Basements present a whole slew of problems for flooring. It’s difficult to balance between choosing a floor that will suit your needs and one that will withstand potential problems like moderate to high moisture levels or occasional flooding. This process becomes a lot easier if you can be absolutely sure your basement is waterproof.
The process of waterproofing your basement is best left to the professionals, because if done incorrectly it could be very costly. In this article we will discuss how to determine the best floors for your basement.
Define Your Main Purpose
Basements are typically multi-purpose rooms for a lot of families. They can be a rec room, family room, media room, play room and a guest room all at the same time. The first thing you need to do is decide what the main purpose of the room will be. Once you’ve decided that, take a look at the following scenarios.
Media Room/Movie Theater
Acoustically speaking, a low pile carpet will be the best option here. It’s also a more comfortable option. Waterproofing is most important with carpet. Even medium levels of moisture can mean trouble for your carpeting.
Here you can do pretty much anything you want as long as your moisture is under wraps. If you do still have some low levels of moisture you may be able to get away with laminate, engineered hardwood or even carpeting. If moisture is a bigger concern it’s best to stick with sheet vinyl and maybe throw down a rug you don’t mind throwing out if you get hit with unexpected flooding or higher moisture levels.
Since a room like this doesn’t need to be fancy you can stick with plain concrete, which will hold up best against moisture. Using rubber roll flooring would also be an acceptable option. Many prefer this because it has a non-slip surface, has give for your joints, and is a quieter landing for heavy weights.
Best Flooring for a High Moisture Basement
If you’ve decided you don’t have the time or money to hire a professional to waterproof your basement than your flooring options are pretty limited. The best option for a basement that tends to see a lot of moisture or is at risk for flooding is painted or stained cement. There are a lot of styles, colors and patterns you can have with this option. And most importantly, there won’t be any costly flooring repairs from water damage.
The next best flooring type for a high moisture area is sheet vinyl. Laminate is ok, but is more susceptible to warping when subjected to moisture. Sheet vinyl should hold up pretty well, but it’s not guaranteed.
Materials like hardwood, bamboo and especially carpet are not good options for this situation. They will not withstand the harsh environment and before long you’ll be ripping them up and throwing them out. Your best bet is to stick with sheet vinyl or, even safer, concrete.