Before you even think about vinyl flooring or ceramic tile, your contractor must address what’s contributing to the excess water in your basement. Besides humidity (which can be resolved with a dehumidifier), basement moisture is caused by:
After a heavy rain, the soil under your home’s concrete foundation can become saturated. This creates water pressure which can push moisture through your basement walls and floor.
The fix? Your general contractor may install underground pipes to carry water away from the foundation. He or she may also patch any cracks in the concrete pad of your basement.
If your gutters and downspouts are clogged, water will run down the foundation walls and into your basement.
The solution? Clean the gutters. You may also choose to install gutter extensions, which guide the water farther away from your home.
The plumbing from your kitchen, laundry room, or upstairs bathroom can easily spring a leak, dripping water into the basement below.
The remedy? Hire a general contractor to seal or replace existing pipes.
After plugging holes and sealing cracks, now comes the fun part: shopping for flooring.
When you head over to your local hardware store, you’ll be met with a bevy of options. Those designed for basements might be referred to as “below-grade flooring,” which just means they’re suited for spaces below the earth’s surface.
Since everything at or below grade will likely be exposed to moisture, the best flooring for your basement is water-resistant, stylish, and suited to your budget. Here are our top eight picks:
If you intend to make your basement a workshop or at-home gym, a coat of concrete floor paint will do. This option is economical (about $4 per square foot) and functional.
For a more sophisticated look than a concrete slab, consider ceramic tiles. This flooring option is incredibly durable, even in the event of flooding. Plus, radiant heating can be installed between the concrete and tile to offer a warmer surface for your tootsies.
Installing traditional hardwood floors in a basement is normally a huge no-no. (Scroll to the end for an exception to this rule.) But what if you want the traditional aesthetic that hardwood can provide? Go with plank-sized porcelain tile flooring instead.
This below-grade flooring option looks surprisingly like real wood. Plank tile flooring is also so durable that it’s often installed in restaurants and other commercial spaces.
You’ve probably seen rubber flooring in gyms and garages, but did you know it can work in basements too?
Rubber flooring is incredibly water-resistant and light on the joints. It can quickly transform a dark and cold basement into an at-home gym, yoga studio, or playroom.
Sheet vinyl flooring is underrated. This material costs pennies per square foot and is so waterproof that it’s often used in boats. What’s even better? There’s no need for a subfloor.
Nothing replaces the look of hardwood flooring, especially if you’re turning your basement into a mother-in-law suite or a private apartment. However, since this flooring option isn’t waterproof (unless it’s heavily lacquered), engineered hardwood is a better choice.
Engineered hardwood is made of five to seven layers of crosshatched plywood. This design helps each plank maintain its structure, even in humid conditions.