How much does it cost to install laminate flooring?
Laminate flooring is a manufactured product that gives the owner the same beautiful look of hardwood, stone, or tile but without a lot of the difficulties of installation. It is one of the most durable of all flooring options, and withstands exposure to water, debris, and heavy traffic. It is also, in fact, a common DIY project because it is an easily installed "floating" floor that demands no gluing or nailing, and which is easily installed atop pre-existing wood, vinyl, or subflooring. This means that some costs can be reduced where installation is concerned.
For this discussion, we will consider the materials and costs for the installation of a laminate floor in the average 200 square foot kitchen (measuring 10'x20'). This pricing will assume that the owner will want to keep costs as low as possible, and will NOT include such things as:
- Furniture removal or replacement;
- Fees associated with the removal of older flooring or removal and re-installation of moldings and baseboards; and
- Delivery and installation.
How difficult is a laminate flooring installation? It is something considered to be of intermediate complexity, and may need a few extra hands to tackle on the DIY basis. If the room is relatively square and the cuts can be kept simple, it is relatively easy to manage.
The average costs and materials associated with this project include:
- Preparing the pre-existing floor - This includes an assessment of the pre-existing subfloor, and replacement of plywood or joists when necessary. The costs would be $22 per 4'x8' sheet of plywood. Assuming that the kitchen contains roughly 20 linear feet of cabinetry it would require six sheets of wood for the floor space, at a cost of approximately $132;
- Installation of the new flooring - The average price on a square foot of laminate flooring, installed, is between $7 and $11. This assumes that the owner or the installer is also including the costs for the mandatory foam underlay and any adhesives or glues required for its installation. Because it is always recommended that a 10% excess is purchased to allow for appropriate cuts, the total costs for this project would stand at roughly $2475;
- Additional materials costs for this project would include new thresholds and base moldings (as well as any installation fees), and a sound barrier because most laminate floors do not absorb sound and often require the use of an "acoustic" underlay to reduce the noise of traffic.
Additional considerations and costs
- Many home and property owners find that the replacement of subflooring is beyond their skill level and will opt to hire a carpenter to install new floor joists or to lay new plywood. The average carpenter will charge between $70 per hour, and should need no more than a full business day to complete a project of this size. It is best to remove the old flooring before they arrive as this is an uncomplicated project.
- Some homeowners also use the installation as an opportunity to run electric radiant heat cables beneath the flooring.