Hardwood Floor in a Basement – Mountaintop, PA

Recently, a client requested us to replace the carpeted steps in her bi-level home with hardwood oak treads.  Her split stairway (as typical) leads a half-story up to her living room, and a a half-story down to her remodeled basement.  She wanted to carry the real oak flooring theme down to the basement  hallway.  But this presented a problem…


Beneath the existing carpeting in her basement hallway was a concrete floor.  Many are not aware that it is NOT recommended to place real hardwood flooring directly on top of basement concrete because of the moisture transfer and the many problems associated with that – such as premature deterioration of the oak, buckling, swelling, and discoloration.

But the homeowner had her heart set on hardwood.  What are her options?

(Check out some creative hardwood floor design ideas at HOUZZ.com!)


Hardwood Floor Basement Alternatives

Yes.  You CAN have a natural hardwood floor finish in a basement area.  There are 2 primary alternatives that will serve you well.

The most economical is a laminate floor.  Laminate floors have come a LONG way since the 90s!  And both quality & design options have greatly improved with the years.

But in this case, the homeowner chose an Engineered Hardwood product.  Engineered Hardwood is a relative newcomer.  It consists primarily of an HDF (high density fiber) inner core with a veneer of hardwood on top.  To the naked eye, it is indistinguishable from the real deal.  It’s benefit is that the HDF can withstand the effects of concrete floor moisture.

It’s drawback is that it is a bit more expensive than laminate.  But if you’re patient, DallaVerde Construction can keep an eye open for specials along the way that will suit your budget.


Installation is tongue-in-groove, with a simple foam underlayment.

There are also various types of hardwood veneers available.  If hardness – and not just looks-  is an issue, you can consult the Janka hardness ratings (a rating chart that illustrates the surface hardness).  The higher the score, the harder (or more resistant to scratching & denting) the surface will be.  A Red Oak veneer (for example) will be harder than a Douglas Fir.

hardness scale

For those with pets, bamboo has become a popular choice because it remains an economically feasible flooring option that is still relatively hard.  It also makes for a beautiful finish when it is done.


TIP: If possible, always purchase a few extra boards or packs than you think you need.  Years from now (and an accident or 2 later), you’ll be glad you did!  Although not always easy, it is much less expensive to rip out & replace a couple of damaged planks than to have to redo an entire floor.

If you have a basement that is prone to water problems, call us.  It is ALWAYS advisable to address and remedy those FIRST before installing flooring – or anything else, for that matter!  One good soaking can do thousands of dollars worth of irreversible damage.  DallaVerde Construction can also make sure your basement stays dry for many years to come.


Jason and FamilyIf you have a flooring or other home improvement project you would like to discuss, why not contact us?  Our estimates are FREE!


Jason Dalla Verde is the Founder/President of DallaVerde Construction.

To request more info -OR- a FREE estimate, click HERE or call DVC at 570.392.9779.

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