Installing hardwood flooring is by far one of the best ways for homeowners to add substantial value to their properties. However, one of the main reasons why more property owners are not installing this durable and attractive form of flooring is that they think it will be too expensive or too challenging to maintain. Below is a basic idea of what can be expected with regards to determining the cost to install hardwood flooring in a home.
Type of Hardwood Flooring being installed
One of the main aspects to consider when determining the cost to install hardwood flooring is the type of flooring being installed. Will you be using regular hardwood or engineered hardwood, for instance? What type of wood would you prefer if regular hardwood will be installed? Regardless of the type of hardwood you choose, each of them has a wide range of wood varieties and finishes to choose from.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
This type of wood flooring consists of a layer of real wood veneer that is bonded to several layers of cheaper wood backing. Many types of engineered hardwood flooring can even be installed in damper areas these days, thanks to the fact that overall quality of it has improved substantially over the years.
When determining the cost to install hardwood flooring, keep in mind that there are different varieties of engineered hardwood available.
1. Basic Engineered Hardwood
This form of hardwood flooring comprises three core layers that are finished off with one layer of wood veneer that is between 1/16 and 1.5 inches thick. Approximate costs of purchasing this option can vary between $4 and $6 per square foot for materials and you can expect to pay between $4 and $12 per square foot for installation. Labor costs will depend on the overall complexity of the layout you require.
2. Mid-grade Engineered Hardwood
These types of engineered flooring will normally have a thicker layer of veneer on the top and a core consisting of five separate layers instead of three. Expect to pay between $6 and $10 per square foot for materials and between $4 and $12 for labor costs.
3. High-grade Engineered Hardwood
Top of the range engineered hardwood flooring can consist of more than seven layers and a top layer that is approximately 1/6 of an inch thick – which is normally some type of exotic wood. Most of these types of flooring can cost between $$8 and $14 per square foot for materials and between $4 and $12 for labor costs.
Regular Hardwood Flooring
As with engineered hardwood, there are various types of regular hardwood flooring available. However, in most cases, you will be able to choose between planks that are approximately seven inches wide, or narrower boards that average about three inches in width. All of this will have an effect on your cost to install hardwood flooring.
1. Entry-level Solid Wood
These normally consist of the softer wood types such as pine, and you can expect to pay between $$4 and $7 per square foot for materials and between $4 and $6 per square foot for installation.
2. Mid-range Solid Wood
When it comes to mid-range varieties of solid wood, popular options include American cherry, oak and teak. On average, you can expect to pay between $$5 and $10 per square foot for materials and between $5 and $9 for installation costs.
3. Top of the Range Solid Wood
Types of wood used to manufacture this flooring can include mahogany, tiger wood, Brazilian walnut, and cypress and these can cost anywhere from $10 to over $15 per square foot for materials and up to $10 per square foot for labor costs.
Other Types of Wood Used for Flooring
Although some of the more common options have been mentioned above, there are many other types of wood that are being used to manufacture flooring these days. They can include:
- White ash
- Different types of oak
- Various species of walnut
Feel free to read our post 10 types of hardwood flooring worth considering for more information.
Other Factors that can affect the Cost to Install Hardwood Flooring
Although the average labor cost for installing hardwood floors has been provided above, this could sometimes vary. For example, labor rates will often vary depending on which part of the country you are in. In cases where furniture and/or appliances need to be moved before flooring is installed, additional labor charges could apply. Some installation companies will also charge an additional fee for removal of old flooring, so it is essential to inquire about aspects like these before accepting an estimate.
In some cases, it may be possible to lower the cost to install hardwood flooring by shopping around between suppliers. However, this doesn’t mean that you should simply opt for the cheapest pricing you can find.
It is strongly recommended that you ask around for referrals or search for online reviews before purchasing any hardwood flooring. This will not only provide you with a basic idea of the average labor cost for installing hardwood floors; it will enable you to learn more about the level of service being offered by local or online retailers ahead of time.
Regardless of the type of flooring you choose, you can expect to pay additionally in cases where joists, subflooring or any other related elements require attention beforehand. For example, if plywood sheets are required to level out subflooring, these can easily cost more than $20 each for a four-foot by eight-foot section.
If replacement joists need to be installed anywhere, your cost to install hardwood flooring could increase to as much as $35 per hour. Owing to the fact that having hardwood flooring installed is a major investment for your home, it is essential to check that any concrete underneath is carefully inspected for moisture ahead of time.
Keeping your Cost to Install Hardwood Flooring as Reasonable as Possible
If you are on an extremely tight budget, it may sometimes be possible to purchase the flooring yourself, pick it up yourself and bring it to your property with your own transport. This will enable you to only pay for labor costs. However, you will only be able to do this if you have a suitable vehicle for transporting large amounts of wood.
There are a few other ways in which you can help reduce your cost to install hardwood flooring, such as:
- Obtaining more than one estimate. Too many property owners make the mistake of only obtaining one estimate for having hardwood flooring installed. However, pricing can differ substantially between contractors. It is crucial to only obtain estimates from qualified and licensed contractors though. After all, the cost to install hardwood flooring is expensive, so you want to ensure the job is done correctly the first time
- Shopping around. Once you have decided on the type of hardwood flooring you would like to install, you can start comparing prices between online suppliers, local DIY stores or even lumber outlet stores if you have any nearby
- Reducing labor costs. It’s no secret that labor will normally form the lion’s share of your cost to install hardwood flooring. In some cases though, you may be able to reduce your labor costs by being willing to get your hands dirty. For example, if you are able to physically remove your old flooring and dispose of it yourself, you could reduce the labor cost on an estimate by 50% or more
Where to Purchase your Flooring
Another common question asked by property owners is, “Where can I purchase my hardwood flooring from?” These days, there are various options available in this regard, meaning that you should be able to shop around to get the best value for money possible.
- Local retailers. These days, most local home improvement and DIY stores keep different types of flooring in stock. In many cases, you will even be able to see the flooring ahead of time as well. This will enable you to determine whether you will be happy with the color and finish before making your final decision. Another advantage of supporting your local DIY store is that they will usually be able to provide you with on-site estimates before the work commences
- Online. There are several different retailers that offer the option to purchase your hardwood flooring online. While this can often reduce your cost to install hardwood flooring substantially, you will not be able to see the actual flooring before it is delivered to your property. As a result, you could end up with a product that you are not completely satisfied with
- Discount stores. If you are on a tight budget, you may sometimes be able to take advantage of lower priced retail stores such as Lumber Liquidators. However, keep in mind that you may need to be flexible with regards to colors and styles if you are looking for the lowest possible prices on your hardwood flooring
Not all Estimates are Created Equal
When comparing estimates from different flooring contractors, far too many property owners make the mistake of accepting the one that offers them the cheapest price. However, this can backfire badly because not all contractors will include all of the same products and services when compiling their estimates.
Some of the crucial aspects to look for when comparing estimates can include whether or not they include pricing for removal and disposal of any old flooring material and if all required components are being provided to see the job through to completion. Many unscrupulous flooring companies and contractors may provide you with an estimate that comes in at a price that is substantially lower than any others you may have received. However, the above-mentioned aspects may not have been included.
Before agreeing to accept any estimate, it is essential to inquire and ensure that these aspects are included in the cost of your flooring project. Failure to do so could result in you being left with a nasty additional bill for removal and safe disposal of your old flooring.
If a particular contractor provides an estimate that comes in at a much lower price than that of others in the area, it is recommended that you find out whether they are licensed and insured. These days, there are a number of fly-by-night contractors who enter the flooring market, undercut the legitimate contractors’ pricing and leave a trail of destruction in the form of jobs that are left incomplete or by providing substandard quality materials.
Although you may initially save money by accepting the cheapest estimate you can find, it will inevitably cost you a lot more in the long term. You may end up having to replace poor quality hardwood, which will result in additional labor costs as well. In many instances, you will also find that the cheaper contractor will not take your calls in the event of anything going wrong after the job has been completed.
Benefits of Hardwood Flooring
Most property owners who install solid hardwood flooring do so because there are many benefits associated with it, including:
When purchasing good quality solid hardwood flooring, you will be able to rest assured that the wood being used has been kiln-dried, manufactured and finished according to high industry standards. When correctly cared for, these floors have been known to last for more than 100 years.
2. It Makes an Excellent Investment for your Home
It’s no secret that homes with solid hardwood flooring will sell far quicker than those with other types of floors. This makes them an excellent long-term investment, especially if you intend selling your home in the future.
3. It has Aesthetic Appeal
Not only are solid hardwood floors extremely attractive; they provide a level of beauty and warmth in a home that no other type of flooring could ever do. They also have the ability to make rooms look more spacious than they really are.
4. Ideal for Allergy Sufferers
Solid hardwood flooring is also one of the healthiest choices, especially in homes where allergy sufferers reside. This flooring does not trap dust and allergens like carpeting, and this also enables the overall air quality in your home to be better than average.
Benefits of Engineered Wood Flooring
Although solid hardwood flooring has many benefits, engineered hardwood flooring does as well – some of which will be listed here:
1. It is Environmentally Friendly
A single plank of solid hardwood flooring is able to produce between five and seven pieces of engineered wood. This results in far fewer pieces of solid wood being required to manufacture this type of flooring, making it a more environmentally friendly option. Most forms of engineered hardwood flooring are also being obtained and manufactured from sustainable forest areas as well.
2. More Cost-effective than Solid Hardwood
If you like the appearance of solid hardwood flooring, but simply cannot afford the cost of it, engineered hardwood may provide you with a viable alternative. You will still be able to enjoy having the appearance of solid hardwood floors but at a fraction of the price.
3. It can be more Resistant to Wear and Tear
Most types of engineered hardwood flooring are sold with some form of warranty against material defects and warping. In many cases, it can also be refinished if required. This means that with the correct care and maintenance, it can remain fantastic looking for many years after being installed.
Caring for your Hardwood Flooring
After your solid or engineered hardwood flooring has been installed, it is important that you follow all instructions, you receive with regards to its care and maintenance.
Most types of hardwood flooring cannot be soaked when cleaning them, as this could cause them to swell or warp. Instead, only a damp mop should be used along with an appropriate cleaning solution if required. Dust and dirt should be swept up as soon as possible to prevent it from scratching the flooring surface as well. It is also important to avoid dropping sharp or heavy objects on to this flooring, as it can result in denting or gouging.
Now that you have information regarding the approximate cost to install hardwood flooring, you will need to find a reliable supplier and installer. After the installation has been completed, you will be able to look forward to getting many years’ use out of either your solid or engineered hardwood flooring products. Please note that pricing, mentioned is approximate and could vary.
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