What flooring can be installed in a basement?

carpet in basement that can handle basement moistureWhen winter hits, Wisconsinites head down to our basement for some indoor fun.  If you haven’t finished your basement getaway, it’s time to plan all the important details: space design, construction, wall colors, flooring.  Your last choice may be the most important: not all types of flooring are meant for basements.  Most notably, wood flooring can warp and crack from the moisture that seeps through your basement floors and walls.

If your basement is constructed like most homes, your basement walls and floor are concrete or cinder block. Though durable and affordable, basement walls made of concrete and cinder block are porous, allowing moisture to seep through the floor and walls.  While hardwoods are not a great floor choice for basements, there are still many floor choices that do work in a basement—and many of these floors have the look of wood (or stone or whatever look you want…).

Luxury Vinyl

luxury vinyl flooring that looks like woodLuxury vinyl comes in planks (as a free floating floor) or sheets, and looks spectacular.  The benefits don’t stop there: luxury vinyl is easy-to-clean, durable, and can be installed professionally or as a do-it-yourself project.  Many luxury vinyl plank products snap together, making it suitable for DIYers who want new, durable flooring they can install themselves. Luxury vinyl flooring can also be glued or installed with grout.  If you want to install luxury vinyl on your own, you can buy large quantities at a discount at your local flooring store (and get excellent advice to go with it!).

These floors require literally no maintenance. As a bonus, luxury vinyl flooring can handle any kind of water spills, and has even been known to withstand some minor flooding. As a basement flooring, luxury vinyl can handle water puddles (great for basements near pools and lakes), porous concrete, and all the traffic that your family wants to throw at it through winter and summer.

Engineered Hardwood

If you really, really want wood, consider an engineered hardwood floor for your basement. Engineered hardwood is not as prone to problems with temperature changes because engineered hardwood is constructed of layers.  Since it’s a wood floor product, it looks beautiful.  Engineered hardwood is also durable and easy-to-clean.

Some engineered hardwood floor products can be sanded down and refinished as needed.  Ask your local flooring store which options are available if you want a floor for the long-term.  There is one downfall, however: engineered hardwood flooring can be damaged from water spills. If you choose an engineered hardwood floor, make sure you keep a rag handy to clean up puddles.

Carpet

carpet remnants for basement floorsMany people say that carpet seems warmer that hard floors, and that’s probably why it’s such a popular choice for finished basements.  Carpet is soft, affordable, durable, and comes in a huge variety of colors and options.  It’s also an easy option to clean, though not as easy as hard floors. If you’re trying to finish a small basement space on a budget, ask your local flooring store about carpet remnants which are discounted because they are only available in smaller sizes.  

On the flip side, carpets need to be vacuumed and deep cleaned on a regular basis to rid your carpets of allergens and maintain their look.  This ‘flip’ all depends on how you look at it; it’s easy to schedule a professional deep clean to keep them looking great.

Carpet squares

If you want a durable, easy-to-clean, and fun floor idea for your basement, carpet squares are your answer. Carpet squares come in a variety of colors and styles, and can be laid down as a fun pattern.  If a carpet square gets dirty, just pop it up and replace it with another carpet tile.  Carpet tiles are a very popular choice for basement playrooms.  The only downside of carpet squares is that they don’t usually have a carpet pad under them, making the feel a bit harder under your feet.

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