10 Basement Flooring Ideas for Finishing Your Below-Grade Space
Give the basement a refreshing new design with a flooring renovation project.
The basement floor is typically made of solid, sealed concrete that is designed for long-lasting durability. However, the plain appearance, hard texture, and cold temperature can definitely make the basement an unappealing place. Updating the basement floor is a good way to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal and comfort of the basement, making it a more attractive location to work, play, or relax.
Before updating the flooring, it’s necessary to consider the condition of the concrete and whether the new floor will require a subfloor. Cracks in basement floor concrete should be fixed with a concrete repair kit and basement floor sealer, instead of trying to cover them up with the new basement flooring. Some flooring options, including paint, epoxy, and rubber flooring, can be installed directly over the concrete floor, but other options, like engineered wood or cork flooring, will require a subfloor for proper installation.
Additionally, a subfloor is a good choice if the basement floor is too cold or uncomfortable. This layer insulates the floor and provides a base for the new flooring material. There are a variety of basement flooring options to choose from, so it’s recommended to use this guide to learn more about the various basement flooring ideas in order to make an informed decision for the home.
Epoxy can be applied directly to the concrete floor to update the appearance of the basement. This flooring option is applied in a similar way as paint using a paint brush and roller to coat the concrete surface. Basement floor epoxy is one of the best options for homes with moisture-related issues because epoxy is a waterproof basement flooring solution. Concrete is a porous material that is vulnerable to water damage, but epoxy can help seal and protect the underlying concrete surface. Epoxy basement floor treatment is available in a range of colors, patterns, and textures. It can even be mixed with fine sand or plastic flakes for a unique finish.
Pros: Epoxy is easy to install, lasts for 7 to 20 years, and has a high resistance to moisture and abrasive damage.
Cons: Epoxy may not adhere properly to wet or dirt floors, and after installation it may be too slippery without adding a skid-resistant top coat.
Basement floor paint is one of the easiest and most affordable options for renovating the basement. It can be applied directly to the concrete with a paintbrush, roller, or even a paint sprayer. Just make sure that the floor is clean and dry before attempting to paint basement floor concrete, otherwise the paint may not adhere properly. This flooring idea is simple to complete, even for beginner DIYers, though paint doesn’t last as long as many other flooring options.
Pros: Paint is available in a wide selection of colors, it’s affordable, and it’s the easiest flooring option to apply.
Cons: Painted concrete is susceptible to chipping, bubbling, and peeling, so it may need to be touched-up regularly to keep the floor looking great.
3. Concrete Stain
Concrete stain is similar to paint and epoxy in that it can be applied directly to the concrete floor with a paint brush, roller, or paint sprayer. However, this flooring idea doesn’t adhere to the concrete, like paint or epoxy. Instead, the stain is absorbed into the concrete, allowing the color to penetrate the porous flooring. Beginner DIYers can use water-based stain to update the appearance of the floor, while more experienced DIYers may choose to use an acid-based method for a more unique finish.
Pros: Concrete stain is an affordable, easy-to-use method with a wide variety of appealing aesthetic options.
Cons: It does not improve the durability of the floor and can actually call attention to the cracks, divots, or other imperfections in the concrete.
4. Sheet Vinyl
Another idea that can be applied directly over concrete is sheet vinyl basement flooring, though it may be beneficial to add a subfloor if the underlying concrete is rough or has a lot of irregularities. This material is available in full rolls, so while it is still important to measure the area of the basement, the DIYer won’t have to deal with individual tiles. Sheet vinyl is available in a variety of styles and patterns. The material is durable, easy to clean, and installation is relatively straightforward. However, it is a good idea to plan ahead of time for getting the roll of sheet vinyl into the basement, cutting it to the proper size, and fitting it between the walls.
Pros: It can be purchased in bulk rolls to help reduce the overall cost and it is relatively straightforward to install.
Cons: Sheet vinyl is prone to discoloration and any roughness or irregularities in the concrete will typically show through the vinyl material.
5. Luxury Vinyl Plank
Similar to sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring is a resilient material that can be installed directly over concrete, though it works best with a subfloor. Having a subfloor will also help to keep the basement floor warm. LVP flooring comes in separate pieces that are joined together to create a floating floor. The material is available in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, including wood and stone replications. Opt for LVP flooring to get a durable finish that is easy to clean and looks great in the basement.
Pros: Luxury vinyl plank is relatively easy to install, durable, and easy to clean and maintain.
Cons: It may fade if it’s exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods and the material may dent under the weight of heavy appliances or furniture.
6. Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tile can be an interesting option to use for a basement floor because the tiles can be arranged in an almost unending variety of patterns to create a unique design. Basement floor tiles can be applied directly over the concrete floor, though it’s recommended to put in a subfloor to ensure that the tile isn’t too cold to the touch. Ceramic tile is a waterproof option that won’t get damaged if someone spills on the floor. It’s also durable and relatively easy to clean, making it a good choice for homes with kids or pets.
Pros: Ceramic tile is a waterproof option that is durable, easy to clean, and available in a variety of colors and patterns.
Cons: Ceramic tile is a cold, hard flooring option that can be costly and difficult to install.
7. Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring may sound odd, but it’s actually a very common option that can be seen in health clubs, gyms, playrooms, and laundry rooms. The interlocking rubber tiles are easy to install and they provide an insulating layer that helps to keep the basement floor warm underfoot. Rubber flooring is a waterproof and stain-resistant material that is relatively easy to keep clean, though it is vulnerable to damage from sharp objects, heavy appliances, and furniture.
Pros: Rubber flooring is comfortable to walk on, waterproof, stain-resistant, and helps to absorb echoes and other sounds in a wide-open basement.
Cons: It tends to cost more than many other flooring options and may have an unpleasant odor that takes a few weeks to a few months to fully dissipate.
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8. Carpet Tile
Laying carpet in the basement can help to increase the comfort of the space, but carpeting is susceptible to water damage. To reduce the risk of having to replace the entire floor, it’s a better idea to install carpet tiles, which come in individual pieces that adhere directly to the concrete or to the subfloor surface. This flooring option is durable and long lasting, so if there is a minor flood or a leak, the affected carpet tiles can be removed, cleaned, dried, and reinstalled.
Pros: Carpet tiles are a peel-and-stick option that is cost-effective, durable, and capable of hiding imperfections in the concrete or subfloor.
Cons: They can become frayed or faded over time and may not be as visually appealing as other flooring options.
9. Engineered Wood
To get a more luxurious look for the basement, engineered wood is an appealing option that can be installed over a subfloor. Engineered wood is more resistant to moisture and temperature changes than solid wood flooring, making it a more suitable choice for a basement environment. Homeowners can select from a range of colors and finishes to get the ideal aesthetic design for the home. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the installation can be difficult, so it may be best to hire a professional to install the basement flooring.
Pros: Engineered wood is a stylish design option that feels comfortable underfoot and is resistant to both moisture and temperature fluctuations.
Cons: Engineered wood can fade when it is regularly exposed to direct sunlight, and the material is vulnerable to dents, scratches, and other abrasive damage.
Adding cork flooring to the basement can be a great way to improve the look and feel of the home. The cork material is softer than engineered wood, making it more comfortable for walking, sitting, or standing. It also provides sound insulation and absorption, reducing the amount of echoing and other noises in the open basement space. However, cork is not the right option for installing directly over concrete. Instead, make sure to have a subfloor installed to get the best results with a cork floor.
Pros: Cork is an eco-friendly product that is comfortable underfoot and provides excellent sound and temperature insulation.
Cons: It is vulnerable to physical damage from sharp or heavy objects and it tends to fade when exposed to direct sunlight.