Choosing flooring for basements isn’t as easy as selecting floors for other rooms, mainly because of water. Moisture seeps through the basement slab. Water can come in through the walls. Obviously, no homeowner wants either, but the reality is that the threat of water in a basement is very high.
Because of that threat, one of the leading flooring options for basement is vinyl floors. Vinyl floors are incredibly water-resistant and can withstand the normal amount of moisture that comes with a basement. (Homeowners should address any excess water or flooding before installing flooring.)
In addition to water resistance, these modern floors come in a variety of styles, are incredibly durable and feel fairly soft underfoot. In terms of the latter, vinyl floors are softer than tile but not as soft as carpeting. These floors are easy-to-care for, requiring only a regular sweep or vacuum and an occasional dry mop.
Things to Know About Vinyl Floors
- Most vinyl floors are water-resistant or water-proof. (Ask a local flooring pro to see waterproof products if needed.)
- Vinyl floors are incredibly durable and can be installed in high-traffic areas.
- Luxury vinyl plank floors are floating floors, meaning they can be installed without adhesive.
- Spills on vinyl floors can be easily wiped up (including pet accidents and spills).
- Vinyl floors only require a regular sweep or vacuum and dry mop. (If using a vacuum, use these tips to purchase a vacuum that is gentle and won’t damage floors.)
- One of the newest luxury vinyl plank floors can be installed in a room where temperatures reach as low as 25 and as high as 155 (and that’s not a typo!).
- Luxury vinyl floors closely mimic the look of stone and wood.
- Vinyl floors are pet-friendly, able to withstand heavy paw traffic and pet accidents.
- If volatile organic compounds are a concern, some vinyl floors are classified as low VOC vinyl. These floors have the Floorscore or Greenguard certification.
- Vinyl floors are softer underfoot than wood or stone floors.
- To avoid scratches, attach felt pads to the bottom of all furniture in a room. (Use these other floor cleaning tips that keep vinyl floors looking like new.)
Vinyl Floors Types for Basements
There are three types of vinyl floors, all of which is a good flooring for basements.
Luxury Vinyl Planks
Luxury Vinyl Planks (LVP) come in long planks that can be snapped together and pieced like a puzzle. Typically, LVP floors are typically installed as a floating floor without an adhesive. LVP floors come in a variety of styles, many of which resemble wood flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is thicker than peel-and-stick tiles and can be applied with or without adhesive. LVT floors resemble wood or stone, but are softer underfoot.
Sheet vinyl is what many people picture when they think of vinyl flooring. This traditional vinyl comes in a large sheet that is adhered to the subfloor. Vinyl sheeting comes in a variety of styles that closely resemble tile and wood.
Tips for an Easy DIY Installation
Vinyl floors are not only one of the best floors for basements, they can also be a smooth do-it-yourself project. The first step of a basement DIY flooring project is to research the flooring and supplies. Start with a step-by-step guide for sheet flooring, luxury vinyl plank, and luxury vinyl tile. Once familiar with the steps, talk to local flooring pros to choose the right vinyl floor for the basement and receive invaluable tips for a smooth DIY installation.
- Bring vinyl floors in to acclimate to the building temperature at least 24 hours before installation.
- Prep and clean the basement slab for a smooth installation. The concrete should be smooth and flat.
- If installing vinyl sheet flooring in a large room, plan accordingly so the seams between sheets is hidden, such as in a closet or doorway.
- During installation, plan for a small allowance at walls and columns that leaves room for floor expansion (typically ¼-1/8”). Cover the gap with trim or molding.
- Always purchase extra flooring for the project. Extra vinyl flooring can be invaluable in the case of a wrong cut or problem.