The Best Waterproof Flooring Options for Basements

To kids, basements are scary, dark crypts where monsters live. Adults fear basements too, not because of the boogeyman but because of moisture.

Thanks to improper grading and defective downspouts, basements are notoriously wet, humid spaces. After a heavy rain, many basements even flood. As such, homeowners should choose waterproof flooring such as concrete and vinyl. These materials are durable and impervious to water.

Keep reading to determine the best waterproof flooring option for your basement.


Basements are notoriously wet for a variety of reasons. However, the three most common reasons for unwanted moisture are:

  • Ground Water: Moisture from the soil can easily seep into your home through cracks in the walls or floors.
  • Faulty Plumbing: Water from leaking pipes can accumulate in your basement.
  • Humid Air: Air from outside often enters basements and then condenses on surfaces.

Since few homeowners use their basements daily, small leaks often go unnoticed. Waterproof flooring can be a lifesaver in these situations, preventing further foundational and electrical damage.


There are many different moisture-resistant flooring options on the market. Each differs in its durability, appearance, price, and ease of installation.

Popular choices include:

  • Vinyl plank flooring
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Glazed ceramic tile flooring
  • Waterproof laminate flooring
  • Concrete flooring

No matter which type of flooring you choose, you’ll need to install a moisture barrier. Moisture barriers prevent your floor from swelling or buckling. They also mitigate the growth of dangerous mold and mildew.


Vinyl plank flooring is a step above the tacky, roll-out linoleum of yesteryear. This flooring option consists of pressed wood boards with a vinyl coating. When installed correctly, there should be no gaps for water to seep through.

Vinyl plank flooring usually runs about $3 per square foot and up, though you can find options for as little as $1.50.


  • Completely waterproof
  • Very durable and scratch-resistant
  • Simple upkeep and maintenance
  • Lots of different color options


  • Susceptible to discoloration and UV damage
  • Some flooring can off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Although it’s durable, it can be dented
  • Lower resale value compared to hardwood flooring


Nothing quite compares to hardwood flooring, particularly if you have a finished basement. Though this classic option isn’t technically waterproof, heavy-duty lacquers and sealants can provide the moisture resistance you’re looking for.

Hardwood floors usually run about $4.50 per square foot, though the ultimate price tag depends on the quality of the floor. You’ll also need to consider the cost of stain, lacquer, and installation.


  • Long-lasting, if maintained
  • Easy to refinish
  • Increases home’s resale value
  • Non-toxic


  • More expensive than other options
  • Prone to termites
  • Easy to scratch and dent
  • Prone to bending and swelling when exposed to moisture


If you want something more durable than hardwood, ceramic tile could be perfect for you. These tiles come glazed, which creates a barrier for water and moisture. The installation process is also relatively simple.

While this is a more expensive option, it pays dividends in durability and longevity. Ceramic tiles run about $2 to $4 per square foot. You’ll also need to factor in grout, adhesive, and installation.


  • Very durable
  • Impervious to water
  • Non-allergenic
  • Lots of different designs


  • Cold to the touch
  • Hard underfoot
  • Very heavy


When you hear “laminate floor,” you probably think of the cheap stick-on tiles in your grandma’s kitchen. Fortunately, today’s market offers higher quality options that are still easy on the budget.

Waterproof laminate starts at just $1 per square foot. Plus, with endless designs, you’re sure to find something that matches your basement’s aesthetic.


  • Installation is quick and easy
  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Easy to replace if damaged
  • Resistant to stains
  • Very budget-friendly


  • Susceptible to moisture damage
  • Some toxic chemicals present
  • Cannot be refinished like hardwood floors


Since most basements already have a concrete floor, this could be a very affordable option. All that’s needed is a waterproof sealant. You may also choose to apply a decorative stain or lacquer.

It usually costs $3 per square foot to epoxy a basement. However, expect additional costs if your general contractor has to fix chipped, crumbling, or cracked concrete.


  • Very durable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Resistant to water damage
  • Lots of decorative stain options


  • Cold to the touch
  • Potentially slippery
  • Hard on the joints


Should you hire a general contractor to install a budget-friendly laminate in your man cave? Or maybe engineered hardwood instead? Finding the basement flooring option that’s best for you depends on several different factors, including:
  • Budget: Stay within your price range, and find a quality option that won’t break the bank. Your general contractor can help you with this.
  • Use: Consider how your basement will be used. It wouldn’t make sense to install premium hardwood in an otherwise unfinished basement. However, if you hope to convert this unused space into an office, hardwood might be a viable option.
  • Square Footage: The cost and difficulty of your project will depend on the size of your basement. For instance, installing glazed ceramic tiles in a 2,000-square-foot space would be costly and time-consuming.
  • Flooding: Does your basement routinely flood? If so, keep that in mind when you choose flooring. In this situation, ceramic tiles are likely best. However, if your basement is just mildly damp, hardwood might work.


Is your Charlotte home’s basement dark and damp? If so, waterproof flooring could protect your home from foundation damage, mold growth, and even electrical issues. When installed correctly by a licensed general contractor, flooring can also transform your unused space into a stylish writer’s retreat or an at-home gym.

But you should never jump into a big interior remodel alone. Instead, you should call Team Portico. Our team of general contractors can help you select a waterproof flooring option that suits your needs. We can also install the flooring and make any other necessary modifications.

Contact us online or call us at 704-742-2720 today!

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