How to Add Style to Your Flooring on a Budget

We've been working on transforming the old back patio of our house into a new home library. It's been an exciting project for many reasons, but the primary reason is that I've always wanted my own library!

When we started this project, we had a pretty tight budget, so I thought we'd just finish the concrete floors in some way for a temporary solution until we could afford another option. After I looked into the reality of making concrete look nice, I decided I might need to find a solution that was a little more DIY with guaranteed results, and at a price we could afford.

Enter Vinyl Plank Flooring. It's so simple to install, and it instantly elevates the style of any room for just $.99/square foot. This stuff is seriously amazing!

Vinyl plank flooring

We installed a similar flooring about 12 years ago in the room adjacent to the new room. It's withstood all of the wet, drippy kids coming in from the pool with no problem, so I'm confident that this flooring is sturdy enough to withstand the traffic it will get in the new addition.

DIY Vinyl Plank Flooring

We installed about 250 square feet of a driftwood gray vinyl plank flooring in about seven hours. It's super simple, and you don't really even need any fancy tools. Here's what my husband used:

The instructions called for concrete floor primer and a 100lb floor roller, but we found that cleaning the floor really well before installation and some 100lb kids worked just as well. (And saved us some money!)

Here's what the room looked like before we got started:

Laying The First Pieces

The first pieces are always the trickiest because they will set the standard for the rest of the room. Since we're working with an old house (even if it's a new addition), he found the straightest part of the room and started there.

He worked all the way down the center of the room, then started working outward to the right and left. As he placed each tile, he followed a staggering pattern laying the end of the second piece 6" back, and then the third piece 12" back from the second.

This flooring is seriously just peel and stick. You don't have to mess with any thin-set or grout. The toughest part is making sure that you lay them down close together so that you don't have any gaps.

Then all you need to ensure a good bond is some pressure. While several of our teens helped with the actual laying down of the floor, the rest were engaged with being the pressure to help the floor adhere well.

We didn't have any trouble with the planks coming unstuck. There were a couple of spots that we had to apply pressure for a little more extended period of time, but then they would cooperate.

Fitting The Floor To Your Room

The best part about this vinyl plank flooring is that you can cut it with a utility knife. As you get to the edge of the room, all you need to do is measure out the remaining distance to the wall, cut your piece, and snap the board to separate the two pieces. No wet saw skills required!

The most challenging pieces to cut were the ones that fit around the door. My husband used the paper he pulled off of the back of a piece to draw a template for the unusual shape. He then traced it out on a new plank and carefully cut it out with the utility knife.

I love how our floor turned out. The best part is that we have a few planks left over. If a piece gets scratched, or for some reason decides that it doesn't want to stick, we can just pull up that plank and replace it without having to replace the entire floor.

The picture above looks lighter because the concrete created a layer of dust over everything, and I hadn't mopped the new floor yet. It cleaned up really nicely! We moved in some books that evening, and the library is taking shape!

Total cost of our new flooring that covered 260 square feet for $275. It turned out beautifully, and I'm so thankful that we went with this budget friendly solution.


  1. Mickey on February 16, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Can you tell me what brand of flooring you used?

    • Betsy on February 16, 2017 at 7:23 am

      We bought it at Lowes: Style Selections 6-in x 36-in Driftwood/Gray Peel-And-Stick Residential Vinyl Plank
      Item # 737984 Model # LWD5471BPS

  2. Abbie Langerock on February 19, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Hello! Wondering about later when you pull it up – do you think the adhesive will leave a huge mess? We are contemplating putting something like this down as a temp solution and then laying real wood (possibly) later on…thoughts?

    • Betsy on February 19, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      Because this type of flooring is peel and stick, it has never been an issue for us. When we have had to replace some strips, the glue was not an issue and did not leave a residue on the concrete. It feels a little more like tape than glue – not gooey, just tacky. I hope that helps!

  3. […] Family Style Schooling blog used a driftwood style peel and stick wood floor tile in their home and it looks […]

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