Our Flooring Experts Weigh In On The Best Type Of Flooring For Basements

Our basements offer plenty of extra space and are utilized in various ways. Still, basements are often incomplete and need additional work and maintenance to create a more habitable environment. Flooring is one significant factor in renovating a basement, but determining the best flooring for this space can be overwhelming. There are numerous materials available, but you must also consider the space you're dealing with. What will your basement primarily be used for, family game nights or storage? Do you live in a location that experiences flooding, and what humidity and moisture levels are you dealing with? On top of considering durability and longevity, we also want to choose something that appeals to us aesthetically. In an exclusive interview with House Digest, Bob Hardaway, Vice President of Carpet at Shaw, and Josh Martenn, Vice President of Hard Surface and TotalWorx with Shaw, helped us break down and determine the best flooring for a basement.

"When it comes to the best flooring in the basement, both hard surface and carpet have their benefits; it's up to the consumer and what they want the basement to be like," Hardaway said. "From a carpet perspective, however, loops and carpet tiles are often used. Carpet tiles offer a quick installation opportunity." Additionally, Martenn advocates for another option, noting, "From a hard surface point of view, vinyl and tile products are great choices for basements." Based on your budget, design preferences, and durability demands, here's what our experts suggest for your basement needs.

The best flooring for your basement

In an exclusive interview with House Digest, experts Josh Martenn and Bob Hardaway gave their expert opinions on which types of flooring should be considered for basement renovations. "Tile is a great option because it is water resistant, low maintenance, and seals out moisture. Vinyl, on the other hand is another great option because it's durable, easy to clean, and is often more affordable for homeowners," Martenn explained. "Homeowners are also attracted to vinyl in basements because of the aesthetic features it offers; mainly the real-wood-look visuals. In fact, COREtec and Shaw Floors offer a number of vinyl options that look like real hardwood, yet offer top-notch durability." Both vinyl and tile offer long-term durability, although vinyl will be easier to install and more fitting for those on a budget.

"Whether opting for carpet tiles or tile/vinyl flooring, the versatility of COREtec and Shaw Floors' products shines through," Hardaway said. "Carpet tiles stand out for their ability to offer warmth underfoot, creating a cozy and comfortable environment, while tile and vinyl products allow for a more durable and low-maintenance space." Carpet may work better for those planning to use their basements for social events and family activities; however, vinyl is a cheaper option that'll be easier to care for over time. If carpet is the avenue you choose, you'll want to ensure moisture levels and threats of flooding are extremely low, as carpet isn't water resistant like vinyl and tile options.

Installing basement flooring

The installation process of basement flooring is a significant determining factor in what material is chosen. You must consider the cost of labor certain materials will require versus if it's something you can DIY. How invasive the installation process will be and how much time the project will take are two more components to contemplate. Implementing new flooring into a basement costs, on average, $3,000 to $9,000 based on labor, the size of the space, and the materials used. Cutting expenses where you can and opting for something you can handle installing on your own may be the wisest choice. "WPC and SPC products are DIY because they click, making for an easy installation," Josh Martenn said in an exclusive interview with House Digest. "Homeowners don't have to glue or nail these kinds of vinyl products down. Sheet vinyl, along with tile, will require professional installation." Carpet is also hard to install yourself as it requires a lot of tools, but it's not an impossible task.

Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) flooring is made up of wood fibers and resin, providing a wood-like flooring that is much more durable and water-resistant than actual hardwood floors. Stone Polymer Composite (SPC) is a similar option comprising calcium carbonate, polymer, plasticizers, and polyvinyl acetate. WPC and SPC are similar in installation and what they offer, but SPC is known to be a little cheaper and is more commonly used on commercial sites, while WPC is a popular choice for residential properties.