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Cheap Flooring Options

Flooring on a Budget Isn't a Fantasy; It's a Reality

Are you on a strict budget looking for discount flooring without sacrificing quality? You have come to the right place. In this flooring buying guide brought to you by Home Improvement Educator, we discuss several economical flooring options, look at the benefits of each side-by-side, and compare the costs of each including installation.

What Types of Flooring Can I Find on a Budget?

Each of the following economical flooring options has distinct advantages and disadvantages - use the following list to determine which is right for you:
  • Vinyl Flooring: Vinyl is an extremely economical and durable option. It holds up well against physical damage such as impacts and foot/pet traffic. Dragging heavy objects across vinyl flooring should be avoided, however. It is available in hundreds of styles and colors and comes in large sheets 6' and 12' wide to limit seams or 12" x 12" tiles. Tiles can be self-adhesive to limit labor work, or more durable 1/8" thick tiles installed with floor mastic (glue).
  • Carpet: Reasonable quality, inexpensive carpet can be purchased for as little as $2 per square foot. For an even more economical carpet solution, carpet squares are available in varying sizes, but are commonly found as an 18" x 18" square. They are available as a floating floor option, which greatly decreases labor costs.
  • Ceramic Tile: As long as the subfloor is level, fairly clean and structurally sound (if not, this can significantly affect labor costs), purchasing economical ceramic tile on a budget is well within reach. Unglazed ceramic tile can be found for under $1 per square foot. Consider using large tiles (16" x 16" or larger) to cut down on professional labor costs.
  • Laminate Wood Flooring: Different types of laminate - including Pergot - are within a thrifty homeowner's reach. Some products are available for under $1 per square foot. Laminate wood flooring is often installed as a floating floor (attached to each other as opposed to the subfloor), cutting labor costs significantly. Laminate flooring costs can be even further reduced by purchasing a thin laminate plank (7-8 mm's) and foregoing subfloor padding.

Cutting Costs Even Further

While the actual floor installation may be too formidable to tackle for most homeowners, several tasks pre-and post-installation can help reduce the overall cost of a new floor.

If replacing an existing floor, removing the original material down to the subfloor often times reduces the cost of the project by as much as 50%. Removing a floor is fairly straightforward - detach any baseboard that sits atop the floor (save it) and simply rip, pry, smash, break, cut or scrape it up. Be mindful not to severely damage the subfloor, however.

The subfloor should be clean and dry as well as level and smooth. While most homeowners won't be able to fix an out-of-level floor, they can sand down any high spots and smooth out rough spots. A careful vacuum and cleaning will help as well.

Cheap Flooring Option Costs

The following prices will be slightly affected by geographic location and time of year.
  • Vinyl flooring is available from $1.50-$7.00 per square foot, including installation. Self-stick tiles are cheapest, while high quality sheet flooring will near the $7 mark.
  • Economical carpet typically costs $3-$7 per square foot, including padding and installation. Carpet squares can often be installed a bit cheaper.
  • Discount ceramic tile can be found for $4-$10 per square foot with installation. In general, the larger the tile, the lower the overall job cost.
  • Inexpensive laminate flooring ranges from $3-$6 per square foot, installation included.

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