Basement Flooring Guide

One of the pivotal factors in finishing or remodelling a basement is the flooring. For many homeowners a basement is more than a basement and a subfloor comes into play. It can act as a family room, an office, a gym, or even a children’s playroom, but no matter the use a homeowner will want the best flooring for their basement. There are a plethora of basement flooring options to choose from whether a homeowner is looking for the cheapest flooring,vinyl flooring for basement, waterproof basement flooring or subfloor options there is something for everyone.

Challenges with Basement Flooring

A main concern and challenge with basement flooring is the environmental concerns like moisture and humidity that can build up and damage certain floors.

Moisture Protection for Basement Flooring and How to Avoid Moisture Damage

A waterproof basement floor will protect your basement and home from damages. The leading causes of basement moisture include:

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  • Joint Seepage
  • Poorly installed basement floors
  • Step Wall Cracks
  • Hydrostatic Pressure & Floor Cracks
  • Clogged Footing Drains
  • Window Wells
  • Fireplace Leakage
  • Pipes & Efflorescence
  • Foundation Cracks
  • Form Ties
  • Over Top of Foundation
  • Rain or Groundwater
  • Interior Moisture Sources
  • Ventilation with Humid, Outside Air

By monitoring and maintaining these possible causes a homeowner can avoid costly and severe moisture damage to the basement floor.

Best Basement Flooring Options

It is time for the fun part, looking over the types of flooring. There are many options when it comes to basement flooring. You must choose the flooring option for your home that is best for your budget and needs.

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Engineered Vinyl Flooring

Engineered vinyl flooring is a type of flooring that mainly consists of a hyper-realistic, exceptionally durable vinyl top layer and a stable core. EVF contains components that are expertly fused together into a plank or panel-like format, and then fastened to a secure backing.

  • Pros: Engineered vinyl floor is 100% Moisture Resistant which is great if you live in a humid environment. Additionally they are antistatic. Difficult to remove if glued down
  • Cons: Some vinyls can be easily dented, they are not biodegradable and they are difficult to remove if they are glued down.
  • Cost: The average cost of about 1000 square feet of engineered vinyl flooring before installation costs is $990.00 CAN.
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Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic tile flooring is just as described. It is a simple and easy to maintain tile flooring created from ceramic materials.

  • Pros: Ceramic tile flooring is easy to maintain, durable and water-Resistant.
  • Cons: It is cold, and heavy.
  • Cost: An added pro to ceramic tiles is the cost. You can get ceramic tiles for as low as $1 a square foot but if you want to get stronger and thicker ceramics, budget for $4-$8 a square foot.
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Rubber Flooring

Rubber floor tiles generally made from recycled materials gathered from old car tires.

  • Pros: They are eco-friendly, waterproof and cost-efficient over time.
  • Cons: The look given by rubber flooring is not usually one of those used for a styled basement.
  • Cost: Although it is most costly initially this flooring option has long lasting appeal. The starting price for rubber flooring per square foot is $10.00 CAN.
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Carpet is not only a favourite of Aladdin but comes in a variety of textures and colours. Typically carpet is more popular in homes with children.

  • Pros: There are a variety of colours and texture selection when it comes to carpets. Carpet is a great way to ‘warm’ up a room.
  • Cons: Carpet is not water resistant and is easy to stain if you are not careful.
  • Cost: The cost of carpet is roughly $3.00 to $4.00 Canadian.
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Stained Concrete

Stained concrete is a fabulous alternative to the slippery concrete flooring.

  • Pros: A stained concrete flooring option is inexpensive, durable, and easy to maintain.
  • Cons: Hard and cold, and has some environmental concerns.
  • Cost: Stained concrete flooring roughly starts at $2.00 per square foot.
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Sheet Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is made up of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and comes in a variety of patterns and colours.

  • Pros: Vinyl flooring can reduce noise, and is not expensive.
  • Cons: Vinyl flooring has a short lifespan and cannot be repaired.
  • Cost: Vinyl flooring costs roughly $3.00 per square foot.
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Glue Down Vinyl Plank

This is a secondary vinyl option however vinyl when glued down is hard to remove.

  • Pros: Glue Down Vinyl Plank is antistatic and cheap.
  • Cons: Some vinyls can be easily dented, they are not biodegradable and they are difficult to remove if they are glued down.
  • Cost: The average cost of glued down vinyl plank is $1.19 per square foot.
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Engineered Hardwood

The surface of engineered hardwood is made of real wood. Unlike conventional hardwood, which is made of real wood, engineered hardwood is a product that consists of several layers. Veneer, wood, plywood, and fiberboard make these layers up.

  • Pros: Engineered hardwood is stylish and choosing engineered hardwood flooring is considered more environmentally-friendly than traditional hardwood due to the process of the sawing.
  • Cons: Simply put, the veneer is weak.
  • Cost: The cost starts at $4.50 per square foot.
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Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles are one of the best floor covering options out there today.

  • Pros: Easy to install and maintain as well as durable and flexible.
  • Cons: This option creates a very specific aesthetic.
  • Cost: Carpet tiles cost roughly $4.00 per square foot.
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Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is quite popular and a timeless classic in the flooring world.

  • Pros: A long-term investment.Simple maintenance and hygiene. Creates healthy air quality at home
  • Cons: A higher cost,and scratching. Terrible for moisture. cratching.
  • Cost: $5-8.00 per square foot is the hardwood flooring cost.
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Laminate Flooring

This is hybrid wood flooring.

  • Pros: Easy to clean and install.
  • Cons: You cannot sand or finish laminate flooring and if laminate flooring is heavily worn, deep scratched, or grooved it must be replaced.
  • Cost: The cost of this flooring is between $3 and $8 per square foot.
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Bamboo Flooring

All bamboo flooring is engineered despite it being a wood, this means that the strands of grass are sliced and shredded, and then they are pressed back together with heat and glues to form the flooring boards and shape.

  • Pros: Durable, stylish, and can be refinished.
  • Cons: Susceptible to scratches and dings.
  • Cost: Bamboo flooring is typically between $5.00-8.00 per square foot.
Cork Flooring

Cork Flooring

Cork historically comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. In recent years cork flooring has become very popular due to it’s eco-friendly nature.

  • Pros: Cork flooring is water resistant however it is highly recommended to use a moisture/vapour resistant cork underlayment even when the concrete underlay has a moisture barrier incorporated into the slab.
  • Cons: Cost and look.
  • Cost: Cork flooring starts at $5.00 per square foot.

What is a Subfloor?

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A subfloor is a home construction option that is made from two layers of moisture resistant plywood. They are a structural part of a home meant to provide strength and rigidity to a home’s flooring. A subfloor is basically a floor cover for your basement, that elevates the floor itself and creates a very strong and sturdy shield to prevent water from seeping through the floor.

Why a Subfloor?

Subfloors will only come into play when a homeowner is looking to expand downward and transform a basement into a livable spot rather than a storage room. Concrete or tile-over-concrete are acceptable floors for uninhabited basements and are included options for flooring for basements. Another potential challenge with basement flooring is installing the flooring properly. It is recommended this be done by a professional with experience and knowledge.

Basement Basement Subfloor Options

Alongside the options for basement flooring there are basement subfloor options too all with their own pros and cons.

DRICore Subfloor

An option for an installable prefab slab.

  • Pros: DRI core subfloor does not raise the floor very high. This is a great choice when your basement has a low ceiling.
  • Cons: Moisture swelling.
  • Cost: The cost is $1.61 per square foot.

Osb Subfloor

This is an oriented strand board.

  • Pros: Cost.
  • Cons: Terrible for moisture and looks.
  • Cost: Roughly $0.60 per square foot.

Plywood Subfloor

This is a cost-effective route for those who want a hardwood floor.

  • Pros: Cost and look.
  • Cons: Not a great choice for moisture.
  • Cost: Roughly $2.00 per square foot.

Tongue and Groove Subfloor

Thicker than plywood.

  • Pros: Economically friendly.
  • Cons: Repairs can be tricky for this choice.
  • Cost: $2.50-3.00 per square foot.


What is the cheapest way to finish a basement floor?

The cheapest flooring options are:
-Ceramic Tile
-Laminate or Engineered Hardwood.

Should I seal my basement floor?

Yes, this will help prevent moisture and damage.

Do I need a subfloor in my basement?

Not always, but if you plan to use your basement for a livable space, yes.

Do I need a vapour barrier under the carpet in the basement?

To keep the moisture at bay and keep your floor dry: yes.

What is the best flooring to put over concrete?

Engineered wood is best for a cement floor or concrete covering.

If you are looking for a basement flooring specialist in Toronto, do not hesitate to give us a call.