Types of Flooring and Their Costs

When it comes to flooring, and many other aspects of a home’s interior, opinions vary. Some people swear by classic hardwood to increase a home’s value, while others love the look of tile and some homeowners insist on the affordable faux versions like laminate or vinyl.

From triple-digit costs to DIY options, here’s a look at the flooring choices for your real estate needs:


$3-$8 per square foot
DIY Installation: Difficult

This Seattle home for sale features hardwood flooring

Always a classic, hardwood has great staying power in a home and can fit with a number of floor plans and home styles. Many people prefer it for its “warm” look and its ability to blend rooms — ideal in houses that boast open-floor plans.

While hardwood is great for living areas, it is not ideal for places with a lot of moisture, and some only suggest it in the kitchen if it’s factory pre-treated with a polyurethane sealing. Even then, hardwood should be resealed every five or six years and be treated with care.

Cork & Bamboo

$4-$12 per square foot
DIY Installation: Medium

This Knoxville home for sale has cork flooring in the kitchen

Both cork and bamboo flooring are considered to be more durable and more environmentally friendly than traditional hardwoods. Cork can be harvested without killing the tree and bamboo is a fast-growing plant. Both are remarkably resistant, and cork, in particular, muffles sound and is comfortable to stand on. Each can be treated to withstand moisture. Installing cork or bamboo squares is relatively easy.


$1 to $6 per square foot
DIY Installation: Easy

Laminate flooring can imitate a number of flooring styles as shown in this Orange, CT house for sale

A low-cost alternative to traditional flooring, laminate comes in a variety of finishes mimicking wood, stone or even marble.

Laminate is very durable and some companies uphold 30-year warranties. Although you can have laminate professionally installed, you can also purchase it in interlocking panels for a weekend installation.


Varies from $2 to $26+ per square foot
DIY Installation: Medium

Carpet warms up this Santa Barbara home for sale

Carpet is one of the most varied flooring options ranging from affordable synthetic versions to high-end 100 percent wool. Like each of the other flooring choices, choosing carpet depends on your style and where you install it.

Many synthetic blends of nylon, polyester, or Olefin can be affordable and last for several years, depending on the kind of foot traffic the area gets. While wool is more pricey, its longevity may recoup costs of installation.

Carpet comes in a variety of sizes and if you want to put it in yourself, you can also purchase carpet in tiles for a relatively easy installation.


$1 to $8 per square foot
DIY Installation: Easy

The vinyl floor in this Manor (TX) home for sale has the look of hardwood

Vinyl is considered to be the most affordable and easiest to install out of flooring options. Vinyl sheets range from 75 cents to $4 a square foot and vinyl tiles typically cost $1 to $8 per square foot, both which are ideal for DIY-installation. Like laminate, vinyl flooring can imitate the look of high-end flooring like hardwood or tile.
Although not quite as long-lasting as hardwood or tile, vinyl warranties depend on the company, running from 5 years and up. Mold, water and stain resistant, vinyl is ideal in bathrooms and kitchens.


$4 to $8 per square foot
DIY Installation: Medium to difficult

Tile is a great choice for a kitchen, as shown in this Ft. Lauderdale home for sale

Tile comes in a variety of types including marble, porcelain and ceramic, and if installed the right way, looks beautiful and should last forever. Popular in warmer parts of the country like Florida, Arizona and California, tile resists water, stains and can hold up to heavy traffic, making it ideal for laundry rooms, kitchens and bathrooms.

Up-and-coming flooring trends

Acid-stained concrete: Concrete is affordable, non-porous and easy to maintain. With staining and special treatments. concrete can be made to mimic the look of tile, marble and even hardwood. It’s ideal for industrial and modern homes as well in areas that gets heavy use.

This $2 million home for sale in Marysville has acid-stained concrete flooring

Rubber: A mainstay in industrial kitchens, rubber is environmentally friendly, most often made from recycled tires. Rubber is easy to maintain, durable and easy on the feet and now comes in a variety of colors.

Brick: A call back to older homes, brick is a durable option like tile that gives homes a rustic, vintage vibe.