You're going to be floored by these affordable flooring options
New flooring can add life, durability, and character to your space, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. Thanks to manufacturing advancements, beautiful, long-lasting floors are available at budget-friendly prices.
We cover the most affordable flooring options, along with tips for how to save money on any flooring project, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a flooring contractor.
1. Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring holds up great in high-traffic areas like kitchens, entryways, and bathrooms, and is available in a wide range of patterns and colors. Vinyl often mimics hardwood, stone, and high-end tiles but without the cost.
Lasting 15 to 25 years, vinyl flooring is durable, water-resistant, and stain-resistant. It can be damaged by extreme heat and sharp objects and can fade in direct sunlight over long periods. Available in sheets or planks that snap together, you can install vinyl yourself as a moderate DIY project or hire a vinyl flooring installer near you.
On average, sheet vinyl costs $0.50 to $2 per square foot. Luxury vinyl planks cost $2.50 to $5 per square foot and luxury vinyl tiles cost $2.50 to $5 per square foot. On average, the cost of vinyl flooring installation ranges from $3 to $10 per square foot on top of materials.
2. Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring mimics wood but is less expensive and offers an incredibly durable, easy-to-maintain surface. Like vinyl, laminate is great for high-traffic rooms like kitchens and is stain-resistant.
You can install laminate planks yourself if you’re an experienced DIYer or you find a local laminate flooring installer to handle the job. Laminate lasts 15 to 25 years but gets damaged if exposed to standing water and can be difficult to repair.
On average, laminate costs $0.70 and $2 per square foot. The average cost of laminate flooring ranges between $2 and $8 per square foot, including materials and labor.
3. Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum has been around for over 150 years, but has improved greatly in quality. It comes in sheets or tiles that snap together but is more difficult to install than vinyl. While linoleum holds up to everyday wear and is scratch-resistant, it’s not as durable as laminate and vinyl. You’ll need to reseal the floor every two to three years, but with proper care, linoleum lasts up to 25 to 40 years.
On average, linoleum sheet flooring costs $2 to $2.50 per square foot and linoleum tile costs $3.50 per square foot. Because linoleum installation is better left to an expert, add an additional $5 to $7 per square foot for labor costs.
4. Concrete Flooring
In a kitchen, mudroom, or basement, concrete can be stained and polished to make a beautiful floor. Lasting 50 to 100 years or more, concrete is incredibly long-lasting and durable.
You’ll likely want to hire a professional concrete contractor for the installation, and you should know that some cracks over time might need repair. Though concrete is a hard, cold surface, you can install radiant heat or add rugs to the space to soften and warm it.
Polished concrete costs $2 to $15 on average per square foot, including installation. Basic designs fall on the lower end, while elaborate patterns and coloring top the range.
5. Rubber Flooring
Rubber floors are ultra-comfy and offer reprieve for your feet, back, and knees. Water-resistant and shatter-resistant, rubber flooring can be great for home gyms, kitchens, playrooms, and multi-purpose rooms.
If you’re an experienced DIYer, you can install rubber flooring yourself. Rubber holds up well to daily traffic and usually lasts up to 20 years.
Rubber flooring costs between $1 and $8 per square foot for materials, with rolled mats being the least expensive. Factor in $1 to $4 per square foot for installation on top of materials, depending on the cost of labor in your area.
6. Cork Flooring
Cork flooring comes in tiles or planks, and a variety of finishes, colors, and patterns. It’s comfortable on the feet and prevents heat loss. Unlike vinyl and laminate, cork can be refinished like hardwood but is more budget-friendly than hardwood floor prices. Cork flooring lasts approximately 15 to 40 years, depending on the quality of installation, maintenance, and traffic.
While easy to maintain and clean, cork can be damaged by sharp objects or heavy furniture. You’ll need to reseal it every few years to ward off water damage.
On average, cork flooring costs $3 to $12 per square foot. Installation adds approximately $2 per square foot, depending on the cost of flooring installers in your area.
7. Carpet and Carpet Squares
Carpet is a soft, beautiful flooring option that insulates the ground and is noise dampening. Best for bedrooms, living rooms, and playrooms, carpet does better with minimal water exposure.
Carpet isn’t as durable as some other flooring types and will need to be replaced every five to 15 years. There’s a wide range of colors and designs available, allowing carpet to fit many home styles.
Carpet ranges from $1 to $20 per square foot, with carpet tile squares generally being on the lower end at $1 to 6 per square foot. Local carpet installers usually charge between $0.50 and $1 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the room and your geographical location. Also, don’t forget about selecting the right carpet pad for your carpet.
Top Tips to Reduce Flooring Costs
Beyond choosing a budget-friendly flooring option, here are the best tips for cutting costs while getting a stunning result.
1. Assist With the Labor
If you’re hiring a local flooring contractor to install your floors, talk with them about what you can do to reduce costs, such as prepping the area and subfloor or helping with clean-up or sealing.
2. Look and Wait for Discounts
Decide on what flooring you want, such as vinyl plank flooring, then keep an eye out for sales and seasonal deals.
3. Be Flexible on Style
Consider a different color or pattern for your flooring if the materials are significantly less expensive.
4. Shop Smart
Look for the best flooring deals at home improvement, flooring, and carpet stores. Shop around for different styles and prices. Your flooring contractor might also be able to get a discount on your flooring materials, so wait to purchase them until you’ve found your contractor.
5. Cover Multiple Areas With the Same Flooring
If you’re redoing the floors in adjacent rooms or the whole main floor of your home, consider the same flooring across it all. Transitions will be easier, you won't have as much wasted material, and your installer can work more quickly, reducing labor costs.
6. Refinish Your Current Floors
Get quotes from local contractors on refinishing your current floors or repairing trouble spots. Sometimes refinishing work ends up being less expensive than replacing the whole floor.
7. Consider a Large Area Rug Instead
Want to cover up your damaged hardwood or old linoleum? Consider purchasing an area rug for the center of the room. Rugs and mats can be a cost-effective way to essentially have a new floor without the construction, time, or cost.
FAQs About Inexpensive Flooring
What is the most inexpensive type of flooring?
The most affordable type of flooring is sheet vinyl, because of low material and installation costs, followed by laminate and vinyl planks.
What is the most affordable DIY flooring?
Vinyl planks are the least expensive DIY flooring option, because of the low cost of materials and the ease of DIY installation. Vinyl sheet flooring is less expensive than planks but is tougher to install, especially if you’re newer to DIY flooring.