Basement flooring options
Carpet is considered the most comfortable of basement flooring options. It’s soft underfoot and not cold, regardless of the weather outside. Today’s carpeting choices include easy-clean, recycled, and natural fiber options in addition to modular carpet tiles with built-in padding—all available in a dizzying array of colors and textures to appeal to every aesthetic taste.
Carpet is considered medium in terms of durability and cost. The newer carpet tiles make it easy and cost effective to replace soiled or damaged spots in individual tiles without replacing the entire floor covering. If choosing a traditionally rolled carpet, you can certainly find carpet choices to fit a small budget; the trade-off is durability. Regardless of which carpet option you choose, within 8–10 years, you will want to plan to replace it.
Stone, porcelain, and ceramic tile are generally not considered comfortable basement flooring options. They are hard and sometimes cold underfoot. Hard tiles are chosen for basement floors for reasons other than comfort:
- Durability – Tile is extremely durable. With proper care, it should look beautiful for its lifetime and last as long as your home.
- Aesthetics – Tile is beautiful. Whether you choose a solid, matte, dark color ceramic tile or choose to lay out pattern on the floor in natural stone tile, tile’s beauty is timeless.
- Cost – Tile is considered low to medium in terms of cost. There are many budget-friendly ceramic and porcelain tile options available. Couple a low-cost option with tile’s inherent durability and you’ll save thousands of dollars over a 10-year period compared to carpet.
Wood, like carpet, is both a comfortable and an attractive basement flooring option. Today’s wood flooring choices include natural woods in varying thickness with their associated underlayment requirements and engineered laminate wood products. One of the advantages of wood over carpet is that, in addition to being as comfortable and as attractive as carpet, both natural and engineered wood flooring is very durable. Many engineered wood products now come with a lifetime warranty. Most natural hardwood, with good care, will last as long as your home.
Engineered wood products were created to meet the need of the homeowner who wanted the look of hardwood floors without a huge budget. These products tend to compete well with the cost of carpeting. Traditional, natural wood floors can be pricey. In addition, you may need to factor in the cost of long-term maintenance for traditional hardwood flooring, which eventually needs refinishing.
Concrete deserves mention in the list of basement flooring options available. Finishing existing concrete floors is perhaps the easiest and most cost effective choice—but perhaps not the most comfortable choice.
Aesthetically, there are dozens of concrete finishes to choose from, some of which include:
- Concrete stain – New stains are available to make concrete look like stone, leather or solid ground.
- Durable floor paint – Floor paints are available in nearly every color of paint imaginable. Adding stripes and/or patterns can add interest to the floor, as well.
- Epoxy – Epoxy finishes can help repair uneven or pitted concrete surfaces. Epoxy also extends the life and eases the cleaning requirements of unfinished concrete.