Everyone wants to make the most of their home’s square footage, and enhancing your basement’s potential as a viable living space is an excellent way to do just that. To make your basement the space of your dreams, you’ll need to start at the bottom.Choosing the right flooring has different rules in a basement than it does in other rooms; if you make the wrong selection, it could be potentially disastrous. That’s why we’ve laid the groundwork to give you the best basement flooring ideas for your home.There are many more options available for suitable flooring in your below-ground space than in years past. Note: When you begin shopping around, you’ll notice the term “below grade.”Don’t let this concern you; it simply means that the material is meant for underground or basement installation.Keep an eye out for this term as you weigh your flooring options. Manufacturers are well aware that consumers want products that are stylish and sustainable, innovative and eco-friendly, and the basement flooring market is no exception.
How Do You Plan to Use Your Basement?
This is the initial question to ask yourself. If you want to use your basement for a work area or a game room, you’ll want flooring that’s durable and easy to clean, such as stained concrete, vinyl or linoleum. Plan to make your basement a more cozy living space? Look to laminate, carpet or cork.This is also the time to do a little soul-searching about how much maintenance you’re willing to do on your flooring. If you want the quickest, most inexpensive surface, simply paint your concrete floor. Keep in mind, though, that it will wear in high-traffic areas and may need to be redone every few years.Perhaps you want basement flooring that could outlast your house. If so, ceramic tile may be the way to go. It’s simply a matter of preference and budget. It’s your house, your money and your workload — so do what feels right to you.
Basement Flooring Ideas
The choices that you will experience are far more sophisticated and stylish than you might expect. There are practically as many options for your basement as there are for any other level of your house. The one flooring to stay away from is solid wood, because of its susceptibility to changes in temperature and humidity.Solid wood flooring is expensive, and the risk of it warping and cracking in a basement install makes it a big risk that is probably not worth taking. If your heart is set on a wood look, don’t despair; many of the options listed below will satisfy your woodgrain desires.Browse through our flooring gallery and read on to learn more about preparing your basement for new flooring. Installation costs listed below are general guidelines for professional work; consult service providers in your area for specific quotes.
Engineered wood is a thin veneer of solid wood that is attached to a plywood core. Style choices in this department are vast, and the long-lasting, easy-to-clean, easy-to-install options have many opting for this fabricated flooring. The cost per square foot, depending on the style selected, with installation costs adding per square foot.
Similar to engineered wood, laminate flooring consists of a plastic resin veneer attached to a plywood core. Laminate can be deceiving, as many samples resemble real wood, ceramic tile or stone, making it desirable for those on a tighter budget who still want the upscale look of natural materials.As as a bonus, many varieties offer moisture and mold resistance, making it a perfect choice for damp basements. The cost is per square foot, and installation is an additional per square foot.
Tile remains a popular basement flooring choice thanks to its durability and vast style options. In addition to the broad range of natural patterns available, ceramic tile is suitable for its water-repellent nature, but it can get slippery if condensation occurs, so consider an anti-slip finish.The cost for ceramic tile is per square foot, depending on the style selected; installation is an additional per square foot.
For the DIYer or those on a budget, vinyl tile is a great choice. The tiles come in numerous patterns and colors to fit every decor, and self-stick options allow for easy installation and replacement. The cost is per square foot, with installation an additional per square foot.
The popularity of this soft, breathable, eco-friendly material is on the rise. Cork is naturally resistant to bacteria and water, making it an ideal choice for damp basements.Cork may show scratches and heavy wear and tear, so be sure to consider lifestyle beforehand. However, it is relatively inexpensive to replace. The cost per square foot, and installation is an additional per square foot.
If you desire sustainability on a budget, linoleum may be the choice for you. Available in many rich colors and patterns, this flooring is long-lasting, naturally antibacterial and easy to maintain. Plus, it’s eco-friendly (made from linseed oil) and resistant to mold and moisture. It costs per square foot, and installation is an additional per square foot.
The idea of carpet in a basement may make some people cringe, but its warmth and wide variety of styles and budget options still make it a popular basement flooring option. While some worry about carpets’ susceptibility to moisture, moisture-resistant pads are available, and many synthetic below-grade carpets offer mold and mildew resistance.If you worry about stains and spills, then consider carpet squares or tiles, which allow for easier installation and replacement. The cost is per square foot for the carpet and per square foot for the pad, plus installation for an additional per square foot.
Best-Laid Plans (and Flooring)
No matter how well you prepare your area, there is always a chance of overflow. If your basement is prone to overflow, make sure the ground slopes around your foundation to help water run away from your structure; install a sump pump (as well as a backup); and choose flooring products that can get wet.Moisture tests should be done on your concrete slab. Any result above 10 percent should prompt you to investigate and resolve the cause.Dehumidifiers, sealants, vapor barriers and subfloors are all potential fixes for a damp basement. Keep in mind that a raised subfloor can create its own problems in the matter of a overflow by allowing a new micro-climate (and mold and bugs) to thrive between the concrete and flooring. If you have a basement and your basement overflows, the basement will most likely have to be removed.
Your best-laid plans (and flooring) can be a gamble in a basement. Pipes break, overflows happen, and moisture invades. Make sure your new flooring is reflected in your homeowners insurance. By choosing flooring that can withstand some moisture or can be easily removed and replaced, you are giving yourself the best of both worlds: a finished basement floor and peace of mind.The flooring choices that you have for your basement are almost limitless. By examining what you want your space to be used for, the realities of your basement and our basement flooring ideas, you can create a living or working area that increases the value of your home — from the bottom up.