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Basement flooring can be a nightmare to choose. As well as matching the vibe and interior design theme that you’re going for, basement flooring needs to be durable, waterproof, and moisture-proof. Not to mention within your desired budget too.
That’s a big ask!
Because basements are “below grade” (i.e. totally or partially beneath ground level) they are very prone to damp, mold and mildew. This means that you must be very careful with your materials – solid hardwood flooring would simply rot away. Nonetheless, there are many basement flooring solutions that look great, provide a moisture barrier, and don’t cost you a fortune. Here we look at the best basement flooring options for your home improvement project, from epoxy flooring to engineered hardwood and more!
Top 12 Best Basement Flooring Options
When you’re looking at flooring for basements, there’s so much you need to take into consideration when it comes to the aesthetic of the design, as well as the feeling of the floor underfoot.
Depending on whether you use your basement as a living space, play room, or bedroom could make a difference to the basement floors and what you choose to go with.
Whether your basement will be a living space or a storage room, here are the best basement floor materials on the market right now:
Epoxy Flooring – Solid Color
Simple and elegant, epoxy flooring is essentially a special paint that is applied over a treated concrete slab floor.
Although epoxy floors are available in a wide range of designs and patterns, many people choose the simple “solid color epoxy” floor due to its simplicity and versatility.
Epoxy floor coatings are often used in hospitals, shopping malls, and factories because they don’t grow bacteria, they’re easy to clean, they can withstand tons of damage and they can last for 10-20 years or more with the proper care and maintenance.
They’re also completely waterproof, which is perfect for a basement.
Oh, and they’re only $2.50 per sqaure foot on average!
The downside is that epoxy floors are tricky to install and can get slippery when wet, though you can choose to add compounds to the epoxy paint that will make the floor less slippery.
Epoxy is also cold underfoot, but that can be solved with some rugs and carpet pieces if that’s an issue for you.
- Just $2.50 per square foot
- Simple yet effective
- 100% waterproof flooring option
- Easy to clean – mop & brush
- Very durable (can last 10-20 years or more)
- Cold underfoot
- Slippy when wet
- Tricky to install (but easy after that)
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is commonly used for basement flooring due to its aesthetic and the fact that it’s fairly easy to install.
You usually need to install a subfloor before putting down these luxury vinyl tiles – this is sometimes referred to as a “floating floor” because you’re not putting the luxury vinyl flooring directly onto concrete.
LVT usually comes as squares or luxury vinyl planks.
You’ll often see luxury vinyl planks designed to look like reclaimed wood, old-fashioned stone, and other “natural” materials for flooring.
The idea behind luxury vinyl plank is similar to wooden laminate flooring – it’s meant to have the aesthetic of wood flooring without the moisture and rotting problems.
High-end luxury vinyl plank is made from waterproof materials, but that doesn’t make it waterproof flooring. You see, there are still seams in between the vinyl plank where water can rise up, causing mold, mildew, and moisture issues underneath if there are floods or damp problems. In this case, an additional vapor barrier may be necessary.
While luxury vinyl plank flooring has its upsides, it’s not a clean sweep.
- Can look like wood or stone
- Durable material
- Warmish underfoot
- Not too expensive
- Subfloor needed for installation
- Vapor barrier may be needed
- Vinyl plank seams are not waterproof
- Can be expensive
- Floating floor isn’t ideal for everyone
Epoxy Flooring – With Color Flakes
Another one of the popular epoxy flooring options that can help your basement floor battle moisture while staying cool and stylish, you’ll often see color flake epoxy flooring in areas that are prone to dirt, dust, scratches and damage.
Next time you’re at a supermarket, look down – you’ll probably see a color flake epoxy floor.
Now, this type of epoxy flooring option isn’t right for everyone, but it’s a great flooring choice if you plan to use your basement as a gym or studio, for example. The color flakes in the epoxy are great at masking dirt and scratches, so it makes sense to use these floors for a high-impact space like a gym.
It also gives you that cool industrial feel!
Epoxy floors are excellent at preventing water damage because they’re totally waterproof and have no seams for water to get through (like vinyl planks do, for example) so they’re the best floor option for a finished basement that is durable and very easy to maintain.
- Color flakes mask dirt & scratches
- Great option for gyms, studios etc.
- Various colors & patterns available
- Last for 10-20 years or more with proper care
- Can withstand dropped objects, high-traffic, moisture issue
- Not the prettiest-looking floor option
- Cold underfoot
- Hard to install
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile are often a go-to choice for a basement floor due to their relative cheapness and waterproof qualities.
Many different sizes and style of tile are available, from classic tile designs and references to porcelain tiles designed to mimic hardwood planks and stone.
With various colors and patterns available, tiles have come a long way in recent years.
However, you need a subfloor to install these tiles onto, and it needs to be a concrete subfloor – plywood won’t cut it due to the expansion/contraction of the wood when moist. The subfloor must also be 100% level and even, which is tricky.
That’s a bit limiting.
Also, tile flooring is quite high-maintenance because it needs to be regrouted regularly in order to prevent mildew and mold growth.
If left to its own devices, this cheap flooring option for basements is going to be covered in moldy grout, especially if your space is prone to moisture issues
- Quite cheap
- Waterproof tiles
- Modern tile is very durable
- Can be made to mimic hardwood floor styles
- Grout must be resealed regularly to stop mold and mildew
- Cold underfoot
- Subfloor must be even
- Not suitable for many basements
Metallic Epoxy Floor
If you want to impress your guests with a cool entertainment space but you want basement flooring that is cheap, durable, and easy to maintain, then you can’t go wrong with a metallic epoxy floor!
Installed directly over your concrete basement floor, this high-gloss style is naturally water resistant.
As the name suggests, this basement flooring option has a metallic glossy shine to it which helps to reflect light around the room and make the space feel larger. This is essential, especially for spaces that are quite small.
Available in various colors and patterns, you can get a basement floor that blows away your home guests.
Metallic epoxy floors are usually used for basement games rooms and entertainment spaces, especially with vibrant colors like bright metallic reds.
With the epoxy paint acting as a natural moisture barrier between the slab and the basement floor itself, this low-maintenance option has the “bling” factor many homeowners desire while still being practical.
- Vibrant high-gloss metallic shine
- Available in various colors and patterns
- Logos & text can be added to the design
- Low-maintenance type of flooring
- Moisture-proof & durable
- Lasts for 10-20 years or more
- Cold underfoot
- Takes a few days to install
- Slippery when wet
Polished concrete is one of the best flooring options for a basement, so long as you don’t mind the industrial-style look.
Perfect for studios, gyms, and living spaces with a modern aesthetic, polished concrete is possibly the cheapest and most durable type of flooring you can get for a basement.
Move over, ceramic tile!
Basically, your basement’s large concrete slab will be treated and polished, giving it a natural shine that helps to reflect light around the room and make the basement feel bigger and brighter.
Providing that you have a concrete subfloor in your basement already, you can get it professionally polished for as little as $2 per square foot!
Polished concrete is resistant to bacteria and moisture issues, lasting 100 years or more with proper care. However, it’s cold underfoot and can make your basement loud and echoey, so you might want to add some wall carpet and soft furnishings that help to absorb excess sound and keep the space feeling homely.
- Very durable & tough
- Simple, modern, industrial style floor
- Hard to chip, scratch, or seriously damage
- Easy to clean (sweep & mop!)
- Just $2 to $30 per square foot
- Resists bacteria and thermal shock
- Cold & tough underfoot
- Loud & echoey without soft furnishings
- Not ideal for living space basements
Concrete Stain with Clear Top Coat
If you’ve already got a huge concrete slab floor in your basement, maybe you should just make it look a little nice and call it a day?
Concrete staining with a clear top coat uses special chemical pigments that change the minerals in your existing concrete, giving them a unique sheen that makes them look as good as new for decades.
After staining, the concrete floors in the basement are sanded, ground, and polished to perfection, giving you a shiny and brand new-looking industrial-style concrete floor for your basement.
While staining isn’t the most popular flooring for basements out there, many homeowners love its simple look.
It’s also very quick and cost-effective too!
A concrete stain floor is very tough and durable, but make sure you use it wisely because it can be painful if you fall on it and glasses/vases will easily shatter on it.
These concrete stained floors aren’t ideal if you’ve got small pets and children, but they’re perfect for many homeowners nonetheless!
- Quick project
- Cheap & cost-effective
- Simple industrial-style look
- Unique basement floor finish
- Very tough & durable
- Concrete isn’t the most homely material
- Cold underfoot
- Mottling with age (though some like the “weathered” look)
Carpet may seem like a weird flooring choice for basements, and that’s because it is.
Many homeowners want to try carpet floors for their basement floor, but it’s incredibly difficult to make this flooring material work in such a damp environment. Carpet is only a viable option if your basement is VERY dry and waterproof, with little to no moisture issues.
Spoiler alert – not many basements are like that.
You’ll need a waterproof vapor barrier before installing carpet in a basement, as well as the best subfloor you’ve ever seen. The carpet needs to be made from synthetic fibers and backers, minimizing the natural materials that would be prone to mold and mildew growth otherwise.
While carpet is not a great option for many basements, it has a ton of upsides if it works for yours.
For example, it has that warm, fluffy feeling underfoot that helps to make it feel homely, so it’s great for a below-grade bedroom. It also has great sound absorbing qualities that make it ideal for music studios and band practice spaces, especially when paired with wall carpet.
- Warm & comfortable underfoot
- Homely vibes – great for basement living space
- Great sound absorption
- Quite cheap
- Not durable or long lasting
- Needs a waterproof moisture barrier installing
- Not suitable for moist basements due to seasonal damp
- Prone to mold & mildew
- Easily water damaged
- Entire carpet needs replacing if one section is damaged
- Natural fibers must be avoided in a basement
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Contact Us Today
If you’re planning for a garage floor renovation, pool deck epoxy coating, or you just want to get some rough prices for some ideas you’re having, feel free to call up Infinity Epoxy Floors today! Our talented customer service team can answer any questions you may have and provide you with a free estimate that you’re sure to love!