If you’re looking to renovate your home, the best place to start would be the flooring. It’s arguably the largest and most important surface, so any changes you make will have an enormous impact on the look of your home. The only issue is that redoing the floors tends to be expensive.
The good news is that there are plenty of affordable flooring materials that are easy to install—you just need to know where to look. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the cheapest flooring options available that can still add a gorgeous flair to your home.
If you’re looking for a cheap flooring option, vinyl is always a reliable choice. It’s affordable, and it looks good enough to rival most pricey flooring materials. Plus, vinyl is a durable material, so you wouldn’t have to worry about having to replace it any time soon.
Plank vinyl is considered an especially viable option for keeping things budget-friendly. Not only is the material just as cheap, but it’s also much easier to install than its regular sheet or tile alternatives. The various plank sizes allow you to accommodate installation according to the needs of your room. You can go through with stick-and-glue methods or use a click-and-lock system. Just about anyone can install plank vinyl flooring, as long as they follow instructions correctly.
What makes laminate flooring a great option for many homeowners is its ability to mimic the look of other floor types. If you like the aesthetic of stone or hardwood floors, but don’t want to spend too much money, laminate can be used instead. The surface of the material is embossed with photographic images, which means that it can get the job done while looking just as good as the real thing.
More importantly, laminate is a “floating floor,” which makes it much easier to install than most other types. It’s not actually glued to the surface blow it. Instead, there are several pieces that are clicked and locked together. It takes some preparation to install, but the actual process is a breeze.
However, it does come with some downsides. While it’s comparable with vinyl when it comes to cost, it’s not nearly as durable, nor does it tolerate too much heat. It’s not waterproof either, which can be a problem for any high-moisture areas of your home. Laminate flooring lasts around ten years.
What if you like the appeal of hardwood floors but don’t want to spend too much money on a renovation? Well, there’s an alternative that might end up being an even better option than the original—engineered hardwood. It’s an affordable and low-maintenance flooring material that looks pretty close to ordinary hardwood, but it also comes with some additional benefits.
For starters, it’s a lot more durable and waterproof than actual hardwood, so you can place it in moisture-prone areas without issue. Engineered hardwood also comes in light and dark colours, which means it can suit most home designs quite well. If you want to add a bit of flair, you can opt for planks with high variation, which helps mimic the look of handcrafted flooring. For even more authenticity, you can even get some subtle “wire scratches” that look just like the real thing.
Much like cork, bamboo is hailed for its sustainable production and eco-friendliness. It should come as no surprise that its popularity is on the rise, as it comes with some great perks. For one, it can imitate the look of a lot of hardwood floor types. It’s not just the look that’s similar, either. Bamboo is surprisingly tough and durable, making it ideal for rooms that have a lot of foot traffic.
Some bamboo floors can reach scores of up to 4000 on the Janka hardness scale. This means they offer great protection against dents and cracking. Compare this to oak hardwood floors, which tend to hover around 1200, and you’ll see why people prefer bamboo in many cases. Much like vinyl and laminate, it can be installed with a click-and-lock system, which means it’s a lot easier to DIY the job. While not the cheapest option on the list, it’s still pretty affordable and offers many benefits that are difficult to disregard.
When it comes to comfort and coziness, there’s no flooring material that can hold a candle to carpet. While most rugs and carpets are chosen as statement pieces that cover only a portion of the floor, installing carpeting from wall to wall is a viable alternative to other types of flooring. Thanks to a wide array of material choices, you can get countless different types of colours and textures that can match a room’s design perfectly.
A good carpet is soft to walk on and provides unprecedented luxury. However, that luxury comes at the cost of requiring frequent maintenance. Not only do you have to vacuum carpet frequently, but you also have to take care of regular wear and tear, which will happen from time to time. Not to mention, ordinary carpet starts losing its colour rather quickly. On average, you can expect carpet flooring to last around ten years with good maintenance.
For obvious reasons, you should never place carpet flooring in any area with moisture. It’s going to speed up the degradation significantly and cause mould build-up. Polyester is a good choice if you want to improve the longevity of the carpet’s looks. Plus, it can be more durable than natural alternatives.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly flooring option, cork might just be the thing you need. Made from the cork oak tree, it’s become one of the more popular choices for modern homes, especially because it’s a renewable resource. Cork is a viable alternative to most composite floors, and it’s pretty easy to install.
One of the many reasons cork is so appealing to homeowners is because it’s pretty soft. It might make for comfortable flooring, but that softness comes with some downsides. Scratches and dents aren’t an uncommon occurrence on cork floors, so that’s something you need to keep in mind if you intend to move heavy furniture around or have lots of foot traffic in a room.
To keep your cork flooring safe from dents and scratches, it’s recommended that you add a protective layer on top of it in some areas. Durable door mats are considered to be the ideal protection against wear from foot traffic. Place a few of them at key points in a room, and you can guarantee that there won’t be any dents or scratches.
Much like laminate, cork flooring doesn’t like humidity, so you should avoid putting it anywhere near the kitchen or bathroom. Otherwise, it might crack and break over time.
It should come as no surprise that ceramic tile is one of the more popular choices for home flooring options. It’s relatively inexpensive, coming at around $1 per square foot. It’s durable, it looks nice, and it’s an inexpensive option, so why not install it in your home? Well, one of the drawbacks is that you definitely need help from professionals to lay the tile. Choosing the correct kind of ceramic tile can be difficult as well. Manufactured tiles vary on the PEI scale, and different types are appropriate for different rooms.
For kitchens and bathrooms, it’s recommended that you go for porcelain instead of ceramic tiles. It’s considered a much better water-proof option and it lasts longer than ceramic. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit more expensive.
Any of the above options could be the perfect fit for your home’s flooring, depending on the room where you want to put them. Take all the pros and cons into consideration, and see which material best suits your needs. You’ll find that most of them are pretty easy to install, so you won’t break the bank for professional help either.