Basement flooring options

Covering an Uneven Basement Floor

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Basement Floors

We have no flooring in our basement family room and have been trying to find a flooring solution that will work. We have an uneven floor so tile, laminate and linoleum are all out. We have a fireplace down there, and it's a basement, so carpet just seems silly. We are thinking we might paint the concrete and add throw rugs for warmth. What do you think? Has anyone tried this?

Seal the Basement Floor with Cement Sealer

Paint won't work; it can't penetrate the cement, so it just sits on the surface and abrades very easily. Then it peels off.

I covered my basement floor with cement sealer; it's been about a year and so far it's holding up very well. This isn't too surprising, as the stuff I used (Behr) is intended to be used to seal garage floors and hold up to cars. The Behr cement sealer is about $18 per gallon, and I used two coats. The second coat took less than half what the first coat did. It went on very easily with a roller, and my floor wasn't smooth. Half of it was where I had pulled up loose linoleum. Some was smooth cement, and some was the old linoleum that I didn't pry up. It's holding equally well on all surfaces, and cleans easily with water and vinegar.

The down side is that I used gray (I think they had white, too), but since I put puzzle mats down (work out space), I really didn't care about the color.

Related: Better Basement Floors

Keep Basement Ventilated While Sealing the Floor

If you use the paint intended for garage floors inside the house, make sure the area is very well ventilated. If what you're talking about is a two-part paint, then that is an epoxy. While it's curing, it will give off fumes that many people are extremely allergic to and can lead to severe health issues. After it's cured, the stuff is inert, so it's safe then.

If there's a window, don't just open the window. Instead, put a box fan in the window pulling the air outside, and pay attention to the wind direction so the fan is not "fighting" the wind. The fan will lose that battle. Hopefully, there are two or more windows that can be opened. Better yet, use a door to keep fresh air circulating.

Brown Paper Bag Flooring Design

Doing a brown paper bag floor is a very inexpensive way to make your flooring look like expensive marble. You can put down a paper bag floor over concrete or wood with no subflooring necessary. The main work is in the multiple coats of polyurethane. Ends up making for a really nice looking floor for not a lot of money.

Level Out the Basement's Concrete Floor

There is a product to level concrete. You mix it with water and pour. It levels out the floor. I bought it at Home Depot. We did that in a mudroom. It isn't perfect, but it's much better than in the past. Then we covered the floor with a rubber flooring made for garages. We bought it at Job Lot. It came in 18-inch squares that fit together and can be taken up again. It is a rough texture, but it works well. I run the vacuum over it. It doesn't sweep because it's too rough. Then I threw a few small cheap rugs on top of it.

Try Carpet Tiles for Your Basement Flooring

I would suggest carpet tiles as the solution to the basement flooring problem. sells a huge selection of reasonably priced/cheap tiles. I have used their mill end assortment as a patchwork design in both a basement and child's room. They are plastic/rubber backed and very easy to lay and cut.

The manufacturer recommends gluing them down, but I have found they are secure without the need for glue. Last time I bought them, they worked out to about 60 cents a square foot, including shipping.
Veronica in New York

Make Basement Floor Look like Expensive Stone

There is nothing wrong with painting or staining the floor. In fact, if you stain the floor properly, it can look like it was laid with an expensive stone.

First, you need to etch the concrete floor. There is an etching product that you can get at your local hardware superstore. This is a critical step. Then, you apply a semi-transparent concrete stain. You can use one of those inexpensive pumps that you find in the garden section to apply this. You pump the air into the canister and then squeeze the trigger. Work in small areas and roll it a bit with a paint roller to blend it a bit. Let it dry and top coat it with the appropriate product, sold near the stain. There should even be a brochure on the subject right by the stain (if you go to Home Depot). This will look amazing!

Consider Interlocking Foam Mats for Basement Flooring

The reader who is searching for basement flooring ideas should consider interlocking foam mats. This would be a great option if you are considering using the room for working out or a playroom. A quick search on Amazon revealed several options for me. They may not be a permanent solution, but they would get the job done economically and wipe clean very easily.
Jacki in Sunny Florida

Tile Over Basement Floor

My husband and I searched high and low for a solution to our uneven basement floor and different flooring solutions. The most practical, cost-effective solution that we came across was to even out the worst sections with additional concrete and then to use tile over it. We used 12" x 12" porcelain tile with 4" x 4" accent pieces. The trick (which was shared with us by a tile company employee) is to use tile that does not have a straight edge. This allows for additional room to allow for corrections for unevenness. Our basement is the most used area in our house and our floor turned out perfectly.

Stain the Basement Floor

If it were mine, I would stain it. I've seen some beautiful floors done this way. You can etch a pattern, then use different stain colors for variety, or keep it simple. Either way, it offers striking eye appeal as well as practicality and function. It's also very inexpensive.

Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs?

The Benefits of Cork Flooring for Basement

Cork flooring would be perfect. It comes in different styles and colors in glue down tiles or in planks. Using the cork tiles might provide enough "give" to install over an uneven floor and its insulating qualities will bring warmth to the basement.

My bathroom has a cork-tile floor and it's never cold on the feet, so easy to keep clean, and always looks great. When I replace all the carpets, I'm going with cork instead of hardwood. I'm that impressed with the benefits of cork over wood, carpet or vinyl.
Laurie in Seattle, WA

Basement Flooring Idea: Vinyl Plank "Wood" Floor

There is a vinyl plank "wood" floor that Trafficmaster makes that my brother-in-law used in his older home on his uneven floors, and he loves it. Home Depot sells it for about $41 a case, and a case covers 24 square feet. I would recommend doing some shopping around, as it might be found cheaper elsewhere. It requires no glue and no special preparation, which makes it actually a little cheaper than other flooring. And it's vinyl, so it can withstand humidity/water.

Create a Checkerboard Basement Floor

Recently, on a visit to a neighbor's house, I noticed that they had a very interesting floor. The floor was concrete and painted checkerboard style with red and blue paint. The squares were about 10 to 12 inches. They had a few interesting area rugs scattered strategically. It was stunning in my opinion.

Use Garage Floor Options in Your Basement

There are several types of garage flooring that might help you. I flipped a house once with an unheated basement. I used one of the epoxy paint kits usually advertised for garage floors. You paint it on, and it becomes kind of like a rubbery surface that is stain resistant. You can also put color chips in it, or leave it alone. I used a tan color, and then put rugs down. You can also use this epoxy on the walls of your basement if they are concrete.

You could also opt for the either the rubber flooring they use sometimes in airports and other public places or carpet tiles. It comes in large 20" interlocking tiles that are easy to install. You just lock them together. The rubber tile flooring is what I have in my laundry room. You can find it at Lowes by the other garage flooring. It would also insulate your floor so it wouldn't be so cold. Carpet tiles would likely do the same.
Jen in Roanoke Rapids, NC

Related: Painting a Basement Floor

Give Basement Flooring Appearance of Natural Stone

We are in a similar situation (uneven floors in the basement that would require a subfloor if we wanted to put in laminate, linoleum, or tile), and we have pretty much decided on staining (not painting) the concrete. We found a product called at Lowe's called Quikrete Semi-Transparent Stain, which is supposed to give plain gray concrete the appearance of natural stone. It comes in a variety of colors, and you can combine two colors for a really nice mottled two-tone effect. The product specs say that a gallon (which costs about $23) will cover 200 to 400 square feet depending on the surface texture.

Reviewed March 2018

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