What’s not to love about hardwood floors? They are beautiful, timeless, durable, and great at increasing property value.  

But they can also be expensive and they’re not ideal options for certain areas of a house such as bathrooms.

Thankfully, there are a plethora of different choices which are as good, or even better than hardwood in certain aspects! 

It’s not just about the price – some of the options listed below genuinely give hardwood a run for it’s money when it comes to durability and ease of maintenance. 

With that being said, if you’re looking for cheap and strong hardwood floor alternatives, read on—because we’ve got 7 amazing options to show you. 

1. Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) is a highly cost-effective flooring option. It stands out due to its ability to replicate real wood, while being a lot cheaper and easier to maintain (Seriously, vinyl is one of the easiest floors to maintain, period.) 

The installation is also quite simple – you can place it directly on top of concrete or other tile flooring. It suits most rooms well, and the best part is – it’s entirely waterproof! 

Vinyl, however, is highly susceptible to gouges and its durability is no match to solid hardwood options. Another thing to consider is the environmental impact associated with vinyl production. 

Since it’s a synthetic material, it can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during and after installation which can cause serious health effects. 

Shop By Brand

Take a look at the floor selections offered by our most trusted brands and find the one that excels at meeting your needs.

2. Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is a popular alternative, known for its ability to mimic any type of hardwood, stone and tile.  

It’s one of the most durable flooring options around, and these days, advances in printing have made high-quality laminate almost indistinguishable from any of the different types of flooring it’s made to imitate.

Laminate is relatively easy to install due to the popular click-lock design, and maintenance is quite simple as well – the only thing you should be mindful of is not using abrasive cleaners.  

However, laminate’s susceptibility to moisture is where it falters, especially in damp areas of the home like bathrooms or basements. 

The water can seep into the laminate quite easily, causing it to warp and swell. It’s also prone to scratching, and it’s generally more noisy than other options on this list. 

3. Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring is king when it comes to sustainable hardwood flooring alternatives,  since bamboo stalks mature in just 3-5 years. 

Bamboo is harder and more durable than most traditional hardwoods, with one particular type of bamboo (strand-woven) being twice as durable as hickory! It typically doesn’t need to be sealed and only requires vacuuming and mopping to maintain its natural beauty. 

While bamboo has a plethora of advantages, it has a few downsides as well. Mainly, it’s susceptible to scratching and moisture damage if not properly finished or if exposed to high humidity levels. It can also get discolored if it gets too much direct sunlight exposure. 

The quality of bamboo flooring can vary significantly, so it’s important to purchase from a reputable supplier which will drive up the cost a bit.

4. Concrete Flooring

Concrete has a distinct modern, minimalist look. It’s about as durable as you can expect your floor to be. 

It’s incredibly versatile and can be stained, polished, or textured to suit various design preferences, and it can drastically change the look of any room it’s placed in. It’s also low maintenance and excellent for underfloor heating systems. 

The hardness of concrete, however, can make it uncomfortable to stand on for extended periods of time, and it can be cold without proper insulation. Additionally, concrete can crack over time, and repairs can be cumbersome and expensive.

5. Cork Flooring

Along with bamboo, cork is a fantastic eco-friendly flooring option. It’s made out of cork bark, rather than the tree itself, meaning the same tree can be harvested again every decade or so without the need to cut the tree. 

In other words, the same tree can be used again and again for over 200 years. It is naturally resistant to mold, mildew, and pests, and provides excellent insulation and sound absorption properties. Cork is also very pleasurable to walk on due to its natural tendency to cushion your steps. 

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with cork, though. It can be damaged by sharp objects or heavy furniture, and it also fades in direct sunlight and may require sealing to prevent moisture damage.

6. Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile shines the brightest when placed in high-moisture areas like kitchen and bathrooms. That being said, they have become more prominent in other areas of a household due to the variety of shapes and sizes they come in. 

They are easy to replace and even easier to maintain, but their installation can prove to be difficult for inexperienced DIY enthusiasts. 

7. Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles are one of the cheapest options on this list. 

They are super easy to install and replace, making them ideal for busy areas and commercial spaces. They also come in a variety of colors and patterns, allowing for customized design layouts.

However, carpet tiles can retain dirt and allergens, making them less suitable for those with allergies. They also wear unevenly in high-traffic areas and typically require regular professional cleaning to maintain their appearance.


Choosing the right flooring material comes down to multiple different factors such as durability, maintenance, cost of installation, aesthetics, and environmental impact.

The seven options we have listed each have their benefits and drawbacks, and it ultimately comes down to your personal preference and matching your household’s needs.

That being said, we hope you’ll consider some, or all of these amazing hardwood flooring alternatives. 

Wood is amazing, don’t get us wrong, but there are so many other fantastic types of flooring to choose from and we hope we made the choice at least a bit easier for you!

About The Author

Dr. Sara Austin

May 25, 2024

Best known for being “not that kind of doctor” and never knowing which fork to use, Sara is a learning designer and writer, former real estate agent, and builder with a penchant for home design and remodeling.