Many homeowners who refinish their basements to create a new room or living space love the idea of updated flooring. After all, who wants to have a basement room with a cold cement floor? But if you want wood flooring for your new basement rooms, there are a few important things that you need to know first. Wood flooring has its limitations, and you should avoid any potential issues!
Natural Woods Are a Bad Idea
While hardwoods may look beautiful with your basement room scheme, you shouldn't use that for flooring. The reason is moisture: Basements are below grade, which means they are underneath the ground. This makes them more susceptible to moisture problems, water vapor seeping in from the surrounding soil, and water damage (water flows down and tends to end up in the basement). As a result, hardwoods can warp or curl in basements, suffer water damage, and may even encourage the growth of mildew and other problems. We recommend you use something else.
Turn to Engineered Wood Floors
Engineered hardwoods use a synthetic core and an outer veneer of hardwood to achieve a similar appearance to natural hardwoods. This approach also makes them much more water-resistant than true woods. That means they are an ideal solution for a basement space that really needs that authentic wood appearance. Engineered hardwoods come in many different styles and types of wood, and they may even be more affordable than natural hardwoods!
If you don't want to use engineered hardwoods, vinyl is also an option: Many vinyl planks mimic wood flooring and can also be useful alternatives.
Prepping your Basement Floor
Even with an engineered hardwood picked out, it's important to prepare your basement floor. The ideal basement floor prior to installation will have a gravel substructure, which helps drain any built-up groundwater. On top of this, a level concrete slab should be installed and allowed to cure for at least 30 days: This is enough time for the moisture in the slab to evaporate, and for the homeowner to catch any issues with the pour that may develop. Finally, it's important to install a full subfloor that includes a moisture barrier.
Hardwoods in Your Basement will Void Warranties
Still stuck on using hardwoods for your basement no matter what? With moisture barriers, insulation, and careful plumbing you can minimize the danger from moisture. However, there is still a cost: Even if you can find someone willing to install them, be warned: Installing natural hardwoods in a basement will typically void any warranty associated with the flooring – which can make repairs more expensive. It could also affect other warranties and insurance connected with your basement space if you ever have to make a claim. Take care!
Want to learn more about a particular floor project? Contact us to get your free estimate and explore your possibilities!