Basement subflooring

Understanding Your Options in Basement Subflooring

A basement can be a great space for many things. It could be a living space, recreational room, secret lair, and so much more. It’s probably one of the most exciting places to build and decorate in your home if you’ve got the right ideas and a proper plan. However, one thing is essential if you want it to be suitable for people or liveable—subflooring.

Subflooring is not necessary if you just wanted a place to hold old stuff and the like. Concrete or tile-over-concrete is enough if that’s all you plan to do with it. Whether or not you’re planning to do anything more with your basement, though, it would be very beneficial to have subflooring if you can. 

But beyond useable space, if you just wanted to change the flooring—wood, laminate, carpeting—you would still need subflooring. 

That said, here’s what need to know about basement subflooring:

The Purpose

Prevents Moisture 

Whether you store items or belongings in the basement or not, moisture entering can become a problem. Moisture that enters through the basement can cause mold, mildew, and other harmful bacteria to grow in that space. As it gets worse, it can become a health risk for the people inside. 

Of course, damage can be prevented with proper maintenance—airing it out, cleaning, and more. But another way to do this is by installing subflooring. It can prevent moisture from working its way through the concrete basement flooring and condensing. 

Basement Subflooring Options

Two-by-Fours and Plywood Subfloor

Building a basement subfloor from two-by-fours topped with plywood is a traditional method. One benefit is that costs can be kept low. On the downside, height is a problem, as it employs a system of two-by-four sleepers.

Here are the materials you will need for this:

  • Floor covering
  • Plywood (fastened to the sleepers)
  • Two-by-four sleepers (installed on center every 12 to 16 inches and fastened down, with rigid foam insulation 1-1/2-inch thick placed between the sleepers)
  • Vapor retarder (10 or 15 mil sheeting)
  • Concrete basement floor

Floating Plywood Subfloor

If moisture or water-based damage is not something to worry about where you live, whether because of the area you live in or the way your house is built, this option might work best for you. 

The floating plywood subfloor is thin, easy to install, and the cheapest option for subflooring. Just be warned that if moisture is a big issue in your house, the plastic sheeting separating the concrete from the plywood might not be enough.

These are the necessary materials for this method:

  • Finish flooring
  • Plywood
  • Vapor retarder
  • Concrete basement floor

Rigid Foam Insulation Subfloor

Aside from preventing moisture and keeping your basement nice and dry, Rigid foam also gives your flooring a thermal break. From the concrete and the flooring, you can feel more secure knowing that there is a solid barrier that reduces thermal losses. 

Here are the materials needed for this method:

  • Finish flooring
  • Plywood screwed down through the layer below
  • Rigid foam insulation—1 1/2-inch thick
  • Concrete basement floor


While you don’t necessarily need a basement subfloor, you can benefit from it simply because it prevents moisture. But if you want to turn your basement into a habitable and enjoyable place, you’re going to need it. There are plenty of other options to choose from, but these options should be more than enough if budget is a concern. 

Here at Handyman of Rockville, we offer hassle-free and time-saving services. We want to help you as soon as possible and make your home better fast.  If you’re looking for the best handyman in Rockville, it’s in the name. For more information about home improvements and the like, browse our page and services.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *