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How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost?
Hardwood flooring tends to be favored by homeowners who want long-lasting value for their homes, as well as those that prefer natural materials. Some hardwood floors can even be sustainable, depending on their origins.
With regard to cost, it is generally assumed that authentic wood is going to cost more than laminate or vinyl. This is because laminate and vinyl both imitate the real: laminate imitates wood, and vinyl often imitates marble, stone, or tile.
Authentic materials require a lot more preparation to be home-ready, and the question of availability can also increase the price. As such, hardwood floors can be a more expensive choice, both regarding the material itself and installation costs.
Keep in mind that hardwood floors can come not only in different wood species and finishes, they can also come in different types as well. Solid, unfinished hardwood floors will cost less per square foot than engineered and prefinished hardwood floors for the material. However, engineered and prefinished floors tend to be less expensive to install while also being lower in overall maintenance.
Hardwood typically costs $6 to $18 per square foot at the low end, including installation. For exotic hardwoods and specialty finishes, expect to pay closer to $13 to $30 per square foot installed for the project.
Most homeowners spend around $2,500 – $7,500 to install hardwood flooring in an average living room of 340 square feet. Installing hardwood in the whole home averages $14,700 to $44,000 for a 2,000 sq. ft. home.
That’s a pretty wide range; let’s examine some factors that determine the cost of a hardwood floor:
Hardwood Installation Labor Costs
When you’re working with solid hardwood, you don’t want to make mistakes during the installation process. The material is already a lot more expensive than vinyl or laminate, so the precision of the labor is key to avoiding unnecessary waste.
Most flooring contractors will charge $4 to $8 per square foot for installation, depending on the complexity of the project. The skill level of the contractor and geographic area can influence the cost of installation.
If you need to have your floors finished, expect to pay an additional $1 to $3 a square foot than if the floors you purchased were prefinished.
Variety of Wood
Some woods are more expensive than others. Pine is often the most affordable, but the range of pine prices varies greatly depending on width and appearance. Chestnut and cherry tend to be on the more expensive side of the price range, and exotic hardwoods can cost even more.
The price of hardwoods can also vary greatly by region as different varieties of trees are more common than others in different areas. The cost of transportation can significantly impact the price of certain types of hardwoods.
The width of the floorboards selected can also impact the cost. Wider boards tend to cost more for materials since they are much more rare, while thinner boards will take longer to install, so they may cost more for labor.
Reclaimed materials add character and beauty to a space while also being a good option for sustainable homes, but they come at a significant cost. Reclaimed materials can run about $2 to $3 a square foot more than new materials.
However, you may not get the same choices for wood species, and some companies do not sort by wood species, but instead group by average color. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for antique or reclaimed flooring.
Average Hardwood Flooring Costs
|Species||Cost per Square Foot||Average Floor Cost (300 sq. ft. room)|
|Ash||$6 – $8 / sq. ft.||$1,800 – $2,400|
|Cherry||$9 – $10 / sq. ft.||$2,700 – $3,000|
|Hickory||$7 – $9 / sq. ft.||$2,100 – $2,700|
|Maple||$9 – $10 / sq. ft.||$2,700 – $3,000|
|Red Oak||$6 – $8 / sq. ft.||$1,800 – $2,400|
|White Oak||$5 – $7 / sq. ft.||$1,500 – $2,100|
|Walnut||$11 – $13 / sq. ft.||$3,300 – $3,900|
|Reclaimed Cherry||$16 – $20 / sq. ft.||$4,800 – $6,000|
|Reclaimed Chestnut||$17 – $20 / sq. ft.||$5,100 – $6,000|
|Reclaimed Oak||$15 – $18 / sq. ft.||$4,500 – $5,400|
|Reclaimed Pine||$15 – $18 / sq. ft.||$4,500 – $5,400|
Size of Room
If you really want to get a good estimate of the cost of a hardwood floor, you should estimate the amount of hardwood you need for the size of your room. Or, you can simply calculate the square footage of your room.
Just measure the length and width of your room to find out how much hardwood you need. The length and width of a room in feet multiplied together will give you the square footage of a room.
Always remember to purchase a bit more than you need to account for waste and difficult corners or crevices that may require using more wood than necessary. Most installers suggest ordering 10% extra.
Durability of the Floor
Consider the durability of the material when selecting a hardwood. Some prefinished flooring options can outlast an applied finish by decades. Softwoods may need to be refinished more often than hardwoods since they tend to be more prone to deeper scratches.
Keep in mind that while solid hardwood can be refinished a nearly infinite number of times, engineered hardwoods can only be refinished 4 to 6 times on average.
Learn more about the cost of refinishing a hardwood floor to see if it’s a factor you should consider when selecting a new floor. If you’re replacing a floor, consider refinishing as a cost-effective alternative to new.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do real hardwood floors increase home value?
Yes, real hardwood floors have one of the highest ROIs, approaching 90% or more in some areas. They are recommended by Realtors in all areas and for all home types.
How many years do hardwood floors last?
When well maintained, a solid hardwood floor can last for centuries. Engineered wood floors can typically last for 50 years or more.
Is it cheaper to redo hardwood floors or replace them?
This will depend on several factors, including the type of floor, what they were previously finished with, and their condition. In most cases, it is cheaper to refinish your existing floors than it is to install new ones.
All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.