Your (Easy) Guide to Basement Flooring

Kids_carpetWith winter fast approaching, many Midwestern homeowners are looking for more space; more space for fun and relaxing during those cold winter days or for guests or kids who want their own bedroom. The answer for many homeowners lies in a finished basement with shelving and storage options, finished walls, lighting and comfortable, durable flooring. When researching flooring options for your basement, the discussion should always start with the factor that dictates basement flooring decisions: moisture.

If your basement is like most American homes, your basement walls and floor is concrete. Though durable and affordable, concrete is porous, allowing moisture to seep through the floor and walls. If your moisture problem extends beyond your porous concrete slab and is a reoccurring flooding issue, rectify your flooding problem before finishing your basement to avoid losing furniture and costly clean-ups.

One flooring not recommended for basements is solid wood flooring. Don’t fret; there are other options with the look of wood, without the buckling and warping that can occur because of moisture in a basement. Engineered hardwood and laminate both can be installed in basements without the warping. Both flooring options are durable and beautiful but should be avoided in basements prone to flooding.

Vinyl also has the look of wood, stone or any other modern design and is durable enough to handle moisture—even flooding—in a basement. Typically glued down, vinyl is nearly indestructible and is ideal for basements where the threat of flooding is never completely gone.

Ceramic flooring can be laid directly over your basement slab and comes in almost any look you want. Typically, ceramic tiles are better for rooms with moderate traffic due to durability, but if your basement rec room or bedroom is used infrequently, this is your flooring. Ceramic tiles can also be cold to the feet, but is one of the ideal floors for laying over radiant floor heating.

If you want a softer feel in one of the typically coolest rooms in your home, carpet is affordable, durable and comfortable. Want to avoid carpet installation costs? Consider carpet tiles which are easy to clean up, but not as soft as traditional carpeting. Traditional carpeting is installed over a pad, making it cushy and making you forget you are on top of a concrete slab. If you have a small basement, inquire about carpet remnants. Though the selection is limited, carpet remnants cost less and are ideal for small spaces.

Want to see your options? Visit your local flooring store. Be sure that your salesperson knows you are researching flooring for your basement; they can recommend flooring that they have seen work well in local homes. They can also give you an idea about pricing, since the cost varies based on your selection. Start your research now, so you have that extra space ready when the snow falls and cabin fever sets in.

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