Inexpensive flooring options

What are the cheapest flooring materials?

While choosing flooring for a house many homeowners might consider the price as one of the most important factor in determination which product to buy. Some flooring has more value, some less, but it does not necessarily mean less expensive materials will not perform long and will be not a durable choice. In some applications cheaper alternatives might be an option worth to take into consideration on a low budget.

Vinyl flooring

Prices for vinyl tiles starts from about $0.30 per square foot, but usually for decent quality products prepare to spend $0.70 - $0.80 per sq. ft. Vinyl sheets typically cost $8 – $11 per square yard and vinyl planks $1.5 – $2.5 per sq. ft. Even though subfloor might require additional preparation, installation process is very simple and total expenses for materials and labor will range from $1.20 to $4.5 per sq. ft.


Carpet prices vary significantly and you might spend $5 - $6 per sq. yd on the lowest end while some carpets can easily go up to $30 - $40 per square yard. Normally cheaper options will suit the best in the bedrooms or family rooms and might not be best choice for heavy traffic areas. Typically cost to carpet one 12 x 12 bedroom might be estimated at $190 - $210 or $1.30 - $1.50 per sq. ft. for carpet, padding and installation. But normally to get such low price you have to order at least three rooms otherwise the cost will go up.


Laminate flooring is a perfect lower cost alternative to hardwood flooring, but it might imitate the appearance of natural stone as well. Cheapest laminate will be at least a few times less expensive comparing to real wood and prices will normally starts at $0.60 - $0.70 per sq. ft. But some better products might cost as much as $3.5 - $4.0 per square foot. Floating click and lock laminate is very easy to install and many homeowners might perform the work by self eliminating the labor expenses. Hiring a contractor prepare to spend $1.90 - $2.50 per sq. ft. for laminate flooring, underlayment and standard installation.

Ceramic tile

Ceramic is one of the least expensive tile options available and prices starts from $0.60 - $0.70 s/f. It might be much better option for bathroom, kitchen or hallways flooring because its hard surface is less susceptible to dents and scratches and the moisture, humidity and water resistance properties are much higher comparing to other on budget flooring options. But because ceramic tile installation is much more complex process overall cost will be higher in comparison with vinyl, carpet or laminate flooring. Additional materials such as backer boards, mortar and grout will increase the materials expenses as well. Usually tile settler will charge $4.0 - $4.5 per square foot for installation only and total cost for ceramic tile, all necessary materials and labor typically will range from $6.0 to $7.0 per square foot. Installation of ceramic tile over concrete subfloor tends to be less expensive because preparation doesn’t require cement boards installation.