Basements can see a lot of heavy action. They can be workshops, they can be storage areas, or they can be dens where heaven knows what goes on. Whatever happens, down there, a basement needs a sturdy floor, or it won’t be able to deal with what’s asked of it. One of the best overall flooring options is vinyl, and when you’re looking at vinyl floors for basement use, you’ll find a great range of options.
We’ll take you through some of our favorites, breaking things down into the best overall, as well as separate choices for the vinyl that is easiest on the pocket and easiest on the eye. We’ll also discuss what you need to be thinking about when you’re considering vinyl floor for basement options, as well as going through some of the pros and cons of this kind of flooring. Let’s start by asking why vinyl?
- What Makes A Vinyl Floor Good for Basements?
- Best Vinyl Plank Flooring For Basements
- 1. Mannington Adura Max
- 2. Doma LagunaWood Plus
- 3. Coretec Grande
- 4. Flooret Modin Base
- 5. Cali Vinyl Longboards
- Compare Our Picks
- What to Consider When Choosing Vinyl Flooring for Basements
- The Pros & Cons of Vinyl Flooring in Bathrooms
- Alternative Flooring Options for Basements
- In a Nutshell
Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you click at no extra cost to you. All recommendations and opinions remain our own.
What Makes A Vinyl Floor Good for Basements?
As mentioned, basements can be rough places for a floor. So, you need a surface that’s tough enough to deal with some unforgiving treatment. This is an area in which vinyl excels, particularly in the case of luxury vinyl. Quite distinct from its sheet-based forebear, luxury vinyl is made from a multi-layer construction that incorporates a solid core and a resilient wear layer made from ultra-tough aluminum oxide. This structure delivers some Gerard Butler-level, non-nonsense walk-it-off not-dead-yet type constitution.
Moreover, in a basement, there’s always the threat of flooding. Even if you’re in the middle of the Mojave and a proper bit of rainfall hasn’t been seen since the millennium, there’s the ever-present possibility of burst pipes. And when those babies burst, that water’s got to go somewhere. Where? Down, into that basement, that’s where.
So, good job; luxury vinyl’s one of the most waterproof materials you can put down there. Thanks to its rigid core, luxury vinyl simply won’t admit any moisture into its structure, so you can have water standing down there for a super-extended period, and your floor will come up looking great. That is not the case with whatever you might be storing down there unless you’re storing a batch of luxury vinyl.
Best Vinyl Plank Flooring For Basements
- Mannington Adura Max – Top Pick
- Doma LagunaWood Plus – Writer’s Choice
- Coretec Grande – Premium Pick
- Flooret Modin Base – Best Value
- Cali Vinyl Longboards – Most Stylish
Above is a quick rundown of the five vinyl plank options we recommend for bathrooms. Keep reading below for a comprehensive description of each product, along with the reasons why we chose it.
1. Mannington Adura Max
So, starting at the top of our bottom-of-house favorites, we have a bonafide household name in flooring. Mannington’s been around for over a century, supplying much-loved floors to the people of the US and around the world from its head office in Salem, NJ.
Adura Max is the name given to its range of luxury vinyl tiles and planks. As with most luxury vinyl, tile tends to be emulating ceramic or stone, is stubbier in shape, and comes in sizes such as 24” x 12”. Plank seeks to resemble wood and is longer, thinner, and, well, more like a plank (and sizes can be in the order of 48” x 6”).
The Adura Max range of styles is nothing short of exemplary. Let’s start with the tiles. An extensive selection of 26 looks includes the usual marble, as well as more novel choices such as concrete. Of the latter range, the Graffiti Patina is particularly striking. As for the planks, you’re totally spoiled for choice. It won’t be easy to pick between the 58 – yes, 58 – wood looks, so allow us to highlight a couple of our favorites.
In the Maple collection, there’s a great mid-brown choice called Coventry Forest that will tick most people’s wooden boxes. Or, if you’re after something a little more dramatic, try the Tiger’s Eye (in the Acacia collection). It’s got all the vibrancy you might expect with a name like that. Whichever variety you go for, the Adura range features texturing and edge work (either micro-beveled, painted bevel, or Craftedge beveled for an enhanced artisan feel) that combine to deliver extremely impressive authenticity.
OK, that’s enough about the looks. It’s going in the basement, so looks are most definitely not everything. We want performance. And we’re pleased to see that Adura’s appeal is not just skin-deep. Its wear layer (a crucial element when determining vinyl’s durability) is a solid 20mil, and it boasts ScratchResist and Microban (antibacterial) technology. Its HydroLoc core is utterly waterproof, and it comes with complete stain and fade resistance. Finally, its warranty is what you’d want down there: lifetime residential, 10-year light commercial.
Adura Max seems to be the kind of floor that purchasers are very pleased with, which is what it’s all about in the end. See this Houzz thread for some very useful testimonies, for instance. Put all this together, and you’ve got a really good choice for your basement floor. Price? You can get it for between $6 and $8 SFT.
2. Doma LagunaWood Plus
This flooring comes from a US firm that sits under the umbrella outfit Proximity Mills (which also covers Newton and Paradiso). Espousing the tagline ‘fashion meets flooring’ it’s clear that Doma is positioning itself in the vanguard of flooring that looks good.
A look at the Doma website shows that there’s a broad range of looks to choose from – 48 in all, including some interesting stone choices (the Statuario Stonewalk is particularly eye-catching). The wooden gamut is covered, from the standard oak shades to the wonderfully unusual multi-toned Millenium Cascade.
Other favorites of ours include the effectively aged-seeming Treasure Cascade (looking like the kind of wood Captain Jack Sparrow might like his chests made from) and the metropolitan hipster vibe of Urban Loft Woodland. Our overall favorite collection has got to be the LagunaWood range, which is based on authentic-looking wood effects with a more subdued palette than some others.
Doma has put together a really impressive range of attractive vinyl, but does it perform as well as it looks? First of all, its wear layer is a robust 20 mil, so it’s got a degree of durability built in combined with the 5mm overall thickness. The construction features an SPC (stone-polymer composite) core, which really stands up to some thumps.
Along with all Proximity Mills flooring, Doma products carry a lifetime residential warranty as well as a 15-year light commercial cover. Being luxury vinyl, it’s waterproof, plus it’s guaranteed against the sort of abuse some pets are forever intent on dishing out.
Environmentally, it performs well, being FloorScore certified, so its VOC emissions are reassuringly minimal. The material used in the construction is recyclable, which is an enormous plus as far as vinyl goes. Finally, there’s a big advantage to Doma in that it comes with attached underlayment, making its installation (via the floating method) a relative breeze.
As for price, you’re looking at the cost of anything from around $4 SFT up, which positions the product pretty competitively in the luxury vinyl flooring market. If you’re struggling to locate any stocks, you could try Doma’s excellent Find a Retailer tool.
3. Coretec Grande
This is a company that’s built its reputation on three central tenets: style, strength, and simplicity. So much for the marketing speak; what is Coretec really all about? As you’d expect from the name, the company makes a big deal of the build quality of its vinyl core, in this case, using a WFC (waterproof-foamed core) construction.
There’s a decent range of styles available, all coming to a collection of 169 varieties. Wow. Of these, the Coretec Grande range covers ten different wood looks. There’s a theme running through this range in that they’re all oaks, but don’t be misled into thinking that it must be a very homogenous bunch of options. Actually, the spectrum is quite fulsome, containing the light and airy (although unfashionably named) Empire Oak, the please-everyone buttery hue of the Petronas Oak, to the moody and atmospheric Willis Oak. There’s an okeydokey oak for every occasion, and the appearance is enhanced with embossing and painted beveling.
As far as size goes, Coretec Grande is available in 28”, 55”, and 82” lengths, all 9” wide. Thickness is 15mm, which is pretty butch. Talking of which, you have to take your hat off to the wear layer – it’s a very full-on 30 mil, which is way over most of the competition. With this kind of armor, it’s no surprise that the residential warranty is good for life, and there’s a 10-year medium commercial guarantee too.
Installation (via floating or glue) is helped by the presence of an attached cork underlayment, and eco-standards are demonstrated by its GreenGuard Gold certification.
So, enormous range plus incredible build quality. It must be pricey, right? Well, yes and no. Coretec as a whole can be bought from as little as $4.39 SFT. For the Grande range, you’ll need to fork out more like $8-$10 SFT. But you really wouldn’t expect it to be a bargain buy. It’s a premium product, so it costs more. For a more economical choice, try the next one on our list.
4. Flooret Modin Base
This brand was born in response to what a bunch of flooring experts saw as an outmoded industry structure in which innovation was strangled, and the purchase price was inflated by too many stages between manufacturer and customer. How true this is is not within our remit here, but what Flooret has managed to do is to bring into being a great range of vinyl flooring at a cost that knocks spots off most of the competition, so well worth a place in this list.
Let’s start with the looks. The website has the Flooret mob down as ‘design geeks’, and we can believe it. Their nicely embossed, well-beveled flooring looks fresh and contemporary without looking cheap. In a total of 22 different wood looks, the Base range accounts for 11 of them.
They’re given names that are, in truth, not that helpful. For example, Arbor doesn’t readily conjure an image, so they’re not doing telephone salespeople any favors. This is a pity because once you actually get to look at the shades, they’re great. We’re particularly keen on the Nordic-looking (but Scottish-sounding) Lachlan, with a wintry sheen that brought out the Odin in us. Another belter for us is the classic oak appearance of Soho, which one could well imagine gracing the floor of a hip studio in that part of the world.
Now to the construction quality. Flooret flooring comes in three classes: Base, Signature, and Craftsman. We’re concentrating on Base here, which is 48” x 6” and a slim 5mm thick. For all its slenderness, Flooret Modin carries a good wear layer – 20 mil, so there is nothing to complain about there. Warranty-wise, it’s a lifetime residential and a 10-year commercial guarantee.
If you want to scale up, Signature comes in a larger (72” x 9”) plank with a – get this – 40 mil wear layer. It’s difficult to imagine what you might be getting up to in that basement of yours that would necessitate such a bulletproof level of protection, but, whatever it is, Signature can handle it.
Anyway, back to Base. It comes with a 1 mm underlayment attached, so there is less fiddling when it comes to the floating install. Floored Base scores well on the environmental side, being LEED certified. Finally, when it comes to the cost, it’s remarkably economical (starting at $2.95 SFT). This is why it’s our best value choice.
5. Cali Vinyl Longboards
This one’s all about the style. The company oozes it. It’s also all about living the dream. The story started 20 years ago when two friends went on a sabbatical surfing year in Hawaii, where they found bamboo – the material that would send them on their way to being at the top of an ultra-cool eco-sound company making sustainable flooring from their HQ in San Diego, CA.
Cali Bamboo went down the vinyl route in 2016, producing a range of luxury vinyl that has a high degree of variation (their website claims twice as many unique planks as other vinyl floors). The overall look across the collection is a very seashore one, with mid-browns featuring names like Reefwood and Northshore Oak, light woods called Coastline Cliff and Salty Strand, and a very dark one called Offshore Oak.
If it were any more shoreline, you’d need to wear flip-flops to walk on it. There’s even one shade called Point Break Pine, just in case anyone hadn’t caught the distinct whiff of Swayze and Reeves swishing around this collection. In all, there are 12 longboard varieties, and if the beach is your thing, you’ll just love each and every one of them.
Longboard by name, longboard by nature. Just over 70” long, in fact, by 9” wide. Thickness is about average at 8mm, and it comes with a 2mm recycled cork underlayment, which cuts noise to way below multiple occupation regulations. This is one of the reasons why this is among the best vinyl plank flooring for basements, especially in shared homes.
The construction is built around a limestone composite Geo-core, which the manufacturer claims gives 50% better dimensional stability than its competitors. The wear layer is a thoroughly respectable 20 mil, and the warranty gives a healthy 50-year residential cover, plus a 15-year commercial guarantee. The website says that the company is full of dog lovers, so the flooring has been built to withstand the attention of our clawed compadres.
Cali Vinyl is FloorScore certified and is made by a company that, along with its easygoing profile, is a champion of various planetary and educational causes.
So, how much does it cost to join this good-looking gang of ethical floorers? You can pick it up for around $4.99 SFT, which is a lot cheaper than a holiday in Hawaii.
Compare Our Picks
|Flooring||Price Per Square Foot||Wear Layer||Overall Thickness|
|Mannington Adura Max||$5.99 – $7.99||20 mil||8 mm|
|Doma LagunaWood +||$3.99 – $4.99||20 mil||5 mm|
|Coretec Grande||$7.99 – $9.99||30 mil||15 mm|
|Flooret Modin Base||$2.95||20 mil||5 mm|
|Cali Vinyl Longboards||$4.99||20 mil||8 mm|
What to Consider When Choosing Vinyl Flooring for Basements
Whatever you’re using them for, basements will see a lot of thumping around. It might even be the case that people tend not to be so careful down there because it’s kind of hidden away, off the radar, so not always the kind of room that gets shown first to friends or prospective house buyers. So. you need to consider the rough stuff and be sure that the vinyl flooring you choose has the overall thickness, construction, and wear layer to stand up to knocks, scratches, and dents. Don’t forget those heavy boxes and cases that get shoved down to the basement and take up residency there. Those fellas will leave a big impression – and not in a good way – unless your floor’s built to withstand it.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Part of a basement’s lot is the frequency of untidy mishaps. Whether it’s a splash from a painting project or a coffee spill, just as you’re completing a GTA session, you need to be confident that your vinyl floor will be able to shrug off such misfortunes with the aid of a microfiber cloth and a little water. Make sure that it can cope with the odd application of a cleaning chemical or steam mop for those nastier stains. Apart from that, you’ll want to know that it can be kept looking tiptop with a simple vacuum round.
Is It Waterproof?
Thankfully, this is pretty much a given with luxury vinyl. Such is the vulnerability to basements in times of flooding that you simply have to be utterly confident that any water ingression for any length of time won’t result in a ruined floor, or your flooding experience will be made so much worse. You’ll be able to bounce back from misfortune so much quicker if you only have to get rid of a few ruined possessions rather than going through the expense and trouble of taking out a damaged floor.
How Easy Is It To install?
Most vinyl flooring is installed using the click-lock floating method. If you’re at all handy and you’ve got the tools, time, and confidence, you should be fine. Do check the instructions, though, to make sure there aren’t any hidden surprises lurking there.
What Does It Cost?
In all honesty, luxury vinyl’s not the cheapest. It does perform admirably well in all sorts of ways, and it can look fabulous, but it doesn’t come cheap. Having said that, $2.99 SFT for Flooret is a very nice price. It’s worth shopping around to see what other cheaper luxury vinyl is available. If your budget’s feeling the pinch, you might want to consider a vinyl sheet. At prices starting under $1 SFT, it’s significantly cheaper than luxury vinyl, and, being down in the basement where things are rarely in showroom condition, it might suffice. Certainly worth considering.
Luxury vinyl’s such a tough customer that any warranty of less than a lifetime for a residential setting seems a little lightweight. Mind you, the 50-year cover that Cali offers is pretty much the same as a lifetime, so don’t get too stressed about semantics. Is it going to guarantee the floor for the years you’re planning on spending in that house? Then that’s fine.
There’s no getting away from the fact that reviews are important. If others have been there and bought that flooring, you need to hear from them. So, well worth a trawl before you make that purchase. Some manufacturers carry reviews on their sites, and it’s always worth checking out discussion forums.
The Pros & Cons of Vinyl Flooring in Bathrooms
- Usually Easy to Install – Whether floating or glued, LVP and LVT are relatively uncomplicated to install. If you’re at least averagely practical, you should be able to manage it.
- Easy to Clean – You don’t need any special equipment to keep that floor looking great.
- Highly Waterproof – This is what sets luxury vinyl apart from the rest and why people automatically go for waterproof vinyl flooring for basements. Whatever the plumb, it doesn’t succumb.
- Hardwearing – If it has a decent wear layer with some kind of scratch guard tech in place, you can be sure it’ll stand up for itself.
- Acoustic Benefits – Vinyl tends to soak up step noise, especially with the right kind of acoustic underlay.
- Wide Range Of Designs Available – Such a lot of work goes into developing an extensive range of authentic and unique designs that you can be sure, whatever your house’s aesthetic, you’ll get a floor that will work in it.
- Environmentally Dodgy – Certainly, in the past, vinyl has been held up as one of the bad guys in the flooring world because of the use of PVC. With efforts made to improve recyclability, things are getting a little better.
- Not The Real Thing – The purists will always point to natural materials and say that vinyl’s a poor copy. However, it’s looking more and more like the real thing. One day, who knows?
Alternative Flooring Options for Basements
- Ceramic Tiles – One of the most popular options for anywhere that absolutely 100% needs to be waterproof. They look good and stay looking good no matter what you throw at them (almost).
- Polished Concrete – Getting more and more popular as people begin to realize not only how durable and waterproof it is but just how good it can look too.
- Laminate – Certainly a little cheaper than most luxury vinyl, it should always be remembered that laminate’s not completely waterproof. This may come back to haunt you.
In a Nutshell
A basement floor has to be rugged and waterproof, but it helps if it looks good too. This is why we went for Mannington Adura Max. It’s such an all-around performer that it’s the one we felt would be most likely to satisfy the needs of any basement benefactor, regardless of decor or style. Special mention must be given though both to Doma, for its great looking wood effects, and to Flooret, for its style and punch on such a budget.
Thanks very much for reading, and we hope you’ve gained some basement floor inspiration. If you need further guidance on vinyl flooring, there’s lots more on our site, so do read up. That way, you’ll be sure to get the best base for your basement.
Is basement vinyl flooring waterproof?
Luxury vinyl flooring is totally waterproof, not just water-resistant. This is why it’s such a good choice for a basement.
Can I install basement vinyl flooring myself?
Most vinyl flooring is not prohibitively difficult for a non-professional to install. Do check the manufacturer’s recommendations though. Sometimes they will recommend that it be left to a professional. There’s no shame in doing this!
Is vinyl flooring toxic?
Thanks to regulations such as FloorScore and GreenGuard, the toxic emissions from vinyl are kept to an infinitesimal minimum.
Why choose luxury vinyl over sheet vinyl?
Luxury vinyl tends to be more durable and better looking than sheet vinyl. It’s also more waterproof, so a better choice for the basement.