Laminate Floor for Basement
Some people just love the look of a wood floor. Some people even want to put wood as basement flooring. Although very risky (not impossible, but risky), there are much safer and more durable alternatives than a wood basement floor. Why not consider laminate for your basement flooring instead of the wood floors. Laminate flooring for basements is much more water-resistant than wood. Some laminate manufacturers even warranty their flooring for basements directly on the concrete, providing it has some type of underlay.
Basically, laminate basement flooring is made of several layers of plastic-type resins. It’s then compressed under high pressure to a hard fiber or particleboard core. Then a type of melamine backing is applied and on the surface, a printed pattern is placed. Laminates can be made to look like basically any type of surface, but wood, marble, and flagstone appearance seem to be the most common.
But you do have a choice. It’s typically put together in a tongue and groove fashion just like most natural wood flooring, however, unlike natural wood flooring, laminates are generally not attached to the subfloor. Most laminates carry at least a 10-year warranty against fading or staining. You just need to keep in mind that if it does get wet and absorb moisture, it will damage it.
You can put precautions in place and you will probably hear a lot of difference of opinion on the subject of wet basements. And if you should use laminate as a basement flooring. If you’re not on the concrete though and using a subfloor like ones recommended on this site that sit off the concrete, I’d say if it’s what you want then why not.
Read the Manufacturer’s Suggestions
Just be sure to read the manufacturer’s suggestions to ensure that they don’t advise against having their’s as laminate basement flooring, as some do advise against it. Test out your basement floor first for moisture though cause when laminates go bad, they are hard to fix.
A key point to make about laminate basement flooring is that the basement floor needs to be flat. It has to be level. Uneven basement surfaces are not wise to install laminate flooring over. A general rule of thumb for laminates is that within a 10-foot radius there shouldn’t be more than a 3/16 of an inch difference between the high and low spot. If there is you would need to start leveling basement floors.
And you’d definitely want to fill in all the bumps and bruises along the way. Still no worries though, there are plenty of float leveling products made to level floors and they will work just as well for basement flooring.
Laminate Basement Flooring Installation
5 things you need to know about how to laminate basement floors and installing it:
1. Unlike hardwood floors, most laminate can be installed below grade and still carry manufacturer warranties in doing so. Check the manufacturer warranty though first to ensure its below-grade construction is included.
2. Laminate basement flooring needs to acclimate to its new home’s environment just like wood flooring. Store your laminate flooring in your home for five to seven days before you plan on installing it. This will give it sufficient time to become acclimated.
3. During installation, be sure to allow for a half-inch around the perimeter as laminates expand and contract just like wood floors.
4. Even if your room is dry, take the proper precautions before installing a new flooring system. Subfloors can alleviate a ton of cost and suffering after a beautiful installation gets ruined via water damage.
5. I’m gonna sound like your mother here but wear some protection. Put on some safety goggles when using the power tools and such while installing your basement floor. You can put your eye out with one of those things.
Laminate is a floating floor. That is it doesn’t get nailed down. This makes it very easy to put together and lay down on the floor. Plus you get the added enjoyment and benefit of having it look just like a real hardwood floor. So, just exactly how do you install a laminate floor, keep reading.
Can you put laminate flooring on a concrete basement floor?
Legitimate question, and one that gets asked quite a lot. The straight forward answer is no. You should never put laminate directly on a concrete floor. However, you can use laminate if you have at least a vapor barrier preferably over a subfloor on top of the concrete. But as always, you should check with the manufacturer’s guidelines and warranty information first before you do anything.
How to install laminate flooring in the basement
1. Put down the subfloor, vapor barrier and padding on the entire floor. Usually, the vapor barrier and padding are included with the purchase of the laminate flooring.
2. Now you can start installing the laminate floor. First, using the tongue and groove, connect several planks together in a long row. Find a spare piece of wood (not the laminate) and use it to help you get the laminate in place. As you are attaching each piece, it may be necessary to put the spare piece of wood alongside the laminate and tap it in to place in the grooves. The more planks you get on, the more sturdy and rigid the flooring becomes.
3. As you start adding additional rows to the floor, be sure to stagger the seams. This will give the flooring additional strength as there is no clear break line.
4. You will eventually run across areas of the wall where you’re gonna have to cut the planks to fit. Measure the space between the wall and the installed boards and cut the plank. These planks are easily cut using a table saw. Table saws are sturdy and much safer to use than a hand-held circular saw for this type of work. You might need to use a pry bar (a short version of a crow-bar, caw-caw) to get it in place so don’t worry.
5. For irregular areas like corners or around immovable objects like poles, use a jigsaw to cut the appropriate shapes so your laminate fits snug.
6. Keep going laying down plank after plank until your entire floor is covered.
7. Once the basement flooring is laid in place, simply install some trim/baseboards around the top surface and you’ll have a nice finished floor.
Laminate Basement Flooring Design Possibilities
With laminate basement flooring, you truly do have a wide array of design possibilities. When practicality is very important but a primary concern is to be visually appealing, laminate flooring can meet both of these needs and help you stay sane when the budget is tight. When most people think of laminate flooring, one of the first things that tend to pop into someone’s head is a wood look.
While this is definitely feasible, laminate flooring comes in many more styles and colors than just looking like solid wood. Most people don’t know that you can also get laminate in patterns resembling marble and sandstone, most tile patterns, abstract design prints, and amazing floral layouts as well.
A typical “plank” form is what most people generally associate with laminate flooring. However, in more recent times a new form of laminate is gaining rapid acceptance throughout the northern hemisphere. What is it you might ask? Laminate basement flooring that is square in shape and resembles more of a tile look. Yep, that’s right, there are really two basic types of laminate flooring for you to choose from when deciding to renovate your basement floor.
Basement Flooring Planks
First, let’s start with laminate basement flooring planks because that’s the one that most everybody is familiar with. Generally speaking, regardless of the manufacturer, laminate planks are all typically the same size, are about 4 inches wide and only a quarter of an inch thick. Here’s where the wood look comes in as most laminate installations that you would see or have seen and you know it’s laminate comes with this grain wood look. What most people don’t know is that you can also get this laminate plank flooring in a wide variety of ceramic tile and stone designs as well.
Basement Flooring Squares
Now let’s take a look at laminate basement flooring squares. You might hear them called either laminate square flooring or laminate board flooring. Irrespective of what you might hear it called it’s the same thing. Here’s where it can get fun working with laminate. These squares come in a variety of sizes. They can range from seven-inch squares up to two-foot squares.
Not to mention the design possibilities as they basically come in just about any pattern under the sun. Ranging from abstract mosaic looks to solid stone to wild florals prints, you can achieve the look for your basement flooring with ease. They even come in squares that mimic tile floors fully decked out with grout lines instilled in the pattern. Awesome!
Not only that but if you do choose to use laminate basement flooring squares, you can also choose not to install it in a typical grid fashion. You may want to think about installing them in a more diagonal form to the walls. And don’t forget that you can spice them up along the way as well by adding in some decorative floor border, or getting multiple color variations and putting them in a checkerboard across the basement floor, or whatever you might dream up.
One word of caution though, aesthetically this could look dynamite with square laminate flooring for basement floors, but plank laminate flooring because of the wood look tends to look better horizontal due to its linear wood design.