Is wood flooring a good basement flooring option?

family in basement family room

If you’re asking if wood floors are a good basement flooring option, the answer is yes and no. Wood flooring is gorgeous and durable, but solid hardwood flooring is not recommended in basements. Solid wood flooring is susceptible to damage from porous moisture in the concrete slab. The moisture may cause hardwood floors to buckle and warp.

Fortunately, there are wood floors that are good basement flooring options. These wood floors are made of layers; the bottom layers are not wood, which protects the floor from water damage. Some of these floors may require an underlayment installed under the flooring. (Ask a flooring professional if an underlayment is needed for a particular basement flooring option.)

Basement Flooring Options

Luxury Vinyl Plank

Luxury vinyl (LVP) flooring is not technically a wood floor, but it does closely resemble wood flooring. Though it’s not a wood floor, luxury vinyl plank is a good basement flooring option because it is water-resistant and closely resembles a wood floor. These floors are very durable and suitable for heavily trafficked spaces. They even hold up in homes with active kids and pets.

Pros: Water-resistant, durable, available in a wide variety of colors and styles, fairly easy DIY installation

Cons: May scratch

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwoods are the closest bathroom flooring option to solid wood flooring. Unlike solid wood flooring, engineered hardwoods are manufactured in layers. Engineered hardwoods are good flooring option for basements because the bottom layers are not solid wood. Like wood floors, engineered hardwoods are durable (even in high-traffic rooms) and gorgeous. They are also prone to damage from standing water and water spills. It’s important to wipe up water puddles and spills as soon as possible. Because of the risk of water damage, engineered hardwoods are not a good fit for bathrooms or laundry rooms.

Pros: Durable, available in a wide variety of colors and styles

Cons: Prone to water damage

Laminate

Like engineered wood floors, laminate floors are made of layers. The top layer closely resembles solid wood flooring, and is available in a variety of colors and styles. Laminate floors are durable, though susceptible to water damage. Laminate floors are not a good fit for bathrooms or laundry rooms. For DIYers, laminate floors are a fairly easy do-it-yourself project and are available in easy-to-install products. Laminate can be installed as a floating floor (without adhesive) and require few tools.

Pros: Durable, available in a wide variety of colors and styles, fairly easy DIY installation

Cons: Prone to water damage

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile floors are now available in styles that closely resemble wood. They are incredibly durable, water-resistant, and a good flooring option for basements with radiant heating. Tiles are natural conductors of heat so they feel warm and comfortable underfoot. These basement floors are a fairly easy install for DIYers, and a very tough floor in high-traffic spaces.

Pros: Water-resistant, durable, available in a wide variety of colors and styles, fairly easy DIY installation

Cons: Hard underfoot

Vinyl Sheet

Vinyl sheet flooring is not a wood floor, but resembles wood. This basement flooring option is a good basement flooring option for family rooms, game rooms, bathrooms, and laundry rooms because they are water-resistant and can even withstand minor flooding. Some vinyl sheets come in with a comfortable padded feel.

Pros: Water-resistant, durable, available in a wide variety of colors and styles

Cons: May scratch, not an easy DIY install

Tips for Smooth Flooring Installation

  • Bring in flooring at least 36 hours before installation so floors acclimate to room conditions.
  • Ask a flooring professional if any underlayment is required by the manufacturer.
  • Purchase extra flooring to ensure that there is enough flooring for the basement.
  • Check the manufacturer specifications for the exact expansion gap required during installation. An adequate expansion gap ensures flooring has enough room to expand and prevents buckling and damage.
  • Always check to see when area rugs should be added and if any protective coverings are needed under the area rug.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *