Basement Flooring Options – Understanding Under-Grade Area Better

There are different basement flooring options, especially when you want to improve your basement into a totally functional and cozy place at home.

It would be great if you can find different kinds of flooring types for that under-grade space. Unfortunately, being an under-grade place has made the basement different from other above-grade rooms.

The problem with the basements is the fact that they are prone to moisture – which can lead to mold growth.

Not to mention that basements are often on the lowest side of the house, which mean that they become collection point of flooding – especially from clothes washers, water supply pipes, water heaters, and also dishwashers.

The Problems with Basements

Basements are prone to moisture – especially if it has high level of humidity.

Even when the floor seems dry, there is always a possibility that there will be residual moisture that is ready to create damages to the floor.

Over time, the floor will suffer from water damage. That’s why moisture must be the major deciding element in choosing the right floor.

In general, there are several best candidates for basement flooring options.

  • Stained concrete
  • Ceramic tile or porcelain tile
  • Vinyl tile, plank, or sheet
  • Carpet (the low pile one). But it is applicable for dry casements only

The General Conditions

When it comes to the right basement flooring options, you can always go with vinyl flooring.

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Whether you choose the plank or the sheet, you can rest assured that it is completely durable against moisture. The floor is 100% waterproof with many attractive options.

Today’s vinyl flooring has a wide array of styles and designs, so you won’t have to worry that your basement will be shabby or cheesy.

If you want the inexpensive choice, the vinyl sheet would be the right one. It is affordable. It is waterproof.

It is easy to clean. It is easy to install on your own without hiring any skilled installer. And it doesn’t damage easily – even in the event of flooding.

And if you are looking for the high-end look, you can go with the luxury plank vinyl.

Basement Bathrooms

Having the bathrooms on the basement can create a mix feeling. The bathroom enables you to have a living spot as well as the entertainment spot.

You have a room in the basement?

Then having a bathroom is a must. What about having a man cafe or an entertainment area? You also need a bathroom.

However, installing such bathrooms can give you a headache. It is one of elements in basement flooring options that you need to consider carefully.

The installation alone is difficult because you have a concrete slab floor to tackle.

You need to install the (plumbing) drain system in it, and then cover it with moisture-resistant and durable floor, like LVF (Luxury Vinyl Floor), vinyl sheet, porcelain tile, or ceramic tile.

This kind of installation requires professional work because it is complicated and tricky.

Basements with High or Moderate Moisture

Basements with high-moisture require flooring that can deal with such condition.

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That’s why sheet vinyl or ceramic tile is suitable for such a condition because they are made from inorganic materials.

Other examples for inorganic flooring is vinyl sheet, glazed tile (whether porcelain or ceramic tile), and concrete tile. They have proven their quality as waterproof flooring.

Never use organic materials for rooms with high-moisture condition because organic flooring won’t be able to handle the moisture. And in the end, you will deal with a damaged floor.

The best inorganic floor is ceramic tile because there is no chance that water would infiltrate into the area below the tile. But such a condition only works when the tile is in perfect condition.

If it is cracked or poorly grouted, then water will have the entrance to seep – no matter how small it is.

Basements with Low Moisture

If your basements have low level of moisture, wood by products can be included in your basement flooring options. You can choose laminate floor or engineered wood.

If you choose those types, consider sealing them properly and correctly so you won’t have to worry about moisture build-up or such thing alike.

Home Yoga or Gym at Basement

If you like exercising in your basement, then consider installing soft flooring. Don’t go with cork or bamboo – they are organic.

If your basement has high level of moisture, go with concrete floor, but use rubber (horse) stall mats to cover the floor.

If the moisture level isn’t too high, choose rubber roll. It is great for lifting weights and exercises. Make sure to choose the high quality one.

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Basement (Movie) Theater

For such an entertainment, go with soft-surfaced floor. Choose carpets (low pile type) for it.

Hard flooring can lead to audio reverberation confusion. The carpet is soft enough to absorb the sound. When it gets wet, it is easy to dry.

Test the Floor

If you want to test your basements for moisture, there is a simple way to do so. Tape a clear plastic square to the concrete floor. Check it in a few days.

If there is a possibility of ground moisture, you should be able to see condensation forming on the inside part of the (plastic) tape.

If there isn’t, check again in a week and in two weeks. Consider yourself lucky if the floor remains dry after two weeks.

If you have a new concrete, be ready as it will emit moisture. It may happen for a few weeks. Once the floor is cured, then it will stop emitting moisture.

Final Words

There is no such thing as the perfect floor for basements given the nature of the under-grade construction.

However, if you have to narrow down your options, vinyl sheet and porcelain (and ceramic) tiles are the best ones.

They are completely waterproof. They are sturdy and tough. And they are visually appealing. You need to avoid carpets for basements with high level of moisture.

Real wood is not advisable for all kinds of basements (high level or low level of moisture).

If you want to have woods, consider engineered woods for that under-grade space.

In the end, you have several good basement flooring options to transform that space into a cozy place.