Hardwood is a classic flooring  material due to its looks, durability and ease of restoration.  Hardwood can transform a room in a way that carpet never can.  But can you install hardwood flooring wherever you want?  For example, can hardwood flooring be used in a basement?  In this article, we’ll go over the logistics of installing hardwood flooring in a basement.

The Problem With Basements

One of the biggest reasons that hardwood flooring is rarely used in basements is because of the moisture and dampness that is often found in these subterranean rooms.  Basements that aren’t specifically designed to prevent dampness from occurring easily allow moisture to seep in through the walls and floors.  This can be a death knell for hardwood flooring.  If there’s one condition that hardwood planks do not respond well to, it’s dampness.

Is Basement Hardwood Flooring Possible?

Because many basements have a problem with moisture doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to have hardwood floors down there.  It just means that if you do want to install hardwood floors, the basement needs to be properly prepped.  Often, this is most easily done when the basement is being built.

Creating A Hardwood Friendly Basement

To create a basement that can feature a hardwood floor without problems, it needs to be moisture-proof.  This means a foundation that includes a moisture barrier and drainage system that whisks away water.  Moisture barriers can be created using roofing felt, PVC or polyethylene.  To promote drainage, the foundation should include a layer of porous aggregate to allow water to filter away while being designed to direct excess water away from the structure.

Are There Any Reasonable Substitutes For Hardwood Flooring?

If you don’t have the luxury of designing and building your own basement, it may be better to opt for a hardwood substitute rather than take your chances.  Engineered hardwood gives the look and feel of hardwood flooring while also adding an extra layer of stability.  The fact that engineered hardwood contains a plywood core means it’s even more stable than traditional hardwood planks.  

If you’re looking for something cheaper than engineered hardwood, but still want the hardwood look, laminate flooring is a good alternative.  It also contains a stable core that allows it to deal with occasional moisture.  The savings come from the fact that the surface is actually a photographic image of hardwood rather than the veneer found on engineered planks.