Basements are one of the areas in our homes that can be used for just about any function. It can be used as a bedroom, a lounge, an office, a gym, or a laundry area. Being located below grade, there’s the possibility of water getting inside from the earth outside through its floors and walls, and flooding the area. It is then important to use building materials in our basements that are durable enough to stand up to any type of home activity and has a high water resistance at the same time.
Luxury vinyl plank flooring has been a choice for a lot of homeowners as flooring for some of the rooms in their homes but are they also good for basements as well?
Luxury vinyl plank flooring is one of the best floors that can be used for basements. It is 100% waterproof and will not warp or get damaged even if submerged in water. It is durable and will stand up to most home activities. It is also DIY friendly as it is easy to install, maintain, and repair.
Luxury vinyl planks have some characteristics that are better than other basement floorings and it is best to explore and consider them as well before deciding what flooring to use for your basements.
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12 Reasons Why Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Good for Basements
Considering all the conditions a flooring can be exposed to when installed in basements, here are 12 reasons why luxury vinyl plank flooring is good for these spaces.
1. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is 100% Waterproof
Luxury vinyl planks (LVPs) are made entirely of a combination of synthetic materials or plastic. This makes it 100% waterproof. Unlike wood flooring and other floorings containing organic materials, it will not absorb liquid in any form so extreme humidity will not affect it as well. It can be submerged underwater for a long time and it will not warp, expand, or get damaged in any way. You can learn more about this in this article – Can Vinyl Planks Be Used in Wet Areas? Are They Waterproof?
Since basements, can sometimes get flooded or get exposed to high humid conditions, the type of flooring installed should be able to stand up to these extreme wet conditions. Vinyl plank flooring is definitely one of the good floor choices for these extremely wet conditions.
2. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Will Not Grow Molds or Mildews
Unlike wood floors, since luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring is 100% waterproof and will not get wet basically, molds and mildew will not be able to grow in it. This can especially benefit those suffering from asthma or allergies as they will be less exposed to these conditions.
Although LVPs will not get grown with molds and mildews, if your basement gets flooded, or water gets underneath the flooring, the concrete, under the planks, in its wet or damp condition may encourage the growth of molds or mildews.
If your basement gets into a moisture-related problem, it is important that you address the cause of the water issue and then allow the whole flooring to dry including the concrete underneath the flooring. This could include removing parts or in full the vinyl plank flooring temporarily to help dry out all the surfaces faster.
3. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is Very Durable and Scratch-Resistant
Basements can be used as a space for just about any activity. It can be used as a lounge, playroom, office, or laundry area. The flooring installed in basements can be subjected to light to moderate types of activities and abuse. It is then important that the flooring that you use in your basements are durable enough to stand up to various types of activities.
Luxury vinyl plank flooring has high scratch resistance and is very durable. The best brands of luxury vinyl planks have excellent wear layers that protect the flooring from heavy wear and tear. It can stand up to dog and pet nails, children playing, and the dragging of furniture without getting scratched easily.
You can read more about how vinyl plank floors are durable and scratch-resistant from the link.
4. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is Dimensionally Stable
Wood flooring and other materials containing organic materials are subject to expansion and contraction. Changes in moisture and humidity are big contributors to this issue. This can lead to some floors that buckle or that develop gaps in between the floor’s members. Since basements can be exposed to extreme moisture and humidity changes, some floors, such as wood floors, are not recommended to be used as their flooring material as they can get damaged over time.
Since luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring does not absorb moisture, they do not expand or contract as easily as wood floors. Even compared to engineered wood floors, LVPs are more dimensionally stable. Their length, width, and thickness will remain the same even when it gets submerged underwater for a long time.
5. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Looks Like Real Wood
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring was made to imitate the look of real wood or tiles. Each vinyl plank has a high-definition image of real wood printed on its face. Some of the best LVPs even have the wood grains textured, giving it a tactile quality.
Since most homeowners really like the aesthetics of using wood flooring in their homes, LVPs are one of the best flooring alternatives that you can use for spaces where using wood floors is not recommended. If you wanted the aesthetics of wood flooring for your basement, you can install LVP flooring instead.
6. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Soft to Walk On
Most brands of luxury vinyl plank flooring already include an underpad underneath each plank. This underpad helps absorb some of the impacts of walking and makes it softer to walk on compared to just bare concrete, ceramic tiles, or porcelain. It also helps decrease the noise produced while walking.
7. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is Budget-Friendly
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floors are one of the cheapest flooring materials you can get. It is cheaper than porcelain and wood flooring. If you’re looking for budget-friendly material for your basement flooring project, then LVP flooring can be a good candidate.
8. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is Easy to Install
Most DIYers will find luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floors very easy to install. LVPs can come in a peel-and-stick type installation, or a floating or click-lock type installation. For basements though, the click-lock or floating type LVPs are recommended over the peel-and-stick type LVPs.
The adhesive in the peel-and-stick type LVPs may peel off or could lose its stickiness if the basement flooring gets wet or gets flooded. The floating type on the other hand can easily be removed or reinstalled if you need to dry off the area when it gets wet or flooded.
Either way, both the peel-and-stick type or the click-lock types of LVPs are fast and easy to install. You could even install this on your own without any help.
9. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is Easy to Clean and Maintain
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring is very easy to clean and maintain. Just regular sweeping or vacuuming, and occasional mopping are enough to keep the floor clean and shiny. Since LVP floors are waterproof, you don’t need to worry about using a very wet mop when mopping the floor. Just avoid very harsh chemicals as they may negatively affect the wear layer of the planks, and potentially the durability of the flooring.
10. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is Easy to Repair
Although luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floors are very durable, they can still get damaged. In cases when LVP floors get damaged though, they can be repaired easily. It is just a matter of removing the damaged planks and replacing them with new ones. As easy as they can be installed, repairing them is just the same.
11. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring is Relatively Warmer Underfoot
Basements can become cold, especially during winter, and if you are someone who loves to walk barefooted at home, walking on a warm floor can be comforting. Luxury vinyl plank floors are warmer underfoot compared to just bare concrete or even ceramic tiles.
And if you want the floor to be much warmer by installing a radiant heating system, luxury vinyl planks can be used with them as well. Just go through the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to work with radiant heating.
12. Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Non-Slip
When basements get wet or get flooded for any reason, it’s important that the flooring doesn’t get slippery when it gets wet. All of the best brands of luxury vinyl plank (LVP) floorings are non-slip and will be safe to walk on even when it becomes wet.
5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Flooring for Basements
These are 5 things that you should be considering when choosing a good flooring material to use for your basements.
- The floor should be waterproof or have high water-resistance
- The floor should be durable
- The floor should be low-maintenance.
- The floor should be non-slip.
- The floor should be appealing and can adapt to any design style or activity.
Luxury vinyl plank flooring passes all these criteria which makes it one of the best flooring to use for basements. If you want to learn other best flooring options to use for basements, follow the link.
How to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring in Basement?
Installing luxury vinyl plank flooring in basements is relatively easy to do and can be done by any DIYer.
The steps in installing luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring in basements are the same steps you’ll be following for installing LVP in any room of your house. Below is an overview of the steps in installing LVPs in your basement:
1. Prepare the Surface of the Sub-Floor for Installation
Since basement floors are usually made of concrete, just make sure that the surface of the concrete floor is level. It should be smooth and flat. Any high spots or depression will translate to the luxury vinyl plank flooring. Even with an underpad that comes with the vinyl planks that could help hide any surface imperfections to the floor, it may contribute to unnecessary floor movements when being walked on.
Use a leveling compound if necessary to fix any surface imperfections and to make the concrete surface flat.
2. Remove Existing Baseboards or Trims
If there is an existing baseboard or floor trim installed in your basement, consider removing it temporarily for easier flooring installation. Although not necessary, if it will help with the ease with the installation of the luxury vinyl plank flooring, carefully remove the baseboards around the basement floor using a crowbar.
3. Undercut Door Jambs and Door Trims
Instead of cutting your luxury vinyl plank to follow the profile of your door trim or door jamb, it will be easier during the floor installation and will look a lot cleaner if you can slide your luxury vinyl plank underneath the trims. Using an oscillating multi-tool and a luxury vinyl plank as a guide for thickness, undercut the door jams or door trims that will be affected by the floor.
4. Carefully Clean the Area of the Floor Installation
Before you start installing the vinyl planks, make sure that the surface of the sub-floor is clean. Sweep the floor or use a vacuum to remove any dirt or debris. Any debris that is left when you install the luxury vinyl plank may cause problems in the future so make sure that you were able to remove everything.
5. Plan Out How the Planks Will Be Laid Down on the Floor
Sketch out the plan of your basement floor. Plan out how the luxury vinyl plank flooring will be laid down on the floor. Make sure that you won’t end up with a skinny or a very short piece of plank on one end of the room.
6. Start the Installation of the Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Once the surface is prepared, and you have planned out how the luxury vinyl plank flooring will be laid down on your basement floor, you can start the installation. Installing the luxury vinyl plank flooring is pretty much straightforward. It is just a matter of aligning the planks and locking them together by their click-and-lock system.
7. Install Back the Baseboards
When the luxury vinyl plank flooring is complete, you can then install back the baseboard or floor trims that you’ve previously removed.
8. Install Transition Strips
When there is a change of flooring material or a difference in floor level, a transition strip is necessary to create a clean transition from one area of the flooring to the next.
Below is a good video showing how easy it is to install vinyl plank flooring.
What Do You Put Under Vinyl Plank Flooring in a Basement?
Most luxury vinyl plank flooring already comes with an underpad attached to each plank. This underpad already acts as a cushion and vapor barrier at the same time. Because of this, most manufacturers don’t recommend putting anything else under the vinyl plank flooring whether it be an additional underlayment or a vapor barrier if you’re installing it in your basement.
Adding an additional layer underneath the vinyl plank flooring may affect the stability of the flooring and could cause damage to the flooring joints. For better guidance, always check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
What Happens if Water Gets Under Plank Flooring?
If water happens to get under the luxury vinyl plank flooring, the first thing you need to do is to address the cause of the water leak or moisture. Once the water leaking is resolved, you should then dry out the concrete surface by removing the luxury vinyl plank (LVPs) and exposing its surface.
Although LVPs will not get damaged even when exposed to water for a long time, leaving the concrete underneath it damp or wet may encourage mold and mildew growth. Exposing the concrete surface to open-air by removing the LVP temporarily will help dry out the concrete surface faster. Since LVPs are fairly easy to install, removing and reinstalling them won’t be too much of a hassle.