Is Your Basement Ready for Hardwood Flooring?

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Your basement is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered! Think of it: for many, it’s a haven to neatly tuck away those once-in-a-blue-moon items, keeping the rest of the home spick and span. But for the visionaries among us? Oh, it’s so much more. It’s that blank canvas ready to be transformed into anything your heart desires. Dive in and let your imagination run wild!

But whether you want to turn your basement into a high-tech entertainment room or a party room with a neon-lined bar counter, you’ll also want to consider what kind of flooring you’ll want.

Maybe you’ve considered carpeting but decided against having another living space where you may have to deal with spills and stains. Hardwood flooring is a reliable alternative for those who wish to avoid carpet maintenance. 

What’s more, there is a wide range of hardwood varieties to choose from. But before you start ordering your hardwood flooring or begin any other construction work in your basement, you should make sure your basement is prepared.

Prepared Means Safe for You and Your Hardwood Flooring

You may be wondering what preparation has to do with your basement. While it’s made of strong and durable concrete, it is a common problem for basements to experience invasive moisture or even groundwater leaks. This happens especially when it rains.

basement with hardwood flooring

As rainwater soaks into the soil and comes to rest against the outside of your foundation, that water-laden soil creates what’s known as hydrostatic pressure. 

With every rain, there’s a chance that pressure can cause groundwater to seep through the cold joints (the seams between the foundation wall and footing and also where the basement floor meets the wall) and into your basement. 

That repeated strain can also eventually create cracks in the basement floor and/or wall.

These cracks provide easier ways for water to invade your basement, potentially causing water damage to your belongings, furniture, and hardwood flooring, especially if it’s made of cheap hardwood. 

A wet basement can also lead to problem scenarios, such as mold, which can affect your own health. So, using a high-quality wood filler for floor cracks is recommended to resolve this matter. 

How Does Water Harm My Hardwood Flooring?

Water is the lifeblood of our planet, fueling everything from the tiniest critters to the grandest ecosystems. 

But here’s the deal: when you’ve got stubborn dampness or puddles in your basement, it’s like rolling out a welcome mat for troubles. Those unseen little things? They’re drawn to it like a magnet!

hardwood floor water damaged

Some of those problems are especially damaging to that hardwood flooring that you want to use! Here are some of the most common wet basement problems that can directly affect your hardwood flooring


Common house molds can damage the surface of wooden structures. They grow and seek nutrients in the wood. While releasing more spores, they can also agitate allergies and cause illness in those with weakened immune systems.

Wood Rot

Wood rot, on the other hand, will do further direct damage to your hardwood flooring. When there is wood rot growing on your hardwood flooring, it will cause the timber to soften and take on a spongy or bouncy texture. 

The wet rot will continue to spread across your hardwood flooring so long as enough moisture is available.


In a damp basement with lots of humidity, your hardwood floors are like an all-you-can-eat feast for termites. 

Imagine them happily munching away as they carve out tunnels and chambers right through your beautiful floor. You definitely want to be on the lookout for these little critters!

termite damaged floor


While many species of ants are capable of building colonies in almost any building material, certain species, such as carpenter ants, love to create colonies in wooden structures. 

If your basement has hardwood flooring and a moisture problem, it can become a welcoming environment for an ant colony to move in.

Also Read: Removing Black Urine Stains From Hardwood Floors

Protecting Your Hardwood Flooring (and the Rest of Your Basement!)

The best way to keep your hardwood flooring and the rest of your basement safe from water is to install a basement waterproofing system. 

More specifically, an interior basement waterproofing system can help keep that groundwater moving out and away from your home. This, in turn, works to reduce hydrostatic pressure—ultimately, this means fewer chances for moisture and groundwater to enter your basement.

installing basement drainage system

An interior basement waterproofing system consists of at least these components…

Installation of drainage channels is required throughout the floor’s perimeter in your basement. In these channels, water is gathered and directed toward the sump pit. There, a sump pump works to push the water out of your home via the discharge pipe.

Depending on your basement’s unique situation, you might also need other components such as moisture vapor barriers and/or a dehumidifier.

waterproofing basement floor

Once your basement has been waterproofed, you can finally begin the process of having your hardwood flooring installed, your drywall and carpentry put in place, and anything else you may desire to make your finished basement plans come true.

Next Read

Basement Waterproofing Requires a Professional Touch

It is highly recommended that you look for a basement waterproofing company to protect your basement against water and moisture. 

From having the right skills and expertise to having the proper tools and materials, a proper basement waterproofing expert can make sure that your basement waterproofing system is installed and does its job correctly.

applying polyurethane varnish on hardwood floor

When researching basement waterproofing contractors, it is important to make sure that they meet certain criteria to ensure their quality of service. Take care to make sure that the company you’re considering has these characteristics:

If the company has at least these four qualities, you can feel more confident that you’re investing in a waterproofing system for your basement that will safeguard your hardwood flooring and the rest of your basement project.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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