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Hardwood Flooring Prices

The following is a very rough guide intended for those that are just beginning to research hardwood flooring and prices. Much depends on the cost of living in your area and or dealer markup.

$ 2 to $ 3.00 square foot hardwood floors
Two to three dollar square foot hardwood is frightening cheap. It could be discontinued stuff, very low quality Chinese imports, and cabin or tavern grade hardwoods. It could work ideally for those that are simply looking for a functional floor, or one that doesn’t have to impress anyone.
The majority of products included in this category are lower quality engineered hardwoods.

$ 3 to $ 4.00 square foot hardwood floors
Three to four dollar hardwood flooring offers a few added benefits but it still falls under average quality. You will find most are still Asian imports, but some American made are in the picture as well.
The majority of products included in this category are lower quality solid and engineered hardwoods.

$ 4 to $ 6.00 square foot hardwood floors
Four to six dollar hardwood is nearing average quality with more American made products in this category. This is also a price point where finish quality begins to rise, and along with it durability. Appearances, or product selections will also begin to widen.
Products in this category run the gambit. So maybe you're asking yourself; why such a jump in value, durability and finish quality? This is an area where it doesn’t cost manufacturers that much more to include a better finish which can translate into better durability. Value can be looked at differently from one person to the next. In this case popular or trendy styles are beginning to appear, which I consider better value to the previous price categories.
Quality Built Engineered

$ 6 to $ 7.00 square foot hardwood floors
The benchmark.
 

 

Durable Appearances - What Hardwood Works Best?


$ 7 to $ 9.00 square foot hardwood floors

As you can see my ratings have increased substantially, but once again some products may fall in this price range while not deserving to be. We all know what marketing is. Some manufacturers or even middlemen (ones that haven’t put one foot inside a manufacturing facility) can simply re-market the same product from a lower price category.

Folks this is rampant with Asian imports. Using an example; 7 ½” character White Oak is produced by the cargo ship load then sent to California ports. In the end there are dozens of companies selling the same product while putting their own name on it. It’s all the same.

 

Okay, I threw a wrench into this category regarding longevity. This has much to do with engineered hardwoods and the wear or veneer layer. You’ll find in this category some may be as thin as 2mm, but most in the 3-4 mm area, except all of my engineered Uptown hardwoods that offer a thick 5.2 mm wear layer.

I could be losing some of you now, but all ¾ inch solid hardwoods will have optimum longevity.

3/4" Thick Engineered Floors


$ 9 to $ 13.00 square foot hardwood floors

Now we’re getting into high end. Products in this category are mostly high quality American made. Scraped or wire brushed, wider planks or random plank hardwoods. Customization also comes into play with custom coloring. You can also find complimenting stair treads, risers and other millwork.

 

$ 13.00 square foot hardwood floors

Call the decorator.


But It's Listed at $ 7.25 Per Square Foot? So Why Does It Cost $ 13.25?

Many stores do not list pricing because of claims they Hardwood floor price per square footchange too often. True or false, it doesn't matter. Below is a summary of what you may run into for a 1,000 square foot installation for prefinished hardwood flooring. Following that is a breakdown of using a full service dealer opposed to doing a lot of the legwork on your own.

USA Made hardwood floors

The Accessories. Nailed Or Stapled Flooring

That $ 7.25 price sold by the square foot only represents the actual hardwood flooring material. It will not reflect other prices because will depend on how the floor is installed. For instance, if you have a wood subfloor, installation is generally done by fastening with special hardwood floor nailers or staplers provided by the installer.

Essentially there are no extras needed for the actual installation of the wood itself, except for the nails/staples and common underlayment. These items are inexpensive and usually calculated into the installer labor cost, as most installers supply them. If one is looking for cost, one box (7,720 count) of standard 2" staples for a 3/4" hardwood floor runs in the $ 50.00 range. Standard asphalt felt paper, often recommended by manufacturers, runs about 4 cents per square foot.

Floating Floors

Now the costs begin to rise. If the $ 7.25 product is being sold and installed as a floating floor, it requires an underlayment. Underlayments are necessary to provide a cushioned effect and will offset very minor irregularities in the subfloor. Considering there are many forms available, prices can vary from as low as 25 cents per square foot up to $ 1.50. Rarely are they broken down into separate amounts when a bid is written up.

Let’s assume the high side because you’ve already paid good money for a quality product. What you don’t need is a cheap underlayment that breaks down after five years. Yes. Cheaper underlayments can compress over time losing their original benefit. Now our $ 7.25 price is $ 8.75.

Floors Glued Direct To Concrete

Depending on what type of wood flooring adhesive is used or where it is purchased, costs can range from approximately 35 cents per square foot to $ 1.00 and higher for a recommended type. Let's take that $ 7.25 and add one dollar. Our price is now $ 8.25, but installers are likely to charge more labor because glued installations generally involve more time and some prefer not to handle them. Essentially, some will attempt to price themselves out of the job.

Trim Moldings

Most hardwood floor installations will need some type of trimHeader board used against tiled floor moldings. Whether or not it's needed to trim off the baseboard or creating an unobstructed transition to ceramic tile, extra costs are involved.

Higher end type homes often see no trim moldings (right), particularly where tiled or stone floors meet up with hardwood. Instead a seamless and same vertical height transition is created by the installer with use of the same hardwood being installed. Keep in mind, this is not possible with floating floors.

Let's say you prefer quarter round that matches the floor being considered. These little buggers can add up the dollar cost of the job quickly. One prefinished stick measuring 78 inches may cost as much as $ 5.00 per lineal foot from a local retailer. Let's also assume you need 350 lineal feet. Add $ 1.75 to that quoted price. Add in four or five other trim moldings or $ 200.00, our material cost is $ 1.95 per square foot on top of the original $ 7.25.

The Big Expense. Labor

Labor for installation can vary significantly. For more information and general guesstimates see our link below. Let's look at some examples below of prices we've discussed.

High Side. Full Service Dealer

Installation Type Listed Price Material Costs Labor
Moldings
Labor
Actual Price
Staple or Nailed 7.25 None 3.00 1.95 0.44
$ 12.64
Floating 7.25 1.50 2.75 1.95 0.44
$ 13.89
Glued Direct 7.25 1.00 3.25 1.95 0.44
$ 13.89
 

Low Side. You Handle The Leg Work

Installation Type Listed Price Material Costs Labor
Moldings
Labor
Actual Price
Staple or Nailed 7.25 0.09¹ 3.00 0.80 0.44
$ 11.58
Floating 7.25 0.25 2.75 0.80 0.44
$ 11.49
Glued Direct 7.25 0.25 3.25 0.80 0.44
$ 11.99
 

Our low side example represents the customer buying all materials online or cash and carry from a local dealer. Taxes not included for the latter. I've also chosen Nailing quarter round basic underlayment and minimum adhesive requirements. In addition, the pricier matching quarter round has been replaced with basic pine, calculated at 60 cents per lineal foot. This is easily obtainable at nearly all home improvement stores.

Labor shown to the right of the moldings cost represents trim installation at $ 1.25 per lineal foot. However, more costs may be incurred should you need the cost of a painter to do the touch up of nail holes, or final painting should you desire the color to match the baseboard. Caulking may also be needed.

Prices shown above do not include other extras. There may be carpet removal and floor preparation to get the subfloor flat to within acceptable working tolerances. Installers also charge for moving furniture. All told, a guesstimate on this could add another $ 1.00 per square foot and more. It will depend on the amount of furniture, weight, value, and floor preparation involved.

¹ Although installers provide these materials we're assuming you are handling everything. Don't expect a discount of 9 cents from the labor cost.

NOTE: Not included in the glue direct section are seperate concrete sealers designed for hardwood floor applications that can add to both material and labor cost or in the range of $ 1.00 to $ 2.50 to the square foot number.