Whether you’re deciding on flooring to your new home or replacing worn-out flooring, we’d mainly recommend hardwood flooring. Hardwood floors are durable and can be sanded or refinished several times over the years. 

cheap alternatives to hardwood floors

But hardwood floors are expensive, costing around $6 to $14 per square foot and so often beyond the budget of many homeowners. In addition, hardwood floors can be damaged by long exposure to humidity, regular spills, and standing liquids.

If you want to know more about wood flooring, read our article on the best wood flooring

In this guide, we will introduce 6 top alternatives to wood flooring that is durable but also affordable. 

Engineered bamboo

Bamboo is a good alternative to wood flooring if you’re only after how it looks similar to hardwood. It is significantly cheaper than hardwood, eco-friendly, and can be installed directly without the need for professional installers. However, bamboo is less durable since it easily scratches and does not hold up well to water. It costs around $5 – $8 per square foot. 

Laminate flooring

If you’re going for affordable “fake wood” then laminate flooring is the right one for you. Laminate flooring is durable enough and available in a wide variety of colors, textures, and styles. It is suitable for high-traffic areas and is stain-resistant. However, despite what many online reviews publish, not all laminate flooring is moisture resistant. The lower the price the less durable it is. It costs around $1 – $3 per square foot. 

Luxury vinyl flooring

Luxury vinyl planks are one of the best alternative floorings to wood in 2021. It mimics the attractive look of hardwood, is affordable, and is entirely waterproof. It is also easy to install for DIYers and easy to clean. Vinyl flooring is a good option if you’re after durable flooring that is easy to maintain and is within the budget. It costs around $3 – $10 per square foot. 

Porcelain tile

If you’re not after a wood-look flooring, then porcelain tile is a good choice. Like laminate flooring, it is available in different colors, designs, and sizes. Porcelain tile is not a “hardwood copycat”, instead it mimics the look of natural stone. Generally, this flooring option is durable, water-resistant, and cheaper than hardwood. It costs around $2 – $7 per square foot. 

Cork flooring

Cork flooring is another renewable and eco-friendly alternative to hardwood. It is available in both tiles and planks and is generally known for its ability to absorb noise and provide a comfortable cushion underfoot. However, its wax that lends its moisture-resistant feature often wears out quickly requiring reapplication of wax or protective finish at least once or twice a year. It costs around $2 – $5 per square foot. 

Concrete flooring

Concrete flooring has gained traction as a cheap alternative to wood flooring in recent years. It is stain-resistant, non-absorbent, easy to clean, and looks modern and contemporary. The surface can be textured to mimic wood flooring and it is three times cheaper than hardwood. However, it does not give off a warm feeling and is cold underfoot. It costs around $2 – $6 per square foot for a basic design and $15 – $30 for designs with painting/staining and texturing techniques to mimic wood. 

Final Thoughts

As you see, there are various kinds of hardwood alternatives. Each type has its pros and cons. The best way to choose the right option is to match the flooring type with your living style and budget. After that, you can simply select the material, color, and style that you like.

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