The Best Basement Flooring Materials and Ideas From Pros

Planning to remodel your basement? Before you start thinking up ways to fill the space, make sure you have a solid floor in place. After all, a basement floor has to be able to withstand a great deal, from heavy foot traffic to potential flooding.

Most flooring materials can be used for the room—“except for solid hardwood,” says Jen Meska, director of merchandising at LL Flooring. “Solid hardwoods are more susceptible to moisture than other flooring types and aren’t usually recommended for installation below grade,” she explains.

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Tom Ferguson

Whether your basement is partially or fully below grade (i.e. underground), it’s important to choose a waterproof material, such as laminate or vinyl. “A couple of great examples from LL Flooring include the Lake Geneva or Saint Florent Hickory rigid vinyl planks,” she suggests. “These floors have DIY-friendly installation, are easy to clean, and can stand up to families using the space for active recreation.”

And while solid hardwood flooring is a bad idea for basements, engineered hardwood is a sound pick. “Homeowners often think they can’t put wood floors in their basement, but engineered hardwood is specifically designed with extra stability and is a great choice for lower levels of the home,” Meska asserts. “The extra stability from engineered hardwood also means each flooring plank can be longer and wider than traditional solid wood, so you’ll see more trend-forward looks in engineered hardwood flooring.”

Many laminate and vinyl flooring options feature easy-to-click installation, making them perfect for avid DIYers. (“Our Duravana Hybrid Resilient flooring is one of my favorites because of its high durability and ease of installation,” Meska notes.)

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Ultimately, your basement floor should match the rest of your house in terms of style and quality. One serious mistake homeowners often make when it comes to updating their basement floor? “Not considering the comfort factor,” Meska says. “Basements tend to be cold underfoot, so it’s worth investing in a radiant heat system or premium underlayment!”

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