The house basement ain’t your normal above grade floor. It carries the most moisture and humidity problem in your house. Moisture poses a challenge when installing the basement floor.
The great news is there a list of options available for getting a great basement floor. The below-grade floor is trickier than any other parts of your house. In this article, we look at different best basement flooring options on different environmental conditions.
Best Basement Flooring Options
Basement has many flooring options depending on the precautions you take during the basement floor installation. Properly installed basement flooring should be able to withstand high traffic, moisture, and the test of time.
Below-grade here doesn’t stand for substandard flooring materials, but for the ground level. We will answer the following questions as we look at each of these basement flooring options. Which are the best-wet basement flooring option? Best waterproof basement flooring? Inexpensive basement flooring ideas? Best flooring for basement that floods?
Here is a list of several available best flooring options for you.
Solid and engineered wood provide dimensionally stable basement flooring. Both can be installed in uneven concrete. Wood provides good sound absorption and it is attractive although it is very expensive and requires subfloor.
Solid wood may not be good water-resistant. But engineered wood provides a different flooring, able to resist a limited amount of moisture and water.
Use of floor underlayment can improve the wood floor ability to handle moisture content on basement floor. However, for engineered wood flooring it select below grade basements click together tiles and planks.
Solid and engineered wood-floor (laminate and vinyl flooring) is not good for the basement floor with damp conditions and high humidity. They both warp, buckle, or even de-laminate when they absorb moisture.
Carpets are available in different quality ranging from heavy-duty to less durable. Carpets are good for basement flooring with the exception of flooding and high water moisture. If your basement is dry, carpet can give you reliable service for decades. Select one of the best area rugs for your basement.
Be prepared to replace the entire carpet in event of flooding, broken pipes or even malfunctioning water system. Carpets dry slowly and easily develop mold and mildew. They also feel mushy and uncomfortable when wet. However, carpets improve sound quality, provides the warmest flooring, good for kids and less expensive.
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile Flooring
Ceramic or porcelain tiles provide the best basement flooring option. It is very attractive, require no more finishing, remains undamaged and in case of flooding, doesn’t rot. It provides a good option for uneven flooring.
Is vinyl plank flooring good for basements? Vinyl is a great basement flooring for an extra living room, laundry room or workshop. Vinyl is easy to install without the need for adhesives. It is attractive, highly durable and allows easy flow of air underneath to the sub-floor.
Currently, there are 100% waterproof vinyl flooring that is ultra-durable and good for flooding spaces. They also require low or no maintenance and are even perfect for uneven or imperfect sub-floors.
Laminate flooring is an attractive nowadays due to improved graphics and deep embossing. However, it’s susceptible to moisture and flooring problems. Laminate swells up to and never returns as a result of the water problem.
Currently, the waterproof laminate is good for your basement since it does not swell. It does also have good sound absorption qualities. Engineered wood and laminate made of moisture resistance core works well for the below-grade floor.
Concrete is one of the hardy moisture basement flooring options available. It can be stained or painted to make it attractive. However, its the coldest has poor sound absorption and require intensive cleaning. What is the best flooring to put over concrete? Many homeowners do put area rugs, tiles, or rubber on top of it to overcome the concrete drawbacks.
The Stone or concrete floor slab is porous and prone to water vapor and moisture damage. However, in many cases it doesn’t have direct damage to the slab but enhances the growth of mold and mildew underneath the basement flooring.
What is the best basement flooring option over uneven concrete? Installing an underlayment with a vapor barrier under the flooring will help to improve its resistance to the water moisture. Sheet plastic roll is also a good moisture barrier for a concrete slab. Painting with epoxy coating or paints that are made specifically for moisture-prone areas to help improve concrete permeability. Tiles, laminate, and vinyl flooring are good options to install on top of uneven concrete.
Cork provides a soft and warm flooring to walk on as well as good sound absorption. Cork is prone to deterioration and subject to damage in cases of water and flooding. It may also require the installation of a sub-floor system.
Can the rubber be good for my basement? Is rubber flooring good for basements? Rubber tiles are commonly used in gyms, garages, dance, studios, pools and martial arts rooms. In case these are some of the uses you want to put your basement, yes rubber becomes a good preference.
Roll rubber and interlocking tiles provide maximum installation, soft surface, and its good against moisture and flooding. Aesthetically, it may not be the best for your living room although currently there is a lot of improvement.
It is available in sheets and a DIYs friendly tiles with interlocking edges. Rubber flooring provides a nice aesthetic and great choice for basements floor. It’s a great flooring where basements will be used as a garage, playroom, or even as a gym-for exercise flooring.
Things to Consider When Selecting Basement Flooring
- Is my basement prone to flooding? This will definitely give an idea of what to look for. Waterproof or water-resistant flooring or even one that is easily replaceable without digging deep into your pocket would be ideal.
- How will I use my basement for? You may be planning to use it as a gym, laundry room, bathroom, movie room, or even study or playroom for the kids. This will enable you to decide the kind of comfort you wish to achieve.
- Who will install my basement floor? You may be DIY kind of a person or have decided to hire a flooring expert. This will definitely determine if to go for easy to install the material or otherwise.
Tips for Below Grade Floor
- Tile and concrete do outperform soft flooring materials in below-grade areas.
- Inorganic materials are a good choice for the below-grade floor than its organic material counterpart. However, Inorganic materials enhance the growth of mold and mildew but don’t deteriorate, whereas the organic will enhance grow mold and rot away in a wet basement.
- Monolithic floor tends to be easier to dry out without trapping a lot of moisture compared with a multi-layered floor system.
Sources and References
Rubber: What is Rubber Flooring?