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February 15, 2023
Have you been thinking about carpeting your basement? Wondering what’s the best carpet for basements? That’s reasonable! You need to be sure that you aren’t wasting money with a basement carpet that might get ruined quickly.
We’re all familiar with how musty basements can get. Even nice, finished basements can be prone to dampness after a hard rain. The best basement flooring has to be able to handle some amount of moisture.
Plus: even in drier climates, basement flooring can present issues. You need to be sure your carpet can hold up to the changes in temperature and humidity that all basements experience, wherever they’re located.
If you are looking for the best carpet brands, here is our list of the top 10 brands we tested and reviewed.
Fortunately, we’re here to help! First, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of putting carpet in the basement in general. Then, we’ll explore what makes the best carpet for basements, with special emphasis on the best basement carpet fibers and brands.
Ready to learn everything there is about the best carpets for basements? 2023 has brought a whole bunch of new brands, colors and ideas to the table. Let’s begin!
First of All: Is Carpet A Good Idea for the Basement?
Yes! The attraction to carpet in the basement is obvious. Basements are generally chilly and damp; carpets offer a warm and cozy floor to counteract that.
The right types of carpet won’t just make your basement more livable—they can even make your basement warmer and drier.
That said, basement carpets aren’t always the best idea. Sometimes, you shouldn’t put a carpet in the basement at all!
When to Avoid Putting Carpet in the Basement
If your basement is prone to taking in water, either from periodic flooding or super high (we’re talking unreasonably high) levels of moisture, you may want to reconsider putting carpet in your basement.
A dehumidifier may help with moisture in the air, but if you have leaky gutters that cause water to seep into your foundation, definitely avoid carpet! Instead, look for flooring that won’t have difficulties handling dampness—the best vinyl plank flooring products, for example, excel at this since all vinyl flooring is waterproof by default.
Some of the best laminate floor brands are also making waterproof laminates these days, which can work as well. And if your basement isn’t too wet, you can usually get away with using engineered wood. Some top engineered wood flooring brands are also making—you guessed it—waterproof hardwood floors nowadays.
Can I Install Carpet on a Concrete Basement Floor?
You certainly can install carpet on a concrete basement floor! The good news is that carpet is some of the easiest flooring to install directly over concrete. All you need is a good carpet pad!
Whatever You Choose, Make Sure to Prep Your Subfloor
Whatever basement flooring option you choose, make sure to properly prep your subfloor—even if you’re using a waterproof flooring option. For example, consider applying a coat of waterproof concrete sealer.
You should also be sure to fill in any cracks in the concrete. Moisture has a sneaky habit of seeping up through cracks. The result could be one badly damaged carpet.
If your concrete floor is prone to moisture, you could consider installing a plywood subfloor with a vapor barrier. This adds more work and money to your project, however.
Not sure which option is better? Check out our article to learn the difference between underlayments vs. subfloors.
Choosing the Best Carpet for Basements: Things to Consider
The best carpet brands offer endless products, which is helpful because needs vary from basement to basement. Not all basements are in the same condition!
The Best Basement Carpet Will be Made of Synthetic Fibers
Natural fibers are lovely, just not in your basement. They absorb water in a way that synthetics do not. In fact, synthetic carpet fibers actually repel water. So, why is that good? It means that, under normal conditions, your basement carpet won’t accumulate the moisture that can lead to mold and mildew.
When your carpet behaves this way, it’s called breathing. It means that air can circulate well through and around your carpet, helping it dry out much more quickly.
This is why synthetic carpets are usually thought of as some of the best carpets for bedrooms with small children. Those rooms see spills galore, so parents have learned to install carpets that aren’t impossible to clean up after their messy children are done.
Excellent Padding is Especially Important for Basement Carpets
A carpet pad is vital for cushioning and insulation. The best carpet padding for your basement floor will likewise be made of synthetic fiber. Again, you need to avoid dampness accumulating under your pad, so it’s essential to have one that allows breathing. This rules out rubber carpet pads and other similar surfaces.
What to Avoid if You Want the Best Carpet for Your Basement
Natural fiber carpets are quite possibly one of the worst flooring ideas for any basement. They don’t breathe the way synthetic materials do, and even worse, they retain water. As a result, they’ll be ruined in no time. Don’t believe us? Check out these wool carpet pros and cons.
It’s also advisable to avoid carpets with long fibers. High-pile carpets are very thick and can’t dry quickly when they get damp. A quick-drying carpet is imperative for any damp basement, so opt for low pile carpeting.
You should also stay away from loop pile carpets (go with cut pile instead) since you won’t be able to remove water from tight loops as easily.
The Best Basement Carpet Fiber Choices
There are many good reasons that today’s society focuses on the importance of natural products, but it’s important to remember that there’s nothing wrong with man-made carpet fibers! The best basement carpet options will not be made of natural, organic fibers because they just don’t fare well in that environment.
Here are the carpet fibers you’ll find in the very best carpets for basements.
Nylon—specifically type 6,6 nylon—is hands-down the most durable fiber on the market. Nylon carpets last a long time and stand up to water amazingly well. Although some other synthetics may be slightly more stain-repellent, nylon also does very well in this regard. For these reasons, nylon products are frequently thought of as some of the best carpets for pets and the best carpets for stairs.
However, this supreme durability and breathability also make nylon the most expensive synthetic option. However, it may be worth spending more money upfront if it means avoiding damage down the road. And overall, carpet is much less expensive than, say, wood flooring costs. But, of course, that’s only one of the reasons to choose carpet vs. hardwood—especially in the basement.
Triexta is the newest addition to the world of carpet, and it’s an excellent one. Triexta is nearly as durable as nylon (some would say equally durable) and it offers excellent stain resistance. It can also be more affordable than some nylon products.
It’s a sustainable carpeting choice, too—so if you take the environment into consideration when making purchases, triexta deserves lots of attention. And the fact that it handles moisture so well makes it one of the best carpets for a basement!
If you’re looking for one of the least expensive basement carpets, polyester is here for you. It’s very soft and is quite possibly one of the best stain-resistant carpet choices. And that’s a huge bonus if your basement is where the kids frequently get banished to—er—“sent to play”.
You’ll notice that you’ll have your choice between “solution-dyed” and “acid-dyed” for polyester carpets. Solution-dyed is the definite choice to make when you’re concerned about stain resistance! It’s the less absorbent option, making stains a cinch to wipe up.
Olefin is another excellent choice for basement flooring, primarily because it was invented to handle water. It’s one of several excellent outdoor flooring options (seriously)! It may seem odd to consider carpet for outdoor use, but those conditions can be similar to a basement’s.
Olefin, also known as polypropylene, is very easy to clean and maintain. It can go directly over concrete with no problems, so we consider it one of the best basement carpet choices.
Obviously, this isn’t something you want to use as, you know, mudroom flooring or something similar—but it does handle water quite well.
The Best Basement Carpet Brands
Let’s cut to the chase. You want the specifics on who you can trust when you’re making over your basement. There are so many excellent carpet manufacturers, but here are just a few of the ones we consider the best carpet brands for your basement.
Proximity Mills (Wall-to-Wall)
Every carpet that Proximity Mills sells is made of type 6,6 nylon—the most durable fiber around. You won’t lack style choices, either, because Proximity Mills has a massive selection of styles to choose from. Moreover, they are all sold at a very reasonable price, considering the typical going rate for nylon.
But wait, there’s more! If the idea of synthetic fibers worries you because of chemicals used in the manufacturing process, you’ll like Proximity Mills. They exclusively sell low-VOC carpets, which are safer for your family’s health.
Proximity Mills (Carpet Tiles)
Fun fact: Proximity Mills doesn’t just sell wall-to-wall carpet; they also sell premium LCTs (or Luxury Carpet Tiles). These aren’t the peel-and-stick carpet tiles you can find at the dollar store.
Rather, they’re super-heavy-duty, solution-dyed polyester carpet squares that are machine washable. You read that correctly—you can actually wash this carpet in your normal washing machine!
Proximity Mills carpet tiles are also waterproof (no surprise) and, since they attach to the subfloor or underlayment with so-called “FriXion Pads” rather than glue, they’re actually reusable. They even come with an attached carpet pad.
Newton flooring offers multiple types of carpet, including solution-dyed polyester and 6,6 nylon—both of which make for some of the best carpet for basements. In addition, they come in a crazy amount of styles and colors and are super affordable.
Not only are Newton carpets low-VOC flooring—they’re also eco-friendly flooring, too! Many carpets in their polyester collection are PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which means they contain recycled plastics as part of their makeup. So not only are they made from recycled materials, but they are also recyclable when you’re done with them.
The Pros and Cons of Basement Carpet
Still on the fence about putting carpet in your basement? We hear you. That’s why we made this list of basement carpet pros and cons—hopefully, it’ll help you make your decision!
Pro: Carpet is Cozy and Comfortable
There’s a reason carpet is a popular bedroom flooring choice. People love to feel pampered and luxurious, which the best basement carpet can accomplish. Surrounding yourself with soft things is a sure-fire way to relax. So why should your basement retreat be any different?
Pro: The Best Basement Carpet is Insulating
Nobody likes to spend time in a cold space. Adding carpet to any room is a practical step toward warming it up. It will keep your feet warm while walking on it, but it will also absorb some coldness coming from the hard floor underneath. For added warmth, you can make your floor even cozier by adding an area rug over your carpet!
Just remember: we’re talking about the best basement carpet here. Lesser fibers and brands may not insulate as well as top products.
Pro: Some Basement Carpet May be Suitable for DIY
In general, carpet is not do-it-yourself flooring. You need to hire a pro for carpets, except if you opt for carpet tiles. We’ll talk more about why carpet tiles are among the best carpet for the basement, but for now, just know that it’s really easy to learn to install carpet tiles—it just takes some practice!
Con: Even the Best Carpet for Basements May Get Moldy
There’s no way around it: if the dampness in your basement gets out of control, you’re opening up the possibility of mold and mildew growing in your carpet. Therefore, it’s essential to properly assess your basement’s condition and your ability to monitor and control the moisture. Even the best basement carpet can only handle so much!
Con: It’s a Terrible Choice if Your Basement Floods
Even with the proper precautions, you may wind up with a freak flooding incident after a bad storm. Unfortunately, even the best flooring for basements won’t survive a catastrophic flood, carpet or not. It’s one of the risks of placing anything in your basement. However, carpet will be destroyed faster than almost any other floor.
Con: Carpet Can be Prone to Discoloration
Carpet is notorious for being a flooring that’s very sensitive to stains and fading. Fortunately, you probably won’t have to worry about your carpet fading since basements don’t typically receive a lot of sunlight (we’re not talking about sunroom flooring, after all.
That said, if light does shine into your basement in just one or two spots every day, it can discolor your carpet after many years.
How to Maintain a Basement Carpet
Once you’ve installed the best basement carpet for your needs, maintaining it is relatively simple. As with any carpet, some regular vacuuming will keep your fibers healthy. Perhaps give it an annual steam clean for deep-down cleaning.
The best maintenance for a basement carpet is to keep your basement as dry as possible. Run a dehumidifier with a fan to draw out as much water as possible from the air. Another helpful thing you can do to cut down on dampness is to monitor the temperature of your basement. If your basement is cold, the cool air can produce water particles, so keep it warm with a heater.
And finally, avoid leaks in that part of your home. Before installing your carpet, seal the subfloor and paint any concrete walls. And obviously, fix all plumbing issues ASAP.
Alternatives to Using Carpet in the Basement
There are many types of flooring that are suitable for more than one specific use. So before you commit to the best basement carpet, check out some of these alternatives for your best basement flooring in general. Floors are a significant investment, so be sure you’re getting the best flooring to meet all your needs!
Luxury Vinyl Plank
As we said before, there are many excellent reasons to consider PVC flooring for your basement. It’s hands-down the most durable flooring out there, very affordable, handles water like a champ, and looks remarkably realistic. Plus, new types of EVP floors—that is to say, “engineered vinyl plank” floors like SPC and WPC flooring—offer tons of other benefits.
When you compare carpet vs. laminate for basement flooring, you’ll find that laminate has a lot of the required qualities—as long as it’s waterproof!. This is another fake wood floor that will last a long time in your basement with proper care.
If you aren’t concerned with having cold flooring in your basement, you may want to consider tile. It’s a definite winner in the waterproof game and also difficult to damage. It’s not the easiest flooring to install (unless you opt for a snap-together product), so you’ll probably want to hire a professional to save you the headache. But with unlimited types of tile available, including wood-look tile, you can end up with a masterpiece.
It’s difficult to resist the beauty of a natural wood floor. However, everybody knows that wood and water don’t pair well together, so a wood basement floor is entirely out of the question, right?
Not necessarily! Some types of wood flooring—specifically engineered varieties—may be acceptable under certain conditions. For example, if your basement isn’t susceptible to a lot of moisture, there’s a chance that a water-resistant wood flooring would work well in that space.
Just remember: engineered wood is what you want here because it handles changes in moisture and humidity, while solid wood will warp. That’s why all the most durable wood flooring offerings are engineered!
And if moisture is an issue in your basement, remember that waterproof is the way to go.
Hey, this may sound crazy, but another great basement flooring option is to stick with the concrete you already have! If it’s in good shape to begin with, you can clean it up and paint it to look nice. Or redo the concrete if it isn’t well-maintained, and create concrete flooring that looks like wood. In addition, you can be assured that it’s waterproof, so you know your basement can’t ruin it.
Conclusion: So, What’s the Best Basement Carpet?
Ok, now that we’ve exhausted all the options, what does it all boil down to? Essentially, there’s no carpet that we can crown the best basement carpet. However, there are several superb options, and as long as they meet the proper criteria, they should serve you well!
Just remember: synthetic fibers, a breathable carpet pad (also synthetic), and a low pile should be your requirements for the best basement carpet. Want to check out your style options? Your local flooring store can help you narrow it down even further.
Thanks so much for reading and good luck on your flooring journey! For more info, check out some of the resources below: