Homeowners naturally look for affordable options, cheap flooring, and other expenses for any project, whether a minor one-room renovation or an entire home extension. However, not all initial budget-saving strategies and materials save money in the long run. So, we decided to cover some cheap and cost-effective flooring options.

In this blog, we collated information and created an affordable guide to help you achieve the best flooring result for the best price. Towards the end, we will also give you some excellent cheap and quality flooring product recommendations per category. And, of course, there are links to where you can find more information about cheap flooring product options.

Customers can achieve cheap flooring in one of two main ways:

  • Saving by using a cheaper but still quality product
  • Saving on the flooring installation process

 

Making Flooring Installation More Affordable

You can save in several ways with cheap flooring ideas and installation. Some strategies still involve an installer, while others don’t. Regardless of your plan, you must be honest about your DIY skills and capabilities.

 

Saving by Using an Installer

When you have picked a reputable installer, let’s pretend to quote your job as $30 per square meter of installation. Depending on your flooring type, installation can be the most challenging component. However, many DIY cheap flooring ideas opportunities exist, particularly leading up to installation.

These include:

  • Removing + reattaching skirting and trim – Is usually straightforward, but be mindful not to damage it if you reattach it later. Using a numbers system and marking any flooring trims for all flooring types may also be a good idea. This means you know exactly where everything goes.
  • Installing Scotia yourself is particularly easy – It is usually a good idea to purchase Scotia from the same flooring supplier if they match it themselves. Installing Scotia is very straightforward and forgiving if you initially make a mistake. Learn more about scotia and skirting in this blog titled Flooring Trims for All Flooring Types.
  • Removing and disposing of old flooring – Depending on what you need to remove, removing the old flooring might be labour-intensive but requires little skill. Just ensure you aren’t damaging the subfloor and know what is underneath before you start.
  • Moving furniture – Moving furniture and space preparation to provide access to the floor takes two people, and by doing it yourself, you save on the installer’s having to arrange and do it. Having the working space cleared for the installers will save everyone time and money.
  • Selling old flooring – Believe it or not, you can sell any old flooring you remove on eBay, Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace. Some people will pay to come and remove the flooring themselves, whereas we would have had to pay ourselves to dispose of it. Everyone wants cheap flooring!

Freshly installed cheap, affordable and quality flooring close up.

 

Cheapest Flooring Methods I Can Install MySelf

*Include the points mentioned above.

Installing your floor is more achievable and affordable than people think. Just remember to consider the installation method and the flooring you use.

There is one overall DIY advantage I wish to point out:

Time – If impossible, you don’t have to complete the job in a day or two. If you want your job perfect, move your furniture to one side of the house. You can then lay flooring on the empty half and move furniture to the half with the new flooring to complete the other half. This allows you to live around the area and removes the stress from unrealistic deadlines. It may take you a few weekends to complete the project, but now you have breathing space to take your time and do it properly. It is worth it, considering how long the floor will be there.

Caution: Skill Level & Subfloor Honesty

In regards to affordable DIY flooring installations, there are two main areas people come unstuck:

  • Inadequate subfloor preparation
  • Inadequate skill level of DIYer

If you do not have the skill level to install flooring or your subfloor is uneven and underprepared, you can risk thousands of dollars worth of new flooring products. It’s a scary thought, but it is reality. After working in flooring claims for 20+ years, I have seen it all, and there are many situations in which flooring cannot be covered by warranty due to these reasons.

Read supplier guidelines correctly. You must abide if they say the subfloor can be deviated no more than 2 mm. Most importantly, be honest about your ability.

Having said all that, laying your flooring is often easier than people think. In addition to our blog and YouTube channel, there are many videos on YouTube on how to do things and solve problems.

Unless you are incredibly talented, subfloor preparation is simply one area you must leave to the professionals. Many people will look at subflooring flooring with the naked eye and think it’s okay. However, when you put a straight edge over it, you very quickly realise it is anything but even.

Most flooring preparation requires grinding of high points with a special machine and flooding of low points with a watery concrete-type solution, which involves expertise beyond most people. That being said, you may have a friend who is involved in flooring, tiling, or concreting and has the skill level to do it.

Are You Comfortable Working With Adhesives?

Let’s say you want your engineered flooring directly stuck.

To give you some more perspective, it’s a hard no for me to do it, even with my industry experience. I do not trust my ability to coat the subfloor with adhesive and stick flooring. I don’t know adhesives well enough from a trade perspective, especially about curing times. However, I know that adhesives are unforgiving if you get them wrong.

Laminate is the most accessible flooring to stick directly. Some people believe direct sticking is easier than floating their floor—but not me!

 

Affordable flooring newly laid in a living area.

 

Locking Systems & Floating Your Floor

Not everyone will agree, but I firmly believe in using a click-in floor locking system and floating your floor if you intend to DIY.
When installing locking systems, hybrid flooring is the easiest option, although laminate flooring typically has stronger joins and is more forgiving in the assembly process. Cutting hybrid flooring is much easier because you don’t require so many tools or a drop saw; you can score and snap the surface.

The most accessible locking system to use:

  • Välinge 4-sided locking systems are complicated to use and are not used as much any more.
  • Välinge 2G, 5G, and uniclic systems are far more popular. 2G and 5G systems are easier to install in a massive flooring area. However, they slow you down when going around areas like door jams.

Overall, a 5G hybrid system will be the easiest for a customer to install. It’s straightforward to click together without using a mallet. However, joins will be less strong than those with laminate and timber. And that’s why subfloor preparation is so critical.

Be sure to check out this blog post about Direct Stuck vs. Floated Timber & Engineered Floors to learn more and make better decisions.

 

Engineered timber flooring newly laid in a renovated living area.

 

Achieve the High-end Timber Look on a Budget

Let’s say you are in charge of building a high-end property. If you plan on installing a solid timber floor, you need to buy the timber, install it, sand it, and polish it.
However, using a direct-stuck engineered timber floor is faster, cheaper, and safer, and you cannot tell the difference. Boards are pretreated and ready to be laid, saving time and money. Aslo, the costs of the boards compared to solid timber will be much cheaper. The blog reveals the pros and cons of solid timber and engineered timber flooring.

Other advantages of using Engineered timber include:

  • You can have wider boards becuase you are not limited to the growth rings of solid timber.
  • Although engineered timber flooring still needs to be acclimatised, it is a much more stable product than solid hardwood in that the layers within it restrict some expansion and contraction.

Choosing the Product Within the Category

Once you have settled on a product category (say Hybrid, for example), try to ignore the brochure to a certain extent. Sounds weird, I know. What I mean by this is specific claims made by certain products.

As an example, some hybrid flooring suppliers may exemplify the fact that they are “pet friendly.” flooring in their marketing. When the truth is, all Hybrid flooring products across the board are considered pet friendly. There are many more examples of this marketing style, and it is about seeing past perceptions and understanding the qualities of what good products in each category will have.

Ask yourself: are you paying for an additional feature or clever marketing?

 

Choosing the Right Supplier

  • If you choose from a smaller supplier, typically, they will have cheaper products. However, after-service care may be better than that of more established brands.
  • Choosing larger suppliers means you are more likely to receive better aftercare (generally), including situations where there might be a product fault or a need to send back products with warranty claims.
  • Then, you have companies that fall into the middle. They are in an exciting phase where they are small enough to be attentive but established enough to have the infrastructure to provide proper after-sale support to customers. Their products are well-priced for what you receive.

Great examples of such suppliers are:

  • Sunstar
  • Cleaver Choice
  • Terra Mater

The bottom line is to explore the company’s size & reputation and compare it to what they offer.

 

Raquel holding up a Online Flooring Store mug.

 

Choosing Your Flooring Retailer

This is a considerable point. If you walk into a showroom that is part of a large chain of showrooms across Australia, the products will undoubtedly be presented very well in a physical marketing sense. It may be part of a renovation showroom which presents excellent examples of how the finished product will appear.

However, a presentation like this comes at a cost and is passed on to the customer. They also need to pay for their physical location and staff (some of which have little experience), which again costs the customer.

Companies such as Online Flooring Store aim to operate at a low cost, allowing customers to purchase the same or similar products for less. Although we have less of a physical presence, this does not come at the expense of service, and you will always have access to someone with 20+ years of industry experience to help ensure you have the best start-to-finish customer experience.

However, we also advise you to exercise caution – When dealing with some online retailers. We have had countless conversations with customers who initially went elsewhere online and were left unsatisfied with their initial retailer’s lack of service, knowledge, and after-service support. If only I had a dollar for each time I have heard, “We wish we found you first”.

 

Read the Flooring Quote Properly

Sounds simple, right?

  • When you read a quote, look at its entirety and don’t itemise it into pieces. Everyone has a cost to do a job, and where costs appear in columns will vary depending on which retailer or installer is quoting.
  • Instead, compare the entire quote and ensure your price includes GST, which makes a huge difference. If you have 70m2 of flooring to do, that figure will stay the same, so the goal is to get the best quality product and price for that area from start to finish.
  • For example, I know another retailer who advertises regularly on Facebook, an SPC hybrid I consider below standard. Looking closely at the website, you can see that his pricing excludes GST. Their top range product is advertised as $55 per mature, excluding GST. There is also no mention of freight or delivery.
    In comparison, I can sell you Terra Maters 9.7mm Hybrid for less than that, and it’s the best hybrid flooring on the market in every way.

 

Budget Flooring Options Per Category

We couldn’t leave you without some honest, affordable flooring product recommendations. Below is a list of cheap products of exceptional quality we offer in each category:

Cheap Hybrids

Cheapest Quality Products

Sunstar Hybrid Classics – It’s a great 5.5mm product with a decent 4mm core you simply can’t beat on price.

Best Products for the Money (Value)

Sunstar Maxi hybrid – You just can’t look past this product in terms of bang for your buck. It is a fantastic value-for-money product.

Supercore by Complete Floors – Another example of great value for money in a hybrid product. This sits between the two products above, slightly better than Sunstar Hybrid Classics but could be better than Sunstar Maxi Hybrid.

Cleaver Choice Hybrid XL – All the balance points in this product’s makeup are right, including the price.

 

The best long-term value Hybrid will look the best for the longest

Terra Mater Resiplank 9.7mm Hybrid – This product boasts the best results in each area, including wear, look, and feel. Although you won’t save as much on initial costs, it will save you a lot in the future.

 

Cheap Laminates

Cheapest all-round quality product

Airstep Eucalyptus Steps & Airstep Keeta

 

Best products for the money (value)

Cleaver Choice Hydro XXL – I cannot speak highly enough about this product. It’s top-class in looks, durability, and water resistance.

 

Best Long-term value

Premium Floors Majestic Laminate – This is a beautiful-looking product with solid guarantees.

Eclipse Aqua Schild – This is the first waterproof Laminate of its type. It also contains a built-in underlay, so it’s not an additional cost.

 

Vinyl Planks

Cheapest all-round quality product

Airstep Oatlands Luxury Vinyl 2.0

Best products for the money (value)

Eclipse Nature’s Own Vinyl Planks – This is a longboard for a thin vinyl board with a thick wear layer.

Airstep Naturale Luxury Vinyl Plank 5.0 – This 4.5mm vinyl is great value for money in a range of colours.

Best long-term value

Terra Mater Floors Resiplank Luxury Vinyle Planks – This is the best vinyl plank product on the market for many reasons. It has the biggest wear layer and the best colours, and everything about it screams quality.

 

Engineered Timber

Cheapest all-round quality product

Sunstar Oak Classic Timber

Best products for the money (value)

Cleaver Choice Oak XL Range – You cannot beat this product on value for a wide board.
Best long-term value

Eclipse Australis Couero & Eclipse Australis Largo – These products are both Australian species and very hard-wearing products.

 

Bamboo

Best long-term value

Cleaver Choice Bamboo

Eco Flooring Systems Bamboo

Avatar

Clem Sturgess

Clem is our resident expert on hard flooring. Clem has been in the flooring industry for over 25 years, and has a wealth of knowledge about timber, bamboo, laminate, hybrid, and even in flooring acoustics.