When considering a basement renovation one of the most important choices is what kind of flooring to use for the main space.
Choosing a basement flooring product is different than other areas of your home. A traditional concrete foundation can’t be nailed into making it traditional hardwood flooring in a basement uncommon. We have discussed sub-floors in other videos and you may want to take a look at a few of them before moving on.
The two most common flooring choices for our basements are carpet and laminate. Some other popular options are vinyl-plank, cork, and engineered hardwood.
Traditional carpet remains the most popular choice for flooring in a basement. 75-80% of the basements renovations we complete use carpet as the primary flooring option. The biggest advantage of using carpet in a basement is that it is warm and comfortable.
With a good underpad, carpet can be installed directly over the concrete foundation and still feel soft and warm.
Also, carpet is a cost-effective option as you can get a quality carpet installed for less than $3.50/sf.
Laminate flooring is our second most popular flooring choice for basement renovations. Laminate has a beautiful look to it and a wide-range of choices to consider.
Laminate flooring is also the most cost effective hard-surface flooring option. A good quality laminate can be professionally installed including product for less than $3.50/sf.
Another major advantage of laminate vs carpet is that it is very easy to clean and care for.
When purchasing a laminate product, we prefer trying to find a quality 10mm or 12mm product. You have probably seen or walked on a “cheap” laminate floor at some point. Generally, the “cheap” laminates are 6mm or 8mm products.
A downside of laminate is that they are really only as good as the sub-floor they are placed on. When applied directly over concrete or over a roll-out sub-floor, you should expect a few small air-pockets beneath the floor where the laminate will feel a little less solid than you would like.
Another disadvantage of laminate is that it can warp over time with too much moisture. For these reasons I always recommend that my clients install some type of sub-floor system when choosing a laminate floor.
Cork and vinyl flooring are both becoming increasingly popular options for basement developments.
Cork flooring is made from the bark of a cork oak tree. The majority of cork products are click-together floating floors as the laminate are.
The natural properties of cork make it softer than a vinyl or laminate. This can be better for people with back or feet ailments to walk on than other hard surface flooring. These same properties also make cork feel warmer to the touch than other hard surfaces.
Like laminate, they are very easy to care for and are durable.
Because it is a natural product, there aren’t always as many colour and design choices as can be found with other types.
Cork get a little higher price-wise than carpet or laminate. Typically, cork will range from around $4.50-$6.00/sf installed.
Vinyl flooring has also grown rapidly in popularity.
It is more water resistant than laminate or cork making it a good option in bathrooms and around bars.
Vinyl combines the advantages of laminate such as the easy maintenance and wide variety of design with the softness and durability of cork.
It is still reasonably priced in the $4.50-6.50 range including product an install.
Ceramic tile is another popular choice for basements due mainly to its durability. Since the Calgary floods of 2013 we have increasingly seen homeowners move towards tile because of its ability to survive.
The major downside of tile in a basement is that without a hydronic heating system, the tile can feel very cold to the feet.
Also it is more expensive than other options starting at around $7:00/sf including install.