Budget-friendly floors that aren’t solid wood (but look like it!)

Budget-friendly floors that aren’t solid wood (but look like it!)

Want the warmth and beauty of solid wood floors, but don’t have a huge budget? This list of budget-friendly floors make just as big of a statement as wood, but without the huge hit to the remodeling budget. As an added bonus, these floors work in almost any room of your home. Some of these budget-friendly floors are more durable than wood flooring, which makes them perfect for busy households or rooms prone to spills.

Budget-friendly floor tips

• To save on installation fees, buy a floor that is a fairly easy do-it-yourself project. If a DIY project is the right choice, ask flooring professionals for flooring products that are easy-to-install and if the floors require any underlayment. (And use these tips for a smooth DIY flooring installation.)
• If installing floors as a DIY project, always research flooring installation and terms before tackling the project. Most floors should be brought in before installation and sub floors should be prepped to ensure a quality flooring installation.
• Flooring stores often sell remnants, which are the remainder of a roll or box. These remnants are available at a fraction of the price and are perfect for smaller spaces, such as bathrooms, offices, and bedrooms.

Budget-friendly floor options
Engineered hardwood

Engineered hardwoods are similar to solid wood flooring, but only have a layer of solid wood on the top. The other layers are plywood, making it the best wood flooring for basements. (Hardwood floors can be damaged by moisture seeping through the concrete slab.) Some engineered hardwood floors are built with a solid wood layer thick enough to be refinished.

These budget-friendly wood floors are available in a wide variety of colors and styles. Engineered wood floors typically come pre-finished, minimizing the mess from finishing. They are durable and easy-to-clean, though they do come with same issue as wood floors. Engineered wood floors are susceptible to water damage from spills, so all spills should be cleaned up promptly. These floors are not a good fit for bathrooms and laundry rooms because they are very humid.


These budget-friendly wood floors are known for their durability and affordability. Laminate floors are typically cheaper than engineered and hardwood, though they closely resemble wood. These floors are top choices for homeowners with a tight budget, and a great option for do-it-yourselfers.

Laminate floors only require a few tools to install and come in options that snap together for an easy install. These floors can be installed with or without adhesive, making them a great floating floor for rooms on a concrete slab, including basements. (Laminate floors may require an underlayment, which should be specified in the manufacturer specifications.)

Porcelain tile

Unfortunately, people don’t often consider porcelain tile as a budget-friendly alternative to wood floors. It’s time to change that preconception because modern porcelain tile now closely resembles wood flooring. Modern porcelain tiles come in greys or warm, rich wood tones, and closely resemble wide or narrow plank floors.

In addition to affordable, porcelain tile is also a natural conductor of heat so it is ideal for spaces with underfloor radiant heating. It’s also incredibly durable and easy-to-clean. These tiles are water-resistant so they are perfect for moist or water-prone rooms.

Porcelain tile can be installed over concrete, including in basements. There is some prep work that should be done prior to installation; once done, porcelain tile is fairly easy to install for handy do-it-yourselfers.

Luxury vinyl

Luxury vinyl is the newest look-alike wood floor on the market, but it’s becoming a popular choice for homeowners. These durable floors are water-resistant and durable, making them a great hardwood flooring alternative. They are a good flooring option for basements because they are not damaged by moisture in the concrete slab.

LVP floors are easier to install than wood flooring, which helps homeowners with tight budgets. They are also easy-to-clean, requiring only a regular sweep or vacuum. Occasionally, they can be dry-mopped to keep them looking like new. Luxury vinyl is an option for rooms with radiant floor heating, though the maximum temperature should be set at a maximum temp specified by the manufacturer. (Read more about luxury vinyl and underfloor heating in this post.)

Sheet vinyl

Modern sheet vinyl stores are a great fit for modern homes and tight budgets. These floors come in designs that closely resemble wood flooring, but without any worry about water. Sheet vinyl is water-resistant, durable, and very affordable.

Sheet vinyl is easy-to-clean and require a regular sweep or mop. They are not the easiest floor to install so homeowners may need to contact local flooring professionals for install. Once installed, homeowners can enjoy these durable and attractive look-alike wood flooring.