Many basements have a bare cement floor that is both cold and unwelcoming. When creating a useable and liveable space in the basement it may be necessary to apply flooring over this cement to improve the warmth and comfort within the space. Basements, however, have a few considerations that other areas in the home may not have, including potential leaks, changing temperatures throughout the year that create condensation, and the uses of the basement which may include a home gym or a recreation area. For all of these concerns there are a few options that are best suited to the basement including engineered wood, ceramic tiles, vinyl flooring, cork flooring, or carpet.
Hardwood, Tile, or Vinyl
Engineered wood can present an appearance very similar to hardwood floors but will require less maintenance and is less likely to be damaged if dampness occurs. Due to the plywood base it can withstand some damp conditions and the veneer will maintain an appealing appearance, but it can be difficult to remove if it does become damaged.
Using a ceramic tile will provide an easy to clean surface that can be applied to the concrete without need of subflooring or other steps between them. They are able to be installed where in floor heating is present and will conduct the warmth throughout the floor well, though it’s ability to conduct heat also applies to the cold that will come from the concrete beneath where in floor heating is not present. It is well suited to areas that may become wet or flood, but will be slippery when wet so spills must be cleaned quickly, and shoes or slippers may be needed.
Vinyl flooring comes in many different patterns and prints so there is one to suit almost any style. It requires specific preparations to stick well to the floor below so may require a professional to install, but the material itself is affordable and will wear well. It can last several years with minimal maintenance and care, and can do well in a flood when compared to other flooring options.
Maintenance & Longevity
When looking for a flooring material that can stand up well to wear and prevents mold and mildew, cork flooring should be considered. It insulates well which will make it warmer to walk on then some other choices, is and environmentally friendly option, and once sealed will require minimal maintenance that includes applying a finish every ten years. It is more easily damaged by furniture and can be dented, but will stand up well to regular use.
For basement floors that are dry and with no history of damp conditions or flooding, carpet can be a good choice for flooring. It is warmer than other options, though will require a sub-floor and underpadding during installation. It will require regular care and to be kept dry as much as possible.
When selecting a floor for your basement it is important to consider your individual needs and preferences. Select on that will be suited to the use of the space, for the people who will be using it, and that is suitable for any damp conditions that can occur.