Basement Flooring Ideas and Options

Carpet, Wood, Laminate and Tile are all Viable Basement Flooring Options

By Mark J. Donovan

Deciding on basement flooring can be challenging. A basement floor is simply a slab of concrete that rests on the ground.

Consequently the concrete basement floor is very hard and is subject to moisture wicking up through it. And the moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth if not quickly and properly removed from the basement.

Shown below are basement flooring ideas and options that you can consider for your finished basement plans.

Epoxy Coating Basement Floor Option

First, it is important to decide on how you plan to use the basement. If it is simply going to be used for storing items, then an epoxy coating applied to the surface of the concrete basement floor is the ideal option.

Epoxy coatings are resistant to spills, e.g. oil spills, and make the job of cleaning and vacuuming the basement floor much easier. An epoxy coating is also an inexpensive basement flooring option and is relatively easy to install. Epoxy coatings also come in many color choices.

If you plan to have a finished living space basement, then ceramic tile, wood, laminate or carpeting maybe a better choice. However with wood, laminate or carpeting you may want to consider installing a wood subfloor over the concrete basement slab and adding insulation.

Building a wood subfloor consists of placing on the concrete basement slab a grid of 2x4s laid on their flat sides. In between the 2x4s rigid foam insulation is installed.

Placed underneath the 2x4s and insulation, is a sheet of polyethylene plastic to act as a moisture barrier. Finally, plywood is installed over the grid of 2x4s and insulation. The carpeting, laminate or wood flooring can then be installed over the plywood.

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Carpeting as a Basement Flooring Option

Carpeting can be a good choice for a finished basement, because it can add a layer of insulation to the basement floor that helps make the basement feel warmer.

It can also make the finished living space feel cozier. However, it is again critical that there are no moisture issues in the basement. Moisture wicking up through the concrete slab and onto the back side of the carpeting will quickly lead to mold and mildew growth underneath the carpet. If basement floor moisture tests indicate there are no issues with water wicking up through the concrete slab, then a wood subfloor is not necessary. The carpeting can be applied directly onto the concrete slab.

To test the basement floor for moisture simply tape down a few small pieces of plastic to the concrete basement slab, and check them 24 hours later. If you see beads of moisture underneath the plastic, then you need to come up with a permanent solution to eliminate the moisture.

Wood Flooring

A wood floor is a viable basement flooring alternative if installed right. If not done right, you’ll end up wasting your money.

Basement Addition and Basement Finishing

The wood floor will either become damaged by mold and mildew growth and/or the boards will warp and swell.

Consequently, before installing a wood floor first test the basement concrete slab for moisture as explained above. Again, if there is a moisture problem come up with a permanent solution before proceeding with the installation of a wood floor. Secondly, install a wood subfloor, regardless if there is or is not moisture detected.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a low cost alternative to wood flooring. It is also a relatively easy DIY project. However, like a traditional wood floor, a moisture barrier and a subfloor should ideally be first installed over the basement concrete slab.

Ceramic Tile Basement Idea

Ceramic tile is ideal for a basement as moisture wicking up through the basement slab is less of a concern. 

Ceramic tile is also easy to maintain and clean, comes in a plethora of colors, shapes and styles, and is a viable DIY project. Ceramic tile is ideal in a basement bar area.

For more help on Basement Additions, see’s Basement Remodeling Bid sheet. The Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your basement remodeling project is done correctly and you get the project finished on time and budget.

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