A Guide for Choosing Basement Flooring

What is the room in your home where the whole family naturally gathers? Where do you watch everything from sporting events to the series finale of your favorite show? Which room do you choose for sleepovers or game nights? For many families, all of the best hangouts take place in the basement, so finding the right basement flooring is a must.


Because basement spaces are often subject to more dampness than the rest of the home, they can feel chilly. Whether you use your basement as a media room, playroom, rec room, home office, or guest suite, making the space warm and cozy is a priority. In addition, when bad weather strikes, a damp basement can be the first room to feel the effects. Therefore the best flooring for basements is built to counteract the effects of potential cold, dampness, and damage.


How Basement Flooring Affects Life at Home

Because the basement serves so many purposes -- from entertaining space to office space to play space -- there are a number of factors to consider when designing your basement layout, finishes and flooring These should serve as your guide when considering your basement flooring options.


Air Quality: Because of the potential for dampness, overly porous basement flooring materials can be subject to mold and mildew, making them a breeding ground for poor air quality. It is important to ensure that you choose the right basement flooring materials and that they are properly installed in order to ensure that this does not occur.


Durability: Since many people entertain extensively in their basement space, it needs to be able to stand up to roughhousing, spills, and other wear-and-tear. In addition, if your basement space has a separate entrance, you’ll want basement flooring that can stand up to the elements when they are tracked inside.


Comfort: Because basement spaces are often somewhat colder than the rest of the house, you’ll want to ensure that the basement flooring you choose is as warm as possible, especially for bare feet or floor seating.


Basement Flooring Types

While you may love the look of hardwood flooring, the porous nature of hardwoods and their susceptibility to damage from moisture means that an alternative to hardwood will be desirable in your basement space. Fortunately, there are a variety of great basement flooring options available, no matter what your taste or style.


Floor Tiles with Vapor Barrier

There are a variety of floor tiles with a built-in vapor barrier, including carpet tiles or those that look like natural stone. The molded plastic underneath the tile raises them off of the concrete subfloor, allowing ventilation and creating a barrier between any sources of moisture or cold and the flooring itself. In order to ensure that you keep an eye on air quality, look for versions with low VOC’s and other chemicals.


One of the best features of this type of flooring is that they are interlocking, allowing you to remove a stained or damaged tile for repair, cleaning, or replacement. This makes it a great flooring choice for playrooms and rec rooms where extra durability is required.


Floors That Float

With a moisture barrier underlay, you can use a variety of floating floors, including carpet tiles, vinyl, laminate, engineered hardwoods, or cork flooring. Choose waterproof or highly water-resistant finishes for increased durability and damage prevention. Some floating flooring requires proper sealing in order to prevent damage and moisture retention.


Ceramic Tile Flooring

Offering a variety of design options, including wood-look tiles, ceramic tile flooring is a highly water-resistant option that can be installed directly over a concrete subfloor, with or without a moisture barrier. The grout can be susceptible to moisture and mildew, however, so a yearly treatment with a water barrier sealant in the grout lines is recommended.


Heated Tile Flooring

Because many of these materials can feel cold in an already chilly basement, you may want to have a layer of heating added below the floor. Available in electric and hydronic versions, heated tile flooring is more than just a luxury option -- it can save considerably on heating costs, especially if your basement space tends to be colder than the rest of the home.


Whether you love your basement space or want to make it more useful, the right basement flooring creates the foundation for your design and comfort. Check out our Pulte Design Center for more information and to find a basement style you’ll love.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Christy Murdock Edgar

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Published 8.13.19

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