Flooring
Options for Economical New or Replacement Flooring
by Gabby Hyman
 
Not everyone has the budget for hardwood flooring. The good news is that you don't have to compromise on looks, durability, and value to add a new look to your home. Today's materials and workmanship have dramatically increased your options for the perfect match for your design, overall use, and remodeling budget.
 
The latest generation of options includes attractive, long-lasting materials in carpet, laminate, vinyl, tile, linoleum, or engineered real-wood flooring that provides a resilient, beautiful finish. Let's look at some of them.
 
Carpet
You can find shag, deep pile, or heavy-duty carpeting options that match up perfectly with your requirements. Use heavier materials for utility rooms, more elegant shag or pile carpeting for flooring that adds charm or elegance to your home. You can find affordable selections that cost between $18 and $30 per square foot, installed.
 
Laminate Flooring
Looking for Pergo, Formica, or another look? Affordable laminate flooring can resemble attractive, more expensive wood, while adding durability in a wide range of colors and designs. Costs range between $6 and $12 per square foot, installed.
 
Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring, a relatively economical option, does not need to look cheap. Today's materials and workmanship offer a range of designer colors and patterns that complement your décor while adding lasting protection under heavy use. Flooring costs can run between $18 and $30 per yard, installed.
 
Other Considerations
To evaluate your options, consider your budget, the intended use of the room (such as high or low foot traffic), and whether you plan to remain in the house for an extended period.
 
Don't be afraid to weigh all your options. Engineered wood flooring employs an inexpensive, softer wood base, topped with genuine hard-wood surfaces in oak, maple, or cherry. Ceramic tiled floors can offer the look and feel of more expensive granite or marble, while costing less in materials and installation. Consider "resilient" flooring in rubber, cork, or linoleum.
 
Sources
Bob Villa, Choosing Bathroom Flooring
Danny Lipford, Flooring Option: Choosing the Right Floor
Flooring and Carpets, Flooring Materials
 
About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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