Flooring is an important aspect of your home’s new appearance, feel and functionality. If you realize your budget is getting tighter in the middle of your home renovation, there are still many interesting flooring options to choose from.
Depending on the wood you choose, a hardwood floor may cost you from $3 to $12 per square foot. This option is on the pricier side, but you can save some money if you go with engineered wood.
Still, the cost of the floor adds to the cost of professional installation. However, once done, hardwood floors are beautiful and have a great resale value. They are easy to clean and often need no more than vacuuming. They are best used in display areas such is the living room, which doesn’t see too much traffic, so the floor will retain its finish for a long time.
The softness of cork floor
With a price ranging from $2 to $8 per square foot, cork floors are a more affordable option than hardwood. On top of that, cork is a great insulator: warm, soft and absorbs sounds. Many homeowners who turn to sustainable living consider cork an ideal green material, as only the bark of the oak is harvested.
Cork is also valued for its antimicrobial and anti-mold properties, which makes it highly suitable for kids’ bedrooms. On the other hand, since it’s a natural material, cork is known to fade in direct sunlight and change its color to yellow in time. In addition, due to its soft and mouldable nature, it may get damaged under furniture pressure points.
Affordable and tough laminate
While you’ll also have to pay for the installation, laminate floors are on the more affordable end of the flooring spectrum. Homeowners looking for a quick and inexpensive solution often resort to laminate due to its resemblance to real wood or tile, as well as its resistance to scratches. Just like hardwood floors, laminates are easy to clean, even with inexpensive and natural homemade cleaners.
On top of that, the laminate is pet-friendly as it’s difficult to scratch and stain. It’s great for high-traffic areas such as foyers, gaming rooms, and the dining room. On the other hand, its main drawback is its weakness to standing water. Even a refrigerator leak can make it necessary to replace the floor in the kitchen – that’s why it isn’t recommended for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry.
Sound of vinyl floor
A couple of hundred dollars for installation won’t break your renovation budget, even if you choose high-end vinyl for $4 or $5 per square foot. Like cork and carpet, vinyl muffles sounds and it’s easy on your feet. On top of that, it’s a great choice for areas that tend to get wet, like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms (where it can dampen the sound of the washing machine as well).
However, although manufacturers have gone to great lengths to make it look like wood or tile, it’s still a far cry from the real thing. Vinyl dents and tears easily, and its microstructure may sometimes make it challenging to clean.
Game of tiles floor
Probably the material with the greatest price range, tiles can vary from $1 to $20 and more per square foot, while the installation is on par with vinyl, depending on the room size. Due to a list of good properties, such as durability, resistance to scratching and water, as well as ease of cleaning, glazed ceramic tiles are perfect for both high traffic areas and rooms where liquid spills are relatively common.
They are homeowners’ choice for foyers, mudrooms, kitchens, bathrooms as well as dining areas. Tiles also cater to a variety of interior styles as they come in a variety of materials like marble, granite, porcelain, travertine, and slate. On the downside, tiles can be very loud when it comes to foot traffic and echoes. They can also be cold on the feet, requiring expensive underfloor heating.
Cozy carpet floor
Carpet is another material with a very wide price range. Although some deals go up to $50, you can also find regular carpet and padding between $2 and $5 per square foot. Nevertheless, with carpets, it’s not only the design but also the quality that determines the price.
Aside from feeling soft, a carpet also makes the room look soft. It muffles the walking sounds and dampens echoes. Since it needs only padding underneath, it’s a quick and cheap option, even for rooms with uneven floors. However, since its fiber can easily trap dirt, it is best used in low traffic areas such as bedrooms which always benefit from additional coziness.
Handy area rugs
Outstandingly versatile, a large area rug can pose as an interim solution when you have removed your worn-out or damaged floor, and the subflooring is your only layer. Until you make up your mind, a beautiful jute rug will draw all the focus to the intricate pattern of its natural fibers, away from the unsightly substrate.
In this case, however, make sure you make up your mind quickly, as the subflooring is not meant for walking upon. In other cases, area rugs are often used in tandem with hard surface floorings, such as hardwood, laminate or vinyl. Apart from breaking the room into different sections, they protect the flooring from heavy furniture and foot traffic as well.
Old, weathered bricks
They can be salvaged from a demolition site, cleaned up, and sealed against water damage. Alternatively, you can buy brick pavers that are thinner than regular bricks and more suitable for flooring purposes. Depending on the specific material you choose, they can cost between $5 and $10 per square foot. If properly maintained, these natural, fireproof materials can last for decades.
However, they will wear slightly with the passing of time, giving your floor an authentic weathered look, which some people love so much. As an eco-friendly material, bricks layer well with natural fibers. The brick floor is one of the interior designers’ favorites as it lends itself to a number of popular styles.
Paper and concrete project
Also known as paper bag floor, this option is basically an inexpensive upgrade to an existing concrete surface. The best part is that it can be a DIY project that actually looks pretty good. You need a large roll of contractor’s paper or paper grocery bags, multipurpose liquid glue, floor-grade polyurethane, and a large bucket for mixing.
Tear or cut the paper into large pieces and dip each one in the 50/50 glue and water mixture until saturated, then lay it into place on the floor. You can crumble each piece for a mottled look. After you cover the whole floor, let it dry for 24 hours and roll on the polyurethane as a protective coat. The cost of this floor is about 60-70 cents per square foot.
Ingeniously salvaged materials
On top of being extremely cheap, salvaged materials can be surprisingly stylish. People have created their own flooring using spare change, wine corks, or bottle caps. While flooring professionals most likely won’t be happy to work with salvaged materials, you can probably find someone who’s done it or is simply skilled in DIY projects. This floor literally costs nickels and dimes.
For some, it will be the ease of maintenance, for others, pet-friendliness or matching style. In any case, consider these 10 ideas and find your ideal spot in the cheap-durable-beautiful triangle.