A. Paul Fisette, director of Building Materials and Wood Technology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a JLC contributing editor, responds: In any basement, your primary design objective should be to control surface water, so designing a good drainage envelope on the outside of the foundation that incorporates subslab drainage should be a priority.

According to code and good building practice, you will also need to insulate (either on the outside or inside) the basement walls. Then you can direct your attention to the floor.

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