Thinking of renovating or finishing your basement? Along with all the fun choices of furniture, paint colors, and what kind of bar you want installed, you’ll have to choose a floor to go with it. Because you’re looking for basement flooring, the task is a lot more complicated. Basement floors have to be laid over concrete, which is notoriously porous, allowing moisture to seep through. Flooring installed in basements also has to deal with temperature changes that can cause shrinking and expanding.
For that exact reason, solid wood flooring should NOT be installed in basements. You do have a number of other options perfect for your basement. We’ve listed them, along with the pros and cons of each basement flooring option.
Luxury vinyl is one of the top options in the flooring market, for good reason: it’s easy-to-clean, beautiful, durable, and has a scary resemblance to wood and stone (so realistic you almost can’t tell!). As a basement floor, luxury vinyl can handle water spills, porous concrete, and (almost) anything else, you can throw at it.
Pros: spills can be wiped up easily, looks just like wood and stone, has no problem with water spills, durable
Cons: can scratch
We know we just said not to install solid wood flooring in your basement, but engineered wood is a different story. Engineered hardwood is not as prone to problems with temperature changes because engineered hardwood is constructed of many layers.
Pros: beautiful look of wood, durable, easy to clean
Cons: may warp from water spills, price per square foot is more expensive than other options
Carpet is a popular choice for basements, and it’s easy to see why: it’s soft and comfortable. Homeowners with carpet say they don’t notice the coldness of a basement floor, and it comes in a ton of colors and looks. If you have a small room in your basement, inquire about carpet remnants. Though the selection is limited, carpet remnants cost less and are ideal for small spaces.
Pros: soft, durable, spills can be cleaned, affordable
Cons: harder to clean up than a hard floor
Want to avoid carpet installation costs? Consider carpet tiles which are easy to clean up, but not as soft as traditional carpeting. If a carpet square gets dirty, just pop it up and replace it with another carpet tile.
Pros: great for kid’s spaces because tiles are easy to replace, affordable
Cons: not everyone loves the look, there is no padding under tiles as there is with carpet
Vinyl sheet flooring is so durable that we’ve seen it hold up under water—literally, under water—in a flooded basement. As such, vinyl sheet is easy-to-clean, affordable and comes in a variety of styles.
Pros: durable, easy-to-clean, budget-friendly, available in styles that look like stone and wood
Cons: can scratch
Want to see your options in person? Stop in at any Y’s Way to view your basement floor options, get information about the cost, and choose your favorite floor for your basement. If you are installing radiant floor heating in your basement, make sure you mention it when shopping. Some floors are not recommended for installation over radiant floor heating, and one of our flooring experts can show you what basement flooring products can work in your space. They’ll help you sift through your options and make a choice, so you can move on to decorating (and finishing) your new basement rooms.