Finishing your basement is an exciting project. There’s so much empty space and so many possibilities. From top to bottom, there’s a million decisions to make: paint color, furniture, trim color, flooring. The last item on the list, flooring, comes with a small twist.
That small twist is water. Because basements are below ground, moisture seeps through the walls and floors. Not all types of flooring can take the moisture, leaving you with damaged and stained floors that you need to replace within a few years.
We’ve divided your basement flooring options into two categories: DIY & installer (schedule an installer by contacting local professionals). The DIY basement flooring options allow you to save money by installing the floors yourself. You can find these floors at your local flooring stores (ask about a discount for buying in bulk). Use these tips to guarantee a successful basement floor installation.
Luxury vinyl can check off a lot of boxes for basement flooring: the product comes in planks that can be installed as a DIY project, isn’t affected by moisture, and comes in a variety of looks and colors. These floors come in long tiles that give the floor a modern look, wood that looks like genuine hardwoods, or in a stone pattern that looks like slate or porcelain.
To be clear, hardwood floors should not be installed in a basement because of moisture. Water seeps up through the basement slab, warping and damaging wood flooring. If you still want wood flooring in your basement, choose the next best thing: engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is made up of many layers, including the top layer which is 100% wood. Because of the construction, engineered wood is safe to install over a concrete slab. (Many engineered hardwood floors can also be installed as a floating floor.)
Porcelain and ceramic tile looks great in any basement, and are available in long slats, square tiles, colors, and patterns. Tiles are a natural conductor of heat, which make them a great flooring to install over radiant heating. Today’s tile products look like stone or wood and can be installed with or without grout lines.
Carpet tile is an ideal option for basements. They offer the softness of carpeting, a custom design, and a unique way to clean-up. Depending on the carpet tile you choose, carpet tiles can be laid out in any pattern you want. If a carpet tile gets dirty, it can be cleaned or swapped out with another carpet tile. Carpet tiles are ideal for office spaces, rec rooms, day care spaces, and game rooms.
For homeowners who don’t want to take on a do-it-yourself project, carpet is a great choice for basements. Carpet is soft, easy-to-care-for, and a warm barrier over a basement concrete slab. Today’s carpet comes in almost every color and style, and can fit any budget. If you’re worried about the latter, consider purchasing a carpet remnant. Carpet remnants are the “leftovers” from a roll; these pieces can be fairly large and are sold at a discounted rate. If you’re considering a remnant, visit your local flooring store to see what options are available for your basement.
Vinyl flooring can handle all the water in your basement; we’ve even seen some vinyl floors survive after being submerged under water (perfect for a basement that is prone to flooding-make sure you tell your flooring salesperson that your basement floods). Vinyl floors are typically glued down and come in a variety of colors and patterns.