in units, wall ovens paired with range tops, and hybrid or front-control units. While freestanding ranges are by far the most popular of the four options, there are times you might want to consider a slide-in or drop-in type range, such as when you’re looking for a more streamlined or customized look in your kitchen. Today we’ll take a look at the similarities and differences between slide-in, drop-in, and freestanding range units to help you figure out which is the best choice for your kitchen.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a slide-in range?

A Guide to Slide-In, Drop-In, & Freestanding Ranges: Pros, Cons, & Comparisons
A slide-in range offers a cleaner, sleeker look than a freestanding range…

Slide-in cooking ranges are essentially freestanding ranges wedged between cabinetry. They include angled sides with cooktops that protrude slightly beyond the general width of the range. As a result, they’re installed by sliding them between cabinets (hence the name) with the end goal of resting the cooktop on the adjacent countertops. The advantage of this approach is a cleaner, sleeker look; you’ll frequently see slide-in ranges in upscale homes, in magazines, and on cooking shows. You can readily customize them with cabinetry and achieve a more cohesive kitchen compared to freestanding ranges, which never quite match as well with cabinetry. You also can store additional cookware at the base of most slide-in models in a bottom drawer. The downside to this approach is that you can’t install a slide-in range without cabinets on both sides, as the stove’s side panels will be unfinished and will include alignment grooves. The GE PS950SFSS 30″ slide-in double oven electric range is a good example of a quality, mid-level slide-in range.

What are the pros and cons of a drop-in model?

A Guide to Slide-In, Drop-In, & Freestanding Ranges: Pros, Cons, & Comparisons
…but a drop-in range is even more attuned to your kitchen.

A drop-in range is essentially a more complicated slide-in range. You don’t just need to fit it between cabinetry, you also need to customize the cabinetry from the ground up, setting up a base and a front panel with the same materials as the cabinetry. The advantages of drop-in models are tied to style and appearance; when done well, they can appear seamlessly integrated into your kitchen, giving it a high-end look for years to come. However, drop-in ranges don’t include storage drawers for pots and pans, meaning you’ll need a separate cabinet or drawer elsewhere to hold your cookware. Drop-in ranges are also generally hard to find, which means you’ll have fewer brands to choose from and might need to special order them. They typically feature controls on the front top panel and are usually 30″ wide. You can buy wider units, but you’ll pay much more for the privilege due to the customization issues already discussed. The Frigidaire FFED3025PS 30″ electric drop-in smoothtop range above is a good example of a trending style in drop-in ranges.

What are the benefits and drawbacks to freestanding ranges?

Wall Ovens vs Stove Ranges: Pros, Cons, Costs & Convenience
That said, you’ll get the most value from a freestanding range…

Finally, you’ve got the more traditional options to consider: freestanding ranges and wall ovens. The benefits of freestanding ranges are their versatility, space efficiency, and affordability. They’re the most common type of range on the market, which means you’ll have the most options when it comes to style, color, brand, and price. You’ll also pay less for them in general because they require no customization whatsoever, unlike slide-in, drop-in, or wall-mounted units. They’re also make a much better use of space than wall ovens because the cooking surface is directly on top of the oven, which means you don’t need a separate cooktop as you would with a wall oven.

The drawbacks of these designs are that they don’t integrate quite as seamlessly into existing kitchens and cabinetry as slide-in, drop-in, or wall units. Additionally, if you want a double oven, you’ll need a lot more kitchen space to fit one in in a freestanding design. The Kucht KRG3080U range is a good example of an attractive, durable, and powerful stainless steel range.

What are the pros and cons of wall ovens compared to freestanding, slide-in, and drop-in units?

Wall Ovens vs Stove Ranges: Pros, Cons, Costs & Convenience
Wall ovens are unbeatable in aesthetics and aging in place convenience, but are pricey.

Compared to the other three options, wall ovens are undoubtedly the most chic. There’s a reason you’ll find them nearly unanimously in high-end homes: they look amazing. They’re also by far the best option for aging in place and baking with convenience, as it’s the only design of the four with the oven placed at arm height, which means you’ll never need to stoop, strain, crouch, or bend to get food in or out of them. Additionally, if you do enough backing to warrant a double oven, you’ll get the most bang for your buck with a wall oven setup, as you can fit two full-sized ovens on top of each other more efficiently in this design than with any other.

The disadvantages of wall ovens are tied to price–they’re more expensive due to the additional labor and design requirements–and space. If you want to use a cooking surface, you’ll need a separate range top, which will cost additional money and will take up additional space elsewhere in your kitchen. The GE Profile PT7800SHSS combination convection and microwave oven is a good example of a popular wall oven.

What’s the best value in a range right now?

Thor Kitchen HRG3080U Range Review, Kucht KRG3080U Comparison
The Thor Kitchen HRG3080U is our top recommendation today for a high-end range for mid-range prices.

Given how much more value you get per dollar with a freestanding range over any other kind (e.g., a wall oven and range top, a slide-in range, a hybrid setup, or a drop-in range), we typically recommend them over the other options when you want the most for your money. Right now, two freestanding ranges that give a lot of power, performance, and reliability for a relatively modest sum are the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30″ range (reviewed here) and the Kucht KRG3080U range (reviewed here). The units themselves are the same; the Kucht just costs a bit more because the company provides better customer service and people are willing to pay extra for it.

You  can buy the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30″ freestanding gas range here on Amazon or buy the Kucht KRG3080U range here instead.

Canadians can buy the Thor Kitchen HRG3080U 30″ freestanding gas range here on Amazon or buy the Kucht KRG3080U range, which is cheaper, instead.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home appliances by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.