If you’re planning to finish your basement, you will want to cover up the concrete floor with a material that is more attractive and comfortable. Here are some important things to know and some flooring materials to consider.
You May Need to Repair the Floor and Install a Subfloor
Before you or a contractor can install new flooring, the concrete floor may need to be fixed. Any gaps, sections that have shifted, water damage and areas that are rough or uneven will need to be addressed.
Although many flooring materials can be installed directly on top of concrete, that may not be a good idea for a finished basement, since it can cause the floor to be cold. Installing a subfloor can provide a layer of insulation to keep the floor warm.
A subfloor can also prevent moisture damage. Since a concrete slab is porous, moisture and water vapor can travel through it. That can allow mold and mildew to form under the flooring. A vapor barrier or a waterproof subfloor can prevent that.
Popular Flooring Choices for a Finished Basement
Ceramic tile can be installed directly on top of concrete, as long as the surface is smooth. You may want to install a subfloor, however, to avoid having a cold floor. Ceramic tile will not be damaged by moisture. Tile flooring is available in a wide range of styles and sizes.
Rubber flooring can come in tiles or sheets. It can be a good choice because rubber is easy to keep clean, durable and waterproof, and can also provide cushioning.
Vinyl flooring is another popular choice for finished basements. It’s available in planks and tiles with interlocking joints that make installation easy. Vinyl planks and tiles can be manufactured to resemble wood or ceramic tile. They can be installed right on top of concrete and can resist minor water damage.
Another option is sheet vinyl. It’s durable and easy to clean, but it can be difficult to cut and install. Vinyl sheet flooring should only be installed over a subfloor. If it isn’t, any rough areas on the concrete floor will be visible after the vinyl flooring has been laid.
Although many types of flooring can be installed in a basement, solid hardwood and untreated laminate flooring should not be used because they can warp and buckle from exposure to moisture. Engineered wood flooring can give you the attractive look of real hardwood with the moisture-resistant benefits of laminate construction. Engineered wood flooring has a thin layer of real wood on top of other types of wood or composite board and can give your finished basement a refined appearance.
Talk to Your Contractor
Selecting the right flooring for your basement remodeling project will be one of your most important decisions. Speak with your contractor about various options and discuss the pros and cons of each so you can make the right choice.