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Finding the Right Basement Flooring

When finishing or remodeling a basement, homeowners often want something that combines practicality and innovation. First you need to decide what type of floor is best to put over concrete. For example if you plan on using your basement as a workshop or game room you'll want a sturdy floor like vinyl composition tile, stained concrete or commercial-grade carpeting. For a more formal living space like a family room, wet bar or office you'll want to use laminate flooring, engineered wood or ceramic tile.

The basement floor plan of the Holly Oaks House Plan features a large wet bar, media room and game room so you can enjoy added living space. The flooring is a mix of commercial-grade carpet and porcelain tiles.

Here are some innovative and stylish options for basement floor covering:

Carpeting may bring warmth and coziness to the basement floor of a home, but it's not the best protection from moisture. A growing trend is to lay carpet squares over concrete that way if there is a water issue you can easily replace it.

Since porcelain tiles are made to mimic the look of wood planks, natural stone or concrete, why not try blending different materials and styles to create a unique living area.

Because it's soft cork provides more comfort than a concrete floor. It's a very durable and eco-friendly material that is being used more in lower level kitchens and bars. Just make sure the product manufacturer recommends it for below-grade or basement installations.

Commercial inspired flooring is becoming a fast-growing area for basements as homeowners seek durable, sustainable and stylish flooring to cover concrete. Two popular options are stained concrete slabs. It's not the softest or warmest product (but nothing some throw rugs or radiant flooring can't fix) but it's highly durable and inexpensive if you are designing a workshop or open game room.

Linoleum has come a long way from its drab colors and commercial construction. Now you can find rich, bold colors and unique designs. Since it's a sustainable material, it's a great option for homeowners looking for an eco-friendly and affordable alternative to cover their basement floor.

Other basement floor options include engineered wood, which is a great alternative to solid wood. The difference between a wood plank and an engineered wood plank is that the engineered piece is comprised of many levels of wood and plywood cross-laid and sealed together. The result is a hardy, tough plank that is resistant to high humidity and moist conditions. While a solid wood plank requires that a plywood subfloor be installed prior to laying the wood, engineered wood planks can be glued directly onto a concrete slab.

You can easily install cork flooring over concrete as long as the floor is level and clean. Cork is easy on the feet, which makes it ideal for hard surfaces like concrete. It is damp resistant and fairly easy to install by interlocking tiles or gluing down larger panels.

Other options include bamboo and laminate floor planks, which give the rich look of wood without the maintenance. Be sure to place a foam underlay over the concrete to help with moisture and increase comfort.

Design Tip
When it comes to energy saving, electric radiant heating is very economical because you can control it with a timer and thermostat to provide heat when and where you need it. This is a great option for basements, which most homeowners only heat when in use.