Basement Flooring Systems

The ideal basement flooring system is designed to prevent moisture buildup. Get the details on how these systems work and which one is best suited for your home.

Durable Laminate Flooring

Durable Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a good choice in high-traffic areas.

Photo by: Geoffrey Hodgdon

Geoffrey Hodgdon

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Given the damp nature of many basements, the best basement flooring systems provide a certain amount of protection from moisture, limiting the chances of water damage. This means that the ideal flooring system choice for any basement is one that includes waterproof flooring or a sealant that locks out water.

Top Flooring Options

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Solid hardwoods are an elegant flooring option that adds depth and unique character to any space. With a wide variety of hardwood types—some of the most popular are red and white oak, maple, cherry, white ash and hickory — hardwood floors can be tailored to your individual taste. Solid wood flooring adds not only to the beauty of a home but to its value as well. Image courtesy of US Floors


Bamboo is a grass, and a fast-growing one at that. It can grow from a tiny sprout to being ready to harvest in just three to five years, which makes it a very eco-friendly flooring option. And fast turnaround isn't the only great thing about this tall shoot. Bamboo is also fire-resistant, comes in easy-to-install planks and is 27 percent harder than Northern red oak and 13 percent harder than hard maple. Image courtesy of US Floors


Similar in appearance to solid hardwood, engineered hardwood is composed of a core of hardwood, plywood or high-density fiberboard and a top layer of hardwood veneer that's available in almost any species. Three to seven layers of the materials are then glued and compressed under high pressure and heat to create flooring that's not only sturdy but completely resistant to humidity as well. Because of this, they're perfectly suited to parts of the home where humidity and heat could be detrimental to solid hardwood floors, such as the kitchen and the basement. Image courtesy of Smith and Fong Flooring


Composed of materials like linseed oil, cork, limestone, wood flour and tree resins, linoleum is extremely durable, low-maintenance and comes in many patterns and colors. Available in sheets or more intricate cuts, linoleum can complement almost any home style.


All-natural marmoleum is a renewable resource — composed of recycled materials that are beneficial to the environment. Unlike linoleum, marmoleum is resistant to dust and dirt, making it allergen-free, and doesn't have a strong odor. Available in sheets or tiles, marmoleum is low-maintenance and makes a reliable choice for high-traffic areas.


Natural stone tile is timeless and exudes organic beauty. No two tiles are the same, and they come in a wide array of choices, including granite, slate, marble, travertine, limestone and onyx. Stone tile is easy to clean, extremely durable and fire-resistant. Long-lasting and always in style, it can bring a rich and luxurious feel to any home.


The most common floor tile found in residential homes, ceramic tile is easy to maintain and extremely durable if properly cared for. Ceramic tiles come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, finishes and colors, which make this type of flooring easily compatible with almost any design style. Another benefit of ceramic floor tiles is that it's finished with a durable glaze. Glazes come in high-gloss, semigloss and matte formats and make the floor water-resistant and easy to clean.


Because it can duplicate the look of hardwood, natural stone and many other types of flooring, laminate is a great option for those on a budget who still desire an upscale look. Laminate is durable, low-maintenance and can be fitted over almost any subfloor, making it a practical but visually appealing flooring choice. Image courtesy of Alloc Tile


All-natural cork flooring comes from the cork oak, a native of the Mediterranean region, and naturally splits from the tree every nine to 15 years. Because there’s no harm to the trees, cork flooring is very environmentally-friendly. It's also hypoallergenic and resistant to mold and mildew. Because of air that's trapped inside the cells of the cork, cork flooring is also soft and forgiving, so it's perfect for families with young children or those who just prefer to reduce the amount of vibration and noise in the home. And because cork is a natural product, the variations in tones and shades make it a unique flooring option. Image courtesy of Globus Cork Flooring


With more options to choose from than many other floor coverings offer, carpet is still the principal choice for flooring in the home. The six basic styles of carpet are textured, saxony, frieze, cable, looped, and cut and loop. Thanks to advances in style and texture, these fibers can now blend in well with any home decor.

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Basement subfloors are common choices when installing a basement floor. Subfloors protect the floor by providing a layer of material that separates the concrete pad from the final floor. Without a subfloor, moisture could easily make its way into the basement due to the wicking nature of concrete floors.

You might consider installing a Drylok basement floor. Drylok is an oil- or water-based waterproofing product that is applied to the floor as a waterproofing measure. Drylok protects floors in case of a lea or flood. The product is easily applied with a paint brush or roller, and only requires two coats to properly seal out moisture.

See also: Floor Buying Guide

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