Basement Flooring Ideas

A basement floor must withstand a lot of wear and tear, especially if it’s used as a family room. The floor’s durability is also important because moisture can cause it to deteriorate over time.

Laminate flooring is a good choice for a basement, but it requires a foam underlayment that protects against moisture. For a more cost-effective flooring solution, consider self-adhesive carpet tiles that can be applied directly to the concrete.

Concrete

Concrete has become an emergent basement flooring material that is both modern and functional. When stained, painted, or epoxied, it can create a beautiful surface for a workout room, home office, workshop or playroom. Concrete is an economical choice because it doesn’t require a subfloor, and can be easily refinished when needed.

The key to successful concrete refinishing is proper prep and drying time. Many concrete stains, dyes and paints come in water-based, non-toxic formulas that don’t emit harmful fumes, and are suitable for a basement environment.

Concrete is a common choice for basement floor materials, but it can be cold and uninviting in a living space. This type of floor can be painted to make it a more appealing and comfortable surface, but it is important to properly prepare the concrete before painting. This will include patching any cracks and treating it if there is a problem with moisture.

If you’re looking to dress it up a bit, try acid stain, which creates color in the concrete through a chemical process rather than painting the surface with latex. The stain can also cover imperfections, and you can use throw rugs or carpet tiles to add warmth and softness.

For a more traditional look, Cutler recommends slate or stone tiles. These types of flooring are durable and cool underfoot, and can handle the moisture of a basement. “It’s also a good idea to install an electric radiant-heat system before laying the tile,” he says.

Bamboo

Bamboo flooring has been around for a few decades and closely resembles other engineered wood products, though it’s made from a plant. The raw bamboo grass is boiled and steamed to remove starches, then dried and sliced or shredded into strips that are pressed together with resin binders. The result is flooring that’s durable and looks like hardwood, and it can be woven or stranded for more of a natural look.

Environmentally conscious consumers appreciate bamboo as a fully renewable material. While it takes decades for a tree to mature for lumber, bamboo can be harvested in five to seven years and quickly regrows. This reduces your carbon footprint and helps to preserve hardwood forests, and bamboo floors are a good choice for anyone who wants a natural look in their basement. But bamboo is still susceptible to moisture, so make sure it has a waterproof underlayment. It’s also a poor choice in spaces prone to flooding or standing water.

Cork

Cork is a popular floor material for basements. It’s durable and comfortable to walk on, especially for people who spend a lot of time standing. It’s also environmentally friendly. Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree without harming the tree, and it’s a renewable resource. The material is hypoallergenic and mildew resistant, emits low VOC levels, and resists dents.

Cork comes in tiles or click-together planks, with a variety of colors and patterns to choose from. A durable urethane coating gives it protection against spills and stains. To keep a cork floor looking its best, periodically recoat it with polyurethane.

Unlike some wood-based materials, cork floors are highly resistant to humidity. Nevertheless, cork must be laid over a concrete slab with a moisture barrier. It should be allowed to acclimate in the basement for a week or so before installation.

Cork flooring is easy to maintain. It’s stain-resistant, but spills should be wiped up immediately. The natural color of cork is light tan, but it’s available in a wide range of tones. Its variegated pattern helps mask scuff marks and scratches. Pet nails can scratch or pierce the floor, so it’s a good idea to have them kept short. To protect the floor from sunlight, consider installing window blinds or curtains. A dehumidifier in drier climates and an air conditioner in humid ones will help regulate the moisture level that can affect a cork floor.

Other Flooring Options

Brick pavers are a popular flooring option that can help give your basement an artsy touch while being easy to maintain. They are made from the same material as brick walls, but they are thinner and designed for installation over concrete floors. They are available in a variety of shapes and colors, making it easy to find the right one to match your interior design. They also resist stains, which makes them a good choice for any area that may be subject to spills or moisture.

Rubber flooring is another inexpensive option that can be installed on a concrete slab. It is often seen in health clubs and playrooms, as it is waterproof, stain-resistant, and provides a soft surface that helps to absorb noise. This type of flooring is usually available in interlocking tiles or rolls and is easy to install, though proper subfloor preparation is essential. The color variations of the tiles can hide dirt well, but it is still a good idea to sweep or vacuum frequently.

Vinyl wood flooring planks are another alternative that mimics the appearance of hardwood, while remaining impervious to moisture. It can be installed directly over the concrete, but it’s important to prepare the basement floor properly before doing so. Some vinyl floors have a rigid foam insulation layer attached to the underside of the floor that provides a thermal break between concrete and flooring. These flooring options are available in a wide range of colors and designs, and are easy to install over a concrete floor using a floating installation method.