Some homeowners treat finishing a basement as an afterthought. They keep to a strict construction budget and furnish it with castaways from the rest of the house. However, you may have a more polished vision for this area. Hardwood floors are a luxurious addition to any room – including your basement.
Choose the Hardwood
You have so many options for choosing a hardwood for your flooring. The species of the wood helps determine its grain and color, as well as its hardness. Oak is the most common, but cherry, birch, and walnut are also popular flooring options. More exotic hardwoods include Brazilian cherry, teak ,and tigerwood. Since the basement features less natural light that the rest of the house, consider sticking to lighter woods with natural or warm stains.
Select a Board Width
Hardwood boards range in width from two to seven inches. Narrower board widths offer more patterning, while wider boards show off the natural grain in the wood. As Architectural Digest points out, wide planks carry an even more luxurious look than standard hardwood. However, they do tend to be more expensive. The main consideration for your basement finishing is budget. After that, consider how much the flooring will take center stage. If furnishings will be minimal, consider wide planks. However, if your plan is to lay down rugs or furnish with big, comfortable pieces, narrow planks may be a better option.
Talk about an Underlayment
Perhaps the best thing you can do for your basement hardwood floor is choose a good underlayment. First off, you want to increase the comfort the flooring offers with an underlayment that limits noise and adds insulation. Cork and foam are good options for cushioning, especially if you're going with a floating floor. Even more important, look at water-proof underlayments as well. Since basements are below ground, they are more prone to moisture. You don't want your beautiful hardwood floor undone by humidity. Underlayments lined with plastic or vinyl work well to protect your hardwood from the increase in moisture from your basement.
Decide Between Solid and Engineered Hardwood
Solid hardwood planks are comprised of a single piece of wood. They can be sanded and refinished several times, so this is a good choice if your basement will see a lot of traffic. However, solid hardwood is more prone to moisture damage, so you'll have to pay extra care to your underlayment.
Engineered hardwood consists of layers of hardwood bonded together in a cross-grain construction. Because the layers are thinner than solid hardwood, sanding and refinishing is tricky. However, engineered hardwood can withstand more humidity.
Whatever your choice, increase the beauty and value of your home with a basement finished with hardwood flooring.