Most people spend the entire time they live in a home with a basement without touching that basement. Or they at least neglect to let that basement fulfill its potential. There are plenty of ways to turn a basement into an awesome space.
But with each of these ideas, you need great flooring. The time of old, murky floors in basements is over. Let’s take a look at some of the best flooring for basements that will transform the room and turn it into a usable space.
What Is The Best Flooring For Basements?
First off, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Basement floors are different than other interior floors. Basements need floors that are waterproof, sealed, and strong enough to support an entire house. So the rules are different.
Epoxy Basement Floor
Epoxy floors are a great option for basements when concrete gets old. They require a stable base floor, usually made of concrete. So you can epoxy over your existing basement floor. You can paint it right on in multiple layers.
When using epoxy treatments, you can also add flakes, glitter, and more to the epoxy before it dries, usually in-between layers. This gives a customized look that adds another color the solid-colored epoxy.
Vinyl Flooring For Basement
Vinyl flooring is one of the cheapest options. It can be installed over any type of floor that is dry and secure. You can add a layer of floor foam in-between the vinyl for security. Vinyl comes in so many colors and grains, so it’s a versatile flooring.
Be careful when buying vinyl as you may need a different type than you’d use in other interiors. Basements require different things so getting one that works well over concrete is a must. Check with manufacturers to be sure.
Rubber Flooring For Basement
Rubber floors are common in play areas, gyms, and doctor offices. It is durable, waterproof, stain-resistant, and easy to put down. It can be used over concrete, wood, or any other flooring. It will never mold or deteriorate.
You can either get permanent rubber flooring or just mats for when you need that extra layer. The temporary ones are great for game time or when you have friends or family over because you can take them up when they leave.
Tile Flooring For Basement
Tile is a safe, permanent option. It isn’t easy to put down but it is waterproof. However, it gets very slick when wet so it should be used carefully since basements tend to draw moisture. This is why carpet isn’t ideal.
But with tile, you have a nearly unlimited amount of options, and just about any non-porous tile is safe to use in the basement. So you don’t have to feel limited as you may usually feel when dealing with basement floors.
Concrete Floor For Basement
Concrete floors are by far the most common type of flooring for the basement. It can be used as a subfloor or as the main floor. If you want to redo your concrete floors, you can pour an inch or even less, of concrete over your old floors and smooth it out.
S0 let’s talk more about concrete floors later since they are the most common basement flooring type and will likely be what you’re working with. Especially if you’re planning on refinishing old floors.
Basement Floor Sealer
Even after waterproofing, a sealer can prevent a lot of accidents and dangers. To seal concrete floors, you will want to buy an official concrete floor sealer. Any other type of sealer cannot be trusted to do the job.
Follow the instructions on the bucket carefully and do your best. Sealing your floor is important after you finish whatever you’re doing to it. Wait until after you paint or stain your floors to seal it or skip that step altogether.
How to Fix Cracks In Basement Floors
If your old basement floors are cracked but you love the original work or want a solid subfloor, you can fix them. You don’t have to get new floors or put some other type of floor down. You can repair what has been damaged.
Mixing up some concrete and slabbing it onto old concrete floors will only create more problems. Instead, using a concrete repair mix is key. You can get these in epoxy, latex, and mortar forms. No matter what path you choose, you need to prepare the floor first.
Use a chisel to chip away any loose parts around the affected area. Chip away until you’re about 1-in deep. Then dust the area well and clean it with a wet rag. Let it dry and then mix your repair mix.
For small cracks, an epoxy or latex product works best. For larger areas, a mortar one is necessary. Apply with a trowel or a putty knife and make sure you cover the depth as well as the width. You may need multiple tools.
The most important thing you can do is follow the instructions. If you have questions, call the manufacturer using the customer service phone number on the label.
Basement Concrete Floor Paint
This is the least expensive way to redo your basement floors. You can paint any time of basement floor, but the most common type of basement floor paint is concrete floor paint. Concrte can be both stained and painted.
Concrete paint is a good way to cover your old concrete floors. It can be done in one thin layer or multiple layers for a solid cover that can turn your concrete floors any color. Before you begin painting, it’s very important to clean the floors. Sweep them, vacuum them, mop them, and dry them.
Now, with your concrete paint, start at one corner on the opposite side of the door and paint. You want to cover the entire floor and end up at the doorway. Let that first coat set for as long as the can says.
Even though you did much of this beforehand, you will need to use a putty knife to get anything the paint didn’t cover. The first coat was a test coat. Sand any areas that the paint didn’t stick to. Then, sweep up the dust.
Finally, apply the second coat of paint. You may have to roll back and forth a bit to get down into any hairline cracks. Let this coat dry before deciding if you want to go ahead with a third coat. And make sure you let the whole thing dry for five to seven days before any heavy traffic.
Concrete stain is not the same as concrete paint. It doesn’t cover as well and instead leaves a more transparent marble look. The first thing you’ll want to do after cleaning the floors is to remove any old stain, paint, or sealer.
The easiest way to do this is to pour on Xylene and let sit for a minute. Then, scrape it up with a thick brush and putty knife. You may need to do this two or three times to remove all old sealers and such. If the concrete floor has old wax, buy a floor wax remover.
Use it like you would use Xylene. Xylene may work for wax too but a specialty product will work better. The same can be said for oil stains, which need a specialty item to remove. After you remove everything, you may want to get a sander and sand everything down before cleaning again.
Before you begin staining, you should test out the stain. Not only do you need to make sure it will cover well, but you need to know if you like the color. Any concrete stain will have directions on the can, so make sure you follow them carefully as each set of instructions may be different.
Waterproofing Basement Flooring
It doesn’t matter what type of basement floors you have, waterproofing basement flooring is important. There are only a few different ways to waterproof concrete floors and all of them are effective.
Concrete Waterproofing Sealer – The most common way to waterproof concrete is to use a waterproofing sealer made for concrete floors. This type of waterproofing pours as a liquid and hardens into a rubber-like coating.
Crystalline Slurry Compound – Another less common method is to use Crystalline Slurry Compound. Instead of working as a liquid sealer, this compound starts a chemical reaction. This type of waterproofing goes deep down into the pores of the concrete.
Rubber Sheets – The third way to waterproof is to use rubber sheets. If you have a rubber floor, you don’t need to do this. But if you want a concrete floor, you can use thin rubber sheets to waterproof it.
The backs of these sheets are very sticky so they are easy to apply. When it’s applied, it adheres so strongly to the surface that there’s no going back. It works as if it was poured on like a sealer.
Another way to waterproof concrete is to add a thin layer of mortar to the surface. This cement mixture will protect the area as well as fill any cracks or gaps.