cheap flooring ideas

Cheap Flooring Ideas: 5 Inexpensive & Popular Options

Did you know you can spruce up your home with new flooring even on the tightest budget?  These cheap flooring ideas will make you proud to parade through your home once again.

Whether you want something to cover the floors in your kitchen, living room, bedrooms, or bath, we’ve got you covered. And with ideas that won’t break the bank.

In fact, you may even have money left to buy some new furniture. Or, at least some new accessories.

Especially if you’re looking to DIY most of the work.

Designer looks can be had on any budget. With a little research, creativity, and a willingness to make a few compromises, you can achieve the look you desire.

Many of the options that are available in cheap flooring are easy to install yourself. So, you can save even more money.

Just because you want cheap flooring, it doesn’t mean you are cheap. It actually means you are pretty smart.

Why spend a small fortune on floors if you don’t have to?  Check out these cheap flooring ideas.

1. Sheet Vinyl Flooring

Pros:

  • There are many options that resemble both stone and wood.
  • It is extremely durable and water resistant.
  • It is very easy to keep clean and maintain.
  • An excellent choice to install over uneven or cracked subfloors.

Cons:

  • Sheet vinyl tends to discolor.
  • It is difficult to repair.
  • Definitely not one of your greener options.

For an extremely low-budget flooring, you can’t beat vinyl sheet flooring. Not only is it inexpensive, it is super easy to maintain.

It is extremely durable and water resistant. If taken care of, these floors can easily last 15 – 20 years.

Sheet vinyl can be installed over all sorts of subfloors, even those that are uneven or have cracks. Just make sure that the subfloor is clean and smooth before installation.

Otherwise, you will see bumps on your floor from debris left underneath the sheet vinyl.

One downside to sheet vinyl is that it can stain or turn yellow. Rubber from floor mats or the bottom of your shoes can create a chemical reaction that will permanently stain it.

And overexposure to sun may cause it to fade or yellow. You can find sheet vinyl that is resistant to discoloration, but you may have to spend a few extra bucks to do so.

It is also not a very green option. Sheet vinyl is made of PVC and omits volatile organic chemicals.

And it is not biodegradable. So, when you decide to upgrade your flooring, your old sheet vinyl may end up in a landfill somewhere.

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2. Luxury Vinyl Planks and Tiles

Pros:

  • It gives your floors a wood or natural stone “look” without the hefty price tag.
  • LVT and LVP Can easily be installed over any type of subfloor.
  • It Feels soft to touch and walk on.
  • It holds up well against moisture and humidity.

Cons:

  • It isn’t an eco-friendly choice.
  • Luxury vinyl can discolor from too much sunlight.
  • Sharp objects can scratch or gouge it.

Luxury vinyl planks (LVP) and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) are really popular these days. And they are certainly one of the cheaper options.

The cheapest vinyl planks and tiles that still fit into the luxury category are priced for less than $1 a square foot. Most of the options that are this cheap are 2mm or less in thickness.

And if you are willing to spend up to $2 a square foot for a little thicker product, you can find more options that are 3mm or 4mm thick.

LVP and LVT can give your home the look of wood or natural stone flooring for a fraction of the cost. And, unlike laminate, it feels good to walk on.

The downside is that most luxury vinyl has issues when it comes to the environment.

It’s not biodegradable and it can emit VOCs. So, if you have health concerns, LVP and LVT are probably not good choices.

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3. Laminate Flooring

Pros:

  • There are a variety of options to choose from that resemble hardwood flooring.
  • Laminate planks snap together and are easy to install.
  • They do not fade from sun exposure.
  • Laminate is low maintenance and easy to clean.
  • It’s mold and mildew resistant.

Cons:

  • It can wear out faster than another flooring, especially the cheaper varieties.
  • Laminate can sound hollow and “fake” when you walk on it.
  • Some laminates are made of formaldehyde and can release VOCs.

Yes, most laminate flooring falls into the moderate category of pricing. However, there are some very inexpensive options out there.

You can find thin laminate for less than $1 a square foot if you are willing to make a few compromises.

Generally, the thinner the product, the cheaper it is. To get a good price, look for laminate flooring that is less than 8mm thick.

And you can install them yourself to save even more money on your floor.

One of the best things about laminate is that it is very low maintenance. It cleans up well, resists mold and mildew, and it won’t fade from sun exposure.

However, if you use a cheap laminate in a high traffic area, it will wear out faster than other materials.

And even though it looks like hardwood, it sounds hollow to walk on. And when you touch it, it feels fake.

But, if you are in the market for cheap flooring, you do have to make some compromises.

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4. Builder-Grade Hardwood Flooring

Pros:

  • This really is 100% solid wood flooring.
  • Wood floors look and feel warm and natural.
  • They increase your home’s resale value more than any other flooring product.
  • These floors are low maintenance and easy to clean.
  • Wood looks good with any type of style or décor.

Cons:

  • Some of the boards may have splinters.
  • Expect to find up to 20% of the boards in your bundle unusable.
  • Knots, holes and other imperfections in the boards are common.
  • This grade of solid hardwood does not come with a warranty.

If you are really set on installing a hardwood floor but need a super cheap product, go with builder-grade hardwood. Depending on where you buy it, it is also called utility-grade or rustic hardwood.

This type of wood flooring is not finished, so be sure to factor in the price of finishing it into your budget.

It’s sold by the bundle (not the box) and is very rugged. You will probably not be able to use every piece that comes in your bundle.

Some will be broken or split, and some will have knot holes that you could stick your finger through to the other side. But, it is 100% solid wood and it is cheap.

And you can find this type of hardwood for less than $2 a square foot. Sometimes you can even find it for under $1 a square foot.

There is no warranty with builder-grade wood. If you want to go cheap, you are stuck with it.

However, if you don’t mind a few compromises, you can get a solid wood floor very cheaply.

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5. Ceramic Tile

Pros:

  • It’s highly resistant to water and humidity.
  • It is extremely durable.
  • Ceramic is easy to maintain and keep clean.
  • There are lots of designs to choose from.

Cons:

  • It feels hard and cold to touch.
  • Ceramic tiles are difficult to install.
  • Unglazed tiles require sealing.

When it comes to ceramic tile, you can spend a small fortune, or you can spend next to nothing.

Ceramic tiles can be found for as cheap as $0.50 a square foot. So even the tightest of budgets can afford them.

Once installed, they are easy to maintain and keep clean. And they are good for anyone suffering from allergies because dust and other particles cannot penetrate their surface.

Even at the lower price points, you have many choices in color and style. Go with a glazed option to avoid the extra cost of sealing and protecting your tiles.

Ceramic tile is inexpensive and durable, but it is also hard and cold. If you are considering it in a room that you will stand in often, keep this in mind.

And while you may save on the square footage price, you will have to spend a little extra for installation. Ceramic tiles are a difficult DIY project.

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Installation

Cheap flooring can save you tons of money. And if done right, will give your home a high-end look at a fraction of the cost.

The key phrase here is “if done right”.  Cheap flooring can look like its more expensive counterparts if it is installed correctly.

Otherwise, it just looks cheap.

So, if you are doing the job yourself, factor in the cost of the proper tools and other materials such as underlayment and trim to your overall budget. Or hire a professional to install it for you, especially the flooring that is more difficult to install.

Of these cheap flooring options, the ones most suitable for a DIY project are luxury vinyl planks, luxury vinyl tile, and laminate flooring. They snap and lock together and can be placed on top of any type of subfloor.

Hardwood flooring and ceramic tile are better left to the pros. They require more tools and are more labor intensive to do.

And sheet vinyl, while cheap to buy, can also be difficult to install on your own.

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Which Rooms Do They Work In?

As with any type of flooring, some of these cheap flooring ideas are not suitable for every room in the house.

Builder-grade, or any other grade of solid hardwood, is not recommended for rooms with high humidity and moisture. So, don’t install them in bathrooms or basements.

You may want to avoid sheet vinyl flooring in the kitchen or anywhere else that is at risk for catching fire since it releases toxic chemicals into the air when it is burned.

LVP and LVT are extremely versatile and can work in just about any room in the house.  They are easy to walk on and since they resemble wood and natural stone, they look good in any setting.

Laminate also looks good in any room; however, it does have a few limitations. Especially cheap laminate.

Since the inexpensive laminate is thin, it can wear down easily in high traffic areas. And if you install it in a bathroom, it is best to lay a moisture barrier between the planks and the subfloor.

Ceramic tiles are highly durable and easy to maintain. From this standpoint, they can work in any room.

But they are hard and cold. So, if you are thinking about installing ceramic tiles in your bedroom, you may also want to invest in a large rug.

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Where Can You Find These Options Cheaply?

You can find cheap flooring products at most of your major home improvement and flooring stores.

Home Depot and Lowe’s will often offer clearances on boxes of overstocked inventory. So, if there is enough of what you are looking for to cover your floor, this can be a great deal.

BuildDirect offers many of these flooring options at extremely cheap prices, but you must order a minimum amount to get the best deal.

Lumber Liquidators is a great place to find cheap laminate and builder-grade solid hardwood. They offer options in both of these flooring products for under $1 per square foot.

They also have cheap versions of luxury vinyl plank flooring.

And for really cheap ceramic tile, look at the options available through Floor & Décor.

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In Conclusion

When you need new flooring in your home, but your budget is tight, there are still plenty of options.

And though you may not get exactly what you dreamed of, if you are willing to make a few compromises, you can get pretty close.

If you like the look of hardwood flooring, go with realistic looking luxury vinyl planks, laminate or a sheet vinyl that resembles wood. Or you can even get the real thing by choosing builder-grade solid hardwood.

For a nice, stone look, choose ceramic tiles, luxury vinyl tile, or sheet vinyl that resembles it.

Whatever option you choose, it will add a fresh, new look to your home that you can enjoy for years to come.

What are some other ways to save money on flooring?

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