Let's look at some of the least expensive ways of flooring your home:
Tip: Many of the boards will be split or splintery. After all, there is a reason it is called utility grade--it's often used in workshops. I would hesitate to use it in your finest room. But it will work in lesser-trafficked rooms, especially if your house has more of a rustic or cabin-y feel.
My Pick: While I've had my ups and downs with Lumber Liquidators, they are good for this type of flooring. Expect rock-bottom prices, but don't be too finicky about consistent quality.
Tip: Solid color vinyl floor tile is cheaper than fancy patterns and stone-look or wood-look tiles. Lest you think solid colors are boring, there are many ways to create unique patterns from solids, such as using one solid for the field tile and another for the borders, making it fancy at no extra cost.
My Pick: Avoid the no-name brands and stick with major flooring companies. Shop Direct - Armstrong Solid Color 12" Vinyl Tile
Tip: Get the look of wide wood plank flooring for 75% less than real wood plank--when you install the vinyl version. Not only that, but you can install this flooring yourself--no need for expensive wood floor installers because it is a floating floor. As a floating floor, planks attach to adjacent planks, not to the sub-floor.
Read this cautionary tale about clearance luxury vinyl. It's all about when the word "clearance" really means that not only is the line being closed down, but the store wants to clear the flooring out because nobody likes it.
My Pick: This bamboo vinyl plank floor from TrafficMaster is about half the price of real bamboo floor. Shop Direct - TrafficMaster Vinyl Plank Floor - Wide Wood Plank Bamboo
4. Stone-Look Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Tip: Install the type of LVF shown and cut your installation time by 60%. How? It's vinyl flooring, but it's not separate 12" squares. Nor does it strive to duplicate wide wood plank flooring (see above). It's three 12" squares strung together into one plank for simple installation.
My Pick: Shop Direct - TrafficMaster Vinyl Plank Flooring
Tip: Cheaper laminate flooring can be had if you eschew extras like attached underlayment, special embossing, and unusual dimensions.
My Pick: Shop Direct - Shop Direct - Bruce Laminate Flooring Teak
Tip: As with vinyl floor tile, stick to solids and conventional dimensions. With smaller tiles, your spectrum of design possibilities opens up.
My Pick: American Olean - Salt and Pepper Bathroom Tile
7. Carpet Tiles - Self-Install and Save
Tip: Unlike roll carpet, which requires specialized tools like a carpet stretcher, carpet tiles require little more than a square, a chalk snap line, utility knife, and a measuring tape. It doesn't get much easier than that.
My Pick: Shop Direct - Shaw Carpet Tiles