I usually write about Chicago real estate &  mortgages, after all, that is what I do.  Sometimes, however, I come upon a subject that  is worth moving outside of the normal bounds of expertise.  In light of the wet summer that we have had, I’ve come across more and more loans where homeowners are dealing with the  unfortunate aftermath of flooding in the basement.  For some homes it is a chronic issue, but for many it is only a problem when we deal with a Biblical rainfall that saturates the ground beyond the point that any drainage system can counteract.  Either way the end result can range from nuisance clean up with a shop vac to massive damage requiring complete removal of carpet,  dry wall and possibly even mold remediation.  Most of the time, the floor bears the brunt of the onslaught. 

Let me preface the unveiling of my particular solution by saying that I do not have a problem in my home.  I have been spared the bailing of many other Chicagoans, but I have 3 kids, which can put a floor through the punishment of a hurricane.  Additionally, I am ex-military and, therefore, habitually plan for any contingency and visions of soggy musty padding provided me sufficient incentive to avoid a full carpet job.  Bare concrete not being an option, I moved to the Internet for some ideas and there I came upon the essence of basement pragmatism, carpet tiles.

I am sure as you read this, you are thinking that this is nothing new, and it truly is not.  Home Depot, Lowes and many other outlets offer carpet tiles  that work.  The problem is in the economics.  I found retail purchasing of carpet tiles to be pretty outrageous from a cost standpoint, so I ventured further into cyberspace and experienced a eureka moment.  I came upon dealers who sell odd commercial lots of industrial carpet tiles at a major discount. 

The pros of this definitely outweigh the single drawback of limited selection.  I have found these to be a fantastic value with some costing as little as $0.50 a square foot.  They wear like iron as they are designed and constructed for extremely heavy traffic.  Installation is a breeze and can be done with a tape measure, straight edge and utility knife or strong scissors.  Best of all, if a tile or section of tiles get saturated with fluid from flooding or a spilled drink, you can merely de-install the affected pieces, dry them out and reinstall when dry.  In the case of major flooding, you can quickly pull up the entire floor. 

As I said, this was a good solution for me.  It is not for everyone and clearly does not offer the comfort of a professionally installed single piece of carpeting.  As I drive through areas like Westchester, which was hit badly by the recent rain, and see heaps of ruined carpeting and padding, I must say that I do pat myself on the back knowing that this is something against which I am protected.  Hopefully you will be as well. 

Some of the dealers who I shopped are as follows: