When it comes to renovating your home, flooring can become one of the most frustrating decisions. It’s priced by square foot, so the expense can add up quickly. And whatever you choose will completely change the look of the room. And of course, you want to choose something that suits your aesthetic ideals, but also fits into your budget. Finally, how much time and expense can you devote to maintaining your floors? They can really take a beating, with everything from foot traffic to spills affecting their quality over time. The following eight options are considered “affordable” but each for different reasons.

Engineered wood. Engineered wood looks similar to hardwood, but can usually be installed at a much lower price. Many varieties are more dent- and scratch-resistant than their exotic solid wood counterparts, and are less sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. However, most can only be refinished once, so it might not last as long as solid wood.

Bamboo. Bamboo is easy to install, refinish, and care for. It’s also considered more ecologically sound, because bamboo requires much less time to grow and replenish itself. However, some bamboo flooring is less durable than wood flooring, so it might not last as long.

Ceramic tile. Tile flooring can vary in price, depending upon the type you choose. But they are all extremely durable, so you can count on the flooring lasting a very long time. And with a few exceptions, cleaning tile is generally very easy (just watch out for situations like wine stains in the grout). Overall, the higher expense for installation might be worth the lower expense on maintenance and cleaning.

Laminate. You can use laminate flooring to mimic the look of stone or wood, but for a much lower cost. It’s easy to install, in most cases, so you can save money on installation. Laminate is easy to clean, making it a great choice for high-traffic areas, but it can’t be refinished. Once it’s worn out, all you can do is replace it.

Vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring is tough, and stands up to heavy foot traffic and moisture. And an enormous variety of vinyl flooring products exist, mimicking almost any style you can imagine. It’s easy to clean, but vulnerable to scratches and gouging.

Linoleum. Linoleum is more durable than vinyl, and easier to clean. Some types come with a protective coating that make them easy to clean, whereas others need to be refinished every few years. However, linoleum is vulnerable to dents and tears, and can turn yellowish in rooms that get a lot of sunlight. It’s also not very water-resistant, so it won’t work well in laundry rooms or bathroom. Most types must be waxed every few years, adding to your overall cost.

Carpet. Carpet is a longstanding favorite, and is available in a number of price points. But as you probably know, carpet can be a pain to keep clean! You will probably want to invest in regular, professional cleaning to keep your carpet looking fresh and new.

Cork. Cork is a more sustainable material, for those who are conscious of their environmental footprint. And it’s so easy to install that many homeowners can save money by doing the job themselves. However, cork is extremely vulnerable to scratches, dents, and tears, and must be resealed with wax or polyurethane every two to three years.

For more information on your floor cleaning options, especially regarding carpet, give us a call. We can help you learn what to expect, and how to keep your floors looking their best.