basement hardwood flooring

Hardwood in basement flooring

May 31, 2022
 |  By: 
Improvix Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood is a timeless choice as a wood flooring option. It is a common choice among many homeowners. It instantly provides a refined and beautiful look to the area where it is installed. The popularity of wood flooring is due to its elegance in any area. Apart from the beauty of real wood, the flooring material should be properly evaluated depending upon the building or the renovation area.

Hardwood in the basement has lost popularity over the years. The foundation layer of the basement is a concrete slab built mostly over the ground. Also, the basement is an area with particularly multiple maintenance issues not found in the other parts of the house or building. The vulnerability of basements to water damage and moisture levels is the reason why the flooring of the basement should be chosen right.

The base for solid wood floor

Designing ground-level concrete floors can be done in case of building a new home. This advantage ensures that the finished basement has the least moisture damage. The basement floor must withstand water damage as it is prone to such damage. The basement flooring should also have radiant heat to improve energy efficiency. Also, an effective drainage system in either exterior or interior systems of concrete foundations can minimize water seepage.

Basements with a concrete subfloor with an adequate sump pump and proper grading can mitigate the damage caused by water. A few steps can be followed during the preparation of the basement to accommodate the right flooring material, whether wood, ceramic tile, plastic tile, or others, like choosing the right concrete slab, which is an unacceptable condition. The concrete slab should also include a porous layer in the aggregate bed to allow effective groundwater drainage.

The direction of the underground groundwater system should always be towards the basin of the sump pump and away from home. To ensure extra protection, a radiant heating system can be installed for regular usage beneath the concrete slab. This will counter the cooling imparted by concrete. A flexible tubing system has to be present before pouring the concrete slab to install such a system. After being poured, the curing of the slab should be allowed for around 30 days for further installation of any subflooring.

Subflooring of the basement can also have a vapor barrier. The vapor barrier effectively provides an extra protective layer as it seals off the ground effectively. The layer also prevents the seepage of moisture into the slab of concrete. Such an effective barrier is a vital part of concrete when it is still wet and freshly laid. If moisture seeps up from the ground, it can damage the concrete slab and even the flooring laid over it.

Hardwood is a flooring option that is not the best fit as excess moisture can cause warping, cupping, splitting, and even swelling of wood floors. And the basement is prone to excessive moisture. Chances of gradual damage can be through ground seepage, and extensive damage can be caused through broken water heaters or even burst pipes.

Other alternatives of wood floors

Apart from installing hardwood flooring, numerous options provide a similar finish to hardwood floors. The most common example is engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood incorporates the feel and look of normal hardwood and can withstand a moisture-rich environment. Engineered hardwood combines plywood core and HDF or high-density fiber with veneer gluing of hardwood.

The usage of veneer, which is a part of actual hardwood, helps provide a true replication of solid hardwood flooring. Several varieties are available for choosing wood flooring types that can be a part of different room designs and structures. Thus, engineered hardwood floors are a flexible choice as a flooring material. The construction of the material also has lamination of three or more layers in the core together. Bonding these layers is done under high pressure, ensuring higher flooring material stability.

Techniques like multiple-ply planking and bonding can be done to counteract warping, cupping, splitting, or other damages caused by water. These techniques also act as an insulation layer over the radiant heating system in engineered wood. The availability of thickness of hardwood veneer is wide. But the most suggested thickness is above 2 mm. The installation environment plays a crucial role in deciding the thickness of engineered wood flooring.

Apart from engineered hardwood floors, laminate flooring is as common as basement flooring. The construction of laminate flooring material is from a core of HDF. HDF has a higher resistance to most potential hazards of flooring. The top layer in laminate is a photographic representation that imitates natural wood. Some even replicate vinyl patterns, wood grains, or tile patterns. The installation techniques like interlocking, floating, locking, or tongue in the groove are practiced to provide stability and accommodation to in-floor radiant heating.

Another common example is solid hardwood floors. Solid hardwood is constructed from natural wood and whole planks, which are present in the entire core. Solid hardwood flooring installation is usually done through methods like tongue and groove. However, the flooring material is more expensive than engineered hardwood or laminate. Also, it is less resistant to damaging elements like water, heat, and others.

Future of solid hardwood floor

Various traditional methods of installing hardwood are no longer practiced. Like nailing in, the installation process is not done anymore as the basement has a concrete slab. To ensure the effective installation of wood flooring, heating and air conditioning systems are often installed. The heating helps dry the cement slab, and the air conditioning is useful for reducing moisture from the air and relative humidity.

Current architectural practices do not encourage hardwood flooring for moisture-prone areas like basements. Technological advancements have introduced various alternatives for homeowners to teach the feel of hardwood in their basements. Proper research before making a final flooring choice is essential for every homeowner. Also, prior damages should be repaired before the installation of the flooring.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should hardwood be installed in the basement?

Ans. Hardwood flooring in the basement can be installed without potential damage through water or moisture. However, installing hardwood as finished basements is not recommended as the area has excessive moisture and is prone to water leaks or issues.

2. What is the difference between engineered hardwood and hardwood?

Ans. Engineered hardwood flooring has a top layer of hardwood and multiple other backing materials. In contrast, hardwood is a natural flooring material. The moisture resistance of both wood floors is different.

3. Can hardwood be installed in a concrete basement?

Ans. Yes, hardwood flooring can be installed in a concrete basement. However, the basement should be checked before installation. There should be no humidity or cracks in the concrete slab.

4. What are the flooring alternatives for the basement apart from hardwood?

Ans. The hardwood alternatives are tiles, laminate, solid hardwood, and engineered hardwood, as they can withstand higher humidity levels.

Looking for professional help?

Whether fixing hardwood flooring or restoration, it is hard to do everything alone when unaware of the process. If you are looking for professional help in your area that might help you fix the problem, call Improvix Hardwood Flooring Chicago on the number (773) 345-9719. We are the best company For Hardwood Floor Refinishing & Installation. Contact us to know more about offers and deals.