How much does it cost to install hardwood flooring?
Hardwoods are among the most durable and beautiful of flooring options, and they are one of the few that will actually boost the value of the property too. Home and property owners can find wood flooring in a huge number of styles and finishes. There are solid and engineered woods, and there are also site finished and pre-finished options too.
For this discussion, we will consider the materials and costs for the installation of a prefinished hardwood floor in the average 250 square foot living room. This pricing will assume that the owner will want to keep costs low and will NOT cover such costs as:
- Fees associated with the removal of older flooring.
- Furniture removal or replacement.
Can hardwood floor installation be tackled as a DIY project? Certainly, and the selection of the prefinished flooring is the wisest option if a property owner wants to handle the installation on their own. This is because it is a material with a much longer warranty (as opposed to flooring finished only after the rigors of installation), and because it is often designed to be installed very easily.
- The average costs and materials associated with this project include:
- Preparing the old floor for the new installation - This often means assessing the pre-existing subfloor 1, and if plywood 2 needs replacement the cost for this job would be $22 per 4'x8' sheet of plywood 2. Assuming that the living room is roughly 16'x16' without any impediments or angles, the job would require 8 sheets at a cost of approximately $176.
- Installation of the new flooring - Regardless of whether or not the owner will be handling the installation independently, all experts insist that the flooring materials be located in the room in which they will be installed for at least a full week prior to the actual installation. Costs will vary according to the style selected, but according HardwoodInstaller.com the average job (including removal of moldings, placement of vapor barriers 3 or foam underlay, and cutting to size) will be roughly $8.25 per square foot. For the living room project this translates to a total cost of $2063. If this installation were a DIY project, it is safe to assume a $4 to $6 price per square foot, or $1250 for the materials.
- Additional materials costs might include an insulating underlay, glue or adhesive, and any recommended cleansers or sealants. Generally, all new installations will demand a manufacturer's treatment to ensure the best results, and most cost no more than $20 per container.
Additional considerations and costs
- Even enthusiastic DIY fans find that the replacement of subflooring 1 is beyond their skill level and hire a carpenter to tackle the installation of new floor joists or plywood 2 over a concrete base. The average carpenter will charge between $20 and $35 per hour, and should need no more than a full business day to tackle such a project. It is more cost-effective to remove the old flooring before they arrive as this is a project that can also take up several hours itself.
- Some homeowners also have to vacate the premises in the days that the installation occurs because the fumes can be quite noxious. If the area of the home cannot be sealed off, a night or two in a hotel might also have to be worked into the budget!
Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet
Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
: The bottom-most layer of a floor, supported by joists, over which finished flooring material is laid
: An engineered construction material manufactured from thin slices of wood glued together in alternating grain patterns for strength
3 Vapor barriers
: A protective cover, commonly made of polyethylene, used for damp proofing walls and floors
Cost to install hardwood flooring varies greatly by region (and even by zipcode). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.