What Flooring is Best for a Basement

What Flooring Is Best for a Basement

What Flooring Is Best for a Basement

Are you planning on putting work in on your basement?

Perhaps you’ve bought a home with an unfinished basement, and are working on turning it into your dream space, a rental living space, or a playroom! One of your first steps should be deciding what materials you’ll be using, starting with your flooring. You should consider factors such as price, aesthetics, and water resistance. Read on to learn more about some of your best flooring options.

Best Flooring Options

So, which of your options is the best for a basement floor? Take into consideration factors such as durability, price, and water resistance. The best flooring option will depend on the look you are going for, your space, and the look you are going for with your basement– different options may be better for different people. However, when it comes to practicality, there are a few options that come in head and shoulders over the rest.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is the best type of flooring for basements for a few different reasons. This is because vinyl is made of PVC, which makes it waterproof and durable. Since PVC is an inorganic material, this means that vinyl flooring is more durable and great for areas that may see a lot of wear and tear or foot traffic. Vinyl flooring can also be installed directly on your subfloor if you so choose, making the installation process quicker and easier. It is also a floating floor option. This means that it is not actually attached to the subfloor and can be removed easier.

Many people believe that vinyl flooring is similar to linoleum in both looks and feel. However, that is no longer the case! In the past few years, vinyl flooring has drastically improved in aesthetics, design, and construction. A wide variety of colours, patterns, and finish options are now available so that you can get exactly what you’re looking for, along with the durability and water resistance that this material offers.

Vinyl flooring can also come in two different options– there is vinyl plank and vinyl tile. Vinyl plank closely resembles hardwood, however, it is waterproof, which actual hardwood flooring is not. Vinyl tile has a resemblance to tile and other stone products, which can be easily guessed from its name. 

Vinyl flooring has a few key benefits, which include: 

  • Durability 
  • Waterproof
  • Variety of colors and styles
  • Variety of plank and tile sizes

Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic tile is another great option for basement flooring, but not quite as great an option as vinyl flooring. Ceramic tile can be glazed and finished so that it is water-resistant. At this point, water cannot penetrate the tile, which makes it a suitable option for basements, where a homeowner may experience leaks, flooding, or spills. It is also stain-resistant as well. 

For aesthetics, ceramic comes in many colours, patterns, and shapes. This makes it easy to find the perfect option to pull together the design scheme or colour story of your basement space. However, tile can be expensive to buy and also expensive to install, so many homeowners make the stylistic choice to use tile in a smaller area, such as a bar area or basement bathroom. 

When it comes to installing ceramic tile, not only is it expensive, but it typically needs to be done by a professional. It is also one of the colder flooring options, as it adheres to the foundation of the home.

Some of the ceramic tile’s key benefits are:

  • Water resistant
  • Variety of color, size, and shape options
  • High end, expensive look

However, some of its cons are:

  • Time consuming and difficult installation
  • Requires a professional to install
  • Expensive

Other Flooring Options

Of course, vinyl flooring and ceramic tile are not the only options you have if you are fixing up your basement– they are just some of the options that come with the highest recommendation. Other options include hardwood, epoxy, and carpet, all with their own unique sense of characteristics. 

Carpet Flooring

While carpet may not be the most durable or water-resistant option, it is the choice of many homeowners who are finishing their basement space. The carpet’s appeal comes from its soft and cozy feel. It is a warm option, unlike ceramic tile, for example. Many homeowners use carpet in the living space of the basement area, as well as on the staircase, in order to keep them soft, warm, and inviting. It can also make a space quieter, as soft furnishings provide a cushion when it comes to the acoustics of a space.

Another pro when it comes to carpet is the cost– carpet is one of the more budget-friendly flooring options. Carpet has many different options, in the form of different colours, textures, and patterns, so there is an option to fit every budget and aesthetic. 

However, carpet is not water-resistant like some of the other flooring options one could choose. As it is not waterproof, it is also not mould proof. This could prove to be an issue if a basement were to flood, but for minor spillage issues, the carpet can be saved if dried carefully and quickly. It is also less durable than options such as vinyl, as carpet is prone to issues such as stains or snags.

Some of the carpet’s key benefits are:

  • Can make a space quieter
  • Cozy, warm feel
  • Offers cushion for the basement floor

Carpet does have its cons as well, which include:

  • Not water resistant
  • Stains easily
  • Can mold if spilled on

Hardwood or Laminate Flooring

Hardwood flooring is typically not the best option for a basement, though, like ceramic tile, it may be used in certain areas as an accent. It does appeal to some homeowners, and this is usually due to its high-end look and feel– hardwood is one of the top flooring options in other areas of the home for this reason, as well as for its durability. 

However, when it comes to basements, hardwood is less durable. Yes, hardwood is still resistant to wear and tear such as scrapes and scuffs, but it is not water-resistant. Basements are water-prone areas, as well as typically being very humid, so hardwood would not hold up as well as some of the aforementioned other flooring options. If you place wood flooring in a basement, it will warp and twist over time. When this happens, it is costly for a homeowner because hardwood is both costly and time-consuming when it comes to installation or replacement.

Laminate flooring is better suited for a basement because of its cost efficiency and durability. You can also put laminate flooring down without a subfloor.

Hardwood does have a few key benefits, though:

  • High end look and feel
  • Can match the rest of the flooring in your home

The cons typically do outweigh the benefits of hardwood:

  • Very prone to water damage
  • Prone to mold
  • Can warp and twist

Epoxy Flooring

Epoxy flooring was never a very popular option, but it is now gaining some traction among homeowners. It, like some of the best basement flooring options, is water-resistant and durable. Due to its durability, an epoxy is also a long-lasting option that is easy to maintain. The design style of epoxy is unique– it has a very particular aesthetic and is not quite as adaptable as some of the flooring options, such as ceramic tile, vinyl, or even carpet. However, it can be a cool option for someone who is looking for an industrial feel to their space.

Homeowners may decide against epoxy flooring because of its temperature. Just like ceramic tile, it is cold to the touch and is one of the harder surfaces, as there is no padding involved. You should take into account this information, as well as the use you intend for the basement space.

Some of epoxy flooring’s key benefits are:

  • Water resistant
  • Durable
  • Long lasting

It does have some cons as well:

  • Hard on your feet
  • Cold to the touch

When Choosing Flooring Options

There are a few important factors that should be front of mind when you are choosing flooring options for your basement. Of course, you will want to choose the flooring that best suits the purpose of the space, whether it is meant as a playroom, office, living space, or more. You will want to protect the investment you are putting into the space by selecting materials that are long-lasting and durable as well as aesthetically pleasing. 

Moisture Resistance

Since basements are humid, moist spaces, moisture resistance is key when it comes to flooring. Your basement is one of the spaces in your home that can most easily experience issues such as leaks and flooding as well, so if your flooring is not moisture resistant, you can expect costly replacement fees. 


Your need for durability will depend on the intended use for your basement space. However, since this is for flooring, you will want to ensure your chosen materials can hold up to foot traffic– especially if this space will be used and trafficked often. For example, a playroom or a bedroom may need different flooring than a bar area. Also, take into account who will be using the space– if you have pets, carpet may not be the best option due to stains or snags, for instance.

Comfort Level 

Like durability, the necessary comfort level depends on the usage of your space. You will want to choose the flooring that is the most comfortable option for your particular needs. A basement can be used for anything from an office to a rec room. For instance, a basement that is being refinished to be used as an industrial storage space does not need flooring with the same comfort level that space would need if its purpose was to be a playroom.


Different flooring options have varying levels of warmth. You should keep in mind the current temperature of your basement, and the temperature that you would like it to be at, ideally. If you want the space to be warmer– for a rented living area, for example– you might opt for carpet.

If you are not concerned with warmth, based on the purpose of your space, you might opt for a colder option such as tile. However, there are also ways to insulate flooring if you like some of the colder options, such as with a cork floating floor.

You can also get in-floor heating, which can go under certain types of flooring like tile or the concrete slab to heat your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is better for basement vinyl or laminate?

When it comes to flooring for a basement, vinyl is your best bet. Laminate is a good choice for areas that are not at risk of seeing a lot of moisture. Vinyl is more water-resistant, so is better for spaces, such as basements, that could experience leaks or flooding. There are also water-resistant laminate options, but vinyl is still a better option than these other options.

Is tile or carpet better in a basement?

Hard flooring materials are a better choice for basements. Tile will outperform soft materials, like carpet, in a basement space. Tile is also more resistant to moisture than a soft material like carpet. This is because tile is sealed and treated, which makes it water-resistant. For these reasons, tile is also a more expensive flooring option than carpet.

What is the warmest flooring for a basement?

You can insulate your basement floor in order to keep it warmer than hard materials like vinyl or tile. By installing a cork floating floor, you can insulate the flooring in an easy and cost-effective way. Another warm flooring option is carpet, though, for a basement, carpet is not as advisable because it is not water-resistant. 

What is the cheapest way to finish a basement floor? 

Some of the cheaper basement flooring options are carpet, laminate, or vinyl. Some homeowners may choose to forgo installing flooring and just paint, stain or seal their current basement floor to reduce the budget for their project, but this does not have the same polished and finished look that you will achieve by installing new flooring.