A floating floor can be installed without glue or grout, making them ideal for installing over a basement concrete slab. Luckily, these floating floors also come with other benefits (such as a cheaper cost of installation) that make them the right flooring for a basement rec room, bedroom, play room, or man cave.
Floating floors for basements
Vinyl plank is a top choice for basement floors. Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floors are water-resistant, meaning they won’t be damaged by moisture in a basement slab. This also makes it an ideal choice for a playroom or entertaining space because spill clean-up is easy and quick. Overall, these floors are an incredibly durable flooring option for basements.
Luxury vinyl plank flooring comes with the added perk of looking just like wood and tile. It comes in a variety of colors and styles that match with almost any décor. Unlike wood and tile, many LVP floors just click together for an easy installation.
These floors are also easy-to-clean and maintain. LVP floors only require a regular sweep or vacuum and a periodic dry mop. (Other luxury vinyl plank cleaning tips can be found here.)
Engineered hardwoods are wood floors, but with a construction that makes them less susceptible to damage from porous moisture in a concrete slab. These wood floors come in a variety of plank widths, colors, and styles. Engineered hardwood floors add warmth and texture like solid wood flooring because it is a wood floor. Depending on the width of the wood layer, some wood flooring can even be sanded down and refinished.
Because engineered hardwoods are wood, any floor cleaning should not involve a lot of water or sitting puddles. Any sitting water can damage floors. Instead, engineered hardwoods need regular sweeping and vacuuming. If a deep clean is needed, these floors only require an occasional mop with a non-abrasive cleaner.
Though engineered hardwoods are susceptible to water damage, these floors are known for their durability. To keep them looking new, homeowners only need to add rugs by all doors and felt pads to furniture.
Basement floating floor installation tips
The biggest benefit of floating floors is their easy installation, though there are a few floating floor installation tips that ensure a good basement floor install. Most floating floors can be pieced together for smooth do-it-yourself installation. Some floors do require an expansion gap (especially wood and laminate); it’s easy to find out if an expansion gap is needed by asking the pros during purchase.
In addition to an expansion gaps, many floating floors should be brought into the basement 3-4 days before installation. This simple step ensures that floors are acclimated to the conditions of the room, and lowers the chance of damage later. If the flooring is not acclimated, it can buckle or cup.
Some floating floors should be installed with an underlayment. Certain manufacturers even require an underlayment and may consider the warranty voided if the floor is installed without an underlayment. To avoid this issue, do-it-yourselfers should always ask about any underlayment requirements (including if a certain brand of underlayment is included).
Almost as important as the underlayment is surface preparation. The surface under the underlayment and flooring should be level with no staples or debris. Doorways should be trimmed up.
Do-it-yourselfers should also order extra boards for installation. Extra boards (or carpet tiles) are a good idea in case any boards or tiles are damaged during install or incorrect measurements were taken. A flooring pro can recommend the exact amount of extra flooring that should be purchased.