Even when the weather is dry, basement flooring can leach residual moisture due to its close proximity to the ground. In deluges, basement flooring can have the up-to-your-ankles-or-worse type of flooding that we all fear and which keeps the insurance companies in business.
So your primary thought with basement flooring is always moisture: how to avoid it and how to wring the flooring dry in the event you cannot avoid it.
Caution: if flooring is on our list, it is not necessarily recommended. Our list is meant to cover the gamut--from great to dramatically horrible--so that you can assess for yourself what will work best for your home.
You Should Know
- Does the Flooring Material Dry Out?: Flooring that will dry out (in the event of flooding) with no or little harm always are preferred. Ceramic tile is a perfect example. But this does not mean you have to stay away from the other types--laminate, wood, etc.
- You Already Have Concrete: Our overview assumes that you already have a concrete basement slab. This is the first step to any basement flooring.
- Flooring Straight on Slab: Some basement flooring can be installed directly on the concrete slab. Again, ceramic tile is the perfect example of this.
- Foam Underlayment: If installing laminate flooring, it is possible to install it directly on the concrete slab. By "directly," we mean with a foam underlayment between the laminate and concrete (no subfloor).
- Sub-Floor Sleepers: Other types of basement flooring require a sleeper system of plywood, two-by-fours, and underlayment to further raise the flooring off the slab. Resilient flooring and carpeting would require this type of sub-flooring.