Cheapest Flooring Options For Your Home

Typical Cost Range To Install New Flooring Average: $1,415 - $2,462
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When you are remodeling your entire house, installing cheap flooring can save thousands of dollars.

High-end floors, such as hardwoods, engineered wood or premium tile floors usually cost well over $20,000, and may not always be called for.

Certain rooms in the house can do very well with cheaper types of flooring, such as carpeting, vinyl planks or laminate floors.

If you are ready to replace your old floors, contact your local flooring pros for FREE ESTIMATES!

What Is The Cheapest Flooring?

Carpeting is hands down the cheapest flooring material you can install, with price being as low as $1 for both materials and installation.

Of course, carpeting can cost a lot more, depending on the quality and durability you are looking to have.

In addition to low cost, the main advantages of carpeting is sound insulation, warmth and pleasantness to the touch.

On the downside, carpeting can be time consuming and difficult to clean, especially if its stained, it can cause allergies, by collecting dust and pet hair.

Cheapest Flooring Per Square Foot

Below is a table of flooring installation costs per square foot, listing the most economical flooring materials.

Estimates below include the cost of professional installation, but not the cost of removing the old flooring material.

Flooring Material Cost Per Sq.Ft. Cost Per 1,000 sq.ft.
Carpet $0.89 – 1.00 $890 – 1,000
Vinyl Sheet Flooring $2- 5 $2,000 – 5,000
Vinyl Tile Flooring $2.50 – 5.5 $2,500 – 5,500
Vinyl Plank Flooring $5 – 8 $5,000 – 8,000
Ceramic/ Porcelain Tile Flooring $3.5 – 9 $3,500 – 9,000
Laminate Flooring $3 – 10 $3,000 – 10,000
Basic Concrete Flooring $2 – 8 $2,000 – 8,000
Tile Flooring $2.5 – 5.5 $2,500 – 5,500
Refinish Hardwood Floors $3 – 8 $3,000 – 8,000

You can use our Flooring Calculator to estimate the cost to install different flooring materials.

Vinyl Flooring Costs

Another cheap flooring option is vinyl sheet flooring. In addition to vinyl sheet flooring, which is the cheapest option, you also have vinyl tile floors as well as vinyl planks (which are the most expensive out of all vinyl floors).

Vinyl floors cost as low as $2.5 per square foot installed and can be up to 50% cheaper than vinyl planks.

Luxury vinyl plank flooring can cost as much as $5 per square foot, which is the price equivalent of good quality laminate flooring.

Vinyl is 100% synthetic material, and as such offers superior resistance to moisture. Its also very easy to clean, and is a great option in rooms that are often damp, such as the bathroom, laundry room, possibly kitchen.

Vinyl flooring is a good option for cheaper properties as well as rentals.

The biggest downside to vinyl flooring is relatively poor durability. The cheapest vinyl comes in sheets that can be as thin as 1.5 mm, and consequently will not have a very long service life.

More expensive vinyl planks can be as thick as 5 mm, and will last a lot longer, in addition to much better, more upscale looks.

Overall, if you are considering vinyl flooring, its best to get the thickest flooring you can afford.

Is Vinyl Flooring Cheaper Than Carpet?

Typically, the cheapest vinyl tile or sheet flooring will be slightly cheaper or the same as cheap carpeting.

However, you can save more on vinyl flooring by doing the install yourself, where as its harder to do a DIY carpet installation. This can mean a difference of up to a $1,000+ depending on the size of your space.

Laminate Flooring Costs

Out of the cheap flooring materials, laminate is the most costly ($3.85 – 8 per square foot installed); at the same time it offers much better quality and improved visual appearance.

Unlike plastic vinyl flooring, laminate floors are actually made of 99% wood byproducts which are bonded with resins.

Higher-end laminate floors are good looking enough to installed in pretty much any room of the home, including the living room and kitchen. Laminate floors are also thicker and feel warmer to the touch compared to vinyl.

The biggest disadvantage of laminate flooring is that it has poor moisture resistance and should not be installed in damp areas.

Refinishing Old Floors Saves Money

If you have very old, beat up looking hardwood floors the cheapest way to remodel them is to actually refinish this flooring, rather than replace it.

In fact, one of the biggest advantages of real hardwood flooring is that it can be refinished a few times, which extends its service life and good looks for decades to come.

Refinishing old wood flooring costs $3-8 per square foot, and includes professional labor.

Homeowners report spending anywhere from $1,200 – 2,500 to refinish hardwood in their house, depending on the size of the project and local labor rates.

Refinishing the hardwood entails sanding down the old top layer of the wood and then staining it again for a polished finished look.

What Is The Easiest Flooring To Put Down?

As mentioned earlier, you can save a lot of money by installing new floors by yourself. However, not all flooring materials lend themselves to easy installation, especially if you don’t have much experience or special tools.

To make sure that you can install the floors DIY without any issues its best to go for either self-adhesive vinyl tile floors, vinyl plank or laminate plank floors.

The vinyl and laminate plank floors are very fast and easy to assemble, because the planks simple snap together edge to edge and end to end.

You don’t need to bond the planks to the subfloor, making the whole process of installation that much easier.

Both vinyl and laminate plank flooring is very easy to cut, if you need to change the size of some of the planks to configure them to the room.

In fact, the install is so fast and easy that you can finish a standard size 10×12 room in a few hours, provided that there are no major fixes that need to be done beforehand.

Pro Tip: You need to make sure that your subfloor is as smooth and level as possible before putting down laminate or vinyl plank flooring. Otherwise, the planks will come apart very quickly.

How Do I Get The Best Deal On Flooring?

When it comes to flooring, the cost of materials is very expensive, especially if you shop in flooring showrooms. As we mentioned above even stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s don’t offer good deals on the cost of flooring.

If you want to save on your new floors, its best to shop online. Most flooring online stores will send you free floor samples, so you can actually see what you are getting. Even with the high cost of shipping, you can save hundreds of dollars.

Recently I purchased Brazilian Cherry hardwood and Tiger Bamboo flooring for my home – here is how I saved $3,000

Another way to save money is by mixing and matching flooring materials. You can install more expensive floors in your living room, dining room, and cheaper floors in the bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen.

If you like the look of hardwood, but can’t afford it, many laminate flooring planks are great replicas of natural wood for pretty much half the price.

The same goes for natural stone tile. Today you can get ceramic or porcelain tile replicas of most real stones for at least 50-70% off compared to the cost of high-end stone tile.

While it may annoying and time consuming, you can same a lot of money on shopping around for the best floor installation prices.

Many pros that have a lot of clients charge a lot more, just because they can. On the other hand, there are many small, local flooring companies that may be willing to give you a better deal, to get your business.

Lastly, if you are DIY savvy, you can install most types of flooring by yourself, even hardwood.

Installing floors on your own will shave off at least a few thousand dollars of the total cost, especially if you are putting new floors into multiple rooms.

Just watch a lot of YouTube videos, and pace yourself. Doing a DIY flooring install can take significantly longer than the amount of time it would take a pro.

About Leo B

Leo has been a contractor since 2003, specializing in: roofing, siding, general contracting (GC) and residential remodeling. Leo is also a Certified HVAC, Oil & Gas Heating Technician/Installer. In addition to roofing and remodeling, Leo is passionate about Solar, green building and energy conservation, so a lot of my time and energy goes to installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

See more about Remodeling Calculator team here

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