The time has come. You finally committed to finishing your basement. Whether you are turning it into a man cave, home theater or a playroom for your kids, choosing the right flooring is a very important part of the project. Here is our guide to basement flooring 101.

Challenges

Basements are one of the most challenging rooms to install flooring in. There are various issues you can come in contact with when installing new flooring like; an out-of-level subfloor, rough concrete slabs, flooding problems and most likely, moisture.

Moisture

The majority of basements are constructed using concrete, which is a naturally porous material. This means water vapor can enter your basement through the slab floor and foundation walls. Moisture can also enter through cracks in the foundation. This makes installing hardwood flooring in a basement a more involved process. The slab must be assessed if needed, then sealed. The moisture can cause wood flooring to swell or buckle over time. Stone, porcelain and certain types of resilient products are the most resistant to moisture, making them the best choices for basements where water intrusion is a concern.

Flooding

Despite contractors’ best efforts, basements still flood. If your basement consistently floods, or if you have water intrusion concerns, it is imperative you take the necessary steps to fix it. Keeping water out of your basement requires steps such as installing a sound drainage system, sump pump and modifying the grading slope around your home. Waterproof and water-resistant flooring are the best options for basements affected by excessive moisture or water intrusion.

Uneven Surface

If your basement sub floor is uneven you can choose to go one of two ways; the DIY route or hire a contractor to help level your floors. If you’re going to take on the project yourself, make sure you follow instructions very closely. A qualified flooring company can limit your expense and the corrective work needed by grinding high spots and/or applying self-leveling products in preparation for new flooring.

Solutions

The good news is you have a lot of options when it comes to flooring styles for your basement. Hardwood and virtually all flooring products can be successfully installed in your basement, but some require more preparation than others. Carpet will warm up a basement. Ceramic tile and laminate flooring come in a number of colors and styles, both in hardwood and stone looks. These flooring styles typically require little maintenance and are easy to clean. Be prepared to adapt your vision for how your basement will look to the unique requirements of the space and the products that will serve you and retain their function and appearance over the long haul.

Finishing your basement is no easy feat. It takes time and careful planning before you even start laying down new flooring. Make sure you understand which flooring product category offers the best features for your individual basement conditions and in relation to your expectations. After you have a clear idea of where some problem areas are in your basement you will be more prepared to choose the correct flooring to meet your needs and your vision!