Flooring or Paint?

I’m back to penny-pinching but this time NOT in the basement bathroom or in reference to tile.

Earlier this week, I tossed out some solutions for the floor in the main living area of the basement. I read everyone’s comments (thanks commenting, btw!! It makes me feel special.). You guys really got us thinking.

We’ve decided not to jack hammer out the floors. It’s too much work for a space we’re not living in. Not that we don’t want our tenant to be happy and comfortable; we totally do! But we’ve recently learned that a woman lived down there very comfortably for about 20+ years before the previous owners took possession of the property (or so we’re told). Guess it can’t get that frigid.

I’m sick of talking about tile, nor do I care to level the concrete in a space this large. (Excuse the lame pic; I haven’t taken any since we closed.) The space is larger than is shown here but it gives a decent representation of the space.

If you had talked to me Monday, I would have told you we were painting the floors and calling it a day. And we still might do that. BUT. . . While we were at Home Depot looking for tile, we spent a significant amount of time perusing the vinyl flooring section.

Mmmm… glueless….. (DuPont, style: Aspirations, design: Hickory Ridge, color: Sable, price: $2.99/sqft)

You can’t really tell from the picture, but it’s totally flexible!

(Armstrong, style: Chamblis, design: Wildwood, color: Warm Brown, price: $1.97/sqft)

It comes in 12′ widths, which is perfect for our 11′ wide space. We can roll it out with no seams.

(Armstrong, style: Commission Plus, design: Echo Lake, color: Spice, price $1.97/sqft)

This stuff (below) was the cheapest at $0.88/sqft!
I didn’t think it was awful but the hubs said it looked cheap.

While I gravitate toward darker woods (if it wasn’t already obvious), it is a basement space. I think a lighter floor would make it seem more open & spacious. Possibly something like this??
Also $0.88/sqft. Cha-CHING!

And then there were the flexible options that came in stick-together strips (so you almost feel like you’re laying a real hardwood floor). (Except by “hardwood,” you mean totally fake plastic). Averagely priced, if not slightly more dusty:
(at $1.79/sqft)


The strip method (get your mind out of the gutter!) seems like it might be an easier installation. What? Wrestling a 12’x20′ piece of plastic doesn’t sound like fun to you??

So now we’re down to 2 choices: Vinyl Flooring or Paint. If we choose vinyl, it would probably be glued straight to the not-completely-level-concrete. But because it’s already flexible, I don’t think it would be a huge deal. If we paint, we’d probably go a lighter color but I’m looking for suggestions. It would be up to the tenant to provide area rugs (should they want them).

What’s your vote (vinyl or paint)??

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18 Responses to Flooring or Paint?

  1. Kim says:

    Have you seen the floating vinyl? It’s so much better than the glue vinyl and not too much more in the money dept. It’s what we used in our downtown bathroom. You just cut it to size, lay it on a totally clean surface and trim it out (which I guess holds it down). You would think it would slide around, but it doesn’t. It’s magic.

    I think that either option would work though, painting the floor is still a totally viable option. Have you seen TYHs back porch? Looks amazing.

    • I think one of those first 2 were floating. Maybe? I’ll have to look. I would’ve thought that it would shift a little though… Hm. Something else to consider. (One of these days this blog will become about complete or at the very least in-progress projects, not just my trips to Home Depot. haha!)

      I have seen TYH’s porch (front & back). They’re in my reader and therefore stalked daily. I’m voting for their porch in that BHG giveaway thing.

  2. Justin says:

    Paint it! Any flooring options on uneven surfaces do not wear well over time – no matter how flexible or durable. I know you want the basement to feel cozy, but you can accomplish this by providing a large area rug that introduces a warm color into the room. Plus, it will keep your feet warm during the winter. Any type of laminate flooring still gets cold during the winter.

    Save your money and invest it in other ways for your new tenants. Most people won’t expect fancy floors in a basement apartment. Your investment would go further adding value to the bathroom, kitchen, lighting, etc.

    • Justin you’re so rational! I DO want it to feel cozy.

      Of course, you know I’m going to continue to obsess over and thoroughly consider every option. I’m counting on my commenters to provide perspective!

      (hugs to the Mrs. for me!)

      • Justin says:

        Rational is my middle name. Alright, there is one option that you have not mentioned – carpet tiles. You can get them for $1.25/sq ft or less and they are a terrific option for basements and uneven surfaces.

        This would add warmth, texture, and keep your feet warm during the winter. Plus, knowing you, you could do some interesting designs and patterns using a variety of different colored carpet squares. This could help you separate the different living spaces and is a very current look.

        Did I mention that you should not do laminate flooring? Trust me – not just because I’m rational. I have seen many a vinyl or laminate floor buckle or even crack because of traffic over a raised area over time. You don’t want a cracked laminate floor.

      • Not laminate; vinyl!

        We did briefly consider carpet tiles but then I got distracted by the vinyl. I have the attention span of a …. what was I saying?

        Carpet + Tenants does make me a little queasy though. At least with vinyl & concrete we can mop when they leave.

  3. caitie says:

    ok i don’t know anything about this stuff. however, i am always in favor of wood floors when possible. wood-looking is next best thing in this case. the idea of painted concrete seems strange to me.

    looking ahead to the future, and to future possible tenants, i think the place will look much homey-er and attractive with the vinyl option.

    again though. i know literally NOTHING about any of this.

  4. caitie says:

    however- is flooding ever a risk down there? that could ruin something like a glued flooring couldn’t it?

    • While it looks like we don’t have water problems in the basement, flooding is always going to be a risk. It’s a basement, it’s bound to happen eventually.

      I think I’m really struggling with the balance between practicality & homeyness.

  5. Erin says:

    I vote for the wood looking vinyl! It looks great and I think would last longer than paint (which with the wear and tear of every day tred could wind up being a project you will need to do over several times in a shorter span). Just throwing in my two cents… either way, we’re there complete the project!!!

  6. Mrslimestone says:

    Definitely paint! Cheap and easy. If you want to make it a little more homey, you could always throw in a plush rug to make it look a little nicer. Or you could paint a pattern on the floor to bring it up a notch.

    Trust me, you will regret the vinyl. It just doesn’t look right after even a short while of wear. (Coming from someone who grew up with vinyl in every kitchen – its the worst possible option)

    You could go with real linoleum (not roll out vinyl) but that is likely a little more expensive.

  7. Beverly says:

    Considering your location, I would vote for painted (or what about stained??) concrete. In fact, when Dusty and I were house hunting last weekend, one of the homes we looked at had stained concrete floors. While we were not fans of them in THAT house, we all (us, parents, realtors) agreed that they would look GREAT in a trendy, downtown apartment or something along those lines. I think it’s important to consider the overall style/look you’re going for, and that could easily determine whether you choose painted concrete or vinyl.

  8. MEA says:

    PAINT!! Vinyl is a great second option, but painting cement floor is the new ‘it’ thing and if it is uneven you are less likely to notice that. Also, if you ever have the urge to gut the basement, you won’t be tearing something out you put money into 🙂

  9. L says:

    Paint! Paint paint paint. I wouldn’t even consider a place with vinyl flooring. Considering the uneven surface (even though vinyl is flexible), it WILL buckle, come up at the edges, and the stick-on tiles shift with time. It will not wear well. At all. I’ve been there.

    Paint the floors white or gray. It will look good. I prefer painted to imitation wood, even Pergo.

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