How Much Does Hardwood Flooring and Installation Cost?
$6 – $26 Per Square Foot Installed
Average Hardwood Flooring Installation Costs
The average cost to have hardwood floors installed in your home is around $9 – $20 per square foot. For do-it-yourself homeowners, you can expect the cost to be around $6 – $9 / sqft, and when hiring a professional contractor to handle the wood flooring installation, between $13 to $26 per square foot. Professional installation usually includes the cost of all flooring, installation supplies, stain or finishing, replacement trim, and removal and disposal of your old flooring. If repairs are needed once the original flooring is removed, there may be additional costs.
Overview of Having Hardwood Floors Installed
The beauty of genuine hardwood flooring is unsurpassed. That’s why laminate, LVP and other floor types mimic its appearance. You have a wide range of options. When you’ve selected the wood species you want, plank width, the stain color and finish, you’ll have wood flooring nicely suited to your home.
Genuine hardwood flooring can be very affordable when its lifetime cost is considered. When other floor materials like carpeting or laminate flooring are being replaced multiple times, solid hardwood will last indefinitely with refinishing every 8-15 years depending on the wear and tear they get. Most solid hardwood can be refinished 4-6 times. Many homes feature hardwood that looks great well into its second century.
This hardwood flooring cost estimate discusses cost factors, retail price of wood flooring, installation labor costs and sample pricing for various sized jobs. We’ve included wood floor cost information from other reliable estimating sites, and our readers are invited to submit their project costs for the benefit of others viewing this information.
Product and Installation Supplies Cost Details
Solid Hardwood Flooring Cost Factors
Whether you pay the max or the minimum, or likely somewhere in the middle, will depend on these factors. Material and installation factors affect price.
- Wood Type – Species is the single largest wood flooring cost factor. The price spectrum starts at cheap pine flooring and some oak. Walnut and hickory are common woods in the average range. The most expensive wood flooring is imported exotic woods like teak or ipe.
- Wood Grade – Some hardwood flooring is graded, and there are different systems used. The best grades, such as Clear, Better or Select often cost more than Character Grade (knots, wormholes, etc.), Common and Good.
- Finished vs Unfinished – Unfinished hardwood costs less than flooring with a factory finish. If you’re going to sand and finish the floor, you’ll save money. If you’re going to hire someone for the job, your total project costs will be significantly higher. Here’s another pro tip: The toughest coatings contain aluminum oxide – and those coatings can only be factory-applied. So if you want the most durable wear, choose a prefinished wood flooring with aluminum oxide.
- Hand-scraped, Brushed or Weathered – When the wood is put through processes or treatments that affect appearance, cost usually goes up.
- Square Feet Installed – Cost per square foot goes down the more flooring is installed.
- Underlayment – Fresh underlayment will add a few bucks per square foot to the job.
- Layout – The work in an open floor plan goes faster than in hallways, a series of small rooms or stairs. Installing hardwood, or any flooring, on stairs has a much higher labor rate and is usually quoted separately.
- Flooring Removal – Tearing out old carpet, vinyl or laminate usually costs $1.00-$3.00 per square foot depending on the flooring and whether disposal is involved. A DIY option is to rent a dumpster and do the work yourself.
- Emptying Rooms – If the installers are going to move furniture, expect to pay $15-$50 per room.
Cost of Installation Supplies
Here are retail wood flooring prices for the most common species. These are material costs only. Installation labor costs are below. Material cost factors are listed above.
Costs are per square foot.
- Less than $1.00 to $3.00 | Pine Flooring
- $2.00 – $3.50 | Bamboo Flooring
- $2.75 – $5.25 | Red Oak Flooring
- $3.00 – $5.75 | Maple Flooring
- $3.50 – $6.50 | Hickory Flooring
- $4.25 – $6.50 | White Oak Flooring
- $4.85 – $6.50 | Ash Flooring
- $5.75 – $9.50 | Walnut Flooring
- $7.00 – $12.00 | Brazilian Walnut, aka, Ipe Flooring
- $8.00 – $12.50 | Mahogany, Tigerwood and other Exotic Wood Flooring
- $8.50 – $15.00 | Reclaimed Wood Flooring
Sample Project Costs
Let’s put our cost factors and retail prices together and show why the wide cost range cited of $7.25 to $23.00 per square foot makes sense.
Project 1). Maple flooring graded “Common,” which is one of the most affordable grades, is installed in an open plan living room and kitchen/dining area. The wood is prefinished in a standard stain/sealer combination with no special treatment.
1,000 square feet of flooring are installed that has a retail cost of $3.85 per square foot. The installation is considered easy, so costs $4.00 per square foot.
Total project cost: $7,850.
Project 2). Maple flooring graded “Clear,” the top grade, is installed in a small den with an adjoining half bath. It is prefinished with a durable aluminum oxide stain and sealer.
500 square feet of flooring are used with a retail price of $5.50/square foot. The space has a fireplace hearth, doors and bathroom fixtures that must be trimmed around. Installation is considered moderately difficult, so the cost is $6.50/square foot.
Total project cost is: $6,000.
These projects show how you can use the Cost Factors above to estimate your costs and adjust your flooring options to meet your budget more accurately.
Total installed cost would look like this for the various project sizes:
- 100 square feet: $725 – $2,300
- 200 square feet: $1,450 – $4,600
- 400 square feet: $2,900 – $9,200
- 600 square feet: $4,350 – $13,800
- 1000 square feet: $7,250 – $23,000
Flooring Removal and Disposal Cost
Removing old flooring can be a costly extra. If it’s hardwood, you might be able to sell it. This article from Bizfluent discusses how it might be done. There’s a market for reclaimed wood flooring, tabletops and other furniture constructed of aged flooring, so a company that produces those products might be interested in your flooring.
Similarly, some old tile can be sold, but removing tiles carefully enough to not break them is backbreaking, tedious work and might not bring revenue to make it worthwhile. Another option for either type is to donate it to Habitat for Humanity which might either sell it or install it, or to another charitable organization.
Most homeowners that save the $1.00 to $3.00 per square foot it costs to remove various flooring types that can’t be reclaimed either rent a small dumpster for it or dispose of it in their weekly trash pickup.
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $0 | No permit is needed to install hardwood floors.
Related Costs and Installation Time
Hardwood installation labor cost varies with layout of the floors, amount of trimming required, flooring type, installation method and plank width and length (wider and longer planks install faster).
- $3.00 to $8.00 per square foot | Labor cost to install hardwood flooring.
An experienced hardwood installer installs 15 to 25 square feet per hour. Here are time frames for common-size jobs. A 2-person crew will get the jobs done in half the time.
- Up to 1 Day | Installation up to 100 square feet.
- 1-2 Days | Installation of 200 square feet
- 2-3 Days | Installation of 400 square feet
- 2.5-4 Days | Installation of 600 square feet
- 5-6 Days | Installation of 1000 square feet
DIY or Hire a Pro?
Homeowners with good skills install their hardwood floors with success. But how-to knowledge and attention to installation instructions necessary if you want a job that looks professional and avoids common hardwood flooring problems. When improperly installed, gapping between boards or buckling of boards that are too tight is possible. So are plank placement problems called stepping or lightning and H-patterns.
The Home Depot calls hardwood flooring installation “Intermediate” in difficulty and provides a guide with a list of tools required. There are how-to’s for prepping the floor, laying out and racking planks, installing planks, trimming and handling corners. Watching this 4-minute video on hardwood installation should help you gauge whether this is a project you want to tackle.
Each hardwood flooring manufacturer has its own install instructions, so they should be read, understood and followed.