A finished basement can be an awesome spot to hang out. Whether you’re planning on turning the space into a man cave, a game room, a workshop, or even a home office, one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is on flooring. The right flooring will make all the difference in the dynamic of your design, and it can make or break the usability of the space.
Factors to Consider
Style aside, there are two major factors to consider in choosing your flooring: moisture and temperature. Basements tend to be considerably colder than the rest of the house, so a tile or cement flooring only makes the space feel colder and less inviting.
Depending on your region, your basement may be damper as well. Leaks are an obvious concern; however, you’d be surprised to know how much moisture gets in without a single leak. Of course, little cracks in the floor can seep moisture vapor, but an intact concrete floor will also emit a degree of moisture. If your washer and dryer are in your basement, that just adds to the moisture factor.
Because of these two factors, carpet is almost always the best choice for basement flooring. It’s warm underfoot, and it’s far more “breathable” than wood or laminate flooring. It’s also extremely versatile, and you can find a carpet style and feel to fit any décor plan.
What About Mold?
There’s a lot of debate over this issue, and there are plenty of good points on both sides. The fact is, carpet stands up to moisture as well or better than many types of flooring. It’s far more breathable than sheet vinyl, wood, or wood laminate, so if you’re just dealing with light moisture, your carpets will fare just fine. Of course, you can also install a dehumidifier to keep that bit of moisture at bay.
In the event of an actual leak, carpeting is actually much easier to salvage than other types of flooring. A carpet can be dried out and the water extracted before mold can even set in, whereas wood, laminate or vinyl would likely have to be replaced.
Choosing the Right Carpet
To get the best value out of your basement, you definitely have to pick the right type of carpeting. Not all carpet is created equal, and certain types will work better in a basement space. Here are a few qualities to look for:
– Man-made – Nylon or polyester fibers will stand up to moisture much better than natural fibers.
– Pad-less – Padding will keep moisture trapped under the carpet, so it’s best avoided.
– Low pile – Thick carpet might feel luxurious underfoot, but it doesn’t breathe as easily. Low pile carpet won’t retain as much moisture, and it’ll be easier to clean and dry if the need arises.
– Sectioned – This is one of the smartest moves in picking basement carpeting. By opting for carpet tiles, you can easily and cheaply replace any sections that do get damaged if your basement springs a leak.