Converting basements from dingy unusable spaces to places worth spending time in does not have to be over-the-top. Simple modifications, like changing the hardwood flooring in Toronto, are usually enough to get the desired transformation, provided you install suitable flooring material for basements. So what is the best flooring for a basement cement floor?
The dampness and low-level nature of basements create the need to choose the flooring type cautiously. Most people opt for concrete, but there are many other basement flooring ideas worth trying if you want a more vibrant space that is easy to maintain. Prioritizing the condition of the basement helps. Review the current state, such as the moisture content, susceptibility to water leaks or flooding, and comfortability.
Other considerations for basement flooring options are:
Moisture: Many basements have high humidity, which means the flooring must have a high moisture resistance capacity. That is the only way to ensure it remains in the best condition for a long time.
Durability: Flooring options for the basement have varying durability levels that you should compare depending on how you intend to use the basement. For instance, the room may serve as a playroom for a short period and last longer as an apartment.
Comfort: Basements can serve multiple purposes other than storage spaces. They can be living rooms, bedrooms, apartments, game rooms, and more. The intended purpose of the basement can help determine the right flooring material in regard to comfort.
Warmth: Being underneath the main living floor is one of the reasons basements have lower temperatures. Cold foundations can also make some materials like tiles colder. Choose flooring that can support the warmth you desire.
Subfloor: The top basement floor covering is only as good as the subflooring underneath. Any poorly installed subfloor can have unleveled surfaces that impact the functionality and durability of the flooring material. Mould is also a threat to subfloors due to the presence of excess moisture. Proper subfloor installation caters to drainage space, insulation, and substrate surface to support the finished flooring. It also eliminates cracks and displacements from shifting ground.
Types of Flooring for Basement Floors
Ceramic tiles are usually one of the go-to basement flooring options over concrete because of their affordability and durability. Other types of tiles are also available, allowing homeowners to choose according to their preferences. Colours and shapes can go with different designs. Tiles are some of the most stain and water-resistant basement flooring materials when glazed. They are also resilient, with the ability to make the basement look elegant.
Potential downsides you should expect include coldness that worsens in winter, meaning you may not walk on the floor barefoot. A soft rug can fix that but may not be sufficient during the colder season. Installation can be challenging if the foundation is imperfect since the material attaches directly to the subfloor. Tiled basement floors require professional placement and can take longer to complete.
Vinyl is an excellent choice when you want waterproof basement flooring. It is available in different styles like planks and tiles, which can be reconstructed to appear like natural wood, stone, or tile. Vinyl is moisture-resistant, lasts long, is cheaper than other flooring materials, and is easy to install. Moisture resistance comes from the PVC material used to make vinyl flooring. Its ability to withstand high foot traffic helps with durability, while its ability to stick directly on a subfloor makes installation faster and simpler. However, vinyl planks can appear like floating floors and may require an underlayment instead of direct placement.
Sheet vinyl is the most affordable option, but cutting the roll into smaller pieces to fit the basement can be time-consuming and tedious. All types of vinyl flooring cannot work on uneven subfloors. Perfect levelling is mandatory, or the imperfections may show through the vinyl flooring.
You can now get various colours and designs that do not look like linoleum, unlike before when the vinyl design was limited. That means you can find a suitable style easily, and replacing individual pieces or planks is uncomplicated in case of damage. That makes vinyl the best flooring for homeowners looking for a reprieve from water issues in basements.
Getting the high-end look and feel of wood on finished flooring is now possible without using natural wood. That is good news because wood is never compatible with basements because of the high humidity levels typical in such places. Some types of engineered wood flooring can be used in the basement.
Engineered wood flooring consists of similar elements as plywood, with a thin layer of real wood glued to composite board or other wood plies. It comes in planks with interlocking edges, and engineered wood flooring specially made for the basement has a long-lasting finish applied by the manufacturer.
This flooring comes in various types with a thickness of no more than half an inch in most. You may find engineered wood flooring that can be placed over a concrete floor but installing it over a subfloor is advisable.
Epoxy flooring for the basement is gradually gaining popularity as its durability and low maintenance appeal to many people. The flooring is a thicker layer of coating similar to paint but easier to clean and has a smoother finish. You can add texture and colour to the finish by spreading sand or plastic flakes on top before the coating dries.
Some disadvantages of epoxy include coldness and hardness. Those elements can work if the basement serves as a workout area, but padding may be necessary if the space is used for family gatherings.
Carpets are comfortable but are not the best flooring to put over concrete in the basement. They lack attributes that can counter dampness, such as moisture resistance. They are also vulnerable to mould growth. However, carpeting can still work in basements if you add moisture-resistant pads. Carpet tiles are also better than wall-to-wall carpeting – replacing them is effortless and initial installation is easy. However, they may not last long like the other flooring types and easily get stained.
Rubber tiles or sheets are a great basement flooring over concrete if the space is a playroom or gym. The layers also work in laundry rooms because of their high resistance to moisture damage. They are durable, easy to clean, and resistant to stains. Installation is simple and possible as a DIY. Although the colours are limited, rubber tiles and sheets are available in multiple colours suitable for various preferences. Note that the flooring has an unpleasant odour when installed. However, the smell wears off over time.
Painting a basement concrete floor is the most straightforward solution if you do not want to add another flooring layer. It is also the cheapest and easiest way of transforming your basement floor without expert assistance. Choosing a suitable paint type is critical for the longevity of the flooring surfaces. Following the manufacturer’s instructions about application and drying time is also essential.
Note: Cork is another option, although it is one of the less popular floor ideas for a basement. It is not susceptible to moisture damage and is resistant to bacteria. It is also soft enough to walk on barefoot comfortably.
What is the Best Flooring Option for a Basement?
The versatility, durability, and waterproof nature of vinyl make it the best flooring for basements with concrete. Vinyl floors can resemble hardwood, ceramic tiles, or any other appearance, making them perfect for basement bathrooms, kitchens, or the whole space. You can even have a mixture of multiple colours for a unique finish.
However, the final decision depends on every homeowner and their preferences. The basement condition and other factors mentioned above can also influence the suitability of the flooring material. Professional input may be valuable when researching the most suitable basement flooring solution.
What is the Best Flooring for Basement Not Level?
Paint is the best solution for unleveled basements. The imperfections can affect the appearance and functionality of the other flooring options, resulting in unsatisfactory finishes that subsequently cost more in repairs.
Changing the floors is one of the most straightforward ways of brightening the basement, and choosing suitable flooring material is the best way to protect your investment. Professional due diligence is essential in making that determination.
We have numerous unfinished basement flooring options you can compare at Hardwood Planet. We also have specialists that can advise you expertly to ensure you get the best return on investment. Schedule a consultation to understand what is the best flooring for the basement. We are also available if you want to add valuable living space to your property by finishing or renovating the basement.