What is the Best Waterproof Flooring for a Basement?
The best waterproof basement flooring depends on your budget and the look you prefer. Any flooring material made from inorganic materials is usable in a basement. Top-selling options are stone plastic composite planks (SPC flooring), tile, waterproof laminate, and luxury vinyl (LVT). Before installing these options, you should still waterproof your concrete floor with epoxy or a concrete sealer.
Last Updated: August 3, 2023, by: Rob Parsell
In this basement flooring post, we are looking specifically at waterproof flooring for basements, that’s to say, the best waterproof materials and brands. If you want to learn how to waterproof a basement floor, then please read our in-depth waterproofing basement floor post.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Basements can be damp areas that support mold growth because they sit below ground level. Moisture in the soil surrounding the foundation can make its way into the basement, raising the humidity level and creating potential mold, mildew and musty odors in the flooring.
There is a solution to this problem. Once you waterproof the basement floor and put a dehumidifier to work, choose waterproof flooring for the basement.
You have a range of waterproof basement flooring options to suit your preferences and how you plan to use the space.
The rest of this page discusses the best waterproof flooring for basements including why each one is a good basement option, how it is installed and what it costs. It concludes with commonly asked questions – FAQs.
Here are your top options for waterproof flooring for basement installation.
PLACE N’ GO COMPOSITION FLOOR COVERING
If you’re looking for a waterproof flooring for basements that is easy to install, Place N’ Go is a great choice. This product is available in several appearance styles including cork, stone, slate and woodgrains.
What it is: The flooring is a composite blend of recycled waterproof materials, mostly plastics, so it is ecofriendly.
How it is installed: Place N’ Go flooring is interlocking tiles, so there are no adhesives. Installation goes quickly, and trimming can be done with a sturdy utility knife. The flooring is easily removed too.
How much it costs: Place N’ Go interlocking floor tiles cost $5.50-$6.00 per square foot. Note that imperfect “seconds” can be purchased for less than $4 per square foot. The imperfections are typically minor and affect appearance rather than waterproof performance.
STONE PLASTIC COMPOSITE FLOORING
Also called SPC vinyl flooring, its construction makes it impervious to moisture issues and the occasional basement leak.
What it is: SPC waterproof flooring has a crushed stone core, usually limestone, mixed with plastic. The result is waterproof flooring that resists dents and dings, ideal for a busy basement. The top layer is vinyl that is embossed colored to look like hardwood or tile. Stone plastic composite is also referred to as stone polymer composite flooring and engineered stone composite vinyl.
Planks range in width from 4” to 12” and lengths from 36” to 90”. Tiles are usually 12”x24”.
How it is installed: Most SPC waterproof flooring is designed with edges that “click” into one another, something like tongue-and-groove. It is floating flooring, but some SPC vinyl can be glued down with flooring adhesives.
How much it costs on average: SPC vinyl ranges in cost from $1.69 to $8.99 per square foot, though most is in the $3-$6 range.
THERMALDRY BASEMENT FLOOR MATTING
This is an interlocking tile flooring that provides a waterproof vapor barrier to moisture migrating through a basement floor.
What it is: ThermalDry offers three products. Carpet tiles made from inorganic materials and PVC vinyl tiles are 12”x12” and available in several colors. Vinyl planks are produced in wood-looking light and dark tones. All products include insulated backing to create a thermal break to keep your feet off of the cold concrete below. And pegs raise the flooring off the concrete to allow airflow and evaporation if the flooring gets wet.
How much it costs on average: We spoke with reps from company headquarters and local installers – and they wouldn’t give us pricing. The flooring and professional installation is sold as a package, so this is not a DIY option. The installed cost of vinyl and carpet tiles is $5.50 – $7.50 per square foot. The vinyl-plank flooring runs $8.00 – $9.00 per square foot installed.
Ceramic, stone and porcelain tiles are always an option on a concrete subfloor. The concrete basement floor needs to be in good condition – cracks should be repaired.
What it is: Tile is available in many shapes and sizes from 1” square to 12”x24” large format tile. It comes in any color you like.
How it is installed: Installation is standard. Basement flooring tiles are secured to the concrete slab with thinset mortar, and gaps are filled with grout.
How much it costs on average: Installed cost ranges from $14 to $22 per square foot. Labor costs $8 to $18 per square foot, so there’s money to be saved by DIY.
PEEL & STICK WATERPROOF VINYL TILE
This is a budget choice when you want something other than a bare concrete floor but don’t want to spend much on the project.
What it is: These are vinyl tiles a little thinner than sheet vinyl. Most are 12” square or 12”x24”. Peel and stick waterproof vinyl is produced to look like stone or solid wood flooring, and both options are available in a spectrum of colors and patterns.
How it is installed: The concrete should be scrubbed clean to ensure the tiles stick. The back of the tiles is covered with an adhesive. Peel off the thin film to expose the adhesive, and stick the tile to the floor. Done.
How much it costs on average: Cost is $1.19 to $2.29 per square foot, though most is less than $1.80.
NEW IMPROVED WATERPROOF LAMINATE
Waterproof? Yes. While basement flooding might be too much for it, waterproof laminate flooring will do okay in a humid, occasionally damp basement.
What it is: Most laminate manufacturers are now making laminate with a wood fiber core mixed with resins to prevent water absorption and rot. Sealers are applied to all edges at the factory. The result is waterproof laminate that can be used in wet areas like the bathroom, laundry room and basement.
How it is installed: Laminate features click-together edges. Most floors float, meaning they are not secured to the concrete slab. Gluing down the floor is an option too. To maintain its waterproof quality, cut edges need to be sealed with a coat of waterproof polyurethane.
How much it costs on average: Most is around $2.99 to $3.99 per square foot with a total cost range of $2.29 to $5.99.
Rubber or rubberized flooring is naturally waterproof. It is available in tiles and rolls.
What it is: Most rubber flooring is a blend of natural and synthetic rubber or completely synthetic. Cheap rubber floors are thin and not very durable. Thicker vulcanized rubber floors wear well and are suitable for any basement use including a home gym, rec room or playroom.
How it is installed: Many rubber floor tiles are designed with interlocking edges, which make for fast and easy DIY installation. A utility knife is used to trim edges. Rolls are simple to install too. Seams are often taped together, and edges are trimmed with a knife or shears.
How much it costs on average: Cost ranges from $0.99 for thin foam tiles to around $7.00 per square foot for higher-quality rubber flooring.
LVT LUXURY VINYL FLOORING
This waterproof basement flooring is also called LVP, for luxury vinyl plank flooring, and engineered vinyl flooring.
What it is: LVT is made completely of synthetic materials that are naturally waterproof. A top vinyl layer is colored and embossed to provide texture. Most LVP and LVT is designed to mimic hardwood flooring, though some stone options are available.
How it is installed: The edges of luxury vinyl click together, and most floors float.
How much it costs on average: The materials cost $1.49 to more than $4.00 per square foot with an average cost around $2.59.
What waterproof flooring can you put over concrete?
Any flooring that provides a moisture barrier is acceptable. Your best options are SPC luxury vinyl planks, waterproof carpet and vinyl tiles, rubberized floor tiles and traditional ceramic or porcelain tiles.
Can you put vinyl flooring straight on concrete?
Yes. You can float the floor or glue it down depending on the manufacturer’s installation guidelines. Your options for vinyl flooring on concrete are LVT/LVP luxury vinyl planks and tiles, stone polymer composite flooring and peel & stick vinyl tiles.
About the Author:
Rob joined the Home Flooring Pros team in 2014 and is a freelance writer, specializing in flooring, remodeling and HVAC systems (read more).
“I’m the son of an interior designer and picked up an eye for design as a result. I started hanging wallpaper and painting at 14 and learned enough on the job to be the general contractor on two homes we built for our family and did much of the finish plumbing, electrical, painting, and trim work myself.”