Can you install hardwood floor in a basement?

Basements can be dreary, dingy places. So why not liven things up and install a hardwood floor in your basement? Not a good idea as basement floor installation are also known as below-grade installation ("grade" being ground-level). There is simply too much moisture present in basements to safely install hardwood.

Moisture can come from two directions:

The basement can flood, a common occurrence in some areas. Even a flood of a half-inch of water is still enough flood to ruin solid hardwood.

Moisture will seep upward through the concrete in the form of vapor. Barriers can be installed to prevent this upward seepage, though they do not always do the trick. 

While it's not advisable to install solid hardwood flooring in your basement, you do have two alternatives

  1. Engineered Wood Flooring - a thin veneer of real hardwood sits on top of a plywood-type base. This plywood-like material holds shape much better in the presence of moisture.
  2. Laminate Floor - It's not wood, but it looks like wood. Much laminate flooring does not do very well with moisture. But it's possible to purchase moisture resistant laminate flooring

The best engineered wood floors are built having 3-12 multiple ply layers that are cross layered, glued and pressed together. The inner core layers are generally built up with either a hardwood and/or soft plywood type of material, which incorporates the tongue and groove system. The top thicker hardwood veneer wear layer is then glued and pressed on the top surface of the core. Engineered hardwood flooring is available in almost any wood species.

The benefits of using engineered wood floors include more resistance to higher moisture levels than solid wood flooring, this adds to their appeal to use in damp basements or in regions of the country that have higher relative humidity levels. Also, engineered flooring (excluding the newer Click Lock flooring) can be direct glued-down over (dry) concrete slabs above or below grade or stapled down over a wood subfloor. Quality Engineered Hardwood flooring has the same resale value as 3/4 IN. solid wood flooring, if you ever decide to sell your home.

Come in, contact us, or call (517) 546-0001 to receive expert assistance with your flooring needs today!

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