For many homeowners with a cement basement, the cold can be quite gruesome especially in the winter months. Moisture can also seep into the ground causing a moldy and musty smell. If you’ve faced these problems, one solution is to install a basement subfloor.
In this post, we’ll examine two basement subfloor options: Amdry and Dricore, both of which are Canada-based companies and are advertised as do-it-yourself insulation and moisture control subfloor solutions.
When Russian-born Victor Amend moved to Toronto Canada from Russia in 1998, the home he bought with a concrete basement floor was a disaster, but it gave him an idea to introduce Canadians with homes with concrete flooring to options that are more efficient and sustainable.
With his PhD in Building Science, he launched his company Amvic in 1999 and developed the first insulated concrete form, called Amvic ICF. With very little competition in the Canadian market, the company experienced rapid success from the get go.
Today, Amvic is a force when it comes to ICFs, but the company has also produced excellent sustainable and energy efficient insulation solutions like rigid insulation board, radiant floor heating, insulated concrete deck systems (AmDeck), packaging materials, and Amdry (its basement subfloor brand).
Bob Smith, who was a former Kruger employee, began his journey to basement subflooring in the early 90s when he experienced moisture leaks and mold contamination in his own home. This dilemma led him to launching his company Dricore in Ontario, Canada and inspired him to develop his first insulation subflooring product Dricore in 2001.
Since then, the company has launched several highly-effective insulation and mold protection products, including:
- Smartwall (pre-fab drywall panel introduced in 2013; used for preventing moisture build-up)
- Insul-Armor (insulation foam used for subflooring)
- DRICORE PRO Concrete Repair (a kit for fixing cracks in concrete floors and walls)
- Dricore subfloor and Dricore ® R+ (high-density floating basement subfloors that solve moisture issues and water leaks). The main difference between these two products is that Dricore® R+ has an extra layer of oriented strand board (OSB) and polystyrene foam (XPS), which results in improved insulation and a higher R-value of 3.0.
Amdry vs Dricore: Cost Comparison
Both Amdry and Dricore can be bought readily in your nearest Home Depot without going to a third-party installer.
An Amdry insulated R7 subfloor panel costs about $20 per 2×4-feet rectangle-shaped panel.
DRICORE® Subfloor costs an average $8 per 2×2-foot square-shaped panel, while its premium variant, the DRICORE R+ costs higher at around $12 per 2×2-foot square-shaped panel.
Prices may vary depending on the stores you buy them from.
Amdry vs Dricore: Warranty Comparison
Amvic Inc. offers a limited 25-year warranty on all Amdry products, which means that any Amdry subfloors you buy with any manufacturing defects or defects in materials and workmanship can be replaced.
Like Amdry, Dricore and Dricore® R+ subfloors are backed with a 25-year limited warranty.
Amdry vs Dricore: Durability comparison
Dricore subfloors are known for their sturdiness and have lifespans of up to 25 years. The tongue and groove connections allow all the square panels to clip together into one giant piece, making it feel rock solid and very sturdy.
Amdry basement subfloors have longer lifespans (up to 30 years), mainly because of the heavy-duty subfloor connectors with moisture-resistant protective High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) film and drainage channels.
Amdry vs Dricore: Moisture Control comparison
With the highest insulation R-values (R5 or R7) in the subfloor panel market, Amdry subfloors can be used with most top-flooring like engineered or solid hardwood, laminate, carpet, vinyl and tile. The subfloors were designed with ventilation channels and deep drainage, which let moisture and air to move freely and dry under the surface instead of affecting the top flooring and causing unwanted odors, mildew and mold.
Both the original Dricore subfloor and its newer R+ model are equipped with Air Gap technology. The underside of Dricore works as a physical barrier to moisture which could have possibly risen up to the concrete flooring and then up your finished flooring. With Air Gap, water vapor and moisture is controlled just within the Dricore subfloor level.
Amdry vs Dricore: Installation comparison
Dricore is easier to install than Amdry subfloors. In fact, you don’t even need glue or tape thanks to the tongue-in-groove feature. The smaller square panels also mean Dricore panels are easier to cut and fit – even on edges.
You do need to do some prep work when installing Dricore subflooring. For example:
- Acclimating Dricore subfloors by bringing them out of the box and letting them chill in your basement.
- Fix cracks on concrete floors (this is where Dricore’s cement wall/floor repair kit comes in handy)
- Remove dirt and debris
- Level the floor (you can buy Dricore’s leveling shims for this)
- Estimating spacing. Expansion spacers ensure the subfloors will be able to adjust with the existing walls and foundation floor.
After that, installing Amdry subflooring panels is easy. You’ll be using recycled polypropylene flexible connectors and virtually any screw down, nail down or floating finish floor. And because of Amdry’s larger panel size, it is able to accommodate even minor slopes and irregularities of your concrete foundation.
Do note that there will be some slight changes in the installation process depending on your preferred finished flooring, so check for Amdry’s specific instructions for laminate, carpet, tile, and other types of finishing.
Amdry vs Dricore: Final Showdown
Both Amdry and Dricore are aimed at the do-it-yourself homeowner crowd, so the installation is user-friendly and does not require fancy equipment. The only advantage Amdry has over Dricore is that the Amdry subfloors are rectangular 2x4s (Dricore subfloors are 2x2s), which means you’ll need fewer Amdry panels to cover your basement and they will take less time to install.
When it comes to comparing cost, Dricore wins the round hands-down. Even the more premium Dricore ® R+ is more affordable to Amdry.
As for durability, moisture control and warranty, both Amdry and Dricore offer value-for-money, considering they can effectively keep water vapor, mold, and musky odors away for up to 25 to 30 years.