By Katie Flannery | Updated Apr 6, 2022 3:32 PM
Hardwood flooring can add texture and warmth to any room. Several factors come into play when estimating hardwood flooring cost and the typical cost range runs from $2,493 to $6,754, with the national average being $4,540 or roughly $8 per square foot. Most flooring professionals charge between $6 to $12 per square foot for materials, and high-end jobs can run as high as $13 to $25 or more. On average, approximately 50 to 75 percent of your budget will go to materials and the rest to labor costs. Hardwood flooring costs can fluctuate due to types of wood, the width of the planks, stain, adhesive, and style. Some hardwood flooring professionals will include the removal of old wood flooring or carpeting with the price of installation and trim, but others may charge separately for that service. Installing wood flooring not only improves the overall appearance of the room but also adds resale value and helps to increase the marketability of your home.
Knowing how to calculate the overall hardwood flooring cost will take away any sticker shock down the road. To figure out how much the wood flooring will cost, calculate the square footage of the room, then add 5 to 10 percent for cuts and waste. Take that figure and multiply it by the square foot price of the flooring to find the cost. Don’t forget to add on the price of extras such as nails, moldings, and thresholds. The formula for calculating overall cost is:
(Square footage + 5 to 10 percent of square footage) x price per square foot = cost.
The factors that go into calculating hardwood flooring cost include the square footage of material, labor, and wood type as well as color, grain, plank width, style, pattern, and thickness. Whether the wood flooring is engineered or traditional solid hardwood will also play into the cost There are many options available when choosing hardwood flooring. Being aware of the differences within each category will help you select the wood flooring that’s right for you and your home.
The first thing homeowners may think of when deciding on types of hardwood flooring is the overall color. For a light and airy look, turn to paler woods, such as ash or maple. Hickory or oak add warmth and should work for a room that needs a medium wood shade. For those who prefer a darker wood color, mahogany or walnut will provide a dark, rich tone. Each type of wood will vary in price range, with oak and hickory on the lower end and mahogany on the high end of the price range. Wood grain will also affect the price. Plain-sawn planks, with the grain running across the plank in a wave-like pattern, are the most affordable. Quarter-sawn or rift-sawn planks that have the grain running in lines down the length of the board are more expensive. Some wood types, like oak, will have a tight and highly visible wood grain, while others, like white ash or acadia, will have a variation of grain patterns and contrast.
Wood floors are graded by their physical characteristics. Wood flooring that has been graded “clear” has a uniform color and lacks knots or other imperfections. A “select” grade is given to wood flooring that has more of a natural appearance with knots, variations in color, and mineral streaks. A grade of “No. 1 common” is given to wood flooring that has even more color variation and may even have wormholes. “No. 2 common” flooring is even more rustic than the “No. 1 common” grading. The “clear” grading is the most expensive and the price goes down according to the grade.
Hardwood flooring comes from many different tree species and each type has different colors, prices, and durability. The cheapest wood flooring is usually pine. It can run from $1.50 to $5 per square foot. Less expensive wood species of hardwood, such as oak or American cherry, cost between $5 to $15 per square foot. More expensive species, such as Brazilian walnut or mahogany can run up to $8 to $18 per square foot. Wood flooring typically comes in boards that measure 3 inches wide or less. Wide plank flooring can cost anywhere from $1.50 to $12 per square foot for the boards and between $3 to $4 for labor. There are fewer boards to cover the area when using wide planks, and in turn, less to pay for labor.
The different styles and patterns available for hardwood flooring affect the overall cost. Wood-look tile ranges from $15 to $20 per square foot or approximately $900 to $2,700 for a total installation. This isn’t actually hardwood, but tile that looks like wood flooring. Though more expensive than wood, it’s much more durable and rot- and warp-resistant in potentially damp places like basements. Herringbone wood flooring patterns add 30 percent to the installation cost. A herringbone pattern is created by installing the planks at an angle, resulting in more waste and a longer installation. Traditional parquet flooring costs $20 to $45 per square foot if installing it piece by piece. Today, it’s more common to buy parquet-style flooring kits with premade wooden tiles that look like the classic parquet design. These kits can run $7 to $10 per square foot or $15,000 on average.
The standard thickness for wood flooring is 3/4-inch. Some hardwood flooring can be found as thin as 5/16-inch but this can affect refinishing. Solid 3/4-inch planks can be sanded and refinished up to 10 times. Thinner boards can’t be sanded as much and will not stand up to repeated refinishing.
With engineered flooring, the base is plywood and the top is a finished wood veneer. Engineered flooring might not last as long as solid hardwood flooring, but it does perform well for a more affordable upfront cost. For homeowners that are looking to spend less on wood flooring, engineered flooring is a budget-friendly option. Engineered floors have superior durability and moisture resistance. Engineered wood flooring can range in price from $4.50 to upwards of $16 per square foot depending on wood type. On the lower end of the price range are wood boards that have three core layers and a veneer that’s between 1/16 to 1/12-inch thick. In the midrange are boards that have a five-layer core and a thicker veneer. At the top end, some engineered flooring has seven or more core layers and a 1/6-inch-thick exotic hardwood veneer. Some of the most popular engineered flooring options are maple, heart pine, white ash, bamboo, Brazilian cherry, Brazilian koa, and acacia. One of the biggest benefits of installing more expensive solid hardwood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished multiple times, meaning it’s likely to be the only flooring you’ll have to buy for your home.
When budgeting for hardwood flooring costs, there are usually additional price factors and considerations. Labor costs for hardwood flooring can run from $3 to $5 per square foot. Labor costs can vary due to the type, width, and style of wood flooring being installed. Installing unfinished hardwood flooring, which will require finishing after installation, can lead to additional cost, as can repairing or replacing existing hardwood or subflooring, floor joist repairs, additional coating, or installing wood-look tile flooring.
If you like the look of your current flooring, it may be possible to repair or refinish the existing hardwood flooring. This budget-friendly option works if your hardwood floor simply needs to be sanded and refinished to restore the luster and shine it once had. Solid hardwood flooring can be sanded and refinished multiple times. Engineered wood can also be refinished, though fewer times. Hardwood floor refinishing costs between $1,000 to $2,500 for sanding and revarnishing.
The harder the wood flooring, the longer it will take to install. Exotic hardwoods, like teak and Brazilian walnut, have a longer installation time than softer woods, like pine. Angled and intricate patterns such as herringbone require more cuts and result in more flooring material waste, which drives up the cost. Complex room layouts or rooms with counters will require more installation time and will raise the hardwood flooring cost.
Floor joist repairs cost around $2,000 to $5,000. If there is extensive rot, moisture, or insect damage, the floor joists may need to be reinforced.
To extend the durability of wood flooring, add a coating of a protective seal called a finish. Finishes are typically made from polyurethanes or prefinished UV-cured urethane, oils, or oil hybrids. Finishes applied and cured in a factory are usually more durable than ones applied after installation. The big bonus of using prefinished wood flooring is you can walk on the flooring directly after installation without having to wait for the coats of finish to dry. Prefinished hardwood flooring costs between $6 to $12 per square foot. Installing unfinished wood flooring can raise the labor costs an additional $2 to $5, since the wood will need to be finished after installation.
Installing alternative flooring such as wood-look tile flooring runs anywhere from $900 to $2,700. Wood-look tile is tile flooring that has the appearance of wood. It’s more expensive to install than wood flooring, but it’s more resilient and is resistant to rotting and warping.
Hardwood flooring costs can vary due to the type of wood used in the floorboards. Each type has different ranges in color and price. Renowned for their rich tones and durability, exotic woods and wood from tropical areas are more expensive than the more budget-friendly domestic woods.To help guide your decision, here are some of the most commonly used hardwood species.
The average cost for maple flooring runs from $6.50 to $11 per square foot. Maple is dent resistant and good for high-traffic areas. It can range in color from white to pale red.
Pine is usually the cheapest of the wood flooring types, commonly running from $4.50 to $10 per square foot. It’s known for the rustic knotty patterns in the grain, with colors ranging from light beige to a rich golden amber. The downside of pine is it’s on the softer side and dents easily.
Sustainable bamboo flooring can cost between $5 and $11 per square foot. The main benefit of bamboo is it’s extreme hardness and durability. The color can run from pale yellow to green.
White ash flooring averages $9 to $13 per square foot. It can range in color from soft, light tan to pale gray, with either visible knots or a clear grade without color variations or imperfections. It’s worth noting that white ash can be difficult to stain.
Hickory flooring can cost from $6 to $13 per square foot. It has notable color variation and is hard and durable. Hickory is a great option for high-traffic areas.
The average cost for red oak flooring is between $8 and $13 per square foot. It has a reddish, tightly visible grain and is exceptionally durable. Red oak flooring is known for creating a warm and welcome ambiance in any room.
White oak flooring ranges from $8 to $15 per square foot. Despite its name, it’s darker in color than red oak and has brown and yellow undertones. White oak has a minimal smooth grain and lends itself to more modern home decor.
Brazilian walnut flooring runs from $11 to $20 per square foot. As an exotic hardwood, it’s extremely hard and durable but is expensive to install.
The cost of cypress flooring averages $8 to $18 per square foot and can run between $4 to $8 per square foot for labor. Cypress is a relatively soft wood that will take on a distressed and aged look when used in high-traffic areas. It has an arching, swirling grain and is honey-gold in color.
The elegant beauty of hardwood floors can give way to noticeable wear and tear over the years. Perhaps your older home is starting to show its age and it’s time to replace the hardwood flooring. Several red flags signal when it’s time to replace the flooring.
One of the benefits of having hardwood floors is that they can be sanded and refinished multiple times, but how many times are too many? Floorboards are only so thick and can’t handle endless sanding and revarnishing. Too much sanding will result in thin and weak floorboards that will potentially crack. If you’ve reached this point, it may be time to replace your hardwood flooring.
Moving furniture, daily wear and tear, and pets can cause scratches in wood flooring. A few scratches are expected, but if they cover a large area of the flooring or if they’re deep gouges, repair or replacement may be in order. If the wood flooring has chips and scrapes that penetrate deep into the wood, the flooring becomes susceptible to water damage due to the missing coating or varnish. Worn stain can lead to more serious issues such as splintered or warped wood, both of which call for a replacement.
Water damage is a common concern for homeowners with hardwood flooring. Engineered wood flooring is more resistant to water damage than solid hardwood. Both types of flooring can stain and warp if exposed to significant amounts of water due to plumbing issues or flooding. Water damage can cause floorboards to warp, rot, and separate. Significant water damage is one of the main signs that wood flooring needs to be replaced.
Exposed nails that poke through the top of the flooring can cause pain and injury if you or a family member step on them. Nails usually pop up in high-traffic areas where the chances of stepping on one or stubbing a toe are high. If there are many exposed nails over a wide area of flooring, it may be time to look into hardwood flooring replacement.
The color of wood flooring may change over time due to sun exposure or water damage. Superficial discoloration can be fixed with refinishing, but gray or very dark stains may be a sign water has damaged the structure of the wood and the flooring needs to be replaced.
Creaking floorboards usually mean the wood is rubbing against the subfloor or itself. Creaking can be a sign the structural integrity of the wood flooring is compromised and weak. Wooden floorboards that bend or creak can signal water damage or a shifting foundation. Hardwood floors that dip or swell are symptoms of larger structural problems.
Aside from floor damage, there are other reasons to replace hardwood flooring. Wood flooring adds to the overall value of the home and helps increase its marketability. Brand new hardwood flooring can transform a home by providing a fresh new look.
Professionally installed hardwood flooring can last for generations. Whether you’re repairing or replacing wood flooring, it will raise your property value, making it a long-term investment.
Hardwood floors are relatively low maintenance. They require weekly sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, and occasional deep cleaning.
Hardwood floors are durable and easy to maintain. Fortunately, many scratches and scrapes can be easily fixed with no need for replacement boards.
Hardwood floor installation is usually best left to the professionals. Improper installation not only looks unsightly, but the flooring can warp, split, and shrink. Finding professional hardwood flooring installers who know how to install hardwood floors correctly is worth it. Installing a hardwood floor goes beyond measuring and gluing or nailing down floorboards. A professional will know the correct installation technique, how to allow for adjustments for humidity and temperature, and whether to use a vapor barrier. They also have the skills to install custom patterns and exotic hardwoods as well as manipulate around features, such as fireplaces, closets, and counters. If you’re looking to save some money and want to try installing wood flooring on your own, it’s recommended to use an engineered floating floor; they’re much more forgiving than solid hardwood and it’s easier to fix installation mistakes.
Consider these questions to learn what type of hardwood flooring you need and how to estimate hardwood flooring cost.
Installing hardwood flooring can be expensive and the additional costs associated with installation can quickly add up. One way to save money is to install the cheapest flooring option, but there are other ways to save money without compromising on the quality and style of wood flooring you really want.
Asking a hardwood flooring professional the right questions can help minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Here are some questions to ask about hardwood flooring cost.
Deciding on hardwood flooring and keeping the overall hardwood flooring cost down can be a daunting process. Here are some frequently asked questions about hardwood flooring cost to help guide you in your decision.
Installing hardwood flooring averages between $6 and $12 per square foot. On average, wood flooring costs between $3 and $7 per square foot for materials and $3 to $5 per square foot for labor. An estimate for installation of 1000 square feet of hardwood flooring runs between $6,000 and $12,000.
Some prefinished hardwood floors come with a 50-year warranty. With regular care, a solid wood floor can last twice that long. The average warranty on engineered wood floors ranges from 10 to 30 years.
Spills should be wiped and cleaned up immediately and it’s recommended to use furniture pads to reduce the potential for scratches and scrapes. Dust or sweep hardwood floors daily, vacuum weekly to avoid scratches, and use wood cleaner monthly to keep floors shiny.
It’s time to replace hardwood floors when there is visible water or structural damage. Other reasons to replace are if the wood flooring has been sanded multiple times, there are gouges and scrapes, nails are popping up through the flooring, there’s excessive wear and tear, or the boards creek or bend.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Nerdwallet,
Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Copyright © 2022 Acton Media Inc. All rights reserved.