The first and most important step when researching basement flooring ideas is to determine the level of moisture in your basement. Without this first important step, you could have major issue with any type of flooring you install. If there is too much moisture in that space, it could cause curling, adhesive failure, or discoloration.
To determine moisture levels, purchase a Calcium Chloride Kit and an Alkaline Test Kit. These kits will determine two separate, but equally important, moisture combinations in your basement. For more information, speak with the sales representative at your nearby home improvement store.
The second step to determining the best flooring for your basement is to determine the room's primary use. Will it be a rumpus room, personal gym, laundry room, or den? Will it be used for entertaining and guest room accommodations, or is it just extended storage space? With these characteristics in mind, the following flooring ideas will help you make a decision about what is best for the space.
1. Painted Concrete
This is a simple process of sealing the slab, then applying a paint specifically designed for concrete applications. It can be a solid color or you can be creative and do a faux-finished floor to make it look like marble or granite. Two-color squares can be taped off to create a checkerboard floor or some other geometric pattern. The only limit to painting this type of floor is your imagination. You will need to apply a finishing sealer to prevent scratches and promote color longevity.
2. Rubber Flooring
This type of floor covering is perfect for a rumpus or exercise room. It's cost effective and is easy to install. The material comes in sheets of recycled rubber that need no glue or extra installation materials. It's an excellent alternative to the cold, hard surface because of its insulating properties, as well as the overall cushioning comfort. This type of flooring can be purchased in interlocking blocks or made to order sheets that can be easily rolled and trimmed to fit.
3. Hardwood or Laminate Floating Flooring
These floors are specially designed to be locked into each other without glue or nails. Floating floors rest on a cushioned underlay and are designed to lock-in simply by accurate tongue and grooves that join securely together.
These floors are comfortable and warm due to the underlay. They work well when your basement floor is less than perfect. Some hardwoods expand, although concrete doesn't, so not all hard woods can be an option for this type of flooring. This type of flooring is quick and easy to install.
Carpet is always a good option if your basement does not have moisture issues. Since you have determined the room's function, the form of carpet should be an easy choice. Choose berber for high traffic and rough use. Consider a frieze carpet for an exercise room. You will need to do some research for the best carpet cushion or padding to use under your carpet. These come in three types of materials, which are fiber, sponge, and foam rubber.
Tile options include porcelain, terra cotta, quarry, glass, laminates, and linoleum. This type of flooring can be complex or simple to install, based on the size and type. The main disadvantage to this application is that you will need to prepare the existing floor extensively beforehand. Also note that these floors, without some sort of additional heat underlayment, are cold.