What are the best choices for flooring when working on basement finishing?

There are a number of surfaces you can use to cover your floors when working on a basement finishing. These flooring options range from the very reasonable to relatively expensive and the choice should be based on what you plan to utilize the space for. In a city like Toronto, basements are very common so it is normal to see them used for everything from roughed-in recreation rooms to fully furnished apartments for rent. Often times a basement has already gone through some level of finishing from the previous owner and was stopped when the home was sold or project funds ran out. Consulting a contractor to discuss your plans is probably a wise idea as they can advise you of the floor covering that will hold up the best and provide the most reasonable cost. The Reno Pros is one such contractor that can offer insight into the basement finishing project. The most common surfaces that people choose to use in their basements are carpet, laminate, tile, stained concrete and wood to a lesser degree. Upgrading your flooring when finishing a basement is a nice way to give an otherwise mundane space a nice facelift. Before your go so far as to select a surface, it is important to make sure that the basement is 100% water tight, which is not as easy as simply eyeballing the foundation. There are tests that professional contractors can use to confirm if water is present in the foundation and even underneath it, which should be discovered before significant time and resources are spent on renovations. Calling in someone for a water test is an inexpensive and easy way to save you thousands of dollars in replacement surfaces down the road if water is present. Below the best flooring options are outlined and discussed with regard to price and ease of installation.
  • Stained concrete – This might be the cheapest option of the lot, but when done properly it can add a very interesting and colourful look to your floors. The process of staining the concrete involves a series of acids, paints or polyurethanes that will give the concrete a smooth finish with multiple hues. It is an ideal option for a workshop or recreation room for kids or pets.
  • Tile – A standard tile is more expensive than staining the concrete but not quite as pricey as a nice carpet option. When laying tile in your basement, you can expect a clean look that is easy to take care of and is also ideal for work spaces. Many times the cost of the tile will be actually less than the labor required to professionally install it, so if you are inclined, have a wet saw and want to save a few dollars, you might considered laying the floors yourself.
  • Laminate – Laminate is an inexpensive option that provides a nice look with few benefits other than covering the concrete. A room used for pets or possible a “man cave” would be ideal for laminate because it stands up to foot traffic quite well. One word of caution, laminate will go down pretty easily, but pulling it up at a later date can prove to be quite difficult.
  • Carpet – This is a nice option when making your basement into a family room or additional living space. Carpet make a cold space seem more inviting and less like a storage room. Carpet costs will usually fall somewhere in the middle of these materials, typically because decent carpet is not cheap and you may wish to have a professional install it to ensure it is stretched tight and tacked down properly. At the very least you will need one extra set of hands if tackling this basement finishing project yourself.
  • Wood – Wood floors can make an ordinary room quite impressive and this would hold true for a basement, but the homeowner must be careful – even the slightest hint of moisture that might seep through the foundation walls will ruin wood floors almost as quickly as you can lay them down. Depending on the type of wood you choose, it can also be an expensive project. Wood flooring comes in varying degrees of thickness, stained versions and even hand-scraped planks. The good news is most of these products that would work in a basement are easy to lay with glue and a snap-together design, so you can install them yourself with little more than your own time and a table saw.

These are all good choices for flooring in the Toronto area, some just happen to be a little more sensitive to the elements than others. Overall, you will want a clean and extremely dry base to lay your floors on and with that covered, they should last you a long time. Professional contractors like The Reno Pros are always happy to come in and check moisture levels for you to ensure you don’t have bigger issues to take care of first before starting your basement finishing project.