Finding the best flooring for basements can be tricky. You need to know what kind of flooring would best serve your purposes and what type of flooring would work for your specific basement.
For example, do you have a finished basement or one you plan to have finished someday? Is your basement prone to flooding? Is there existing flooring or just concrete?
Not planning for these and other circumstances in mind could be a big mistake.
This article provides some guidance you might find helpful when selecting the best basement flooring for your needs and the basement's particular features.
Common Basement Flooring Options
Epoxy Floor Coatings
Epoxy is a type of floor paint that hardens into a thick, hard resin. These floors are durable, and they are one of the few types of basement flooring that can go directly onto concrete.
There are three main types of epoxy floor paint and many colors to choose from. If your basement takes a lot of wear or is subject to liquid spills or leaks, epoxy might be the right solution for you.
Since some epoxies give off noxious fumes, be sure there's plenty of ventilation, and wear the proper mask when applying it.
Ceramic or porcelain tile is quite popular today. Many people consider it the best floor for a basement or other parts of a home. It's durable and could transform the look of a semi-finished basement to the point where you want to finish it all the way.
Still, there are some things to know before installing a ceramic tile floor in the basement. While some people might say that it's OK to install ceramic or porcelain tile directly on top of concrete, this is not necessarily the case.
Concrete expands and contracts, sometimes causing it to develop cracks. These cracks, in turn, can lead to breakage in the tiles. It's best to place an uncoupling membrane on top of the concrete before placing them.
Vinyl Tile and Sheet Flooring
For a basement, any type of vinyl flooring is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's durable, non-absorbent, water-resistant, and easy to clean. These qualities are just what most basements need.
On the other hand, vinyl flooring is hard to repair, tends to turn yellow, develops hard-to-remove rubber stains, and is not the best choice for people's health or the environment.
We leave the decision about vinyl basement flooring to you and your priorities.
Engineered Wood Flooring or Laminate
Hardwood is rarely a good choice for a basement. Laminate flooring, made from engineered wood and an artificial or natural wood veneer, is only somewhat better.
Even the best laminate flooring is subject to moisture damage, so if you use it at all, it shouldn't be in an unfinished or semi-finished area, such as a laundry room. For any basement laminate flooring installations, we recommend using a moisture barrier.
Rubber flooring comes in rolls, mats, or interlocking floor tiles. It is shock-resistant, waterproof, and easy to clean. It would be well-suited for a play area, home gym, or a portion of it dedicated to pets (such as a litter box or feeding area).
While you probably wouldn't want to use rubber flooring in your living room, dining room, or bedrooms, it's excellent for an unfinished or semi-finished basement.
If you use waterproof paint on a concrete floor, it could make the concrete more resistant to moisture from the walls, soil, or a leaky water heater or HVAC component. There are many types of basement floor paint to choose from.
Although floor paint does very little for the floor's look or feel, it can go a long way towards sealing and protecting your concrete floor.
Did you know that some carpeting comes in either rolls or tiles? The latter would be good to use in a basement, since, if part of it is damaged, it's easy to replace one or a few tiles without getting rid of all of them.
If you have a professionally finished basement, carpeting can make it feel like a comfortable living space, as with any room on your home's main floors. However, there are a few precautions and recommendations to consider:
- Use synthetic carpet, not carpet made from natural fibers like cotton or wool.
- Use a carpet pad for comfort in a finished basement.
- Use only indoor/outdoor carpeting in any unfinished parts of your basement.
- If your basement is subject to leaking or flooding, consider one of the floor paints discussed above in place of a carpet.
- If you decide you need carpeting anywhere in your basement, select carefully. Carpet can be a terrific enhancement in the right place.
However, you must remember that basements are, by definition, underground— where there's the risk of moisture and, subsequently, mold.
Choosing the Best Basement Floor for You
We've gone over the most common basement flooring materials, but the final choice remains with the homeowners and their needs.
For help deciding, as you're going over your best basement flooring options, ask yourself, your family, a contractor or handyman, or a salesperson these questions:
- What will be the primary use for the area you're covering, and how protected from moisture will it be?
- How waterproof is the material in case of excess moisture or a flood?
- Which is the best basement flooring material for the environment and your family's health?
- How durable will the flooring material be?
- How easy is it to repair if damaged?
- What do product reviews say about it?
- What kind of warranty does it have—including material and installation?
- No doubt, you will have additional questions about your basement flooring options. Feel free to let us know if we can help.
The Best Flooring for Basements: Summarized
The best basement flooring options might be any recommended or installed by basement flooring professionals.
When all is said and done, their experience selecting the best basement flooring for basements far exceeds that of the average consumer. And, besides, it's our job.
If you have flooring-related questions, don't hesitate to get in touch. We can advise you on the basement (or other) flooring materials that would best meet your needs.