This is what I call an “elegant solution” to our flooring problem in the basement of our house.
Over a year ago, we had water damage in our basement from a burst pipe, a pipe leading to one of our outdoor faucets. The old mangy brown carpet had to be ripped up along with the padding. The wall had to be cut out, about two-thirds all the way around the room from the floor to about two feet up. After we had the drywall replaced and the stucco applied to match the rest of the walls, I put primer on it, so that it’s ready to paint whenever we get around to it.
What we never got around to doing was putting carpet in. For over a year we just had the concrete sbufloor, which the kids found to be wholly uninviting, having been used to the carpet.
A few months back, I finally went to a highly-rated carpet store and had them give me an estimate. To cover the nearly five hundred square feet of floor plus the stairs would have cost around $3000.
And that’s with “cheap” carpet.
For carpet that will be destroyed by our children in the next five to ten years.
It’s also three thousand dollars we do not have.
So I did some research and stumbled on these floor mats. They’re made by Norsk-Stor. I found them on sale at Amazon.com for roughly $16 per case of four. That’s roughly $1 per square foot. So after discussing it with my wife, we decided, what the hell, let’s cover the basement floor with them. It’ll be fun, easy to do, relatively inexpensive.
I went back to Amazon.com and tried to order 24 cases of the mats. But Amazon would only let me buy six. So I ordered the six and then I went and ordered six again. But Amazon stopped me after my second order of six.
That’s right. Amazon.com, that Unmatched Paragon of Capitalist Efficiency, wouldn’t let me buy as many as I wanted.
My wife and I figured we would simply wait until we received the 12 and then order again. But that would take awhile, ordering 6 or 12 at a time. After the initial cases arrived, I put them on the floor of the basement. They looked good and felt comfortable, and, most importantly, the kids liked them.
I researched where else I might find these same mats and lo and behold Sears sold them for a dollar more a case but with free shipping to a local store. I double-checked my measurements and ordered 17 from Sears on Thanksgiving weekend. Sears did not limit how many I could purchase. A month later I received an email telling me they had arrived at the store. It took a far longer than I had expected, but I was happy that now the rest of the basement floor could be covered.
I went to Sears to pick them up. Except no one there could find the mats. They had disappeared. The order had been made, my credit card charged, and there was every indication that they had been shipped to the Sears store. But no one at the store had seen them or could locate them. The store offered to refund me the charge on the credit card and let me know if they found them sometime in the next week. I took them up on that offer but I was pissed, muttering to myself about how it was no wonder Sears was closing stores and going the way of Montgomery Wards.
It seemed the universe did not want me to cover our basement floor with these colorful mats. So I waited a week. I was about to go straight to the manufacturer’s website and order the mats for about $5 more per case when I got a call from Sears. They had found the mats. Turns out someone there had set them in the boiler room, thinking they had been purchased for their workspace. Why someone would think multi-colored floor mats were for a workplace that’s not a children’s daycare center I’ll never know. But the important thing is they had found them and I so I went to the store, paid for them and picked them up and brought them back home.
The kids were enthusiastic about helping me put the mats down on the floor. I set up a pattern to follow and, as my son Henry said, “It’s like putting together a puzzle!” we set them down and snapped them in place. It’s the easiest floor I have ever done. Far easier than laminate and much less laborious than tile. See this?
I used a utility knife to cut the hole. No power tools were used during the installation of this product.
Now we have a soft, cushioned, insulated basement floor for the kids to play on. It’s stain-resistant and easy to clean. When the kids grow out of the mats, I’ll just pull the mats up and donate them or throw them out.
Let the Wild Rumpus Start!