There’s no doubt that hardwood floors increase the value and the look of any home. Living rooms, bedrooms, and offices all look immediately more elegant with the addition of hardwood. But what about basements? Will hardwood flooring hold up in this underground part of the home? Keep reading to learn more about if installing a hardwood floor in your basement is a good idea. 

Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood

If you want to install hardwood floors in the basement, you have a couple of options: solid and engineered hardwood. We’ll go over which type is better for different situations, but for now, here are the main differences between the two types: 

  • Solid hardwood is a single piece of solid wood all the way through. When you look at a solid hardwood floorboard, you will see the grain running through on all sides. 
  • Engineered hardwood is a layered type of floorboard. The top layer is a thin hardwood veneer. The remaining layers are laminated together to create a flexible yet strong piece. 

Because engineered hardwood generally only uses hardwood as the top layer, it will be much less expensive than solid hardwood. 


Because the basement is the lowest point of the house, there may be collections of moisture. If there is a lot of moisture, you may want to avoid hardwood, as it can warp easily. You may want to get in touch with flooring professionals for a consultation to see if hardwood flooring is appropriate for your basement. 


Another thing to consider when installing hardwood flooring is the grade: 

  • Above Grade. This simply means that your basement is above ground level. 
  • Below Grade. Below grade means your basement is below ground level. 

Keep in mind that grades refer to where your basement floor is. That means that even if most of the basement space is above ground, if the floor is even a little bit below ground level, you should consider it below grade. 


To choose the best floor for your basement, you’ll also need to consider the subfloor. Typically, it will either be plywood or concrete. Read below to find your basement situation: 

  • Plywood, Above Grade. This is the most flexible situation to be in. Because your floor is plywood, any flooring can be easily nailed into it for a strong installation. And because your floor is above ground or at ground level, you can choose solid or engineered hardwood, depending on your preference and budget. 
  • Plywood, Below Grade. Because your floor is below ground level, you should choose engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood is not flexible enough to adapt to changes in moisture and temperature in an underground basement. It can easily be nailed to the plywood floor. 
  • Concrete, Above Grade. Again, because the floor is above ground level, you can choose either solid or engineered hardwood. If your concrete floor is not flat or level, you can even install a plywood subfloor to attach your selected hardwood. 
  • Concrete, Below Grade. Engineered hardwood is the best option for a concrete subfloor underground. Instead of nailing it down, your floor installers will be able to glue each board down. 

Contact Central Mass Hardwood

Choosing the right hardwood floor for your basement can be a challenge. You should always consult with a professional flooring contractor to ensure you’re selecting a hardwood that’ll be suitable for the unique conditions of a basement. Ready to upgrade your basement with hardwood flooring? Contact Central Mass Hardwood today!