7 Budget-Friendly Kitchen Flooring Options for Every Style

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated October 18, 2021
The interior of a kitchen with green cabinets and laminate flooring
Photo: Michael / Adobe Stock

Get beautiful kitchen floors that are durable and easy to maintain but also soft on the budget

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Dreaming of a new kitchen floor without spending a small fortune? Thanks to design and manufacturing advancements, you can get durable, long-lasting floors at a great price. 

Here, we cover the best types of inexpensive kitchen flooring. We outline the pros and cons of each type along with estimated costs. With the proper care and cleaning, your new kitchen floors will look stunning and last for decades. 

1. Vinyl Kitchen Flooring

Professional installing luxurious vinyl flooring
Photo: appleyayee / Adobe Stock

Vinyl flooring offers a beautiful, durable surface at a fraction of the cost of tile, stone, and hardwood floors. Made of synthetic materials, vinyl holds up great in kitchens and other high-traffic areas. You can find attractive colors and patterns that mimic the highest-end tiles and hardwood.

Pros

  • Beautiful and versatile with thousands of colors and patterns available

  • High durability, great for active households with children and pets

  • Lasts 15–25 years

  • Water and stain-resistant

  • Easy to install and maintain

  • Can be installed over most substrates and some existing flooring

  • Easy to maintain and clean with water and vinegar or a mild cleaner

  • Reduces noise

  • Available in planks that snap together

Cons

  • Colors can fade with too much direct sunlight

  • Can be damaged by sharp objects and extreme heat

Cost

Sheet vinyl costs $0.50 to $2 per square foot on average. Luxury vinyl tiles cost $2.50 to $5 per square foot on average, making it one of the most affordable tiles for kitchens

The typical cost for local vinyl flooring contractors ranges from $3 to $10 per square foot on top of materials, depending on where you live. Contractors usually handle everything from removing your old floor if needed and sourcing your vinyl, usually at a discount. 

While vinyl flooring can be installed by experienced DIYers, it’s often best left to an expert, especially for a trickier space like a kitchen.

2. Laminate Kitchen Flooring

A sunlit laminate flooring in a kitchen
Photo: david hughes / Adobe Stock

Looking for durable flooring that looks like hardwood without the cost? Consider laminate flooring for your kitchen. Laminate is a multi-layer synthetic flooring that mimics wood and offers a durable, easy-to-maintain surface. 

There are differences between laminate and vinyl flooring, but both are popular affordable kitchen flooring options.

Pros

  • Beautiful look that resembles hardwood flooring 

  • Available in a variety of colors and styles

  • Incredibly durable, difficult to scratch or dent

  • Great for high-traffic areas

  • Less expensive than hardwood

  • Resistant to stains

  • Won’t fade if exposed to direct sunlight 

  • Often comes in planks that attach together

  • Can be installed over most substrates, including wood, concrete, and existing flooring

  • Easy to clean and maintain with water and a mild cleaner

  • Lasts 15–25 years

Cons

  • Breaks down and expands if exposed to standing water

  • Difficult to patch or repair flooring, as it can’t be refinished like hardwood 

  • Better installed by a professional

  • Possible moisture damage

Cost

The average cost for laminate materials is $0.70 and $2.00 per square foot, depending on the type. The average cost of installed laminate flooring ranges between $2 and $8 per square foot, including labor and materials.

In a kitchen, hiring a local laminate flooring contractor might be best, as there are challenging corners and fixtures to work around. The final result will look more professional if you hire a pro, especially if you don’t have experience laying flooring. Professionals are also trained not to waste material when cutting pieces.

The price for laminate flooring fluctuates seasonally, and winter is often the best time to buy, but talk with your contractor about discounts they may be eligible for.

3. Linoleum Kitchen Flooring

The interior of a kitchen with linoleum flooring
Photo: pics721 / Adobe Stock

Made of all-natural materials like jute, cork, rosins, and linseed oil, linoleum flooring comes in sheets or tiles that snap together. While linoleum has been around for over 150 years, the material has vastly improved. 

Learn all about the pluses and minuses and how linoleum differs from laminate and vinyl before moving forward. 

Pros

  • Durable and holds up to everyday wear

  • Scratch-resistant

  • Available in an array of textures, colors, and patterns

  • Can last as long as 25–40 years with proper care

  • Easy to clean

  • Fully recyclable at the end of its life

Cons

  • Not as durable as vinyl and laminate, subject to dents and damage

  • Can fade or change color if in direct sunlight

  • Needs a protective seam sealant

  • Needs to be resealed every two to three years to protect it from moisture

  • More difficult to install than vinyl

  • Requires a flat surface and subfloor to ensure no bumps

Cost

Linoleum sheet costs $2 to $2.50 per square foot on average, while linoleum tile costs $3.50 per square foot on average. Installation adds approximately $5 to $7 per square foot, making the total cost for linoleum between $7 and $9.50 per square foot

Linoleum installation is best left to the pros, as cutting and laying the material can be tricky. You can save on costs helping your linoleum contractor with pieces of the project like preparation and caulking.

4. Rubber Flooring

A minimal modern kitchen with rubber flooring
Photo: onzon / Adobe Stock

Affordable residential rubber flooring is made of either natural tree rubber or synthetic materials, such as recycled vehicle tires. Rubber floors offer extra padding and are water-resistant. 

Learn about the pros and cons and rubber’s appearance to determine if it’s right for your kitchen.

Pros

  • Shatter-resistant, can absorb large impacts

  • Comfortable on your feet, back, and knees

  • Water-resistant

  • Quick to install

  • Durable and lasts up to 20 years

  • Available in a variety of patterns, colors, and textures

Cons

  • Can require contractor or experienced DIY installation, due to measuring and cutting involved

  • Has a distinct odor for the first month, then fades with time

  • Offers different look than tiles or hardwood floors—some homeowners prefer laminate or vinyl

Cost

On average, rubber flooring material costs between $1 and $8 per square foot, with rolled mats being the least expensive option at $1 to $5 per square foot. For rubber flooring, expect to pay between $1 and $4 per square foot for installation on top of materials. Because rolled mats are easier to install, labor costs are lower than rubber floor tiles.

5. Concrete Flooring

A modern minimal kitchen with concrete flooring
Photo: Victor zastol'skiy / Adobe Stock

Concrete can offer a smooth, modern feel to your kitchen, and offers incredible longevity. Concrete flooring is made up of water, cement, and aggregates. It can be stained, polished, or etched for an interior floor. 

Decide if budget-friendly concrete kitchen flooring is right for you by learning about the pluses and minuses.

Pros

  • Easy to maintain, sweep, and clean

  • Incredibly long-lasting; lasts 50–100+ years

  • Inexpensive, especially because it won’t need to be replaced if well-maintained

  • Allergy-friendly

  • Durable, holds up well to everyday traffic

  • Versatile in color and style

Cons

  • Can experience discoloration or imprints if you pour the concrete yourself, but won’t happen with a professional concrete contractor

  • Harder on your back, knees, and joints due to the hard surface

  • Can crack over time but is repairable

  • Can be cold unless radiant-heated—rugs or kitchen floor mats are recommended in areas where you stand often

  • Dishes and glasses are likely to break if dropped

  • May not offer the style or appearance you want in your kitchen

Cost

Polished concrete can cost anywhere from $2 to $15 per square foot, including installation. One layer of stain with a basic design will be on the lower end, while elaborate designs and advanced coloring top the range. 

6. Cork Flooring

A professional installing new cork floor
Photo: andrey gonchar / Adobe Stock

Cork flooring is made of cork oak tree bark that is dried, ground, and compressed with resin. Cork kitchen flooring comes in tiles or planks. You can stain, paint, bleach, or refinish cork to make it look like any other flooring, including hardwood. 

Check out the pluses and minuses of affordable cork flooring to see if it's right for your kitchen.

Pros

  • Beautiful appearance with many styles, colors, and patterns available

  • Feels comfortable on the feet

  • Sound-dampening

  • Prevents heat loss, saving money on heating and cooling

  • Can be refinished like hardwood

  • Antimicrobial and hypoallergenic

  • Environmentally-friendly

  • Easy maintenance and cleaning

Cons

  • Can be damaged by sharp objects and heavy appliances or furniture

  • Must be sealed against water and humidity to prevent discoloring and warping

  • Can fade when exposed to long periods of direct sunlight

  • Must be resealed every few years with water-based polyurethane

  • Warranties tend to be shorter than other flooring types

  • Prone to discoloration unless professionally stained

Cost

The cost of cork flooring material ranges from $3 to $12 per square foot. Installation usually costs about $2 per square foot, making installed cork flooring a total of $5 to $14 per square foot. Ask a local flooring professional for a quote to determine if you should DIY or hire out the project. 

7. Terracotta Tile Flooring

A kitchen with terracotta tiles for flooring
Photo: pics721 / Adobe Stock

With earthy tones and an array of patterns, terracotta tiles can offer a warm vibe to your kitchen. Made of reddish clay, terracotta is a ceramic material but is more inexpensive than other ceramic tiles. 

Learn about the benefits and drawbacks of this classic budget-friendly kitchen flooring style.

Pros

  • Offers a unique, beautiful look

  • Budget-friendly compared to other ceramic tiles

  • Matches rustic, Southwest, and Mediterranean style homes

  • Durable if sealed properly

  • Will last 50 years, if maintained properly

  • Mold and bacteria-resistant

Cons

  • Must be sealed well every year to prevent water damage

  • Low-density terracotta can be susceptible to water damage and staining

  • More difficult to install than laminate and vinyl flooring

Cost

You can find terracotta tile for as little as $1 to $3 per square foot. Higher density terracotta tiles are more expensive, but are also more durable. Unless you are experienced, a pro is recommended for installation. Labor costs raise the price of a terracotta tile floor to between $5 and $13 per square foot, but could be more depending on your geographical region. 

FAQs About Budget-Friendly Kitchen Flooring

Where can I buy inexpensive kitchen flooring?

You can buy inexpensive kitchen flooring off the shelf at most home improvement stores with the best prices usually offered by big-box chain stores. Most flooring contractors can buy your flooring at a discount, so be sure to check with your contractor before buying your flooring materials. 

What is the most affordable kitchen flooring option?

The most affordable kitchen flooring option is sheet vinyl due to its low material and installation costs, followed by laminate flooring and vinyl planks. Be sure to get quotes from flooring companies in your area for exact estimates for your kitchen floor. 

What is the best/most affordable flooring for a multi-use area that is neither a bath or kitchen?

The best inexpensive flooring for a multi-use area is sheet vinyl, as it’s durable, great for high-use areas, and is budget-friendly. 

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