Whether your basement is already finished or still needs to be, it offers endless options in its unclaimed space. If you intend to use your basement, you will need to choose the best possible flooring option for your space.
The choice you make for your basement flooring is an important one that faces a few more challenges than the rest of your home. There are several reasons to take extra consideration when deciding.
First, your basement may be a safe place for mold and mildew to grow. These two dangerous items thrive on natural products like hardwoods.
Further, once mold and mildew take root on a surface like wood floors in a damp basement environment, they can quickly spread to anything stored or resting on the floors.
Now that we have scared you away from natural flooring options like hardwoods, we can offer some solace: There are plenty of options for your basements, regardless of how damp it is!
Here are some appropriate options for your basement flooring and a little about each one. This guide should make it easier to narrow down your selection.
A vapor barrier can help
Your basement flooring should be suited for the typical basement environment. Otherwise, you will be destined to replace the floors sooner than later.
Floor tiles featuring a vapor barrier are a great option in basements. They come in a wide range of options including carpet and natural-looking finishes.
These tiles rest on a plastic base that allows space between the concrete basement floor and the flooring material itself. This airflow is ideal for avoiding the environment that encourages mold or mildew to grow.
This option is also economical, as self-installation is a breeze and the typical price point is low. Care and maintenance are also quite simple. Snap the troublesome piece out and clean or replace it as needed. The floating-stye floor tiles can also help in basements with uneven floors.
These products are synthetic and can contain volatile organic compounds (VOC) or other chemicals. Eco-conscious customers should ask their flooring experts about environmentally friendly options.
Float above the concrete
A floating floor does not require any form of magic. The term simply references any flooring that is neither glued nor nailed to a subfloor – the floor rests on top of the subfloor.
Floating floors provide the opportunity to add a moisture barrier between the concrete floor and your basement flooring. If you decide on a floating floor, take the extra step of adding the moisture barrier. You will not regret it!
Of course, not every type and style of a floating floor is best suited for basements. Many options will work well, including:
- Carpet tiles
- Engineered wood floors
- Vinyl tiles
- Vinyl plank floors
Of note, cork flooring can retain moisture. Ask your flooring expert about sealing cork floors to make them more suitable for basements.
Carpet tiles are a popular choice amongst homeowners who plan to turn their basements into a playroom or cozier space.
When you peruse the above options, stick to flooring options marked as waterproof or water-resistant. Make it known that the flooring is for use in a basement and that you want it to be sealed, if possible.
Glazed ceramic tiles are durable and water-resistant
The words durable and water-resistant certainly describe an ideal flooring material for basements. Glazed ceramic tiles prevent water penetration, making them perfect for potential damp environments.
You may be picturing a bland, square tile that only comes in white or terra-cotta colors. This is not the case! Ceramic tiles come in a vast array of colors and textures (including wood-like looks).
It is also recommended to use the opportunity to install a water barrier underneath any basement ceramic tile installation.
The only vulnerability for ceramic tiles in your basement is the grout that holds the tiles together. Many types of grout are susceptible to mold or mildew (think about tile showers and the mildew that grows there). However, you can maintain the grout with a sealant and avoid the potential for mold and mildew.
Some homeowners are wary of the cold, hard surface that ceramic tile flooring creates. This can be remedied with the strategic placement of rugs but is an understandable drawback to consider when purchasing flooring.
Keep your basement floors in their natural state
If ease, costs, and maintenance are all major factors in your flooring choice, sealed concrete floors may be the option for you.
An epoxy sealant is ideal for sealing concrete basement floors. It is a water repellant and its impermeability is perfect to repel bacteria. Epoxy sealed floors are as low-maintenance as floors can be.
Epoxy is also capable of keeping your concrete basement floor from forming unsightly cracks and staining. You can select from many colors and textures, making it suitable from a design perspective.
All four of these options are great for the typically damp basement setting. Ask about pricing and your particular basement to help narrow your choices further.