Hardwood flooring brings a beautiful and refined look to any home. It is possible to install wood flooring in a below-grade space. That being said, there are still some considerations to take into account before you decide on your floor.
Basements are often more vulnerable to water damage so this needs to be taken into consideration before installing your new wood floor. Before laying down your floor, you should ensure that there is no water or moisture damage in the area.
Foundation layers in basements are often simply a concrete slab. You should make sure that this concrete slab is in good condition before you decide to purchase a hardwood floor. If there are any cracks or breaks, these should be repaired before installing any type of flooring. The slab should include a layer of porous fill in the aggregate bed to allow for groundwater to be drained sufficiently. This groundwater should be directed away from your home. Due to the concrete, wood floors cannot be nailed down but can be installed either by floating or by gluing the floor in place. However, the heat from a radiant heating system can damage adhesive if you are gluing your floor.
Heating and Air Conditioning
It is important to have any heating or air conditioning systems installed and working before your install your wood floor. Wood floors need to be acclimatised before they are fitted. Due to the fact that wood flooring is a natural product, it expands and contracts in response to changes in temperature and humidity levels. This can cause gapping, warping and other disfigurations to your floor. Acclimatisation allows your wood floor to adapt to these factors in its new environment. Wood floors take approximately two weeks to acclimatise and should be done before it is laid. It should also be done in the conditions that it will be fitted in so that the temperatures and moisture levels are as close to normal as possible. This ensures that it is no longer gaining or losing moisture content and that it is less likely to disfigure once it is fitted.
Type of flooring
Laminate flooring can be used and is often the recommendation with it comes to wood flooring in basements. Laminate flooring is more resistant to water damage than engineered or solid wood flooring. While that may be the case, it is still not completely resistant and you should still take care when it comes to laminate flooring and moisture damage. If you are choosing a wood floor for your basement, our number one recommendation would be our laminate flooring with Aqua+ technology. This provides a water-resistant flooring solution that is up to five times more resistant to water swelling than a standard laminate and offers a lifetime guarantee in residential applications.
Engineered flooring can be used in basements. The surface of engineered floors is made of real wood and will give you the real-wood feel that laminates do not have, although they are not as resistant to moisture damage. Engineered floors are also more structurally stable than solid wood flooring, and are less prone to cupping or gapping.
Solid Wood Flooring
Solid wood flooring is not really recommended for basements, especially when there are more suitable alternatives with laminate and engineered wood floors. This is because it is more prone to water damage. Moisture can cause such floors to warp, swell and split. A burst pipe would cause irreparable damage to such floors, and the entire floor would need to be replaced if this happened. As well as this, most basements have a radiant heating system. This would cause further moisture damage to a solid wood floor.
If you are still unsure about installing a wood floor in your basement, why not talk to one of our members of staff? Basements are often complicated so it’s best to consult a flooring professional before you start any work on your floor.