The Best Low-Cost Alternatives to Hardwood Flooring

Posted on Sep 13 2016 - 1:39pm by Charlie

Do you have floors that are worn out, gone out of style, or they are scratched? Well, in the past, when it came to replacing the floors in your home, you didn’t have a lot of options available. But, this has changed in 2016. These days, there are so many other flooring options available than the one you have right now. It used to be that the two most popular, and somewhat expensive options were wood and carpet. Well, not anymore. You might want to go for a specific type of flooring; one that adds beauty, charm, warmth, or fits your budget, continue reading below for some of the best low-cost alternatives to hardwood flooring.


Natural Bamboo Flooring

This is becoming a popular material more and more these days. It looks and feels a lot like hardwood, but it’s less expensive and green friendly. Bamboo is one of those woods that grows incredibly fast and it’s a renewable resource because of that. It’s also pretty easy to clean and it can help add style to any type of decor, though it does go really well with modern designs, it can match up to any style really.


Laminate Flooring

These are really cool – they are incredibly attractive flooring that come in an array of colors and they are really quite durable. But, just because they are wood, don’t expect them to automatically be expensive. These are actually inexpensive verse the real hardwood flooring and it is a good thing because it allows you to add wood to almost any room in your house without the cost of real hardwood flooring. You can even get reproductions of other type of materials from flooring store such as Tile Markets when you don’t want the wood look and want to give a look that you may get from natural stones (marble, limestone or travertine). Most of the products that are wood laminates are mostly good for any climate and that is why they are best for any location within your home even in your basement, though it is important to clean up spills quickly and standing water, as with any wood, can be bad for this type of wood. This is also very durable which makes it great for even high traffic rooms like the hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Wood Like Vinyl Tile

Vinyl tiles are a really nice alternative to wood because they look and feel like real wood at the fraction of the cost! Since it is vinyl rather than wood, it’s also very durable and you can even spill water on these and it’s still going to be okay. These might be really good for a home where you have kids or pets but want a wood flooring, but you need something durable enough to keep up with your everyday life.

Warming Cork

Cork is also becoming really popular right now, like with the bamboo above. It’s made from cork trees which are also a renewable energy source. Not only does this material look amazing, but it feels amazing too. Unlike other materials like porcelain, cork adds warmth and softness to a room rather than hardness and coolness like with tile. It should also be mentioned that this is a material that is anti-insect, mold and mildew – no worrying about termites or pretty much anything else with this wood. It does come in several color types, though not as many as something like hardwood. But, it might be worth it to look into this for the look, feel and cost alone.


The rest of the options above were all wood or wood related, this one though is another material altogether. It’s linoleum which is made from linseed oil. It’s another very popular option and with the technology we have today you can either have regular old linoleum, solid-based colors, patterns, or you can start looking into simulations. This is essentially a machine that allows the manufacturers to take a picture of a material and “copy” it onto the linoleum. This means that it can be made to look like all sorts of materials like wood, stone, tile and more. It’s really fantastic the way advanced technology works these days. It should be noted that out of all the materials listed here, this is the second cheapest when following the plain route. If advanced technology is what you are looking for, it’s still pretty cheap, but not nearly as cheap as picked up solid or a patterned color for the floor.



Painted Plywood

Almost any house has a sub floor. These sub floors can be made with all sorts of materials like cement and yes, plywood. But, have you ever thought about actually sealing and painting the sub floor? Probably not. This route would allow you to skip the additional flooring on top of the sub floor and just paint the plywood. Too plain for you? That’s okay. You can also use stencils to draw designs and patterns and then paint it afterward. You can even paint it so it looks like grained wood, stone, tile or whatever else. If you want to do this but you feel like you don’t have a creative bone in your body, that’s okay. You can also hire a painter to come in and do it for you. Just remember plywood and water does not go well together. This means that you will need to add on a waterproof sealer before you paint it and after – especially, when you plan to have this in a room where water will be present (like the bathroom or kitchen).

Any of these options are good alternatives to real hardwood.  In the end, it’s really going to depend on what you want.

Do you want real wood that looks, feels, and acts like real wood (cork, bamboo, plywood) or do you want something super cheap that only looks like wood at first, second and third glance (vinyl, Linoleum, etc.).  Really want just wood? Bamboo is a really good option to go with.

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