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Cheap Wood Flooring Information

Updated on August 31, 2009

Hardwood flooring may be nicer than carpet but it definitely isn't cheap.  And what if you have just purchased your dream home and to make it oh, so perfect, you need to install hardwood to replace that shag carpet that came with the house?  And what if you need to do it on a budget that would make laying hardwood almost impossible?  Are their cheap wood flooring alternatives that you can consider without having to drain your bank account?  This article will discuss just that....Cheap Wood Flooring for your home.

If you are looking to cut costs, purchasing unfinished wood may be a solution.  The only problem is that you will have to put in more work once you lay the floors.  Still, this is a cheap solution to having hardwood floors in your home.
If you are looking to cut costs, purchasing unfinished wood may be a solution. The only problem is that you will have to put in more work once you lay the floors. Still, this is a cheap solution to having hardwood floors in your home.

Cheap Wood Flooring First Option- Unfinished Hardwood Floors

When I first started looking at buying hardwood, I asked a friend who happened to lay flooring for a living what to expect.  He told me that in most cases (barring a love affair with exotic wood), I could expect to spend around $8-8.50 per square foot.  In other words, if I wanted to lay 2,000 square feet of wood floors, I could expect to pay a lot of money.

While this was a bit disconcerting at first, I started to look at other options available.  What I discovered was if you want to stick with premium hardwood, you could always purchase it in the unfinished state, lay the flooring and then stain and treat the wood later.

Unfinished hardwood flooring is much cheaper than prefinished flooring.  This said, prefinished Flooring's price point is warranted considering the amount of labor that would go into treating and finishing your floors.  So, if you are into do-it-yourself projects, then you could very easily put a little of work into doing the floors yourself and negating the costs of labor associated with sanding and finished the hardwood.

If you go this route, you are going to want to purchase premium grade hardwood.  Red oak is a popular wood that will do the trick and can easily be found at your local home depot or lowe's.  Stick with #1 common grade (hardwood is rated 1-3, from best to worst and is graded after it is milled from the lumber company.

Cheap Wood Flooring Second Option- Install the floor yourself

Another cheaper option to hardwood flooring is actually laying the hardwood yourself.  By cutting out the contractor, you can effectively cut roughly $3 per square foot from the cost.  Considering that most full installs range between $8-9 dollars a square foot, you could easily manage to get better quality wood for much less meaning that you could lay more flooring or spend less.

Of course, the downside to laying flooring yourself is the time associated with it.  I have talked to many people who have layed hardwood who say that it is very easy.  I have also talked to people who have nightmare stories about doing hardwood floors themselves. 

The biggest problem that most people face is that they underestimate the amount of wood they will need.  The best way to forgo this problem is to simply add 10% more flooring to your budget to account for waste and if you are new to laying hardwood floors, for trial and error.

Another problem that do-it-yoursef homeowners face is not having the right equipment.  For more information on what you will need if you intend to install hardwood yourself, check out my other article on floating hardwood floors.

Cheap Wood Flooring Third Option- Floating Hardwood Flooring

If the idea of laying flooring with a nail gun or glue seems a bit daunting (glue will cost you an additional $186), then the other option is to install floating hardwood floors.  Floating hardwood floors tend to be cheaper because they aren't made of solid hardwood, although they tend to look like it.  Plus, they are easier to install because you aren't glueing or nailing down the floors.  Instead, the floors are "floating" above and the subfloor can be literally anything...tile, ceramic floors, worn down or damaged existing hardwood or even slab concrete.

Traditionally, floating floors are cheaper on labor as well because most are now using click technology.  What this means is that installing this type of flooring is as easy as linking the planks together and using a hammer to bang them into place.

If you don't want to do-it-yourself, then you will be happy to know that in most cases labor is cut by one dollar per square foot.  While this doesn't seem like a lot, laying free floating hardwood floors in a 2,000 square foot home could save you as much as $2,000.

Can You Tell a difference?

Laminate Floor, while not technically "wood" can simulate the look of hardwood without the cost associated with this type of flooring.  Laminate is the ultimate Cheap Wood Flooring option.
Laminate Floor, while not technically "wood" can simulate the look of hardwood without the cost associated with this type of flooring. Laminate is the ultimate Cheap Wood Flooring option.

Cheap Wood Flooring Fourth Option- Laminate Flooring

Don't laugh.  While the thought of putting laminate wood flooring down may be a turn off to many, laminate flooring actually has some benefits.  First of all, if you are a homeowner in an area where hardwood floors aren't the norm, understand that laying floors may not give you a return on investment.  If this is your area and you want the look of hardwood without sacrificing the cost that is associated with it, then laminate flooring may be a good option.

The biggest upside to laying down laminate flooring in place of hardwood other than the price (some laminate will go as low as $1 per square foot), is that laminate is less likely to chip or dent.  This can be huge if your family consists of children and large dogs.  Plus labor for installing laminate flooring is much cheap.

Another upside to laying cheap laminate flooring is that it isn't as affected by humidity so it won't likely buckle if laid too tightly.


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    • solidwoodflooring profile image

      Jessa Jane Lopez 

      5 years ago from USA

      Nice information. This is good if you have a tight budget..


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