Getting 'wood look' flooring at the lowest price

Kitchen Flooring

Related Articles

Resurfacing Countertops

Kitchen Remodeling and Your Budget

Recipe for a Successful Remodeling Project

Peel and Stick Tiles

Likes Wood Kitchen Flooring, But...

We need to put in a new kitchen floor and want to install it over the old vinyl one. We really wanted to get the wood, or wood-look laminate one that you just nail down. Unfortunately when we went to the store we couldn't believe how expensive it was. Before we have to settle for a less expensive vinyl does anyone have any ideas on how to install something less expensive yet durable like the laminate? Any ideas would be helpful.

Shopping = Savings

I too loved laminate and choked at the price. However, I ended up getting Formica Brand (15 year water damage warranty) for the same cost installed as good vinyl. How? I got a discontinued pattern at $2.99. I went to my local store and asked if they had any on sale CHEAP. I actually loved the pattern. You can get Formica in Cincinnati where it is made for less. Shop around and don't be afraid to ask for a deal. By the way, I paid to have it installed. Be very careful before deciding to do it yourself. It is very time-consuming. My guy does it all the time and it took him two days to do my kitchen.

You might also like: Homemade Floor Cleaner

Creative Kitchen Flooring Solution

My sister in law just redecorated and built an extension onto her house and she and hubby did most of the work themselves. She was so proud of the flooring in her bedroom. It was really gorgeous, sort of a Mexican tile look. She told me to get on the floor and really look at it closely. I got on my hands and knees and realized that it wasn't tile, but concrete which she had sectioned off into large oblong shapes using (I later found out) masking tape and 3 shades of the same tannish red colors, sponged on. This was really a shocker!

First she painted the entire floor with the base coat of dark tan, interior/exterior latex. Then she sectioned the floor off using 1" masking tape. Then she sponged the "tiles" in with the lightest of the 3 shades of color, moving on to the next 2 shades, etc. She removed the tape after all was dry and covered it with a coat of polyurethane varnish. It was fabulous. I can't wait to try this myself!
Cameron E.

Old Wood Does the Trick

I had old linoleum over poured cement. the linoleum came up easily in sheets, exposing the cement base. I bought 200-year old flooring from a friend who had a salvage business, buying up old wood , shutters, doors, hardware, etc. I needed 150 sq. feet. he sold it to me for $1/sq. foot.

Instead of using an underlayment, I applied the sticky, tar-like compound used for securing new linoleum or vinyl floors. the wood is wide, random width, tongue and groove. where the tongue and groove didn't exactly match, I used insulation strips as filler (match color). they look like regular seams. I used nails only where necessary for meshing planks. it wasn't that hard to do, it was very inexpensive, and everyone loves my floor. I am a 5'4" woman who hauled, cut, and placed, and sealed it up in a weekend.
Diane C.

Flooring Laminate Cheaper in Long Run

Wood laminate is expensive, but, in the long run, you'll save. I've had mine for about a year, and it's so low maintenance that the savings in time and trouble to keep it clean and looking great, alone, are worth it. Just damp mop it. Spills are no problem--nothing sticks to the floor, and it's almost impossible to scratch or mar. Look for a sale and an extended warranty. I got a double 15-year warranty. The flooring is so neutral that you can change the color scheme in your kitchen without having to consider what color vinyl you put down, and it looks wonderful with anything. You won't need to replace it for purposes of wear or redecorating, and that's helpful, too, if you ever decide to sell your home. I had mine installed, but kits are available for doing it yourself to save money. I expect never having to replace the kitchen flooring again and that, for me, is an extraordinary saving.
Geraldine H.

Related: Do-It-Yourself Hardwood Floors

Do It Yourself

There are several possible solutions to this. One is to find used flooring from demolitions. Check for salvage companies, or a nearby historical society for help. Or ask builder friends. Know the look you have in mind, you may be able to use old barn or warehouse flooring.

One alternative is to find tongue and groove pine flooring. I installed it through my entire house. It never fails to get remarks. Pine is a cheap alternative to hardwood, that was used in many of the Victorian style homes in my area. It's held up for 100+ years. Yes it will scratch and ding easier than the hardwoods but that adds character.

Make sure that you let the wood sit for a while to get all the shrinkage out of it first else you'll have large gaps - not good in a kitchen.

Remove the molding. Cut most of it to random lengths 3-6'. You can install it by hand nailing or using a special nailer you can rent. I've done it both ways. I would suggest gluing it also with construction adhesive if you are hand nailing. Boards should be about 3/4" from the wall on all sides. Use a piece of scrap to get the spacing.

Rent a floor sander from your local rental place. Whether you use a drum or a rotary sander is six of one, half dozen of the other. Both have quirks and both will leave some marks, um, I mean character. You should be able to do it in half a day. Get a sheet of coarse and a sheet of fine sand paper. You can sand the edges by hand or rent an edge sander or beg, borrow or buy a belt sander.

Stain it or paint it as desired, and coat with at least 2 coats of OIL BASED polyurethane. Don't go environmental on me (go ahead, I have a degree in it! I dare ya!). In high traffic areas it does not hold up, it's twice the price, and the oil based gives an amber glow to the floor that always gives me warm memories of grade school.

I've never been thrilled with the sound of laminates. There really is nothing like the sound of REAL wood under your boots!
Jim S. of Galveston, TX

Don't Cut Corners

Last week I had my parquet floor in kitchen refinished with the durable polyurethane hi-gloss finish. I learned then that I had not purchased an oak floor but a look alike of "rubber wood." The refinisher told me that laminate floors will scratch over the years and there is nothing that can be done to refinish them. I would suggest you not cut corners on the kitchen floor. If you want to use wood, be certain that it is "real oak" and not a look alike and have it finished immediately after installation with a hard polyurethane finish. The spray on stuff on factory processed wood is very thin and scratches easily. Oh yes. The parquet floor was installed over an existing vinyl floor.

Shop home improvement for great prices at

Vinyl Strips Look Like Wood

Friends of mine installed vinyl flooring over their old floor and in looks just like wood plank flooring. It comes in strips (just as real wood planks would); however, rather than nailing anything down, it was just peel and stick. They used this in their foyer (definitely a high traffic area). It's probably been 7-8 since they installed it and it still looks great (washes easily too). I believe they purchased it at Home Depot.

Check Manufacturers

There are many wood look vinyl floors in the market place today without the high costs of laminates. Check out Mannington Resilient Floors website at
Doug T.

Don't Do Linoleum

I just want to tell you our experience with a good quality linoleum in our kitchen. I would never do it again. It is 2 years old. It has permanently turned yellow under every throw rug I had put down. I always made absolutely sure my rugs and floor were dry because I knew that might cause this problem and it happened anyway. The reason I had so many rugs down is because just dropping a can on the floor can cause a big gash. It has gashes everywhere just from normal kitchen use. Under the table and chairs all the shiny finish has warn off and is turning black. I have no experience with laminates but I sure would avoid the linoleum.
Wanda L.

Take the Next Step

  • Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book