If you’ve ever considered redoing your floors in the kitchen, bathroom, or basement, you probably realized pretty quickly that it wouldn’t be cheap. It can cost thousands of dollars to resurface even small rooms with hardwood or high-quality stone and tile. Luckily enough, in the last five years, many new and relatively inexpensive materials have come to market. Plus, with the help of a flooring expert and with enough research, you can find budget-friendly alternatives for all your favourite materials. To make your life easier, we’ve put together a list of six beautiful flooring options that won’t break the bank.
1. Laminate Flooring
Image Courtesy of B&Q
Many homeowners looking to save choose to install laminate planks instead of hardwood. Laminate floors are made by covering a synthetic wood base with a high-quality image of a more expensive material, usually hardwood or stone. The product itself is not only cheaper than hardwood but also it costs around 50% less to install. Laminate floors are also more durable, more moisture-resistant, and easier to clean than hardwood alternatives.
A flooring expert can help you decide on the right quality, width, and pattern for your home. More importantly, they’ll ensure your floors are properly installed because unlike hardwood, laminate can be difficult to repair. Click here to find a laminate retailer near you.
2. Vinyl Sheet Flooring & Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVF)
Image courtesy of Mendards.
In the past, some homeowners were wary of vinyl floors and their dated designs. These days, not only does vinyl come in a number of shapes and patterns, but most retailers carry tiles that closely resemble hardwood and stone. These higher-end vinyl products are called Luxury Vinyl Flooring, or LVF, and are often compared to laminate flooring.
Like laminate, LVF uses high-quality photos to imitate more expensive natural materials. However, unlike laminate, vinyl floors are well-suited for damp areas of the home like bathrooms and laundry rooms. Vinyl floors can cost anywhere between one to ten dollars per square foot, so we recommend asking a pro about the best manufacturers for your budget.
3. Linoleum Flooring
Image courtesy of California Flooring.
Like vinyl, linoleum floors are also making a comeback. In addition to being inexpensive, linoleum floors now come in a variety of colours and patterns, are scratch-resistant, and biodegradable. Click here to find the right style for your home.
4. Stained Plywood
Image courtesy of Home Flooring Pros.
This option may be unconventional, but a little stain and sealant can have plywood floors looking like hardwood in no time. This option is particularly easy on the wallet because underneath most floors is actually a plywood subfloor, meaning you may not have to purchase any new materials. One thing to note about plywood is that it is susceptible to water damage, so make sure a sealant is applied.
5. Common/Character Grade Oak Flooring
If you have your heart set on real hardwood, you should consider what lumber yards refer to as common grade or character grade oak flooring. Oak floors are graded based on the wood’s colour variation. Floors with more colour variation are assigned a lower grade and are more reasonably priced, especially when purchased directly from the lumber yard.
Because these planks are unfinished and can vary in length, this is a great option for homeowners who want a reclaimed or herringbone design. However, you’ll need to account for the cost of a pro to install and stain your new floor, as putting in an unfinished hardwood floor would be a challenging DIY.
6. Painting, Wallpapering, or Stenciling
Image courtesy of Quadrostyle.
Finally, it is worth noting that almost any surface can be painted, including vinyl, plywood, linoleum and laminate floors. However, depending on the base material, you’ll need to prep with the appropriate product to ensure the paint will adhere. For this reason, we recommend connecting with a painter who can tell you exactly which steps to follow and provide the necessary materials.
For those of you who are less confident in your artistic abilities, you can find tile stickers and stencils online in a variety of patterns. Alternatively, have a pro paint, stencil, or even apply wallpaper to your floor.
Below are the average costs of Floor Laying & Refinishing services across different cities in Canada:
*Costs based on 4455 verified Canadian homeowner reviews as of March 2022
As you can see, there are a number of innovative alternatives to traditional hardwood that can freshen up your space without the cost. Carefully consider the best options for your budget and taste, and then consult with a flooring expert to get started. You’ll quickly realize that doing your research really pays off. When you’re ready to update your floors, click here to connect with a flooring pro.
Cover image courtesy of Proper Design Home Improvement.
Article Update June 2022