The Best Flooring for Basements of 2022

Basement flooring must be able to endure damp conditions while meeting the needs of the space.

By Tony Carrick | Published Sep 23, 2022 12:43 PM

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The Best Flooring For Basements

Photo: amazon.com

Few things can turn a basement into a finished living space like flooring. And since the average size of a basement ranges between 500 and 1,500 square feet, finishing a basement can have a drastic impact on a home’s usable living space. Whether it’s the sophisticated look of vinyl-plank flooring for a living room, carpeting for a playroom, ceramic tile for a laundry area, or even paint for a workshop, flooring can transform this below-grade space.

However, since basements are located below ground, they are more susceptible to water damage than the upper levels of a home. This factor makes choosing the right type of flooring for a basement crucial. Ahead, learn about which different types of flooring are (and aren’t) suitable for use in a basement and learn why the products below are some of the best flooring for basements.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Pergo Outlast+ Waterproof Laminate Wood Flooring
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: TrafficMaster Residential Vinyl Sheet Flooring
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Lifeproof Click Lock Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
  4. BEST TILE: Marazzi Montagna Porcelain Floor and Wall Tile
  5. BEST CARPET: Home Decorators Collection Trendy Threads II Carpet
  6. BEST PAINT: Rust-Oleum Epoxyshield Basement Floor Coating
  7. BEST RUBBER: American Floor Mats Fit-Lock Rubber Flooring
  8. BEST PEEL-AND-STICK: Achim Nexus Self-Adhesive 12-Inch Vinyl Floor Tiles
  9. BEST ENGINEERED-HARDWOOD: Bruce Hydropel Engineered Hardwood Flooring
  10. BEST FOR WET BASEMENTS: Drylok Dover Gray Concrete Floor Paint
The Best Flooring For Bedrooms

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Flooring for Basements

Before purchasing flooring for a basement, it’s crucial to assess the basement to avoid damaging a new floor or creating mold issues. If a basement periodically floods with heavy rainfall, then avoid using flooring that is easily damaged by water, which includes real hardwood, laminate, and carpeting.

Type

  • Vinyl-plank: This type of flooring consists of planks that resemble real wood flooring but are actually made of vinyl. Unlike real hardwood, vinyl-plank flooring is waterproof and floats above the floor, eliminating the need for a wood subfloor. While these design features make this type of flooring a suitable choice for finished basements, it’s also one of the most expensive basement-flooring options.
  • Vinyl-sheet: Vinyl-sheet flooring consists of a single piece of vinyl that’s cut to size to fit the room. While it doesn’t mimic the look and feel of hardwood like vinyl-plank flooring, it’s much more affordable. And, like vinyl-plank flooring, it’s waterproof, comes in a variety of patterns, and can be installed directly over concrete.
  • Carpet: Carpeting adds cushioning and warmth to a hard basement floor, making it ideal for a basement living area or playroom. Synthetic carpeting is the best choice for basements as it will better resist moisture than natural fibers; however, even the best carpeting must be dried quickly if it does get wet to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Ceramic tile: Ceramic tile is waterproof and can be installed directly to concrete, making it one of the best options for basement floors. However, ceramic tile is also colder than other flooring options, and the hard surface tends to amplify sound. Installing ceramic tile is also much more labor-intensive than other types of basement flooring and may require hiring a professional installer.
  • Peel-and-stick tile: This type of tile has an adhesive backing that creates a tight bond with the subfloor, making it one of the easiest basement flooring options to install. While this type of tile is water-resistant, it’s not ideal for very wet basements as standing water can seep through the seams between tiles and break down the bond between the tile and concrete.
  • Floor paint: While paint won’t add to the aesthetics of a finished basement like other flooring options, it’s comparatively cheap, easy to install, and isn’t susceptible to damage from flooding, especially if using an epoxy.
  • Rubber mats: This type of flooring consists of individual squares of rubber that lock together like puzzle pieces. Rubber mats are very easy to install, are waterproof, and add cushioning to a hard basement floor. And though their aesthetics make them a less ideal choice for finished living spaces, rubber mats are great for a basement workshop, gym, or playroom.
  • Engineered-hardwood flooring: Engineered-hardwood flooring is nearly identical to real hardwood but consists of a plywood core with a hardwood surface. While many types of engineered-hardwood flooring are susceptible to water damage and therefore not ideal for basement installation, some higher-end products have an additional surface treatment that makes them waterproof and therefore suitable for below-grade rooms.

Moisture Resistance

When selecting the best basement flooring, it’s crucial to consider moisture resistance. Shoppers with basements that experience occasional flooding will want to avoid materials that are susceptible to water damage, such as wall-to-wall carpeting and hardwood. Vinyl-plank flooring can withstand spills and small amounts of water that may seep in during a rainstorm; however, it can be damaged by flooding that results in standing water.

Purpose

When choosing a type of basement flooring, it’s crucial to consider how the space is used. For basement laundry rooms or workshops, often a coat of paint that serves as a moisture barrier is the best option. Ceramic tile adds a more finished look than paint and is still impervious to water, making it a good choice for a finished living space or laundry room. Carpeting is a good option for basement playrooms as it adds cushioning to the hard basement floor while providing a layer of insulation that can make a cool basement feel warmer. For basement living rooms and dens, vinyl-plank flooring is ideal as it can add the rich look of hardwood to the space.

Our Top Picks

The list below includes a variety of types of flooring suitable for installation in a basement, whether this space is used for a formal living area, laundry room, playroom, or home gym.

Best Overall

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: Pergo Outlast+ Waterproof Laminate Wood Flooring
Photo: homedepot.com

The waterproof nature of laminate flooring makes it an ideal choice for basement flooring, and of the options that are out there, few can match Pergo’s Outlast+ product. While it may be one of the more expensive laminate-floor options on the market, there’s good reason to pay extra for it. Outlast+ is equipped with Pergo’s SpillProtect technology, which keeps liquids from seeping through the seams between the planks (the fact that it’s rated for steam mopping is telling). In addition to being waterproof, it also has SurfaceDefense protection, which makes it better than other laminate flooring at resisting scratches, dents, and stains.

Outlast+ also does an excellent job of mimicking real hardwood flooring thanks to the natural-looking irregular cracks and splits that give each plank an authentic look.

Product Specs

  • Type: Vinyl plank
  • Size: 7-inch-wide planks
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Waterproof spill-protection technology
  • Looks like real wood
  • Resists dents and scratches better than other laminate flooring
  • Numerous style options

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the Pergo flooring for basements at The Home Depot.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: TrafficMaster Residential Vinyl Sheet Flooring
Photo: homedepot.com

While it may not have the same authentic look as vinyl-plank flooring, it’s hard to argue with the rock-bottom price of this vinyl-sheet flooring from TrafficMaster. It can be installed at a fraction of the price of other flooring while providing much of the same durability. This roll sheet-vinyl flooring is scuff- and scratch-resistant as well as waterproof.

And since it comes in 12-foot-wide sheets that are cut to length, it has fewer seams than vinyl-plank flooring that water can infiltrate. TrafficMaster can also be installed directly onto cement floors with no underlayment and comes in a variety of patterns and styles.

Product Specs

  • Type: Vinyl sheet
  • Size: 12-foot-wide, cut to length
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Waterproof design
  • Easy to install
  • Multiple design options

Cons

  • Not as attractive as other flooring options

Get the TrafficMaster flooring for basements at The Home Depot.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: Lifeproof Click Lock Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Photo: homedepot.com

Lifeproof is one of the most expensive vinyl-plank flooring products on the market, but for those who want the look of hardwood in their basement, there’s really no other choice. With an embossed surface, Varathane stain finishes, and irregular wood-grain patterns, Lifeproof looks almost identical to real hardwood flooring. But, unlike real hardwood, it’s tough enough to endure life in a basement thanks to its 100 percent waterproof construction, scratch-resistant coating, and anti-mold and mildew surface treatment. This combination of durability and beauty makes Lifeproof ideal for basement living rooms for those willing to pay its higher price tag.

Product Specs

  • Type: Vinyl plank
  • Size: 8.7-inch-wide planks
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Looks nearly identical to real hardwood
  • Waterproof
  • Scratch- and stain-resistant coating

Cons

  • Expensive

Get the LifeProof flooring for basements at The Home Depot.

Best Tile

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: Marazzi Montagna Porcelain Floor and Wall Tile
Photo: homedepot.com

While there are many types of floor tile suitable for installation in the basement, Marazzi’s tougher construction sets it apart from other tiles. Since it’s rated for outdoor use, it’s a great option for basements that may experience occasional flooding.

The tile is slip-resistant, which is crucial for floors that can sometimes get damp, while also being resistant to scratches, stains, and dents. With its 24-inch-long by 6-inch-wide plank shape and wood-grain design, Marazzi tile is an attractive choice for basement living rooms, dens, or even a finished laundry room.

Product Specs

  • Type: Porcelain tile
  • Size: 24-inch by 6-inch floor tiles
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Attractive wood-grain look
  • Waterproof
  • Slip-resistant finish

Cons

  • Harder installation process than other types of flooring.

Get the Marazzi flooring for basements at The Home Depot.

Best Carpet

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: Home Decorators Collection Trendy Threads II Carpet
Photo: homedepot.com

While the warmth of carpeting marks it an ideal choice for a chilly basement floor, many carpets can quickly get destroyed in a moist basement environment. That’s not the case with this carpet from Home Decorators Collection. The synthetic material is treated to hold up to foot traffic while resisting stains and soiling, helping it endure longer on basement floors.

In addition to being durable, it also provides ample cushioning thanks to its 0.8-inch pile height, making it a good choice for basement playrooms. Trendy Threads carpeting is also available in a variety of designs, making it suitable for basement use as well.

Product Specs

  • Type: Carpet
  • Size: N/A
  • Waterproof: No

Pros

  • Thick, soft pile
  • Synthetic material resists stains and discoloration
  • Numerous color options

Cons

  • Not suitable for basements that flood
  • Expensive

Get the Home Decorators Collection flooring for basements at The Home Depot.

Best Paint

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: Rust-Oleum Epoxyshield Basement Floor Coating
Photo: amazon.com

While there are many floor paints suitable for a basement, Rust-Oleum has staying power. Similar to other basement or garage floor paints, Rust-Oleum is an epoxy, which provides excellent resistance to foot traffic and water. It comes in a tan base color with decorative chips and a satin finish, making it suitable for everything from a basement workshop to a finished living area.

While its two-part application process does make it trickier to use than other nonepoxy floor paints, Rust-Oleum Epoxyshield will last much longer than standard latex-based floor paints. It also uses a water-based formula that produces low fumes and makes post-painting cleanup easier. Rustoleum Epoxyshield comes in a 120-ounce size, which is enough paint to cover 250 square feet.

Product Specs

  • Type: Paint
  • Size: Covers 250 square feet
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Attractive finish for basement living space
  • Resists peeling and chipping
  • Seals basement floor
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • 2-part mix can make application tricky

Get the Rust-Oleum paint flooring for basements on Amazon.

Best Rubber

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: American Floor Mats Fit-Lock Rubber Flooring
Photo: amazon.com

These easy-to-install rubber floor mats are a great choice for basement workout rooms or even a playroom or laundry area. With their 0.375-inch thickness, these tiles add cushioning to hard basement floors. Unlike other floor tiles that use a spongy material, these are made entirely of rubber that won’t absorb water, making them suitable for wet or damp basements.

Interlocking ends on each tile make them easy to put together or organize to suit the shape of the basement. American Floor Mats flooring also comes in a broad set of sizes, ranging from 4 feet by 4 feet up to 20 feet by 40 feet, and are available in four color options.

Product Specs

  • Type: Rubber tiles
  • Size: 16 to 800 square feet
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Very easy to install
  • Comes in a variety of sizes
  • Thick material adds cushioning to basement floor

Cons

  • More expensive than other floor-tile options

Get the American Floor Mats flooring for basements on Amazon.

Best Peel-and-Stick

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: Achim Nexus Self-Adhesive 12-Inch Vinyl Floor Tiles
Photo: amazon.com

These peel-and-stick floor tiles are another good option for those looking for an affordable and easy-to-install option for their basement floor. Each tile has adhesive backing that allows the user to install them simply by pressing them to the concrete floor. They cost a fraction of the price of other flooring options and come in a variety of patterns and colors to suit different tastes and styles, including stone, parquet oak, white marble, and brick.

Each pack includes 20 tiles and covers 20 square feet. While they resemble ceramic tile, these self-adhesive tiles aren’t ideal for basements that flood, as standing water can penetrate the seams between the tiles and break down the adhesive that holds the tile to the floor.

Product Specs

  • Type: Peel-and-stick tiles
  • Size: 12-inch by 12-inch tiles
  • Waterproof: Water-resistant

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Multiple pattern options

Cons

  • Not suitable for basements that flood

Get the Achim flooring for basements on Amazon or at Lowe’s.

Best Engineered-Hardwood

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: Bruce Hydropel Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Photo: homedepot.com

Most engineered-hardwood flooring is susceptible to water damage. This flooring from Bruce is an exception. It uses what the manufacturer calls Hydropel technology to provide protection from spills (or water that seeps into the basement after a heavy rain) for up to 36 hours, making it one of few engineered-hardwood floors ideal for below-grade installation.

In addition to protecting the flooring from water, the additional coating also provides an added barrier against dents and scratches. Bruce Hydropel flooring comes in a variety of hardwood finishes, making it a great option for finished basements that serve as living areas. Just keep in mind that this flooring is one of the most expensive basement flooring options on the market.

Product Specs

  • Type: Engineered hardwood
  • Size: 22.6 square feet per case
  • Waterproof: Waterproof up to 36 hours

Pros

  • Waterproof engineered hardwood
  • Beautiful look of hardwood
  • Multiple finish options
  • Scratch- and dent-resistant

Cons

  • Very expensive flooring option

Get the Bruce flooring for basements at The Home Depot.

Best for Wet Basements

The Best Flooring For Basements Option: Drylok Dover Gray Concrete Floor Paint
Photo: homedepot.com

If the goal is to create a waterproof seal on the basement floor (and possibly the walls too), then Drylok is the way to go. The paint creates a barrier that seals concrete to prevent seepage through the floor or the walls, helping to keep the basement dry.

The latex-based paint is self priming, so it’s easy to apply and doesn’t involve mixing like an epoxy paint. The finish is also nonslip and resists scuffs. With its limited color options, Drylok is designed mainly for unfinished spaces (it won’t add much to the aesthetics of a basement); however, it’s a great affordable option for those looking for a barrier to keep water out of basement utility areas and laundry rooms.

Product Specs

  • Type: Paint
  • Size: 500 square feet per gallon
  • Waterproof: Yes

Pros

  • Creates a seal that prevents water from seeping into the basement
  • Easy to apply
  • Affordable option

Cons

  • Limited color options

Get Drylok paint flooring for basements at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

The Pergo flooring for basements is a top-notch flooring that offers waterproof protection while also looking nearly identical to hardwood, making it one of the best floors for basements. Those looking for an affordable yet attractive option for their basement should consider the TrafficMaster flooring for basements, which comes in attractive patterns while offering comprehensive protection from water.

How We Chose the Best Flooring for Basements

Basements are unique parts of the home due to the fact that they are below grade and hence susceptible to water damage. Even a few gallons of water that find their way into the basement is enough to damage a floor and cause mold growth. With that in mind, we chose flooring that’s either water-resistant or waterproof. Since basements can serve a variety of needs, we included a diverse range of flooring options to suit different types of rooms. And, since flooring can be a costly addition to a basement, we included budget options as well as premium flooring options.

The Advantages of Using One of the Best Flooring Options for Basements

There are many good reasons to add flooring to one’s basement. The addition of flooring can expand a home’s living space dramatically by giving it a finished look. It can also create an added layer of insulation, helping to make a basement feel cozier. Flooring such as carpeting or rubber can also help to make a hard concrete floor more forgiving to walk or crawl on. In addition to improving a finished basement’s aesthetics, this type of flooring can also provide waterproofing protection.

  • Turns an unfinished space into a finished space
  • Improves the space’s aesthetics
  • Adds warmth to a cold basement
  • Can soften the basement floor

FAQs

If you’re wondering which types of flooring you can install directly onto concrete or whether laminate flooring is better than vinyl, then read on for answers.

Q. What is the best flooring for a basement?

Vinyl is the best flooring for a basement. This material is completely waterproof and can be installed over concrete fairly easily. Since it looks like hardwood, it can transform the look of a basement floor.

Q. What is the best flooring for concrete basements?

Since it doesn’t need any kind of underlayment (the underlayment is typically built into the underside of the planks), vinyl flooring is the best basement flooring over concrete. Ceramic or porcelain tile can also be installed directly onto concrete, although it’s more labor-intensive to install than vinyl flooring.

Q. What is better for basement flooring: laminate or vinyl?

Vinyl flooring is better for basement flooring because it is waterproof, whereas laminate basement flooring is only water-resistant and can be damaged should the basement flood.

Q. What do you put under vinyl flooring in a basement?

Most vinyl flooring doesn’t require any underlayment as the material is made almost entirely from plastic and typically has an attached underlay on each plank.

Q. Can I put vinyl flooring over concrete in a basement?

You can add vinyl flooring directly to a concrete floor. Vinyl-sheet flooring can typically be glued to the floor while vinyl-plank flooring typically floats above the floor with no need for underlayment.