This unpredictable year has proven the value of maximizing every space in the home! If you have a house with a basement and are eager to turn this area into useable space for your family, there’s no time like the present to complete this valuable project.

Maybe you’re planning a full-fledged playroom with room not just for toys and games but for kids to get creative with paints and other arts and crafts. Maybe you’re envisioning the classic man cave—the big-screen television and sectional sofa, the mini kitchen for game day food, and, of course, a wet bar. Perhaps you’re thinking about an in-law’s or visitor’s suite that includes a second master-sized bedroom, sitting area, and bathroom. While basements can be great bonus areas, there are certain aspects you need to take into consideration when it comes to choosing the right flooring material.

Because basements are below grade (meaning below ground level) they have higher humidity, receive less natural light, and get less ventilation than the rest of the house. And, if the house isn’t sealed properly (and sometimes even if it is), a basement can flood when excess rainfall occurs. Choosing flooring materials made to withstand the elements—especially moisture—is essential!

For example, a wood floor in a basement would not be a great fit: the build-up of moisture will eventually cause an expensive wood floor to warp. Most types of wall-to-wall carpet installations are not advised since humid, moist air will cause mildew and mold to grow in the carpet. Inexpensive vinyl rolls are a cheaper option, but the floor will wear out quicker, require more prep work and extra adhesive.

So, which flooring materials do most experts recommend? Stone, porcelain or ceramic tile, or luxury vinyl flooring, including luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl plank (LVP), are the best choices for below-grade flooring installations. All are water-resistant and last a long time with regular cleaning and maintenance. If you love the look of genuine wood beauty, all of these surfaces also provide stunning visuals of your favorite species with realistic grain and texture!

If stone and ceramic or porcelain tile aren’t in your budget, LVT will be a more affordable option with no shortage of style. Manufacturers produce LVT in sizes, formats, colors, and surfaces to mimic real materials at a fraction of the cost. Also, LVT is extremely durable, easy to install, and easy to clean.

For the most authentic wood looks in your basement, LVP is the way to go. Luxury vinyl planks look like genuine wood planks with shading, graining, and even textural markings that will earn a double take! These floors are scratch- and scuff-proof—perfect if you need to have a pet stay in your basement for a period of time.

When it’s time to talk flooring for your project, feel free to reach out to our flooring experts. We can help you find the best flooring to turn your basement into a certified dream space!