Knowledge Center

Basement Flooring: Engineered, Laminate, or Vinyl?

January 24, 2016

When it comes to durable, waterproof flooring, homeowners basically have three choices: engineered wood, laminate, or vinyl. All are good choices, but the right one for you will depend on a number of factors-here are a few things to consider.

Engineered Wood Pros and Cons

Engineered wood is extremely resistant to damage from moisture or humidity, as it contains a plywood backing and durable layer of veneer on top. As such, it is unlikely that engineered wood will buckle or peel. Engineered wood more closely resembles hardwood than laminated flooring, which some claim gives it a more pleasing appearance. That appearance can be expensive however. Engineered wood is priced considerably higher than laminate or vinyl, often costing nearly as much as natural hardwood.

Laminated Hardwood Pros and Cons

Laminated hardwood differs from engineered hardwood in that it is made from pressed wood, and contains only a laminated image of wood over top. It is therefore thinner and less durable than engineered wood. Laminated wood is also more prone to moisture damage, and should therefore not be used if you reside in a flood zone. The fact that it is thinner does give it one advantage, which is that it is far more cost-effective than engineered wood. It is therefore ideal for anyone who is on a budget or who may be planning to sell their home in the near future.

Vinyl Flooring Pros and Cons

Vinyl flooring is the most moisture resistant of all three, and can often hold up well to long periods of standing water. It is also available in more styles and color patterns than either engineered or laminated hardwood. Even so, many people feel that vinyl flooring provides an industrial feel, resulting in a room that feels cold and stiff. This is especially true when placing it in a basement living room or bedroom, as vinyl is thought of as being something that is exclusively used in kitchens and bathrooms. It is comparable in cost to laminated wood, and in some cases may even be less expensive.

Other Things to Consider

It is just as important to prepare your floor properly as it is to choose the right materials. Your basement floor must be evenly surfaced before you begin; otherwise, materials may not adhere securely. You must ensure your basement is fully waterproofed by having an inspection performed ahead of time. Even properly sealed basements could be subject to flooding, which is why you may want to consider installing Dri Core. Dri Core provides a waterproof base for your flooring materials, and will allow water to move underneath it and into a drain should your basement become flooded.

If you are having a hard time deciding, remember that you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to just one type of flooring. It is possible to use engineered wood in one area, laminate in another, and vinyl in still another in order to come up with a design that best suits your needs and lifestyle.