Ashburn, VA

Hardwood Floor Installation on HomeGuide costs
$2,200 – $8,100

The average cost for hardwood floor installation ranges from the least expensive woods like pine ($1 to $5 per square foot) to higher-end woods like walnut ($4 to $9 per square foot). The price of hardwood floor installation can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). View our local flooring contractors or get free estimates from pros near you.

How much does hardwood floor installation cost?

Author: Sally Hanan
Millions of people ask HomeGuide for cost estimates every year. We track the estimates they get from local companies, then we share those prices with you.

Benefits Cost Factors Types Trim/Molding Additional Costs Tips

Cost per square foot

Wood flooring has become a popular choice over the last two decades because of its visual appeal, life span, low-allergy appeal, and easy maintenance.

Costs range from the least expensive woods like pine ($1 to $5 per square foot) to higher-end woods like walnut ($4 to $9 per square foot).

Hardwood Flooring

Benefits of wood floors

There are multiple reasons why people chose wood floors over other possibilities.

Visual appeal

Those deciding to go for a hardwood flooring solution will end up with something that fits best with the style of your home. While available with patterns (usually structured shapes), real hardwood flooring will create a natural look because of each piece’s unique color and grain.

Many fixer-upper show teams discover flooring in a home has been installed over the original wood floor, and they choose to sand and varnish the wood underneath, restoring it to its original beauty.

No matter the style of home, 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.

Options are grouped by species, color, styles, length, width, and edges. Most wood is also available as finished or unfinished, with unfinished offering additional options, depending on the expertise of your contractor.

If you want to see everything possible with wood flooring, consider hiring a contractor like Golden Oaks Hardwood Flooring in Irvine, CA, who has spent the last twenty-six years developing his “most complete, functional and creative line” of hardwood flooring.

Easy maintenance

Hardwood floors are low maintenance—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, bouncing off everyday household dirt like crayons, liquids, accidents, and food. A broom or a disposable kitchen towel will usually take care of anything.

Labor Costs

Without the right tools and experience, the installation of a wood floor is not for the faint of heart. Considering the materials’ cost and length of time it takes, the fastest and most rewarding option is to hire a contractor to do the work for you.

Manufacturers have made installation quick and easy, in that they make the sections of wood have a uniform appearance and connect perfectly, thereby costing less in labor.

Generally, the labor costs for a wood floor install will run somewhere between $4 and $8/linear sq. ft.

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.

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.

Thanks to wood stain colors, a lighter colored floor can be made a lot darker, or a different color altogether. Quality wood flooring will keep its color, but if any windows in the house allow direct sunlight to fall directly on sections of the floor, your installer can add UV filtering treatment to those finishes.

Excellent 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.

If installing the flooring before selling it, the home will show beautifully. It will likely sell faster and for more than a similar home with carpet in the same market.

Eco-friendly

Improved air quality

Inherent elements in other flooring options, like the grout in tile floors, and the fibers in a carpet floor, all become a trap for not only dirt, but also allergen particles like pet dander, dust, pollen, etc., whereas wood floors are much nicer to allergy sufferers because they don’t trap those particles.

Renewable source

In addition to being kinder to those sensitive to allergens, hardwood floors are also kinder 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. Some wood flooring contractors are more in tune with current market needs than others, like Abdinoor Flooring in Dracut, MA, who are consistently updating their line of products to include flooring such as “eco cork, natural bamboo, electric floor warming systems.”

Acoustics

If you have ever walked on laminate wood flooring, you have probably noticed its hollow sound because of it not being solid wood all the way through. In contrast, 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.

Cost Factors

Factors that contribute to the final price of a hardwood flooring install include your location, your wood source, the wood finish, dimensions, trim and molding, and installation costs.

Geographic location – Geography always plays a role in pricing with two main triggers being how rural your house is and the location of your chosen contractor. The farther away your home is from the contractor will impact delivery costs for your order, and the farther away the contractor is from major medium to large size cities could impact the materials cost because of the shipping costs to get it to their warehouse.

Where the wood is from – Across the United States, manufacturers get wood that is excellent for wood flooring from around twenty different species of trees. Most of these grow on the east coast, and oak makes up for more than half of all wood sourced domestically. For wood that is legally imported from countries like Canada, Indonesia, and Brazil, we get maple, rosewood, teak, mahogany, and wenge.

It used to be the case that imported wood was cheaper than wood sourced here at home. Until recently, there was a lot of wood being imported from other countries, including China, but through the enforcement of various International Trade Commission legislations, which stipulates that all imported wood can only come from sources that have been certified, this has changed.

The balance has shifted as recently as 2016, seeing 63.7% of wood flooring now sourced domestically and foreign wood costing an average of 9.6% higher. Now exports to China is up 22.1%, allowing Chinese manufacturers to export certified wood flooring back to the US.

Applied finish – The more creative you want to get with your wood flooring, the more additional processes it will take to create that look. For example, prior to staining or adding a specific color, you may want it etched or scratched to introduce the appearance of a weathered look.

Wood Plank dimensions

  • A fairly standard thickness for wood flooring is 3/4”, but some vendors produce a range of thicknesses down to 5/16.”
  • Standard widths of wood for flooring are usually 2¼ wide, and wider 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.
  • Lengths of wood will vary by manufacturer and will generally carry a length classification. An example of this would be something like:
    • SHORT - 3– 6’
    • MEDIUM - 7’
    • LONG - 8–10’
Some manufacturers, like Hull Forest, sell pieces of Eastern White Pine as long as 16 feet. Longer pieces of wood come from older trees, so they will be of a higher quality and come at a higher price.

Types of wood flooring

According to the Architectural Digest, “Traditionally, hardwood flooring came in thick planks of solid timber. Today, solid hardwood is still widely available, but many companies also offer engineered flooring—planks made with a thinner top layer of hardwood, bonded to other layers, designed to prevent the floor from shifting during expansion and contraction cycles.

All wood moves in three directions: There’s tangential, radial, and longitudinal movement,” says Jones. “With engineered products, you’re creating opposing forces within the board to try to restrict the natural movement of the wood.”

Wood that comes with extra features designed to make it longer lasting, including a premium finish, will generally result in a more comprehensive and longer-lasting warranty, but also come at a higher cost.  

Unfinished and factory finished wood flooring

To give your floor the longest life and ability to stay looking beautiful, a coating of a protective seal called a finish must be applied. 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.

    Depending on your creative plans for the look of your floor, your installer will be able to let you know if the wood should be factory finished or be textured and/or stained on location before applying the final finish.
  • 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.

    This may be a great option if you need to see the flooring installed in a particular room first with its natural and powered lighting variances, or if you need it to match some existing wood flooring. 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.
On average, prefinished wood costs around $2 more per square foot than unfinished wood, but it is less expensive when the finishing costs for unfinished wood are added in.

Solid and engineered wood flooring

  • Solid wood flooring is a solid piece of wood from top to bottom with a range of thickness from ¾” to 5/16.” It is usually installed above one or two plywood layers, and it can be sanded and refinished several times during its life in your home.
  • Engineered wood floors, which can be installed above or below grade, are well suited for installation in apartments and basements; since it can be set in place with glue on top of a soundproofing surface or directly onto concrete.

    Engineered wood is made combining a number of wood or wood veneer composites, either from the same or different species of wood. To strengthen the structural integrity of engineered wood, a common practice is to build with each veneer ‘s grain going in different directions, making it ideal in environments where there will be significant changes in temperature and humidity. Because engineered wood typically has a thin layer of the visible wood on the surface, is it not usually suitable for sanding and refinishing.

Once you know your project’s square footage, your contractor may create a buffer of an extra 10% so if extra is needed, they don’t run out and it will all look uniform.

Engineered wood flooring costs between $3 to $14/square foot, and solid wood flooring costs between $8 and $15.

Trim and molding

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.

Depending on your choice of either manufactured trim or custom trim, prices range between $2 to $10 per linear foot, with an average of $1,200.
Looking for a hardwood floor installation pro?
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Additional costs

When hiring a contractor, here are some of the additional services you may not have thought about.

Removing and replacing of home decor

When having a floor replaced, it is necessary to take all the decor out of the room—including tables, chairs, sofa, bookcases, entertainment centers, floor lighting, etc.—and have it temporarily stored under some form of protection such as a tarp or in a storage pod. Contractors may charge extra to move out your furniture, but it should appear as a line item offer on your quote.

Old flooring disposal

Generally, there will also be a cost associated with the removal and proper disposal of the previous flooring materials. Different materials will likely have different costs associated with their removal and disposal.

Subfloor work

Depending on the age of the house and the type of flooring being replaced, a contractor may have to repair or level the subfloor before it is possible to install the new wood flooring.

For most homeowners, unless there are obvious surface issues, there is no way of telling what condition the subfloor is in or what it will take to rectify this. Most contractors can list the most common issues to expect. If you are up to the challenge to do this work yourself, the contractor might not agree to install over your repair work.

Before hiring your hardwood flooring contractor

When looking at 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
  • Specialize in hardwood flooring
  • Have a showroom like B-t Tile & Carpet Company, who have a 9,000 sq. ft showroom in Montville, CT
  • Have in-house financing like Zoltan European Floors in Danbury, CT
  • Licensed, bonded, and insured

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