How Much Does It Cost to Install Hardwood Flooring?
$6 – $15 per square foot
Hardwood flooring costs $6 to $11 per square foot to install on average, with high-end prices ranging from $12 to $23 per square foot for both materials and installation. The installation includes finishing, trim, and removal of your old floor. Get free estimates from hardwood flooring installers near you.
Hardwood Floor Installation Costs
The average cost to install hardwood flooring is $4,213 with most homeowners spending between $2,311 and $6,115. On the low end, you can expect to pay $6 to $11 per square foot, and on the high-end prices range from $12 to $23 per square foot for both materials and installation. The installation includes finishing, trim, and removal of your old floor.
|National Average Cost||$4,213|
|Average Range||$2,311 to $6,115|
With many available options, it is important to understand what variables will impact the final cost of your project. Whether you opt for traditional hardwood materials or engineered hardwood flooring, you need to choose an option that makes sense for you and your home. This guide is intended to help you through your wood flooring journey, helping you better understand the costs involved. That way, you can plan accordingly and most importantly, stay within your budget.
Table Of Contents
Hardwood Flooring Installation Cost Per Square Foot
Hardwood flooring installation costs $6 to $23 per square foot with most homeowners spending between $8 and $15 per square foot on average. The main pricing factors include the type of wood you select and labor costs for professional installation.
|Hardwood Type||Low Grade||Mid Grade||High Grade|
|Traditional Hardwood||$6 – $11||$9 – $18||$12 – $23|
|Engineered Hardwood||$6 – $14||$9 – $19||$12 – $23|
Average Labor Cost For Installing Hardwood Floors
The average labor cost for installing hardwood floors ranges from $3 to $9 per square foot to hiring a professional contractor. Expect labor costs to make up approximately 50% of your total project cost. Always get multiple bids from various hardwood flooring contractors so you can make an educated decision.
How Much To Install Hardwood Floors On 1,000 Sq. Feet?
The average cost to install hardwood floors on 1,000 sq. feet is between $6,115 and $10,140 with most homeowners spending about $8,127 for materials and professional labor.
Hardwood Stairs Cost
Installing hardwood stairs costs between $100 and $200 per step on average, which includes all materials and professional labor. Typically a flight of stairs has 12 to 15 steps, which would be a total of $1,200 to $3,000.
Traditional Wood Flooring Costs
The cost of new wood floors ranges from $6 to $13 per square foot while engineered hardwood is slightly more expensive at an average of $6 to $15 per square foot for both materials and installation. Traditional flooring is solid wood without any layers – in comparison to engineered wood, which is constructed with multiple layers of hardwood and plywood. Both are durable, high-performance options, so it just depends on your personal preference.
|Floor Grade||Materials Cost (SF)||Labor Cost (SF)||Total Cost(SF)|
|Lowest tier||$3 to $6||$3 to $5||$6 to $11|
|Middle tier||$5 to $10||$4 to $8||$9 to $18|
|Highest tier||$8 to $15||$4 to $8||$12 to $23|
The hardest hardwoods, such as walnut and oak are the most durable. However, they are also more costly. Although prices will vary depending on the supplier, you can expect three key pricing groups based on the hardness and rarity of the wood.
Wood Flooring Grades
Wood flooring typically comes in 3 different grades. Also, wood floors are available in narrow boards or planks. These range of approximately 3 inches to 7 inches in width respectively. In terms of how much traditional wood flooring costs, the most significant factor is, of course, the type of wood you select.
- Lowest tier – Soft woods, including pine and poplar, generally cost anywhere from $3 to $6 per square foot, as well as an additional $3 to $5 for installation.
- Middle tier – These woods will be hardwood options, which are relatively common, including oak, teak, or American cherry. In comparison, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5 to $10 a square foot for the flooring itself, in addition to around $4 to $8 per square foot for professional installation.
- Highest tier – The most expensive hardwoods are those that are rare and/or exotic, such as tigerwood, mahogany, or Brazilian walnut. These typically cost anywhere between $8 to $15 per square foot, in addition to $4 to $8 per square foot for installation.
Engineered Hardwood Costs
Installing engineered hardwood costs $6 to $11 per square foot on the low end, all the way up to $12 to $23 per square foot for exotic hardwoods. When comparing traditional and engineered wood, the main difference is in the construction of the wood itself. As discussed, traditional wood is just solid wood, prepared into boards or planks.
In contrast, engineered wood is constructed with multiple layers of hardwood and plywood. Based on the way these layers are created and positioned, engineered hardwood helps prevent any bowing or warping of the wood following exposure to moisture.
|Floor Grade||Materials Cost (SF)||Labor Cost (SF)||Total Cost(SF)|
|Lowest tier||$3 to $5||$3 to $9||$6 to $11|
|Middle tier||$5 to $10||$4 to $9||$9 to $19|
|Highest tier||$8 to $14||$4 to $9||$12 to $23|
Available in the most popular species, including maple, hickory, and oak, you will also find different finishes, such as matte, semi-gloss, or gloss. Based on the number of engineered wood flooring options available today, you benefit from greater flexibility in regards to pricing and where you can install the wood.
Hardwood Flooring Grades
Similar to traditional wood, engineered hardwood is offered at varying grades and price points:
- Lowest tier – This will be your most basic engineered hardwood, consisting of three layers, finished with a top layer of veneer. The cost of material will be between $3 and $5 per square foot, and depending on the complexity of the project/layout, installation can cost anywhere between $3 and $9 per square foot.
- Middle tier – You can also invest in an upgraded version, which typically includes a five-layer core, finished with a thicker veneer. Installation costs are generally the same. However, the wood itself is slightly more, costing an average of $5 to $10 per square foot.
- Highest tier – Top-of-the-line engineered hardwood can have as many as seven layers or more. The top veneer is also significantly thicker, and the layers are often made from exotic woods. These typically cost around $8 to $14 per square foot, with installation costs remaining the same.
In some cases, homeowners install engineered hardwood below ground level without any worry. Once again, this is possible because engineered hardwood offers greater heat and moisture resistance than solid woods. It can also be used in places that traditional hardwoods are not typically used, such as in the kitchen, in basements, or in high-humidity summer homes.
Hardwood Flooring Prices By Type
Pine is the cheapest hardwood with average prices of $2 to $4 per square foot not including installation. Certain high-end engineered hardwoods are priced between $10 and $13 per square foot such as Engineered Heart Pine or Engineered White Ash.
To help guide your decision, here are some of the commonly used and requested solid hardwood species.
|Hardwood Type||Cost Per Square Foot|
|Pine||$2 – $4|
|Bamboo||$2 – $4|
|Red Oak||$2 – $6|
|Maple||$3 – $6|
|Hickory||$3 – $6|
|White Ash||$5 – $6|
|Brazilian Walnut||$5 – $9|
|Engineered Heart Pine||$10 – $11|
|Engineered Maple||$10 – $12|
|Engineered White Ash||$12 – $13|
Pine Hardwood Flooring
Pine hardwood flooring costs $2 to $4 per square foot, while engineered heart pine is around $10 to $11 per square foot. A softwood, pine isn't the best option when pets are in the house, as it can scratch and dent more easily than some of the other woods available. However, the appearance of pine is stunning, offering warm tones that range of beige to amber, vintage charm, and rustic knots throughout.
Maple Hardwood Flooring
This wood is sturdy and much more resistant to dents, making it a great material to use in high-traffic areas. The only downside is that it can be harder to work with which is why professional assistance is recommended. The coloration ranges from white to a light red tone. Average cost: $3 to $6 per square foot. In comparison, engineered maple typically goes for $10 to $12 per square foot.
Ash Hardwood Flooring
Ash is durable and typically tough to stain hardwood. Its coloration ranges from soft tan to pale gray with a bold grain like oak. Heartwood Ash varies from light tan to dark brown. Ash hardwood costs $5 to $6 per square foot, compared to $12 to $13 per square foot for engineered White Ash.
Bamboo Hardwood Flooring
Bamboo hardwood comes in a wide variety of colors with interesting patterns. Although it's not a real hardwood, it shares many characteristics such as water resistance, durability, and styles. Pricing for bamboo flooring ranges from $2 to $4 per square foot.
Hickory Hardwood Flooring
Hickory is a durable wood that embodies fantastic grain patterns with many color variations. It works great in high-traffic areas, and prices range from $3 to $6 per square foot.
Oak Hardwood Flooring Cost
Oak hardwood contains rich detailing and deep patterns and earth tones. Red Oak has a narrow but visible grain in reddish earth tones. Oak is a mid-level wood floor material with prices ranging from $3 to $10 per square foot for just the materials.
Walnut Hardwood Flooring
This wood comes in many different exotic brownish shades with a distinctive grain. It's extremely hard and durable with a price tag at $5 to $9 per square foot for just the materials.
Whether you prefer bamboo or red oak, traditional hardwood costs less than engineered wood types. Remember, engineered wood flooring offers increased durability and higher moisture resistance. This means that if you have young children or pets, you should consider engineered wood.
Laminate Vs. Hardwood Cost
The average cost to install laminate flooring is between $3 to $8 per square foot compared to hardwood floors at $6 to $12 per square foot. Laminate flooring installation costs $1,411 and $3,395 with most homeowners paying around $2,352 for professional installation.
Carpet Vs. Hardwood Cost
The average cost to install carpet ranges from $2 and $4 per square foot, compared to hardwood flooring which costs an average of $6 to $12 per square foot installed.
Tile Vs. Hardwood Cost
Tile installation costs $2 to $7 per square foot for vinyl or lamainte, and $5 to $10 per square foot for porcelain or ceramic, while hardwood flooring ranges from $6 to $12 per square foot.
Hardwood Flooring Pros And Cons
There are multiple reasons why people chose wood floors over other possibilities.
- Visual appeal – While available with patterns (usually structured shapes), real hardwood flooring will create a natural look because of each piece’s unique color and grain. There is a vast array of wood flooring options that will bring your creative vision to life and be perfectly tailored to your color scheme and decor plans.
- Easy maintenance – Hardwood floors are low maintenance, and a typical cleaning process includes weekly sweeping, dry mopping, or vacuuming and the occasional deep clean. When compared to carpet, wood floors with the right finish are wonderfully stain and odor resistant.
- Life span – Quality wood flooring that has been installed and finished professionally can last for generations, even in high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, dining room, and hallway.
- High return on investment – Whether you are replacing a wood floor or upgrading flooring, quality wood flooring installed by a professional contractor will always raise the property value, making it a long-term investment.
- Eco-friendly – In addition to being kinder to those sensitive to allergens, hardwood floors are also more helpful to the environment because wood is a renewable resource. This is even more so with some options that incorporate bamboo elements because bamboo grows very quickly.
- Acoustics – A real hardwood floor has a solid sound to it when you walk across the floor, and it will very much improve the acoustics in a room, making your home theatre or music system sound even better.
How Long Do Hardwood Floors Last?
It is not unusual to see wood flooring throughout the entire home because of its longevity over carpet and tile. If treated well, the life of a wood floor can stretch to over forty years, and even then, it can be sanded, stained, and varnished—significantly cheaper than having it replaced.
Hardwood Floor Finishes
To extend your floors durability and longevity, add a coating of a protective seal called a finish. These finishes are usually made of either polyurethanes or prefinished UV-cured urethane, oils, or oil hybrids.
- Factory-finished wood flooring has the stain and protective topcoat already applied as part of the manufacturing process. Because this wood will arrive at your home already protected, you will be looking at a shorter time to project completion—because installers don’t need to finish the wood and you don’t have to wait before allowing your family back in to walk on it.
- Unfinished wood flooring, which is usually the cheaper option in regards to raw materials, can have the finish completed in your home after the contractor has it installed. The finish treatments to be applied by your contractor will add to your labor costs.
- Polyurethane finishes are more resistant to stains and damage, and most suitable in homes with small children and pets; but when significant damage occurs, it is usual for a whole board to be replaced, followed by buffing and recoating the entire floor.
- Oil finishes result in a more natural look and afford easier maintenance of the wood. Not being as hard as the polyurethane finish, the finish can damage more easily, but you can take care of nicks and scratches by applying more oil and allowing it to soak in.
Hardwood Flooring Sizes
- Thickness – A standard thickness for wood flooring is 3/4”, but some vendors produce a range of thicknesses down to 5/16.”
- Width – Standard widths of wood for flooring are usually 2¼ wide, and broader pieces, known as plank floors, are available in 3”– 6”. Typical, and also cheaper, installs will feature the standard widths and uniform lengths; however, a more organic and natural appearance in your flooring can be accomplished using wider wood or combining wood of different lengths.
- Length – Lengths of wood will vary by manufacturer and will generally carry a length classification. Typical plank lengths are:
- Short - 3– 6’
- Medium - 7’
- Long - 8–10’
Additional Cost Considerations
Hardwood Floor Refinishing
Hardwood floor refinishing costs $2 to $7 per square foot, depending on the square footage, location, staining, finish type, number of coats, and labor costs.
If you maintain a hardwood floor properly, it might never need refinishing. A solid wood floor can last from 20 to 160 years without a refinish, depending on its thickness and quality.
Trim and Molding Costs
Trim costs about $5.50–$9 per linear foot to have it installed or $1.50 per linear foot to paint it a new color. The cost to remove and reinstall your baseboards will cost about $150.
Once your wood flooring is installed, the contractor installs trim molding on the base of the wall around the edges to hide any gaps. Even in the uncommon situation where there are no gaps, over time, with contraction and expansion of the wood and slight shifts in the foundation, they will become visible without trim being installed.
Cost To Remove Hardwood Floors
Before installing new hardwood floors, you may have to remove your current floors if they do not create a proper surface. Expect to pay between $400 to $550 to remove existing hardwood floors or $1 to $2 per square yard to remove any existing carpet.
Estimating Your Hardwood Flooring Costs
The best thing you can do to save money is to shop around. Choose 2-3 styles and/or wood types so that you can easily compare. To ensure that you remain within your budget, contact contractors to obtain an installation quote.
Also, ensure that the workspace is ready-to-go when contractors arrive. This means moving furniture and even removing old flooring. You can then purchase wood flooring yourself, pick it up, and bring it home. That way, the flooring company will only need to install the flooring – not supply it or remove your old floor.
Last but not least, if you have a tight budget, consider the layout of your design and keep it as simple as possible. As soon as you request bordering or inlaid patterns, you can anticipate significantly higher costs.
Where to buy:
- Online – When shopping online, request flooring samples so that you can determine the best options for your home. If you are not fixated on a particular species or color of wood, you can often find some great deals. Start by looking at online suppliers that offer free shipping or free local pick-up.
- Local retailers – Home improvements stores often carry a wide range of styles at varying price points. You can request samples to take home and based on the size of the area you want to floor, you can ask for a rough estimate.
- Discount options – There are also lumber liquidators who sell a vast selection at a reduced cost. Once again, if you're open to various types of wood and varying styles, this is a great option.
Selecting Your Flooring Contractor
When creating your shortlist of contractors, there are a few criteria you can consider that may help set your mind at ease. Look for contractors with some or many of the following boxes checked:
- Members of the Better Business Bureau
- Decades in business
- Great reviews on HomeGuide and Google
- Specialize in hardwood flooring
- Licensed, bonded, and insured
Whether you have recently bought a new home or plan to renovate your current residence, new flooring can make all the difference. Although it is more expensive than other options on the market, it tends to be the preferred choice. Hardwood flooring is known for its warm, character-rich appearance, versatility, and durability. Also, hardwood floors add value to a home.
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