Basement Flooring Ideas
Finishing your basement is a great way to add additional living space, and value, to your home. But environmental conditions in a basement will tend to be importantly different from rooms that are above grade. At the Poulin Design Center we have the experience and the know-how to ensure that you get the right floor for your basement at the right price. Here are some things to consider when it comes to basement flooring.
The #1 Consideration: Moisture
The fact that your basement is essentially a concrete box buried in the ground is important. Concrete is a porous material that will allow moisture to permeate over time, and there is plenty of moisture in the surrounding air and soil to do just that. Unless you have an older home that has cracks in the foundation or a non-existent vapor barrier, moisture issues will not be a huge concern. However, when it comes to installing basement flooring, moisture is the most important factor to keep in mind.
The Other Main Consideration: Room Usage
The era when basements were used primarily for storage is long behind us. These days your basement might house a guest room, bar, game room, or entertainment area, and your flooring should reflect your room’s unique use. Once you’ve determined what you plan to do with the room, you’ll then have a better idea of what flooring materials are the best choice for you.
Game Room, Bar, Entertainment Area
If the room you are remodeling in your basement is intended for games, a bar, or just general entertainment, it is possible that you could have high foot traffic, occasional spills, and heavy furniture on your floor. In that case, it would be a good idea to consider a hard surface flooring option. The most solid, long-lasting, and moisture resistant option in this group will be ceramic or natural stone tile. These materials are essentially waterproof and will hold up well to the abuses that are more likely in a room used for hosting. Tile is also low-maintenance and easy to clean. Its one major downside is that it will tend to be cold. This will not be a problem around Albuquerque during the summer, but in the cooler months you may want to put down an area rug or runners to keep your feet warm. Aside from tile, also consider slightly less expensive options such as luxury vinyl or laminate flooring. Both of these options offer a wide range of styles, are easy to clean, and are relatively moisture resistant, so they will work well in a basement setting. Laminate can also be installed directly on top of concrete slab, without the need for subflooring, and this makes it a good basement option.
Guest Room, TV room, Play Area
If you are thinking about flooring for a basement bedroom, TV room, or play area, then carpet is probably your best bet. Of course, you could go with something like laminate, but it will lack the soft feel underfoot and warmth that carpet provides. Most people prefer that these rooms be a bit cozier, and since they will tend to experience lower foot-traffic almost any carpet material will work well. Still, we recommend a synthetic fiber like olefin or nylon and an anti-microbial carpet pad underneath. The important thing with carpet in a basement is that it is installed over a proper vapor barrier so that mold and mildew are kept at bay. This barrier can be something like dimpled polyethylene matting, which will create air space between the concrete and the subflooring, or just a simple layer of plastic if you are confident that persistent moisture accumulation will not be an issue. Either way, you’ll then need to lay a plywood subfloor, carpet pad, and then your carpet on top. If the proper steps are taken, basement moisture should not be an issue for your carpet.
Hardwood Flooring in the Basement
If you’d like to install hardwood flooring in your basement, you should go with engineered hardwood, as opposed to solid plank. Solid hardwood has a tendency to warp, twist, cup, and split when exposed to high moisture levels. For this reason, it is not a good option for the basement. However, engineered hardwood is a layered product with a hardwood top layer (called a ‘veneer’) that is glued to two or more other layers composed of plywood. This construction process makes engineered hardwood far more resistant to moisture damage, and a more suitable option for the basement. The other benefit of engineered hardwood flooring is that it can be installed as a “floating” floor, which is not adhered to the surface underneath. This enables it to be installed over concrete slab, without the need for a plywood subflooring – another bonus of this material.
We hope this information helps you select your basement flooring. At the Poulin Design Center we have many flooring options, and our design experts will be happy to help you select the material that works best for your needs. Contact us any time to schedule a free in-home design consultation!
Photo Credit: Pic721