Whether you are building or remodeling a basement, you should consider installing a subfloor or underlayment.
Most people opt to install basement subfloors such as DMX or Dricore instead of building one from scratch, as it takes more time and labor.
A basement subfloor comes with many perks. It prevents moisture from the concrete or slab from seeping into the floor covering. Some subfloors also assist with thermal insulation.
There are many types of subfloor products you can use in your basement. However, Dricore and DMX stand out to be one of the most popular choices.
Even though they both do the same job, they are quite different. In the guide below, we will address these differences so that you can make an informed choice.
What is Dricore?
According to its manufacturer, they consider Dricore as the most intelligent way to finish a basement. But how true is that?
Dricore is a product used to protect furnishings and floors from moisture that may seep through from concrete floors. This product features an air gap technology that traps moisture and ensures it doesn’t pass through.
A Dricore subfloor raises the floor from the concrete, thus offering more cushion from the hard concrete. It also provides some insulation, ensuring the floor feels warmer.
There are several perks to choosing a Dricore subfloor. For one, it’s effortless to work with. That means installation shouldn’t take you long.
Looking at Dricore, you will realize that the underside varies significantly from the top. The bottom plays the role of locking moisture away.
The top side, on the other hand, accommodates any top flooring material. This is a huge advantage because you can choose from many top-floor options.
Dricore, besides keeping moisture from concrete away from the top floor, is a highly durable subfloor. It can withstand the weight of frequent traffic, appliances such as pool boards, and even workout equipment.
If you are considering converting your gym into a workout room, Dricore is an ideal subfloor material that can withstand the excess load.
What is DMX?
DMX Airflow is a dimpled underlayment that can be used to prevent moisture from passing through from concrete to the top floor. DMX isn’t your typical underlayment product.
The dimpled design doesn’t just trap moisture. It allows it to evaporate, therefore eradicating the possibility of mold growth.
It also features a soft age foam that makes the floor comfy to step on. One of its key highlights is how it can make the floor extremely quiet. Similar to the Dricore, DMX also has an air gap design that traps moisture coming from concrete.
With this underlayment on your basement, you don’t need plywood or OSB to install a top floor. DMX can accommodate a wide range of top floors on top of it such as carpet, engineered hardwood, and laminates.
If you appreciate an underlayment that is easy to use, DMX should be your top choice. It’s easy to cut and fit. You don’t need any special tools.
It is waterproof on both sides and is held together using a special tape to ensure it is 100% waterproof. You should also know that DMX Airflow comes with a 25-year warranty. This is a brand that has the utmost confidence in its product.
How Are They Different?
Dricore has an R-value of 1.44. This is for the regular type. They also have an R+ that has an R-value of 3. The latter has a higher R-value because of the extruded foam layer.
DMX has a lower R-value of 1.3.
If you are keen on insulation properties, you will get much better resistance from the R+ version of Dricore compared to regular Dricore and DMX.
Dricore has a dimpled membrane attached to an OSB surface, which contributes to comfort when people step on the floor.
DMX has a membrane on both sides. The foam is sandwiched between the two membranes.
• Waterproof Capabilities
Dricore’s underside is designed to create an air gap. However, when two Dricore boards are fitted together, the seams are left naked during installation.
And as if that’s not enough, Dricore seams are made of wood. Water or moisture passes easily through wood and will get to the top floor. This is one of its main weaknesses.
DMX, on the other hand, comes with a special waterproof tape that should be used to seal the open seams. Unlike Dricore, where the seams are left open, and there is a chance of moisture passing through, DMX is 100% waterproof.
Another difference is that DMX is waterproof on both sides, whereas Dricore is only waterproof on the underside.
The primary purpose of both DMX and Dricore is to prevent moisture from passing through to the top floor. However, Dricore is not 100% waterproof, which gives DMX a competitive advantage.
• Compression Strength
Dricore has a compression strength of up to 6,642 pounds per square foot.
DMX has a higher compression strength of up to 8,000 pounds per square foot. If you will be placing heavy objects over your floor, you are better off with this option which has a higher compression strength.
Dricore is thicker and will slightly raise the floor height. The increase in thickness is due mainly to an OSB board on top of the dimple membrane.
DMX is way thinner, and that’s an advantage because it will not affect doors. You should be very keen on thickness if your doors are pretty low.
How Are They Similar?
Despite the differences between these two subfloor materials, here are some aspects that they both have in common.
• Easy to Install
Depending on which option you choose, DMX and Dricore are very easy to install. For Dricore, you only need to attach the boards and lay them down.
As for DMX, there is some taping involved on the seams. But it’s not something that will take up a lot of your time.
• Warmth and Comfort
DMX has foam, and OSB has a board, and both of them aim to offer more comfort when you step on the finished floor. These materials also guarantee adequate comfort.
Concrete can get pretty cold, and it pays off to have some insulating material in between. The amount of warmth offered by both subfloors is almost the same because the R-values have a slight difference.
Dricore has a dimple design only on the underside. But still, it’s safe to say that both options have a dimple membrane.
To emphasize what we discussed earlier, the dimple-design membrane ensures that trapped moisture is evaporated. Therefore, with either of these two subfloors, you are guaranteed mold prevention in your basement.
• Compatibility with Top Floors
Another similarity is that both materials are compatible with a wide range of materials. This is important as it ensures you have no limitations when choosing a suitable top floor material, whether carpet or laminate.
Pros of Dricore
• The air gap technology is pretty impressive. It keeps moisture from getting to the top floor and always keeps your floors dry. This is very beneficial to a basement with concrete floors.
• The presence of the OSB ensures the floors are way softer. If you are used to hard concrete, Dricore will be a significant upgrade.
• A Dricore subfloor will also make the floor warmer. Therefore, you can walk around barefoot without worrying about freezing your toenails.
• Dricore is a versatile subfloor. You can install laminate flooring, carpet, tile, and even hardwood.
• It is a durable subfloor that can accommodate heavy loads.
Cons of Dricore
• Compared to other subfloors, Dricore is pretty expensive. If you are on a budget, you should explore other options.
• Dricore R+ is better than regular Dricore.
• The open seams are a risk factor. Moisture can pass through and damage the OSB.
Pros of DMX Airflow
• This floor is way more durable than Dricore and can accommodate heavier loads.
• It is 100% waterproof. The seams are covered by special DMX waterproof tape. It’s also waterproof on both sides.
• The dimpled underlayment promotes the evaporation of moisture which is excellent for preventing mold growth.
• It is effortless to install.
• It contributes to warmer floors.
Cons of DMX Airflow
• There have been complaints that DMX airflow feels squishy after installation.
• It has a lower R-value compared to most underlayment materials.
Dricore vs. DMX: Which is Better?
It’s a tough race between these two subfloor materials. Dricore has a higher R-value and is thicker. On the other hand, DMX is more waterproof and has a higher compression strength.
You need to weigh your options and see which features appeal most to you. Hopefully, you can make an informed decision with the in-depth information shared above.