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The right flooring material can really make a room—and give your home the look and feel that is just right. But choosing a surface for your floors is about more than looks. You’ll also be considering the durability, ease of installation, and the cost of the flooring itself.
While hardwoods, wall-to-wall carpets, and ceramic tiles are beautiful, they’re not always budget-friendly. Instead, many homeowners today are investing in more inexpensive flooring choices such as luxury vinyl planks, laminate flooring, peel-and-stick vinyl, bamboo or cork floors, and carpet tiles. With all of these materials, you can choose from an array of patterns, colors, and finishes.
Depending on your preferences and your budget, we researched the best inexpensive flooring options to find you something that's both beautiful and affordable.
For the best inexpensive flooring option, it’s hard to beat the affordability and many looks of laminate. Wood-look laminate, in particular, seems to offer a polished look at a bargain price. Our top choice for inexpensive flooring is the TrafficMASTER Lakeshore Pecan 7mm Laminate Flooring.
This laminate flooring can be installed over concrete or wood subfloors, and the installation is easy according to many reviewers — even with little to no flooring experience. Many people remark on the high-quality of this German-manufactured product and the lack of chemical odor.
While laminate flooring is not generally waterproof, the seams of the TrafficMASTER 7mm laminate flooring are waxed to be water-repellent. Generally, the floor seems to be fairly water resistant and suffer little damage, as long as spills are promptly cleaned up. The edges of the floor are more prone to water damage, but many people have used a little silicone to seal the seam along the baseboards and prevent water from seeping in. This flooring really stands out thanks to quality looks at a bargain price. Get the look of more expensive flooring with TrafficMASTER Lakeshore Pecan 7mm Laminate Flooring and easily upgrade your home.
You can spend a lot or a little on luxury vinyl plank flooring, but Allure by TrafficMASTER is an inexpensive option that will give you a high-class wood look for less.
TrafficMASTER Allure Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring costs under $2 per square foot, and comes in Cherry, Oak and Ash finishes. Known to be more durable than other forms of vinyl flooring, the luxury vinyl plank can also be installed over existing floors. The only requirement is that floors be as clean and as smooth as possible prior to laying your new luxury vinyl planks.
TrafficMASTER uses its GripStrip technology to connect boards together and float the floor over concrete, wood, vinyl or tile subfloors. One thing to note is that the manufacturer says that individual planks are able to be repositioned up to 15 minutes after adhesion with the GripStrips, but users found this to be nearly impossible. Instead, you’ll want to adjust any planks within about a minute of adhering them. A few people made mention of these boards loosening or warping in high-moisture areas — like bathrooms and kitchens. You’ll want to use extra care to keep the flooring dry if you plan to use it in a damp area of the house. Overall, though, the Allure flooring looks great and installs easily at a small price compared to more expensive luxury vinyl planks.
Many inexpensive flooring options have inherent weaknesses when it comes to water and moisture damage. Pergo is out to change that with their new laminate flooring line, Outlast+.
The Outlast+ laminate flooring is 10mm thick – making it an extremely thick board compared to many other budget-friendly flooring choices. Pergo also designed this line of laminate flooring with a different joint system known as Uniclic and SpillProtect24 technology. The result is flooring that will resist water damage from spills for up to 24 hours. With these factors in mind, this flooring is a great choice for families with small children that experience frequent spills. It also is suitable for use in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
The Pergo Outlast+ 10mm Laminate Flooring is slightly more expensive than some other flooring materials but still reasonable. You’ll love the look of this thick laminate, and the water-resistance will give you peace of mind.
Peel-and-stick style flooring is great for those who are renting a home and can't make permanent changes, but want to spruce up their space. Installation is so easy too: just literally peels like film away to reveal an adhesive that sticks to your floor. The faux Sonoma Oak is the perfect addition to a living room, kitchen or bathroom.
Reviewers say this film is easy to use and for the inexpensive price tag, is great quality. Users have used the product to cover floors, but also shelving and countertops in need of an upgrade.
If you’re looking for versatile carpet tiles that can be used indoors or outdoors and easily replaced in the case of a spill or pet accident, the TrafficMASTER Caserta Sky carpet tiles are a popular choice.
These carpet squares are 0.23mm thick, feature a hobnail texture, and come in multiple color options. People consistently comment on the easy installation of these carpet squares, and they’ve been used in dining rooms, garages, front porches, and many other spaces. A good recommendation if you’re ordering multiple boxes of tiles is to mix the tiles from each box together. Otherwise subtle variations in dye lot may be noticeable.
Each box covers 22.5 square feet, and the cost comes out to be just over $1.50 per square foot. So for affordable carpet tiles that can easily be replaced, look to TrafficMASTER Caserta Sky.
Cork floors are a popular and relatively affordable choice for inexpensive flooring, and they also are sustainably produced. Our top choice in this category is Heritage Mill Burnished Straw Plank Cork.
Made using the bark from cork trees, rather than the wood of the tree itself, cork floors are environmentally-friendly — and soft and quiet to walk on. The Heritage Mill cork planks are an engineered flooring product with a center HDF layer to add strength and durability. A few reviews comment on the planks being damaged or crumbling easily during installation, but most users find the flooring to be acceptable when opening the box and to withstand normal installation processes.
One thing that consistently stands out about Heritage Mill’s cork flooring is the ease of installation. A number of installers mentioned that this floating floor locks together easily and doesn’t seem to have the same hollow sound or feel that some floating floors possess. Cork floors will cost you a little more than some other inexpensive flooring options and it’s not recommended for use in full bathrooms. However, for a warm, inviting surface that is also sustainable, it’s hard to beat!