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Decoding Basement Flooring Options; What Basement Floor is for You?

Deciding upon a basement floor? There are many basement flooring options to choose from. Two of the most popular kinds of basement floor are rubber: a compressible, textured, waterproof floor; and linoleum, a relatively denser, but still textured and still relatively waterproof floor.  Both basement flooring options have similar characteristics, and can be used interchangeably as a basement floor in a variety of situations, but there are several key disparities. Knowing these variances could make all the difference when choosing between basement flooring options. Outlined below are some things to keep in mind, and some qualities that differentiate the two materials.

  1. To begin, the first significant difference that should be looked at is the use of installers. Linoleum is a material that is best left to the professionals. Installation of linoleum should not be left in the hands of the inexperienced, as mistakes could be costly and difficult to correct. For example, improper adhesion to the floor could result in excess moisture, which could cause the backing material to separate from the linoleum. However, if done correctly, linoleum can be an attractive, resilient material, so leave its installation to the experts. Rubber flooring, however, is by in large designed to be a do-it yourself project.  While you can decide to utilize installers, they are really not necessary as rubber is easily adhered to the floor, and can even be modified using nothing but a straight edge and a sharp utility blade.  While with rubber you will not have the benefit of lying back as your floor is completed for you (as you can do with linoleum), you will save a significant amount of money that would have gone to the installers.

2. Secondly, you should think of what is going to be happening on top of the material. While linoleum is a much harder flooring, it does not have the same “rebound” that rubber does. “Rebound” is the measure of how much a material can return to its original shape once compressed. For example, if a heavy object is put upon linoleum for an extended period of time, the cork (which is a major component in linoleum) will be crushed and be permanently indented. Rubber on the other hand will, to a certain degree, be able to come back from heavy indentation, and will “rebound” from an exerted force more easily. This is why rubber should be used almost exclusively if you are planning on an industrial application or even on storing heavy objects

on top of the floor.  Another area in which rebound is important is with anti-fatigue. Rubber will give beneath the consumer’s feet, which minimizes stress to the bones and joints and ultimately will allow you to be on your feet longer. Unfortunately, linoleum has very little give, and is therefore not recommended for areas in which there will be prolonged periods of standing.
3. Finally, while both materials could be classified as a waterproof floor, this does not mean that the floors react to water in a similar manner. Rubber has a natural coefficient of friction even when wet, which minimizes slipping hazards. Linoleum, while textured, is still notoriously slippery when wet, and thus should not be used in areas of excessive moisture. Rubber on the other hand, maintains a grip when damp, and inhibits mold and mildew growth, which means water can be allowed to dry naturally.

Corrugated fine rib black color showing texture
Coin grip metallic flooring underneath 3 chairs, a laundry basket, a laundry bin, and a bag with a whiteboard in the background

In conclusion, a basement floor is a large undertaking. Many basement flooring options should be considered. Both linoleum and rubber make excellent basement floors, but each basement flooring option excels in its own specific way. Both waterproof floors are durable, cost effective, and will beautify your basement floor, however, as I stated above, the environmental factors of your area should be considered before any decision is made. When choosing between basement flooring options, be smart, consider your unique situation, and above all enjoy your new basement floor!

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