Hardwood Flooring Options From $1.99/SqFt

If you have been in your home for years, it is probably time to refresh some spaces within it. Similarly, if you have just purchased your home, you might not like everything about it right away. It's also possible that you are having a new home built from scratch. Choosing a good type of flooring is essential in any of those cases. Floors cover large expanses of space in most houses. They are eye-catching, but they are also functional. Floors take a lot of abuse over the years, so selecting the right flooring options in each room is important if you want long-term time and money savings potential.

Hardwood flooring is a common flooring choice in many homes for certain rooms, especially living rooms and dining rooms. However, if you are considering using hardwood in your home you need to also consider common hardwood alternatives, especially if your budget is tight. Hardwood is often costly, but many of the available alternatives are quite affordable. Below, you can learn why those price differences exist, which hardwood alternatives are best, and how to save on hardwood, if you do select it.

What Are the Best Types of Flooring to Install in Your Home?

“What flooring qualities are best for my home?” is the first question you need to ask when purchasing new flooring. Many people consider the flooring color they want, first. However, the other qualities of the flooring are most essential. For example, if you are installing flooring in an area with high foot traffic, it must have a high durability level. You also must focus more on scratch-resistant materials if you have small children or pets. Address those concerns when you speak to a flooring sales associate in person or use online guides to determine which flooring is best for your lifestyle.

What is Hardwood Flooring? 

Hardwood flooring is natural flooring. It is produced by cutting timber to specific lengths using certain types of cuts. The way hardwood flooring is cut affects the appearance of the finished product. It also comes in unfinished and pre-finished versions. The latter reduces installation time and costs, but the up-front costs are typically higher. 

Typically, hardwood is more expensive than its alternatives. However, it has many attractive qualities that make it popular with all homeowners. Also, Hardwood is a particularly desirable choice when redoing flooring before selling a home because it usually offers a high return on investment (ROI). One of the most popular types of hardwood is mahogany, which is also among the most expensive hardwoods. Other hardwood options include:

  • Maple

  • Cherry

  • Cedar

  • Walnut

  • Oak

  • Redwood

  • Pine

  • Ash

What Alternatives to Hardwood Are Commonly Used?

Some homeowners opt to purchase flooring that looks like hardwood. Alternatives to hardwood often have lower costs. Some also have more durability or other useful qualities. For example, natural bamboo is popular because it is environmentally-friendly and fast-growing. Therefore, there is always a plentiful supply. Also, it is quite strong and sturdy. Its appearance is very similar to lighter colored hardwoods. Other flooring types that look similar to hardwood include:

  • Vinyl Flooring is a man-made hardwood alternative. It is suitable for almost any room in a home because it comes in waterproof and scratch-resistent varieties.

  • Laminate Flooring is a type of engineered wood hybrid. It consists of particle board attached to top layers of wear-resistant material and man-made layers of printed patterns. Those patterns are often designed to look like hardwood.

  • Tile flooring is typically used in areas where moisture is prevalent, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Today, tiles that look like wood are available, allowing you to achieve a wood-like flooring appearance in any room of your home.

  • Cork is a substance not often thought of for flooring purposes, but cork floors are quickly increasing in popularity. Experts indicate that popularity is due to many factors, including ease of installation, comfort, and hypoallergenic properties.

How Much Do Hardwood and Its Alternatives Typically Cost?

The cost of hardwood flooring varies by location, wood type, and features, such as wood grain. For instance, oak typically costs $5 to $10 per square foot. The per square foot price range for maple averages $15 to $18. Prices for wood flooring alternatives are similarly variable based on sources and features. As an example, here are some starting prices per square foot at HomeDepot.com in 2022 for various materials with wood-like appearances:

  • Luxury vinyl starts at $1.99.

  • Bamboo starts at $2.79.

  • Laminate starts at $2.99.

  • Tile also starts at $2.99.

How Can You Save on Hardwood Flooring?

If you do want hardwood flooring, you must consider the cost of materials and installation. One way to save on materials is to purchase engineered hardwood. It is plywood with a hardwood veneer. Engineered plywood is usually cheaper, but it is also scratch-resistant and sturdy. You can also save on hardwood by selecting a species from the less expensive range, rather than a material like mahogany. Hardwood pricing is also often based on how the wood is graded and cut. Wood is called “plain-sawn” when the grain runs sideways on the boards. That type of wood is usually cheaper than wood with the grain running along the lengths of the boards.

Another way to save on hardwood flooring is to make the install as inexpensive as possible. You can do so by installing the flooring yourself, if you have the knowledge required and the time. If you do want a professional install, consider tearing up the old flooring and disposing of it yourself. That way the professional installation takes less time and costs less money.

How Do You Make Your Final Flooring Decision?

Making your final flooring decision requires you to consider all aspects of the process, including the installation method, materials costs, and flooring features. You must also think about your lifestyle and specific needs. Even then, part of the decision may remain out of your hands. For example, features like the existing sub-floor material can affect the functionality of certain types of flooring. If you have doubts about the long-term results of your selection, speak to flooring experts before making your final choice.