Table of Contents
- 3 Best Options for Basement Flooring
- Basement Flooring to Avoid
- Get New Basement Floors With 50Floor
How to Choose the Best Basement Flooring
Updating your basement is an exciting project. The flooring you choose significantly impacts how the finished space looks and feels. Selecting a basement flooring differs from picking a floor for any other room. You’ll likely find some trade-offs if you want to complete your basement on a budget, but understanding the options will get you far in choosing the best flooring for your basement.
What Is Below-Grade Flooring?
If you’ve ever shopped at a hardware store or flooring retailer, you’ve most likely noticed the term “below-grade.” Below-grade flooring simply refers to flooring suitable for rooms below the ground floor of a home, namely the basement.
Contractors will use this phrase during the planning and installation process to determine the best type of basement flooring. They use their judgment to decide which materials are better for upper-level floors due to the heaviness and water absorption of some tiles and panels. During your consultation with a flooring professional, they can give you insight into the types of below-grade floors that help keep the room warm and the flooring even.
The Basement’s Purpose: Considerations to Keep in Mind
The first thing to solidify is your vision for the basement overall. What will you use it for, and who will spend time there? A playroom for your kids will need different flooring than you would want for a basement living unit you plan to rent. Common uses for basements include family rooms, home gyms, offices or just plain storage and laundry.
Your specific preferences and desired purpose regarding basement flooring options, from comfort to material, can impact which floor type is best for you. Take a look at the following considerations you should keep in mind to determine which floors would work best in your basement.
If comfort is at the top of your list of priorities, carpet is the best choice for your basement. It features fluffy microfibers and offers soft padding for anything that comes into contact with the floor. This option is best for homes with small children playing on these floors for multiple hours a day.
The temperature in your basement can impact what type of flooring is most comfortable when you relax downstairs. If you notice the temperature drops when you get to the bottom floor, you may enjoy having a carpeted floor that can absorb heat. If your basement tends to be mild or warm, luxury vinyl, tile and engineered hardwood are better choices. These flooring options offer various styles to fit your aesthetic while handling well under different temperature levels.
Does your basement feel muggy or humid throughout the day? The moisture in the air can make the atmosphere feel sticky and impact your floor’s quality. If your basement has high moisture levels, luxury vinyl flooring and engineered hardwood are your go-to choices — they absorb fewer water molecules than other flooring options.
If your basement is prone to flooding, choosing non-absorbant flooring like tile and luxury vinyl can help keep water out of the subfloor. Both options will save you significant money each year if storms, broken pipes and other unpredictable circumstances impact your floor’s life span and quality.
How Do Subfloors Affect Basement Flooring?
Subfloors are the material that separates your home’s floor joists from the floor itself. This layer helps support the floorboards you install in your home and directly impacts the basement floor’s quality.
A subfloor’s flat surface makes it easier to install floors without worrying about an uneven lower layer. Further, the floor joists sit directly over the ground where your house is and can sometimes bring colder temperatures to the floor’s surface. Subfloors help keep these temperatures below the joists so you can walk freely throughout your basement without getting cold.
What Is an Underlayment and Why Do You Need It?
Unlike subfloors, underlayments aren’t always necessary when installing floors in your basement. However, there are several benefits of using this extra layer underneath your floor tiles or panels. Underlayment goes on top of the subfloor and underneath the surface floor. This added layer helps regulate the temperature from below the house and absorbs the sounds in the room.
If you enjoy having a warmer basement, adding an underlayment during the floor installation process can help regulate these temperatures for a more comfortable room. Thanks to the extra underlayment layer, you can enjoy a space that doesn’t echo or reverberate sounds.
The 3 Best Options for Basement Flooring
You’ve got a lot of options to choose from when it comes to flooring your basement. We’ve narrowed the field to three of the most suitable choices and broken them down to their most essential benefits to help you clarify which basement flooring ideas fit your needs and vision.
1. Luxury Vinyl Planks and Tiles
If you’re after a more high-end look, luxury vinyl can be the way to go if you choose planks or tiles. This type of flooring is often called engineered luxury vinyl. This floor style is similar to laminate floors in terms of installation. Any handy individual should have a reasonably simple time installing it if they have the right subfloor.
Luxury vinyl planks are a floating floor type, meaning you don’t need to worry about gluing or nailing them down to the subfloor. Instead, luxury vinyl planks or tiles have tongues and grooves, allowing you to fit them together easily, board to board.
This type of plank is an excellent choice for basements as it can stand up well to moisture. Be aware that if you install luxury vinyl planks on a concrete subfloor, you’ll need a vapor barrier in between. The planks and tiles are waterproof, but if there’s no barrier, water can fill up and get trapped within the space between the subfloor and the luxury vinyl.
Luxury Vinyl Benefits
Luxury vinyl makes excellent basement flooring for nearly any application. This material looks like hardwood but has a soft enough touch for home gyms and other basement floor ideas.
Additional benefits of luxury vinyl include:
- Mimics hardwood in look and feel: Luxury vinyl can replicate the appearance of natural materials like woodgrains and stone at a portion of the cost.
- Offers waterproof qualities: Luxury vinyl flooring can hold up against spills, leaks, splashes and messes for up to 72 hours, providing great protection in high-moisture spaces.
- Lasts for a long time: Luxury vinyl is one of the industry’s most durable materials, making it an excellent option for high-traffic areas in your home.
Of all the options for your basement, carpeted flooring materials and installation are almost always the least expensive. If you have a lot of ground to cover and budget is your main priority, carpet can be a great option. Subfloors that aren’t entirely smooth or level benefit from carpet, as it can hide unevenness.
Carpeting is suitable for cold basements, as this material is significantly warmer than hard options like tile. In addition to warmth, carpet offers a softness that makes basement bedrooms or family rooms feel luxurious and cozy. If you need flooring for your basement stairs, carpet is the safest option as it offers more traction than hard surfaces.
If you live in an area where moisture is common, a waterproof flooring option like luxury vinyl may be a better choice than carpet. However, if your basement has only minor problems with moisture, carpet cushioning designed with a moisture barrier can be effective.
Carpet comes in various styles, from Berber and frieze to plush and smooth Saxony. Here are some of the additional advantages of basement carpet:
- Most affordable option: Carpet generally costs less than most other flooring options, including the labor for installation and maintenance.
- More warmth and comfort: Textiles like cotton, nylon and wool add insulation properties to your home.
- Works well for uneven subfloors: The depth of the carpet’s padding helps balance uneven subfloors and provides plenty of cushioning.
3. Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood contains several layers of wood compacted tightly together. This type of flooring has layers perpendicular to each other, which minimizes the expansion and contraction the wood undergoes.
You can easily install engineered hardwood flooring on a concrete subfloor with glue, or you can float them. This basement flooring needs a smooth subfloor to work. If the subfloor is uneven, the hardwood planks will start to pull away, and the adhesive will lose effectiveness.
Another element to consider is moisture. If your basement is frequently damp, a dehumidifier can work wonders in preserving your engineered hardwood floor.
Engineered Hardwood Benefits
Engineered hardwood is versatile and can maintain its shape without flexing, warping or bending when exposed to humidity. Additional benefits include:
- Looks extremely high-end: Engineered hardwood provides an elegant appearance similar to natural wood at a much lower cost.
- Boosts your home’s value: This flooring option adds significant value to your investment if you decide to sell your home later.
- Dependable performance: Technologically advanced materials provide humidity resistance and structural stability for decades.
Basement Flooring to Avoid
Although the best flooring for basements is all listed above, your eye may wander to other options that aren’t suitable for this area of your home. If you find yourself considering the following floor types, you should know why they aren’t the best choice for your basement.
1. Cork Flooring
While the soft feel and eco-friendly qualities of cork floors work well in many areas of a home, the basement is not one of them. The edges of a cork floor are difficult to seal, so even though the floor is resistant to moisture overall, issues can easily crop up around the rim of the basement. It’s not a terrible option, but it does pose a risk you may not want to take on.
2. Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo is often mistaken for hardwood, but it isn’t. As one of the cheapest options around, you get what you pay for with bamboo floors. Bamboo is susceptible to scratches and dents, a quality that makes it unsuitable for any area you plan to use regularly. Above all, it doesn’t stand up to moisture at all.
Basement Flooring Inspiration
For basement flooring options that add as much style as they do durability, you can use several inspiration ideas with carpet, luxury vinyl planks and tiles, and engineered hardwood floors. Take a look at the following tips for colors and styles to add your aesthetic to your basement.
The hues you choose for your basement flooring can significantly affect the room’s appearance. Light colors are perfect for basements because they create the illusion of a larger, more open area for you, your family and your guests to enjoy.
Shades of beige, yellow, light brown, white and light gray can offer a beautiful base for the rest of your furniture and wall colors to stand out. These colors look great with any of the flooring options mentioned above, so you have lots of creative freedom to work with when you start planning.
Make your basement come to life with various design options, from carpets to tile floors. The options above can resemble real marble, stone, wood and geometric shapes for added flair. Even carpets can come in different textures for a minimalistic pattern. Since basements tend to be larger spaces in the home, you can choose subtle designs that make the room feel more open or create consistent styles of planks, squares, hexagons and other unique shapes.
Discover Options for Basement Flooring With 50Floor
Flooring your basement is a big decision you want to enjoy for years to come, so choosing a flooring company you can trust is essential. 50Floor goes above and beyond to ensure our materials and installation are the best in the business. We price-match identical products, so you know you’re getting the best deal. Our low overhead means our prices are sometimes up to 80 percent lower than competitors.
Our manufacturers are the best of the best and back it up with comprehensive flooring warranties. On top of that, we offer our one-year installation warranty, so you have confidence and peace of mind that we’ll install your floor to all current standards. We only work with vetted installation professionals to ensure your home is in good hands.
Service is essential to 50Floor, and we do everything we can to make flooring your basement simple and painless. Don’t spend hours driving around to flooring stores. We come to you with an array of excellent options for you to compare during our free appointments. When it’s time for installation, we’ll cover the details, from moving your furniture to cleaning up afterward.
If you’re ready to update your basement with high-quality flooring, 50Floor is at your service. Fill out our contact form with your information and details about your flooring project, and we’ll schedule an appointment as soon as the next day. With 50Floor, you’ll get the best options for basement flooring.