Basement Flooring Options and Ideas
Just as if you were choosing floor coverings for your living room or kitchen spaces, there are several options available when it comes to basement flooring.
Any type of floor covering will work in this area, since most people wipe their feet off on a mat before entering the house. "If it's a high-traffic house with several kids and pets, I'd be more concerned with scratching (the flooring) than moisture," Jennings says. "Hardwood's still a good look for many homes, as well as ceramic tiles."
The most private room in the house is still the domain of carpet, which dampens sound and feels softer underfoot than other floor coverings. "Carpet is textile for the floor," Jennings says. "The construction of the fiber itself dictates how it performs underfoot. Choosing plush pile versus Berber is a cosmetic choice. Someone older, who's more tentative on their feet, wants a firm feel underneath, so a harder finished carpet is best to avoid slippage." Image courtesy of Shaw Floors
While carpet is a popular choice for the bedroom, wood flooring, whether hardwood, engineered or laminate, can be a great alternative for a guest bedroom if you're looking to add style. Choose a warm color and a defined texture to up the coziness factor. Add a premium underlayment for maximum sound reduction. Image courtesy of Pergo
Water splashed from the tub or shower and the high humidity in this room require flooring that won't be affected by moisture. Laminates and hardwood floors, which absorb moisture, aren't recommended, but ceramic tile is a good choice. And if you use natural stone or marble, seal them with a protective coating. Image courtesy of Daltile
When watching television and movies or listening to music, the acoustics of a room are a factor. You don't want to disturb others in adjoining rooms, and at the same time you want to enjoy hearing what you're listening to. Carpet and cork are good choices where acoustics count. Avoid hardwood.
Basement and Below Grade
Before installing any flooring option, make sure there are no moisture issues with the concrete slab. If there are, laminate and wood wouldn't be good choices, because they tend to absorb water. Resilient vinyl floors are often used in basements because vinyl is unaffected by moisture and is low maintenance. Engineered wood or laminate flooring, above a moisture barrier, will also work. If moisture isn't an issue, carpet will help keep the room warm.
Wood flooring and tile are popular choices for the kitchen, which may be affected by liquids hitting the floor during cooking, but Tom Jennings, technical adviser and former chairman of the World Floor Covering Association, recommends cork for those who cook a lot. "Cork has a similar finish to laminate but has resiliency, which matters if you're going to be on your feet a lot," he says. Cork is virtually nonabsorbent and moisture-proof, and it won't burn. It comes in many patterns, making for a unique look. Jennings says the problem with using ceramic tile in the kitchen is that it adds weight and thickness to the floor, which can cause clearance issues with the refrigerator or stove areas.
It is first important to decide the purpose of your basement. If you will be using the space primarily as storage area, then you may want to consider an epoxy coating for the space. Not only is this a budget-friendly option for improving the appearance of your basement, but epoxy floor coating comes in a multitude of colors and designs. This allows for a multifunctional space that is resistant to spills and messes that are common in basements.
If you are seeking a more finished look in your basement, then carpeting, ceramic tile or wood floors may be a better choice for you. Carpet will provide a bit of insulation to a room that can otherwise be one of the colder rooms in a home.
Ceramic tile comes in a number of colors and styles, and while it allows for a more refined look in a basement, the surface is easy to clean and requires little maintenance. However, unlike carpet, ceramic tile will only add to the lack of heat that is common to a basement. Therefore, it may be necessary to consider heating options.
Wood floors are also a beautiful basement flooring option. But if they're being installed over concrete, then it will be necessary to choose a kit that allows for the floors to be glued down.
See also: Floor Buying Guide
- Basement Floor Paint Options
- Cork Flooring In Basements
- Waterproof Flooring for Basements
- Laminate Flooring for Basements
- Subfloor Options for Basements
- Best Bets for Basement Lighting
- Basement Finishing Costs
- Basement Storage Tips
- Is Your Family Ready for a Big Storm?
- Finished Basements Add Space and Home Value
- Design a Basement Apartment