An essential part of any home remodeling project, or building a new house, is deciding on the type of flooring that will be installed.
Once you get to this part, you’ll notice plenty of potential possibilities for covering floors in your living space.
Each of these is a viable option and suitable for certain homes, as every type of flooring has its advantages and downsides in terms of durability, how they look, insulation properties, etc.
However, for many homeowners, the key factor is the available budget.
Therefore, it’s important to do some research and learn how much each of the flooring options will set you back financially.
It’s essential to find the right balance and choose quality flooring that will still be cost-effective.
To help out a bit, I’ll compare the cost of epoxy flooring vs laminate, two options that offer great value for your money.
So, let’s dive in!
Cost of Epoxy Flooring vs Laminate
Both epoxy and laminate flooring present homeowners with rather affordable floor-covering options while still providing a solid and durable surface.
Epoxy is mostly used for garage and basement floors, or spaces with a similar purpose.
Due to its visual appeal, laminate is often installed in living rooms or bedrooms, but is not perfect for high-moisture areas.
The full cost of epoxy flooring installation, including material and labor, is in the range of $3-12 per square foot.
The laminate price, including material and labor, is in a similar range, between $3 and $14. As you can see, the cost of flooring can vary as it depends on several factors.
The price may change depending on the type of material, size of the project, the state of the existing flooring, or the area of the country you live in.
Below, I’ll break down the cost structure for each of these flooring types.
Cost of Epoxy Flooring – Breakdown
Type of Epoxy
The type of material will be the item that will impact the final cost of installation the most.
There are three main categories of epoxies used for flooring. The 100% solid epoxy is the most expensive and can easily cost up to $150 per gallon.
However, these epoxies are commonly used for commercial purposes and on industrial floors, so homeowners don’t have to worry about their high prices.
Solvent-based epoxies are right in the middle of the range when it comes to price and they will cost you around $45 per gallon.
With the price starting at around $30, water-based epoxies are the cheapest and the most popular among homeowners.
Water-based epoxy paint is also the easiest to apply and commonly feature a thinner coating.
However, they’re less durable compared to the solvent-based epoxy coating which is thicker and better for hiding imperfections on the underfloor.
Labor costs are the other main item on the list of epoxy flooring expenses. Depending on the work to be done, they can go anywhere from $1 to $7 per square foot.
Typically, it takes three days of work to install epoxy flooring. One day for preparation, one day for coating the flooring, and one day for sealing it.
There’s also an option of installing epoxy flooring yourself. A DIY epoxy flooring kit is available at home improvement stores.
The price can vary greatly depending on the size of the floor, the type of epoxy, the number of coats needed, and the equipment included in the kit.
So, these kits can cost anywhere from $50-$600. Of course, you’ll have to account for any equipment and material not included in the kit.
This can include safety goggles, a solvent-resistant brush, rubber gloves, a roller, or any other item you may need.
When budgeting for the epoxy flooring project, there is a number of additional factors and costs to take into account.
As you’ll probably be applying epoxy over the concrete floor, the surface will likely have to be sealed.
The more expensive sealing option is urethane, while, if you’re working on a budget, you can opt for cheaper acrylic resin or penetrating silicone.
If the existing concrete is crumbling or features cracks and chips, you’ll have to repair it before applying the epoxy.
Depending on the damage level and the surface dimensions, patching concrete may cost you between $25 and $250.
Cost of Laminate Flooring – Breakdown
Type of Laminate
The first thing to decide is the type of wood. The cheapest kinds are maple and red and white oak.
They go for around $0.70 per square foot.
Walnut, acacia, cherry, and beech belong to the mid-range, costing around $1 per square foot.
The most expensive wood type is hickory, with a price of around $2/sf.
Another factor contributing to the price is the Abrasion Coefficient.
Laminates with an AC rating of 1 are the cheapest while AC 5-rated are the most expensive and commonly used for industrial and commercial purposes.
For residential purposes, you don’t need to go higher than an AC rating of 4, although AC 1 flooring can be used in areas with low foot traffic.
Texture and Finish
Texture and finish are other factors to think of. Smooth and glossy laminate is generally the most expensive, while textured and matte finish tends to be more affordable.
The laminate with a high-gloss finish can cost almost $6 per square foot.
The thickness of the laminate flooring ranges from 6 to 12 mm.
The thicker the laminate, the more it costs, as its thickens contributes to durability, sturdiness, and resistance to bending.
The price of 12mm laminate can go up to $6 per square foot, while the thinnest 6mm flooring can be bought for under a dollar per square foot.
Laminate flooring features a padded underlying placed underneath.
It works as a cushion, supporting the laminate, adding extra protection against moisture, and working as a sound insulator.
Underlayment is sold in rolls, typically 100 square feet in size, and can cost between $15 and $50 per roll.
The price depends on the quality and thickness of the underlay.
The labor costs for installing laminate flooring are in the range of $4-8 per square foot, and this includes installing the underlayment.
The thinner the laminate, the more costly the installation will be, as it takes more time and is more difficult.
The price of installation will also depend on the preparation work that needs to be done.
If the subfloor is damaged and needs replacing the price will go up from $1.50 to $7 per square foot, depending on the type of subflooring and the level of damage.
Replacing the old laminate flooring will induce further labor costs of around $2 per square foot.
The decision of what flooring to install in your house should not be taken lightly.
The type of flooring you choose will impact your daily life and can make your home warmer, more comfortable, better insulated, moist-free, and more visually appealing.
Both epoxy and laminate flooring has many benefits and are good solutions, especially when installed in recommended areas.
Plus, they’re among the cost-effective types of flooring and can get the job done for much less money than some other categories.
Needless to say, before opting for a certain flooring, you should carefully consider your options.
Calculate your budget, get multiple estimates from different contractors, and think about the right time of year to do the job.
All of these will make these affordable types of flooring go even easier on your budget.