Basement is one-of-a-kind type of interior. Not only the conditions are different, than in any other room, but also, the possibilities when designing it.
Your damp, ordinary basement can be turned into a wonderful wine cellar, a gym or even a swimming pool. These are just a few examples – the possibilities are truly endless, and everything depends on your own creativity ( and budget).
Whether you already have some idea, about what do you want to do in your basement, or are still looking for inspirations, you can not forget about proper flooring. It will have a huge impact on your overall basement experience as it’s hard to replace it once installed, and because your design ideas are tightly tied to the surface you want to put them on.
Whatever it is you want to create in your basement, read on to discover all the popular and appropriate types of basement flooring materials, and then decide which one corresponds to your needs.
Decide its purpose
Before you decide, what kind of floor to install in your basement, fist you have to make up your mind about the purpose of it. Obviously, you need a different kind of floor for a gym and a different kind for a wine cellar. This is the first step to discovering what kind of floor do you really need.
Of course, after you understand the practical aspects of each kind of flooring, there still will be some choice regarding the style and design, so fear not, it’s not like you’re sentenced for only one kind of the floor for certain kinds of interior.
After you specify the character of your basement, it’s good to honestly answer how much will you actually care about it – after all, some types of the floor are more demanding, maintenance-wise, than others. Not only that, but you also have to foresee how much will you be using it – if you want it to be heavily used, it’s best you think about sturdy and durable materials. If it’s the opposite, something more stylish yet softer might do the work.
Finally, after you plan the purpose of your basement, as well as the parameters the flooring should have, it’s time to determine your budget. Materials used to craft such flooring can vary greatly, when it comes to the price, so better think about your capabilities before getting to the actual overhaul. Otherwise, you might be forced to leave it unfinished, and I’m sure you wouldn’t like that very much.
Now we’re ready to pick the material for your future floor. This is where all the fun, as well as all the headache, starts. Choosing the material for a basement floor is much the same as choosing it for any other room, but because of the amount of potential types of the basement, there is naturally more of them to list.
- Cork– not the best choice if you’re looking for something sturdy and durable, but also not the worst. While being moisture-resistant and hypoallergenic, it’s pretty susceptible to mechanical damages. On the other hand, even if you scratch or ruin it any other way, it’s cheap and easy to replace. Keep in mind, with the rising eco-awareness in societies around the world, cork is rapidly gaining popularity. If you’re looking for something safe for the environment, cork flooring might just be up your alley. Costs between $2-$12 per square foot. It’s a great choice if you want to create a playground for your kids, right in your basement.
- Concrete – cheap, durable, popular. Concrete flooring plenty of designs and shapes, and can be covered in materials that allow for it to be pretty long-lasting and impressively looking. It comes at a low price of $30 per 100 square feet, so that’s certainly something to consider. If you need something really durable, concrete flooring should do the job well. Will prove it’s worth in a home gym, for example. Just remember you might have to replace three years of so, but for that price, it shouldn’t be that much of a problem.
- Vinyl– one of the cheapest solutions when it comes to flooring materials. It’s only $1-$5 per square foot, and it’s very easy to lay down, because of the self-tick options. It’s pretty versatile, comes in many designs and patterns. I guess it serves its purpose, but not much past that. If you’re looking for something that isn’t very expensive, easy to install and easy to replace, this is the kind of flooring you should go for.
- Linoleum– another budget solution to your flooring problems. Linoleum is as eco-friendly as the cork is, as it’s made from linseed oil, so you do not have to worry that the planet will suffer because of your basement flooring. It comes in many different colors and patterns, so don’t worry about finding one that suits your needs – that should be too much of a problem. As for the practical use, it’s durable and time-resistant. You also do not have to worry about the moisture and bacteria – it’s resistant to both. As I mentioned before, it also is pretty cheap, as you can get it for as low as $1-$5 per square foot, plus installation. Overall, highly recommended.
- Engineered wood– the construction of it is fairly simple. The core of it is made from a plywood, with a thin surface attached on top of it, made from solid wood. If you’re thinking about solid wood itself, it’s usually not worth the price – not only is it very expensive, but also extremely difficult to maintain, especially in the basement environment, which usually doesn’t have the same ventilation as your ordinary rooms. Engineered wood can take any form and shape you desire, and the patterns are plenty. It’s also very easy to maintain, easy to install, and is pretty affordable. The price should be somewhere between $2-$25 per square foot, depending on the type and style you choose, and whether you plan on installing it yourself or to have it installed by professionals.
- Laminate– construction is much similar to that of engineered wood, except the surface is made from plastic resin, instead of solid wood. Because of the new technologies available, while crafting laminate flooring, your floor is able to resemble any other material, be it stone, ceramic tile or solid wood. Keep in mind, while it can imitate all these materials, it’s usually way cheaper than the real things – it usually costs anywhere between $3-5$, plus the installation fee which can exceed the price of the material itself – usually around $5 per square foot. It’s important to remember that such flooring is resistant to moisture and very easy to maintain overall.
- Ceramic tile– because of its durability and ease of maintenance, ceramic tiles are a popular choice when it comes to the basement flooring materials. Unless you break them, there is not much that can put your tiles in danger – they are moisture resistant, and do not really age. Some people like to install bathrooms or even swimming pools in their basements, in which case ceramic tiles are best choice to make the floor from. Just remember that they get slippery when wet, so choose the ones of special texture, to prevent such accidents. Ceramic tiles cost around$1-$15 per square foot, plus installation which in their case isn’t all that cheap – usually $5-$10 per square ft.
- Carpet – now this is something that stands out among all the ordinary flooring materials. While wood, linoleum or laminate are all pretty straight-forward, carpet is something else. Of course, you won’t install a carpeted floor when you want your basement to have a swimming pool inside of it, so it’s only really useful in cozy, kinda warm interiors. However, that does not mean your carpet flooring will get wrecked by any amount of moisture – special moisture-resistant pads can be installed to get rid of that problem. While we agree this isn’t your usual, run of the mill flooring material, it is also certainly quite unique, so maybe it’s good to give it a chance? If the cozy, warm and homey feeling of the carpet flooring is what you’re looking for, it’s also pretty cheap – only around $1-$4 per square foot, plus installation.
How to keep your flooring alive for years to come?
Okay, now that you know your options, it’s time to talk a bit about the unique conditions, which separate your basement from the rest of the rooms. Maintaining your basement floor is a bit different than it is in all the other interiors. What should you know about before flooring your basement?
- Moisture– the most important thing to think about, when designing your basement, is moisture. Naturally, it’s way higher in there than it is in any other room – moist air from all the rooms in your house sink down to the basement, so you need to take special care to deal with that. Because of that, a dehumidifier is pretty much a must-have. To make sure your basement is not overly moisturized, run regular moisture tests. If the result says it is, it’s best you think about some stronger countermeasures. Sealants, vapor barriers, and subfloors are what comes to our mind when thinking about moisture – it’s best you ask a professional for help and advice before you get to flooring your basement. We’re sure he will give you a more specific advice, as to the course of action you should take to avoid any trouble.
- Slanted floor – installing a floor in your basement is a bit harder than it is in other rooms – after all, the ground beneath your house can move a bit, because of the weight of the house itself, or because of the underground waters. Whatever the reason, the effect can be a slanted floor. Check if the floor in your basement has that problem, and if it exists, get yourself some of the self-leveling cement to fix all the low spots.
- Ventilation – it’s very important that you take care of the ventilation in your basement. Obviously, you can’t just open your windows to let in some fresh air inside. Obviously, there aren’t many windows in your basement, so you have to think about an efficient ventilation system, for your basement to be a pleasant interior to spend time in.
- Possible flood – okay, this does not happen all that often, but it’s still best to think ahead. If you live in a rainy climate, it’s best you consider securing your basement against flooding. To avoid heavy damages, it’s good to install a sump pump, and to pick your flooring material from the kinds of that do not get utterly destroyed by water (carpet might not be the best idea in that case).
- Insurance – pretty obvious, yet still worth mentioning. As your basement is the most vulnerable interior when it comes to the flood we mentioned, it’s best you take special measures to make sure you won’t have too much trouble if it actually happens. You never know, so better safe than sorry.
Okay, we think you’re more than prepared to start flooring your basement. As always, keep in mind that we can only give you the general ideas about what you should do – to find the best solution for your specific situation, ask a professional for help. Flooring the basement is a pretty difficult task, and doing any mistake can ruin the wonderful experience, which is having your very own, stylish and practical basement.