Sticking to a budget is crucial when renovating — big-ticket expenses like flooring can really blow things out of proportion.
Whether you’ve just bought a new home, you’re renovating to sell, or you simply need a new floor, here are some of the most high quality, cost-effective flooring options that won’t break the budget.
Timber-look vinyl planks are a less expensive but harder-wearing alternative to floorboards.
Stylist from The Block and Reno Rumble, Darren Palmer opted for vinyl floorboards in his home for a pet and child-friendly solution.
“We have three dogs and [vinyl floorboards] are very timber-like with a natural looking grain and texture, but they are also robust, water and stain-resistant, as well inexpensive and easy to DIY install,” he says.
“Whilst they aren’t as bulletproof as tiles, they look and feel soft underfoot without being a porous material.”
Laminate is another option for inexpensive timber-look floorboards. Despite looking very similar, there are a couple of key differences between laminate and vinyl floors.
Firstly, laminate is typically lower in cost. However, there are low and high-end products in each category.
Another key difference is what is at the core of the floorboard. Laminate has a mulched, highly compacted and pressurised wood at its core, whereas vinyl is vinyl through and through.
Finally, vinyl flooring is traditionally glued down whereas laminate has an interlocking mechanism and can be laid as a floating floor.
Both products are very durable, water resistant and easy to clean.
Hybrid floorboards, which are similar to vinyl and laminate, are typically the most expensive of the timber-look flooring options.
However, if you’re not after a timber-look floor, you may want to consider hybrid tiles.
Hybrid tiles come in a range of looks that emulate more stone-type flooring, from concrete to terrazzo to marble and so on. Like hybrid planks, tiles can be laid as a floating floor, making them easy to install yourself as part of a DIY renovation. They can be a perfect solution for living, kitchen and laundry areas.
“A number of hybrid and laminate flooring options on the market are water resistant and suitable for wet areas,” Carpet Court’s Flooring Merchandise Manager, Loreta Sgarioto explains. “However, the sub floor, particularly in a bathroom area, does need to be waterproofed in order for these products to go down.”
Furthermore, Loreta adds you may need to check the building regulations in your area before laying a hybrid in the bathroom as it may outline a need for ceramic flooring specifically.
Carpet tends to be inexpensive per square metre. However, many folks have misconceptions about how a ‘cheap’ carpet will ultimately look and feel. The good news is, budget-friendly carpet isn’t going to leave your home looking and feeling like an office.
The Glenwillow II carpet, seen here in the ‘crisp’ colourway, offers softness and durability.
“There’s been a lot of technological development in fibre types in carpets,” Loreta notes. “Traditionally, there’s been two types: wool carpet and a solution-dyed nylon, synthetic carpet. But there’s been a lot of development in polyester, or PET, fibres and polypropylene fibres. These fibres have now been produced to create a much softer feel underfoot.
“If I was looking for something quite luxe but on a bit of a budget, I would definitely look at a polyester cut pile, or a polypropylene cut pile carpet such as Carpet Court’s UltraPet Birman, Glenwillow II or Universal.”
The Universal carpet, seen here in ‘calm grey’, exudes softness, as well as being spill-friendly.
How to keep flooring costs down
If you’re worried about your flooring costs ballooning, Loreta explains that a common unexpected cost comes when people don’t realise work needs to be done to their existing floor.
“One thing that’s often overlooked, particularly if you’re renovating an older property, is the subfloor and what’s actually underneath any existing flooring,” she says. “It needs to be structurally sound, relatively flat and smooth for a product to be put on top of it.
“It’s a hard consideration to factor in because some things you don’t know until you pull the floor up and see what’s underneath. Going into a Carpet Court store, customers will be advised on that sort of thing. Often [our team] likes to come out to your property and have a look where possible. Hopefully, they can identify any issues that could come up.
Loreta’s final cautionary words? “Do as much scouting as possible prior to buying — that will give you a better insight in to what you’re up for.”