A finished basement is a great place to hang out. It’s where the kids congregate to watch TV and play games, and it’s where you’ll love to unwind, away from it all.
Since the basement is tucked away downstairs, homeowners can be more casual with its design. Choosing the flooring, however, shouldn’t be taken lightly as this space presents unique dilemmas: a basement often gets a lot of foot traffic and it has the potential to attract moisture or water.
When it comes to basement flooring, you have three main options:
This is your warmest option and a great choice if you want to enjoy your basement during the winter. The carpet and pad act as an insulator for the cold concrete foundation, and you can walk around in bare feet without too much discomfort.
When choosing carpet for a basement, look for options that hold up to traffic. Short piles or Berber are popular choices. Carpet also provides a level of safety if someone falls in your basement, and it absorbs sound so a rowdy game of pool won’t disrupt the quiet of your upper level.
Look for a carpet that can be easily cleaned as the basement might gather more spills. Water is also a threat; if your basement has flooded in the past, carpet might not be your best choice. If carpet does get wet, it needs to be dried immediately to prevent mold.
Laminate flooring is another option for the basement. While it can be more expensive than carpet, it holds up well to traffic as well as spills, and requires little maintenance. Laminate flooring is installed over a pad, allowing for expansion and contraction of the material as temperatures fluctuate.
While its pad does provide a level of warmth, laminate flooring is not as comfortable as carpet. You can remedy this problem, however, by adding area rugs where needed.
If your basement floods, laminate flooring can become damaged and will need to be replaced. It is a better choice than hardwood flooring, however, which can easily become damaged and warp from the humidity. And it comes in wood grain patterns if you desire that design aesthetic.
Finally, ceramic and vinyl tiles offer a worry-free choice for your basement floor. If water gets in, you just mop it up. Tile is also more forgiving on unlevel floors since individual pieces accommodate uneven surfaces. If a section becomes damaged, tiles can also be replaced in smaller areas without having to pull up the entire floor.
Tile is the coldest option, however. Since it is applied directly to your concrete foundation, your feet will have no protection from the cold winter temperatures. As with laminate, you can solve this problem by using area rugs.