Floors Depot Team
Challenges of Picking the Best Flooring for a Basement
Renovating your basement can be a great way of adding more functional living space to your home. Of course, an important part of any basement renovation is the flooring. A proper floor allows you and your guests to be at home in the space and can help define the feel of your basement. If you’re renovating your basement as a cozy family room, you’ll probably want a floor to match!
However, your basement can be a challenging environment for your floor. As the room is naturally below grade, there can be either mild or heavy exposure to moisture, especially if you’re in an area prone to flooding. This means that some popular choices, like hardwood or carpet, are out.
What You Need From Basement Flooring
Even if hardwood isn’t a good choice for your basement, there are plenty of options left on the table. What makes good basement flooring?
Being waterproof is a good start. Not only are many basements at risk of mild or severe flooding, but simply being below grade can cause moisture to leach up from beneath the house. Whatever you install on your floor, should be able to resist water well.
In addition, drying quickly is an asset – if it does get wet, you want your floor to help dissipate moisture and get back to normal as quickly as possible. Even though materials like synthetic carpeting might not be damaged by water, they still dry slowly and will invite mould and mildew. Harder substances are usually better than soft ones.
In short, you want your basement floor to be hard, resilient to moisture, and fast drying.
What flooring is best for a basement?
Let’s check out some of the different options for basement flooring.
Concrete is an easy choice because if you have a finished basement you probably already have a poured concrete floor.
As far as a floor goes, there’s nothing wrong with concrete. It’s completely resilient to moisture and very durable. As you already have it in your basement, there’s no extra cost to worry about. It’s also easy to clean and maintain.
However, there are many reasons homeowners will not want to stick with concrete. While the obvious one is appearance, there are a few others:
Hard: While a hard flooring surface can be a good thing, concrete is an extremely unyielding material. A concrete floor can be very hard under bare feet, and might not be the best choice for a rec room or play area.
Cold: Your concrete floor will be very resistant to temperature change. Because it’s in the basement, this means that it will usually stay very cold. Even worse, solutions like underfloor heating are not an option.
Loud: Concrete also does not absorb sound, making it quite echo-y.
While concrete is definitely a functional flooring material, most homeowners will want to make the change to something else.
Laminate has many advantages, one of which is mimicking the appearance of wood at a fraction of the cost. It is also much softer, warmer, and has better sound qualities than concrete.
However, laminate flooring cannot resist serious moisture. While laminate can be made resistant to the ambient moisture in your basement with the right installation, if you experience any regular flooding it’s best to pick another option.
Luxury vinyl plank is one of the most popular choices for basement flooring. As each plank is made of solid vinyl, it’s impervious to moisture while still being much softer and more forgiving than concrete.
LVP provides a good imitation of wood, and it’s also relatively warmer – being a thicker product. Another advantage is that installing vinyl plank flooring is easy, because it can be done floating – with the planks resting on top of your concrete subfloor. A floating floor is also easy to remove if the need arises.
While LVP is a great choice and a good substitute for wood, it is pricey.
Rubber flooring is an excellent material for your basement. Soft, warm, and completely water resistant, rubber is also inexpensive and easy to install.
The catch? Most homeowners simply don’t want a rubber floor, unless their basement is meant as an exercise room or play area.
Whether you’re sticking with concrete or picking a new floor, we hope this short post gives you some ideas when it comes time to pick your basement floor.