Choosing Flooring on a Budget
If your house needs new flooring, you can find long-lasting options within your budget. Besides the upfront cost of new flooring material, you’ll also need to consider its maintenance needs and durability to determine whether the material is in your price range. When you have a reliable contractor install your new floors properly, your new investment can last for several decades. Consider the pros and cons of some of the least expensive flooring options to help you renovate your living space on a budget.
5 Tips for Selecting Flooring on a Budget
Keep these tips in mind when looking for affordable flooring options.
1. Research the Right Flooring for Each Room in the House
Before you renovate your whole property, you’ll need to think about what would look and work well in each part of your living space. Consider how many people use each area at a time and what activities take place there. Your floors should be easy to clean and maintain and also complement the room’s design. Keep these tips in mind for each room:
- Kitchen and mudroom: You need moisture-resistant or waterproof flooring in the kitchen and mudroom. As you and your family walk through the front door into the mudroom, you drag in the outside elements, including rain, snow, dirt and germs. When you cook in the kitchen, you may also spill water or get food residue on your floors. Your mudroom and kitchen floors must withstand the traffic and messes that are common in these parts of the house.
- Bathroom and laundry room: For these areas of the home, your flooring needs to withstand humidity and water from sinks, tubs and showers. There isn’t a lot of foot traffic in the bathroom or laundry room, and these rooms aren’t usually in direct sunlight. Try to find a material that makes it easy to clean the germs present in the bathroom. The best type of flooring for a laundry room’s can withstand humidity from the washer and dryer and water dripping from wet clothes.
- Dining, living and family rooms: Though it’s crucial to have cozy flooring to complement these intimate areas of your home, you also need floors that can withstand the wear and tear that takes place inside of them. In the living and family room, bulky furniture, pet claws, kids’ toys and shoes can wear down your aesthetically pleasing floors. In the dining room, chairs can scrape against your flooring and leave scratches on planks or tiles.
- Sunroom and enclosed porch: Since an enclosed porch or sunroom faces direct sunlight or has a concrete floor foundation, you need flooring material that’s resistant to temperature changes, sunlight and water. If you have screens instead of windows, the area may also experience rain and snow. With a concrete subfloor, you can’t nail planks directly to it.
- Basement: When looking for a flooring material to finish your basement, make sure it’s rated to go over below-grade concrete. Since the concrete foundation in your basement tends to be moist, find a flooring material that can withstand the constant humidity. A professional contractor should know which flooring can accommodate your basement and install it properly, so it lasts a long time.
- Bedroom: To get bedroom flooring on a budget, you might want a comfortable material that can trap sound. Since you only use your bedroom to rest, you’re less likely to have wear and tear on your floors and may not need moisture-resistant materials.
If you take time to figure out which flooring would work for your property, you can avoid having to change floors in a few years. You should also think about the quality of your current flooring. You may be able to save money by installing flooring on top of your existing material.
2. Be Flexible to Stay Within Budget
Decide what you’re willing to spend on your whole flooring project to know which materials fit within your budget. Factor in the price of underlayment and labor along with the plank or tile’s upfront cost. Try to measure how many square feet of flooring you need for your home renovation. Most companies charge you according to square footage.
If you have your heart set on a luxurious material that’ll cost more, try to find more affordable options to stay on budget. You can often easily find a flooring material that looks high-end but is a fraction of the price.
3. Take Flooring Samples Home
If you find a material you like in a local flooring showroom, buy a small sample to bring home and see how it looks in your room’s lighting and with your furniture. Online photos can have distorted colors and the showroom has bright lights, so you might not get a good idea from the website of how it’ll look in your home. With a flooring sample, you can hold the material in your hands to test its thickness, comfort and durability.
Take a few different samples home and set them out for several days to see how you like them in your living space. Over time, you’ll be able to tell how the sunlight or temperature in a room affects the material. When you spend a few dollars on a flooring sample, you might be able to save thousands of dollars on floors with the wrong material.
4. Take Advantage of Flooring Store Sales
If you find a flooring material you like, try to find ways to get the best deal for it. Research what products cost at other stores in the area to discover what you can expect to pay. When speaking to a sales representative or store manager about any discounts or deals on a specific type of floor, be polite and respectful.
Search online for discounts and special deals flooring companies offer before coming into the store. A reliable flooring company likely has sales and specials right on their website. Before visiting the store, read the fine print to see which discounts apply to which products. In addition to discounts, your local flooring store may have options that fit your budget better.
5. Find the Right Contractor
A reliable contractor can save you money and stress on your flooring project by making fewer mistakes. It doesn’t help to cut costs by investing in a cheap contractor or installing your floors yourself. Any errors during the installation could delay project timing or cause potential damage in the future. An expert in the flooring industry will test your subfloors for moisture and ensure the final product is level, so it lasts for many decades.
A reputable contractor will do quality work at a reasonable price and recommend quality products for your flooring. To find a reputable flooring contractor, get quotes from a few different contractors to see what services each company offers with the price they charge. Confirm that they’re a licensed, bonded and insured company so you’re not financially liable for their mistakes or any injuries that occur on your property. The contractor should also have a team of trustworthy workers to help them install your floors.
4 Affordable Flooring Options
The cheapest option may not have a look and feel you want. Consider the other factors of these low-cost flooring ideas to find the one that complements your home’s design, along with ways to save money on each type of material:
1. Carpet Flooring
Carpeting is one of the least expensive flooring options for residential properties, and it features other excellent benefits to enhance your lifestyle. The carpet fibers absorb the cold, comforting your feet as you walk, and they provide a soft place for young children to practice taking their first steps. You can also find this flooring in multiple color options to match your furniture and walls.
You may consider installing carpeting in your bedroom or living room, where you’re less likely to track dirt or spill drinks. Its soft material is comforting underfoot when you wake up, and it absorbs sound to help you sleep better at night. Save money on buying and installing carpet by keeping the following tips in mind:
- Choose an inexpensive fiber: You can find cheap carpet in various comfortable and durable textures at different price points. Instead of purchasing a popular yet expensive nylon carpet, try a material like polyester or olefin. Polyester is resistant to stains, and it comes in a variety of styles and colors. Olefin is ideal for high-traffic areas because it doesn’t hold water and is resistant to mold.
- Select a durable carpet: If your carpeting gets damaged, you’ll have to replace your floors. A long-lasting carpet can withstand wear and tear that could cut its life span short. Low-pile carpeting has a hardened surface that’s easier to clean with a vacuum. A flooring specialist can help you find durable carpeting materials that fit within your budget.
- Find a long-lasting underpad: When you replace your carpet, you have to replace the padding underneath it. It’s worth the extra money to get carpet padding that’s going to last a long time. Consider bonded polyurethane foam underlay, which is the most common carpet padding used in homes. Your flooring specialist can recommend high-quality padding to go under your new carpeting.
To get the most out of your carpeting, you might want to restrict food and shoes in bedrooms to prevent tracking mud and crumbs. Keep in mind that carpeting can be challenging to clean. And since it needs professional cleaning, it may cost more money in the long run. A stain-resistant carpet with durable padding should last longer and be easier to clean.
2. Hardwood Flooring
Solid hardwood is a traditional flooring material that has been popular for decades because of its timeless aesthetic that goes with any architectural style. It’s available in various wood species with unique finishes that complement your home’s design. Engineered hardwood is slightly more durable and affordable than solid hardwood flooring. Since hardwood lasts a long time, you likely won’t have to get new flooring for about half a century. When you install hardwood flooring in your home, you can increase its property value and make it more attractive to future buyers.
Consider installing hardwood flooring in spaces that don’t have a lot of foot traffic, such as bedrooms, living rooms and hallways. You could also put it in the dining room or family room to establish a timeless appearance in these gathering areas. Only install engineered hardwood in areas with moisture or heavy traffic, such as the kitchen or sunroom, or else you may cut your flooring’s life span short.
Save money on your hardwood flooring installation with these tips:
- Find a wood species in your price range: Hardwood comes in various wood species that each serves a unique purpose as flooring materials. Rosewood and pine tend to be the most affordable wood species. Engineered hardwood is a little cheaper than solid hardwood, and it tends to last longer.
- Consider your flooring installation options: The most popular methods for putting down hardwood floors are tongue-and-groove and click-lock. Tongue-and-groove flooring involves sliding each floorboard into place for a simple vertical movement, while click-lock boards click into place and float on top of a plywood subfloor. Keep in mind that tongue-and-groove flooring often takes more time to install, but it’s usually less expensive than click-lock.
- Explore prefinished hardwood flooring: You’ll need to refinish your floors at least once a decade to help them withstand moisture and temperature changes. Though prefinished flooring tends to cost more money than unfinished hardwood, you won’t have to finish it throughout its life span. Keep in mind this product is more challenging to treat, so you may not be able to repair it as conveniently as solid or engineered hardwood.
Hardwood flooring is relatively easy to maintain with a broom or dust mop. To prolong your floor’s life span, you need to refinish it about once every decade. Since hardwood flooring tends to warp when it comes into contact with prolonged moisture, wipe up spills immediately.
3. Vinyl Flooring
Most contractors can install vinyl sheets, tiles or planks on top of a sturdy subfloor, saving you money on a new underlayment. This material is also available in various colors and textures to accommodate your budget and design preferences. Vinyl is comfortable for your feet, and it doesn’t get cold in the winter like tile does. It’s a resilient material that resists both moisture and heavy foot traffic.
You can easily install vinyl flooring in the kitchen, bathroom or any room where moisture is present. Consider putting vinyl floors in a mudroom, sunroom or place that gets a lot of foot traffic. Due to its resistance to humidity, it’s also one of the most effective basement flooring materials.
Since this material is already pretty inexpensive, there’s not much you need to do to bring down the price. However, you can save money on vinyl flooring with the following tips:
- Look for high-quality material: When you choose high-quality flooring, it tends to last longer, so you won’t have to replace it again in the next couple of years. Be careful when trying to find cheap flooring because you might end up with a material that looks faded or isn’t as resilient. A reliable flooring company can help you find affordable flooring that doesn’t compromise on what you need.
- Inspect your subflooring: Most vinyl flooring can go over your existing floors to help you save money during installation. However, if you try to install your new vinyl planks over damaged tile or cracked hardwood, you’ll need to replace the whole floor. A damaged subfloor could allow moisture from underground into the floor and ruin your new vinyl material. If you have to replace your subfloor, consider having your vinyl floors installed over your concrete foundation or plywood.
To maintain your vinyl flooring, you can easily remove debris with a dust mop or vacuum. If you have pets, keep in mind that vinyl floors are vulnerable to gouging or scratching. When your vinyl flooring suffers any damage, you’ll have to replace your flooring. It’s more convenient to replace vinyl planks or tiles than sheets.
4. Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring features a top layer of a photograph veneer under clear plastic protection with layers of compressed fiber or plywood underneath it. It can resemble natural wood or stone to complement your home’s design style, and it resists dents, scratches and stains. Laminate comes in tiles or planks, and you can usually have the contractor install them on top of your previous flooring material.
You can put laminate in high-traffic areas, like the playroom, kitchen or foyer because of its resistance to scratches and stains. If you’d like to install laminate in a humid environment, such as the bathroom, laundry room or basement, consider investing in waterproof laminate flooring instead.
Laminate is relatively inexpensive, and it often comes at an affordable cost. Here are some ways to save even more on laminate flooring installation:
- Measure your room accurately: A professional contractor should measure your laminate flooring correctly to save you money and provide what you need. When installing laminate flooring, you might accidentally order too much. You can get a rough estimate for how much laminate you need by measuring your floor’s length and width and multiplying the two dimensions together to find out the total area.
- Select durable, long-lasting laminate: You can find laminate flooring that’s both aesthetically pleasing and durable. Instead of finding a material that matches the room but doesn’t provide the durability you need, work with your contractor to find a product that withstands the wear and tear in your home. You won’t have to replace long-lasting, durable laminate flooring as often.
- Choose a high-quality underlayment: You can install laminate on top of your old flooring material. Inspect your existing floors for damage to prevent moisture infiltration. If the floor’s damaged, your contractor can replace it with plywood or use concrete subfloors.
Laminate flooring is relatively easy to maintain and clean. You only need to sweep the floor with a dust mop every day to remove debris. Use vinegar or a mild detergent to clean stubborn stains. Place doormats in entryways so the debris from outside won’t scratch your laminate floors. Laminate can be slippery when wet, so wipe up spills and tracked-in rainwater. If your laminate suffers damage, you’ll have to replace it instead of refinishing it.
Schedule an Appointment With Metro Flooring Contractors
Finding affordable flooring is a great way to stick to a budget, and working with a professional contractor will ensure your floors last for many decades. At Metro Flooring Contractors, we offer durable, aesthetically pleasing products and installation services at a reasonable cost.
When you schedule an appointment with us, we bring flooring samples to your house in Maryland or Virginia to see how they’ll look with your living space’s lighting and décor. We’ll also work with you to help find floors that accommodate your budget and withstand wear and tear. To get started renovating your floors today, make an appointment with us or contact us to speak with one of our representatives.