Wet Basement Flooring Options: Tiles With A Vapor Barrier

By Brett Hart Created: July, 2017 - Modified: February, 2024

If you spend any time in your basement, it's likely you've had to deal with moisture problems at some point. Some of those issues can be solved as easily as running a dehumidifier during times of heavy rain or high humidity. For others, it's a persistent problem that not only leaves pools of water on your basement floor, but can cause thousands of dollars in damage to flooring, furniture and other possessions.

Basement moisture solutions may be necessary because of a variety of factors including floods, roof runoff, condensation and permeation.

Most basement foundations are made of concrete. Concrete, while extremely durable and readily available, does have its flaws. One of which is it's porous nature. Concrete allows water vapor to permeate through it. This becomes especially troubling as concrete ages and begins to crack.

The Problem With Basement Moisture

Hardwood and fiberboard are generally discouraged as a basement flooring option as they will absorb moisture, expand, warp and rot. They also harbor mold and mildew, creating a hazardous environment for your home and family, tainting air quality and possibly causing structural damage. Flooring made with organic materials will need to be replaced in the event of flooding or persistent moisture.

Keep in mind that just because a flooring material may be waterproof, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is one of the best wet basement flooring options. Some waterproof basement flooring may not be damaged by water or moisture, but may trap water underneath the floor if not installed correctly. This can create the same mold and mildew issues as wood and carpeting.

Wet Basement Floor Solutions

There are several methods of battling the problem of basement moisture, including landscaping, creating vapor barriers and raised floor tiles with a vapor barrier. While proper landscaping can direct rain water away from your house, it doesn't always solve the problem of water vapor. In extreme cases, such as flooding, a sump pump may be a necessity. Vapor barriers typically involve sealing your concrete walls and/or floor with coatings of paint or adhesives. It can also involve large sheets of felt or plastic but floor tiles with vapor barrier properties are a much simpler solution.

Why Raised Flooring for Wet Basements?

Raised basement flooring tiles with a built-in vapor barrier prevents moisture from becoming trapped, by creating a gap between your flooring and the concrete. Air flows under the floor allowing the moisture to dissipate without having to remove your flooring at each occurrence of moisture buildup. Who has the time to check for trapped moisture on a regular basis?

waterproof raised modular tiles on concrete basement floorOne of the simplest ways to create a raised floor is to purchase flooring tiles designed just for that purpose. Most of these floating interlocking basement flooring tiles with a built-in vapor barrier feature a waterproof plastic base with holes or channels that allow for air movement. Some even offer a perforated top that permits air flow horizontally and vertically. Most raised waterproof basement flooring tiles with a built-in vapor barrier also have some form of interlocking system that will allow for easily installation, removal and re-installation without damaging the flooring. Below we'll identify some of the top forms of basement raised floor tiles you can use to convert your damp basement into a home gym, family room or kids play area.

Basement Carpet Tiles Waterproof

Basement Carpet Tiles WaterproofIf you are set on turning your basement into a carpeted family room, but fear the moisture will cause problems, raised carpet tiles are your answer. You'll want to find a raised carpet tile with a waterproof base material and preferably a waterproof carpet fiber as well. Greatmats offers a raised carpet tile called CarpetFlex Floor Tile that features a polypropylene base topped with a recycled content ribbed carpet. The carpet top is environmentally friendly, chemically resistant and won't decompose in wet environment. It is made of the same materials as active wear, known for the ability to transport moisture away from the body. Meanwhile, the waterproof raised base installs easily over concrete and other hard, flat surfaces and keeps the carpet out of standing water, giving you the ideal carpeting system that is the best flooring for basement installations.

Den or Man Cave Floor

Den or Man Cave FloorCreate your very own sports den or man cave complete with a rugged yet comfortable waterproof basement flooring tiles with a built-in vapor barrier designed for home gyms. These PVC raised tiles offer a raised base and bump top surface texture. They are 100 percent waterproof and offer excellent anti fatigue properties, taking the unforgiving nature out of raised basement flooring installed over concrete.

Basement Dance and Fitness Area Floor Tiles

Basement Dance and Fitness Area Floor TilesGive your basement family space a wood or stone floor look with Max Tile Raised Floor Tiles. These tiles feature a waterproof raised plastic base topped with a commercial grade vinyl surface. Extremely versatile, Max Tile floors are popular for dance floors, aerobic and exercise flooring and show room floors and feature a 7-year wear layer. They also have the option of ramped border edging and feature a 5-year warranty. If you've ever considered thermaldry basement floor tiles, you'll want to check these out.

Interlocking Basement Floor Tiles for Kids Play Areas

Interlocking Basement Floor Tiles for Kids Play AreasDesign a colorful kids play area with raised basement flooring tiles with a built-in vapor barrier like the Ergo Matta CushionTred tiles from Greatmats. Available in eight colors, these waterproof basement flooring tiles made of Rubber and PVC offer excellent sound dampening qualities and have a non-slip diamond shield tread design. Available with edge ramps, these tiles are also guaranteed for 5 years.

Basement Workshop Flooring

Basement Workshop TilesIf you use your basement as a workshop, StayLock Tiles durability and anti-fatigue properties can make your space much safer and more user friendly. Made of durable recycled PVC, they are also waterproof, resistant to most acids and oils and easy to clean. In addition to the bump top surface, StayLock tiles are also available with orange peel and perforated surfaces. To top it off, there are multiple color options available to help you create interesting designs, patterns or color schemes. StayLock tiles feature a 5 year limited warranty and also come in different surface options. The expected life span of this type of flooring is 20 years.

Basement Bathroom Flooring

Basement Bathroom FlooringAccessorize your basement bathroom with perforated tiles like SoftFlex Floor tiles. These soft PVC tiles are designed specifically for wet areas such as showers. With a perforated top, the raised basement flooring tiles with a built-in vapor barrier allow water and air to flow through in any direction and will not absorb moisture.

Note: Foam and rubber basement flooring is also available, but may not be the best flooring for basements with water issues as most of these options sit flat against the existing flooring and can trap moisture.

Covering your dirt floor

Covering your dirt floorWhile most basements have a concrete foundation, some are dirt. But that doesn't mean you can't have a finished floor. It just means you may need to get a little more creative in the way you cover these surfaces.

To install waterproof basement flooring over a dirt floor, you'll most likely want some sort of plastic perforated playground tile such as StayLock Perforated Tiles or Ergo Matta perforated tiles. These non-absorbent raised basement flooring tiles with a built-in vapor barrier tiles are designed for outdoor use and are resistant to mold and mildew. They also offer fall protection that would make them fitting for a basement play area. Perforated plastic tiles are flexible and interlock, allowing them to be placed on slightly uneven surfaces and prevent separation.

Now that you know what tools are at your disposal, go ahead and create a basement space you'll love. You'll be glad you did.
How modular raised floors work infographic