Basement insulation 6mm Cork Underlayment + Vapour Barrier vs. DIY Subfloor Systems

There are several “subfloor systems” on the market and all are geared towards the Do-It-Yourself homeowner.  These systems offer a quick and easy solution to basement installation.  The basement insulation instructions appear simple.  The salespeople at the home improvement stores seem to have a lot to say about them, but are they really the best or even the easiest solution?  A cost comparison, along with the requirements for a proper install for cork underlay, Delta FL and DRIcore.  Listing is from lowest to highest cost.

salami forna cork tiles in a modern luxury hotel entrance lobby
salami forna cork tiles in a modern luxury hotel entrance lobby

Forna Cork 6mm Underlay + Vapour Barrier (6 mil Polyethylene Sheeting):

Purchase Price: Forna 6mm Cork underlay = $0.95/sf Purchase Price: 6 mil Polyethylene

Sheeting = $0.11/sf Cost For 1000sf Basement: 1050sf Cork ($664.93) + 1080sf poly

($116.91) = $781.84 Forna Cork Floating Flooring: $2.99 – $4.99/sf = $2387 – $4499

for 1100sf Total Cost of Cork Flooring Install: $3168.84 – $5280.84

Delta FL Vapour Barrier System:

Purchase Price: $68.99/roll (105sf/roll)

Cost for 1000sf Basement (10 Rolls) = $689.90

Tapcon Concrete Screws: $0.11/item (300/1000sf) = $33

5/8 inch Tongue & Groove OSB: $19.38/panel: 32 panels/1000sf = $620.16

Quiet Walk Flooring Underlay: $55/100sf roll = $550 (1000sf)

Total Cost Laminate Install: $3342.06 – $5190.06

Total Cost Engineered Hardwood: $4772.06 – $10,932.06

DRYcore Subfloor Panels:

Purchase Price: $6.97 per 2f x 2f panel ($1.74/sf)

Cost for 1000sf basement: 275 panels (1100sf) = $1916.75

(Optional) Plywood Subfloor material: $14.99/32sf = 32 panels/1000sf = $479.68

Vapour Barrier: 6 mil Poly Sheeting: $0.11/sf = $116.91

OR 2-in-1 Floor Underlay: $0.65/sf (1050sf) = $686.00

Laminate Floating Flooring: $1.59 – $3.27/sf = $1749 – $3597 (1100sf)

Engineered Hardwood Flooring: $2.89 – $8.49/sf = $3179 – $9339

Total Cost Laminate Install: $4351.75 – $6199.75

Total Cost Engineered Hardwood (floating): $5781.75 – $11,941.75


Cork 6mm Underlay together with 6 mil poly sheeting is an easy to use product that has the best price advantage when compared to the big name “subflooring” systems for basement insulation .  Most basements require a little more than a properly installed vapour barrier and a form of basement insulation to remove the chill from the floor.  A cork floating floor laid over top of this system can be one of the most economical forms of flooring available on the market.  Even the low end, 5mm – 8 mm laminate floors can be made to feel “top end” with cork underlayment.

Delta FL has excellent ratings in its own right but the need to screw the floor in place OR use plywood/OSB board on top can be too much for many DIY projects.  Delta FL suggests you do both to acquire the most secure subfloor possible.

DRIcore Subfloor Panels may be easy to work with but the hidden requirements – other than the hefty price tag – such as a vapour barrier and flooring may be enough to put off the average home owner.  The need for floor levelling compound and flooring underlay is also a little known fact with this system.