Laminate flooring is an affordable floor replacement option that has the appearance of real wood floors without the high cost or burdensome maintenance.
While several decades ago the mention of laminate flooring may have brought to mind cheap flooring in disrepair, laminate has advanced far beyond this.
Nowadays, companies are regularly putting out new laminate options with cutting-edge, beautiful designs, as well as markedly improved durability, moisture resistance and lifespan.
Average Cost of Laminate Flooring
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Homeowners spend between $1,388 and $4,250 to install laminate wood flooring, with the average homeowner spending $2,819 for a 200 square foot room.
Laminate flooring costs between $3 and $10 per square foot including professional installation and all materials. The wide spread price range depends on the quality and brand of the laminate floors you select, as well as complexity of labor.
Basic affordable laminate flooring projects can cost as low as $400, whereas high-end extensive projects can reach up to $4,250 for a 200 sq.ft. space.
Compared to real hardwood floors, you can save as much as 40-50% when installing high quality laminate floors.
Here is a table summarizing laminate flooring installation prices for low-end, mid-range and high-end remodeling projects.
|Price Range||Average Installed Cost (200 sq.ft)|
|Low-end||400 – 650|
|Mid-range||1,300 – 2,850|
|High-end||$3,200 – 4,500|
You can use our Laminate Flooring Cost Calculator to estimate the price for laminate floors for your home.
Laminate Flooring Cost Per Square Foot
Laminate flooring itself is actually very cheap. On average laminate floors cost $0.70 – 2 per square foot. The cheapest laminate floors are oak and maple, while hickory is the most expensive.
Keep in mind the prices per square foot also vary based on the manufacturer you choose, so if you are looking to save money, its best to go with mid-range brands, Such as Traffic Master or Style Selections.
Cost Of Laminate Flooring By Brand
There are many brands on the market today that offer laminate floors. Each brand supplies flooring at a different price point.
Most of the brands can be purchased at stores such as Home Depot or Lowe’s, or through your flooring contractor.
The table below compares the average cost per square foot of laminate floors that different companies charge.
|Laminate Flooring Brand||Average Cost Per Square Foot|
|Style Selections||$0.89 – $0.99|
|TrafficMASTER||$0.68 – $1.89|
|Home Decorators Collection||$0.94 – $2.27|
|Pergo||$1.80 – $2,79|
|Home Legend||$1.49 – $2.99|
|QuickStep||$1.99 – $2.28|
Laminate Flooring Prices By Wood Species
Laminate flooring is made to resemble real wood, and, just like true hardwood floors, the type of wood you choose will impact the cost.
Laminate is not made entirely from synthetic material, and includes some real wood fibers. These fibers influence the aesthetic appearance of the flooring as well as its price.
Other types of laminate include a thin layer of real hardwood above a synthetic base. Therefore, choosing the right type of wood is an important part of your laminate flooring selection process.
The table below outlines the cost per square foot of some of the most popular laminate wood species, as well as a description of each type of wood.
|Wood Species||Cost per Square Foot||Color||Grain|
|Maple||$0.70||Red-gold, white, off-white||Swirling mixed with lighter grain|
|Red Oak||$0.70||Medium hue brown||Heavy grain with some variation in grain pattern|
|White Oak||$0.70||Grey, gold-brown||Smooth and linear grain|
|Walnut||$0.90||White, medium-brown||Thick and heavy grain|
|Cherry||$1.00||Dark red-brown||Small knots and linear grain|
|Beech||$1.00||Light tan, pinkish||Fine, smooth-flowing grain|
|Acacia||$1.00||Light brown, dark brown||Contrasting, deep grain|
|Hickory||$2.00||Tan, reddish brown||Complex, thick grain pattern|
Installation Cost Of Laminate Flooring Per Square Foot
In addition to the type of wood you choose, you will also have to factor in the cost of labor. On average, labor costs range between $1.5 and $3.5 per square foot. However, on complex projects, the labor cost can go up to as much as $5-7.5 per square foot.
The cost of labor will vary depending on the region you live in—the Northeast and West coasts are the most pricey regions—as well as the season you choose, with winter being the cheapest.
The table shows the installation cost per square foot of laminate flooring, depending on the type of wood you choose for your project.
|Wood Species||Material Cost per Square Foot||Labor Cost per Square Foot||Total Cost|
|Maple, Oak||$0.70||$2 – $6||$2.70 – $6.70|
|Walnut||$0.90||$2 – $6||$2.90 – $6.90|
|Acacia, Cherry, Beech||$1.00||$4 – $6||$5 – $7|
|Hickory||$2.00||$6 – $8||$8 – $10|
Laminate Flooring Finish Cost
On average, finishing your laminate floors will cost you $2 per square foot. The finishes give the laminate flooring the appearance of varnished hardwood flooring.
Low gloss finish is the most popular type of laminate finish.
|Finish Type||Average Cost per Square Foot|
|Matte / Low Gloss||$0.68 – $3.33|
|Semi-Matte / Medium Gloss||$0.68 – $2.79|
|Glass / High Gloss||$1.70 – $3.55|
Cost Of Removing Laminate Flooring
If you need to remove your existing laminate flooring before installing new floors, the cost will be around $400 for a professional laborer for a 200 square foot area.
It may be possible to remove the laminate flooring on your own, but be sure not to damage the subflooring when doing so.
Cost Of Replacing Carpet With Laminate Flooring
Some types of carpets, particularly ultra-thin carpeting, may not require removal before installing the laminate flooring, in which case you won’t incur any additional cost.
However, some contractors will still require the carpet removal as installing laminate over carpet may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
However, if you have thicker carpeting in place that requires removal, it will cost you about $1.15 per square foot to remove the carpet.
Factors That Influence Laminate Flooring Cost
If you are looking to get the best deal on installing new laminate floors its important to know what can easily sway the total cost up or down.
Time of installation: the time of year you replace old flooring in part will determine the cost. Winter, as a rule of thumb, is the cheapest time to install new laminate flooring, whereas fall and spring are the most expensive.
Local Labor Rates: flooring pros charge anywhere from $45-85 per hour, depending on where they are located. Cities on the East and West Coast where the standard of living is much higher, have the highest professional labor charges in the country.
Comparatively, Southern or Mid-Western states, where the standard of living is much lower, have reduced labor rates.
The difference can be as much as 30-40% compared to the average prices you see quoted on online flooring price guides.
Square Footage: the expanse of flooring you want to install laminate over will impact the price. Of course, larger projects will cost more than smaller projects, but some contractors will offer discounts for projects with higher square footage.
Also, a very small project, may actually cost more per square foot than an average size project, because the flooring contractor still has to cover his set-up and cleaning time as well as overhead costs, which are the same for any project. This is why small scale projects actually incur a premium labor charge.
Wood Species: the type of wood you use for your laminate flooring will alter the cost, as discussed above. Hickory is the most expensive option, whereas maple and oak are the most affordable types.
Removal of Existing Flooring: laminate can be installed over some types of flooring, such as hardwood. However, if you need to remove flooring because of the type, such as carpeting, or if it has incurred damage, this will cost an additional several hundred dollars.
Floor Leveling: laminate must be installed on a perfectly leveled floor in order to function properly. If your flooring or subflooring must be levelled, that will cost extra. Expect to spend anywhere from $2 – 3.5 per square foot to level the subfloor
Repairing the Subfloor: if its discovered that the subfloor under the old flooring is damaged, it will require repairs or complete replacement before new flooring can be installed. Repairing or replacing the subfloor typically costs $2 – 2.75 per square foot.
Complex Room Configuration: if your room is not a rectangle or square shape, and/or it has many corners, your labor fees can be up to 20-30% higher.
Furniture Removal: you will need to remove all your furniture before the flooring can be installed. On average, it costs about $75-200 to have the pros remove the furniture for you.
Laminate Flooring vs. Hardwood Cost
The biggest difference, as well as the most significant point of attraction to laminate flooring, compared to real hardwood, is the price. Laminate is MUCH cheaper than hardwood flooring.
While laminate costs between $3 to $8 per square foot, hardwood costs between $5 to $20 per square foot, on average.
The two types of floors have several commonalities: both can be prone to warping and may grow mold with moisture exposure.
However, unlike hardwood, which is best NOT installed in moisture prone areas such as the bathroom, mud room or kitchen, high-quality laminate does well in these rooms, and is actually a top flooring choice for moisture prone areas, in addition to tile flooring.
One major difference between hardwood flooring and laminate flooring is installation. While laminate can be installed simply, quickly, and even as a DIY project, hardwood flooring is difficult and costly to install and cannot be installed over existing flooring.
Additionally, wood has a much longer lifespan than laminate if installed properly, and can last up to one hundred years, whereas laminate can last a maximum of three decades.
Laminate Flooring vs. Carpeting Cost
Installing laminate flooring costs roughly the same as installing carpet flooring. Laminate costs between $3 and $8 per square foot, whereas carpet flooring is slightly cheaper at $2 to $8 per square foot.
In terms of durability, some carpet materials, such as nylon loop pile, will be extremely durable (and costly), while other softer carpets will be more prone to damage.
Laminate flooring is broadly speaking a durable material, but more costly options will have more endurance features than cheaper choices.
While both laminate and carpet have similar life spans of 10 – 15 years on average, laminate is much easier to repair than carpeting.
Carpeting requires more deep cleaning, such as a deep steam cleaning annually, as the fibers are prone to absorbing dust particles, so carpets are likely not the best choice if household members have allergies to dust, pollen, or pet hair.
Laminate Floors vs. Vinyl Floors
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Vinyl and laminate are two popular types of synthetic flooring options that are made to resemble real wood. While the flooring types are largely similar, there are some critical differences.
First, vinyl flooring is made from entirely synthetic material, whereas laminate flooring contains real wood fibers.
This is why the species of wood you choose impacts the price of laminate, whereas vinyl can be made to look like any species at equal cost.
Laminate tends to look more like authentic wood than vinyl, because it contains natural wood fibers.
Vinyl flooring is superior to laminate flooring in terms of heat resistance and water resistance. This makes vinyl a better choice for rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms, or mudrooms.
Vinyl flooring tends to be more durable than laminate flooring, and is the preferred choice for commercial projects that will involve heavy foot traffic.
The cost of vinyl flooring is actually cheaper, compared to laminate. On average, vinyl plank floors cost $3-5.5 per square foot installed.
Pros and Cons of Laminate Flooring
Its important to reviews all the advantages and disadvantages of laminate floors before choosing to install this material.
● Aesthetic Appeal: modern laminate floor look like real wood, with a wide range of colors and styles to choose from.
● Ideal For Utility/Secondary Spaces: most homeowners choose to install laminate floors in the basements, laundry rooms, home offices, play rooms, or secondary bathrooms.
● Affordability: Laminate is one of the more affordable flooring options, and it delivers the appearance of real wood without the cost.
● Low Maintenance: Unlike hardwood flooring which requires regular maintenance to prevent damage, laminate flooring does not require regular upkeep and does not dent or stain easily.
● Installation: Laminate flooring can be installed over existing flooring. Its also a DIY friendly flooring material.
● Appearance: Some laminate flooring is easily differentiable from real wood. Also, laminate flooring cannot be stained or change color like hardwood can, so you are stuck with the color you choose.
● Lifespan: Laminate has a short lifespan of only twenty years, or thirty at a maximum
● Resale value: Laminate has a lower resale value than real hardwood flooring
● Warping: Laminate flooring can be prone to warping if not installed properly over a perfectly smooth subfloor.
● Fading: Laminate fades with prolonged exposure to sunlight, so it is not recommended in sunny rooms.
● Replacement: If there is damage to the laminate flooring, you will need to replace the entire floor and cannot replace individual plank sections.
● Moisture resistance: laminate floors are not as durable or moisture resistant as LVP (luxury vinyl plank flooring)
Can I Install Laminate Flooring DIY?
Installing laminate floors may be a suitable DIY project, depending on your personal home improvement skills and experience. Some laminate projects will be more doable without a professional, whereas others may be more difficult.
A square shaped room without any obstacles would be well-suited for a DIY installation project, whereas a cramped room with obstacles, corners and turns may be better off if left to the professionals.
Also, the type of laminate flooring you buy will determine whether it can be done as a DIY project. For instance, you can purchase snap-together laminate panels that are designed for simple installation.
Overall, hiring a professional will likely reduce the waste of the project, as they are trained to ensure minimal waste, as well as reducing the likelihood of errors.
If you do choose to install laminate flooring DIY, be sure to follow all safety precautions when using the necessary equipment such as a miter saw.
The biggest benefit of installing laminate floors DIY is significant cost savings. When it comes to laminate flooring, the cost of installation is usually at least as expensive and often times more expensive then the floor itself.
Especially if you are installing floors in multiple rooms, doing the job yourself can save you thousands of dollars. Purchasing your own miter saw is actually not expensive. They are available for $140-400 depending on the machine you get.
How Long Is A Laminate Floor Warranty?
Many homeowners worry that their new laminate floors may start to get ruined and look worn out only after a few years. However, today laminate flooring quality and durability has been vastly improved and laminate floors actually last a long time.
The average warranty length for laminate flooring is ten years, depending on the manufacturer. Some companies such as Unilink have thirty three year long warranties, but other companies have warranties for as short of a timespan as five years.
Obviously, companies that provide longer warranties have better quality floors that will be more expensive. When it comes to laminate, you get what you pay for.
If you want a longer lasting floor that will keep its aesthetic appeal, its best to invest more money into a better quality brand.
Did You Know? There are many things that can void your warranty. For instance, if you do not install the laminate over level flooring or use the wrong cleaners, that may void any warranty claim.
Moreover, if your laminate flooring arrives in poor condition, it is critical that you return it immediately in order to be eligible for the warranty.
Additionally, some warranties will not cover water damage, floods, buckling, scratches, dents, and marks.
Oftentimes, commercial use will not be protected under warranty.
What Is Laminate Flooring Made Of?
Laminate flooring is made from four layers that all provide essential benefits to the flooring. The layering will vary somewhat depending on the type of laminate you buy, but overall all laminate floors are made with the same concept in mind.
The bottom layer of laminate flooring serves to protect the laminate from moisture and balances the boards on the floor.
The core layer of laminate is made from melanin resin and fiber board, adding durability and protection against indentations and moisture.
The design layer is what gives the laminate the appearance of real wood. Some design layers are made from high-resolution images of wood, whereas others are made from a thin layer of wood.
Finally, above the design layer is an aluminum oxide coating, which helps prevent staining, scratching, fading, and other potential damages.
Where Can I Buy Laminate Flooring?
Many different brands of laminate flooring are readily available in Lowe’s or Home Depot. Both retailers carry many of the brands mentioned in the “Cost of Laminate Flooring by Brand” section.
If you are installing laminate flooring through a contractor, they will likely be able to provide you with the laminate flooring as well as install it.
Can Sunlight Damage Laminate Floors?
While most laminate flooring comes with an aluminum oxide coating in the top layer which helps reduce fading, laminate floors can still be prone to fading and other sun damage.
The aluminum oxide coating is only effective for low level to medium sunlight exposure, so in rooms that receive much sun such as sunrooms, other preventative measures should be taken to prevent damage.
One way to reduce damage from sunlight is to pursue window treatments.
Alternatively, closing the shades during the sunniest periods of the day can help reduce fading. Even positioning furniture to block some sunlight can be a feasible solution.
How Can I Save Money When Installing Laminate Flooring?
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When installing laminate flooring, there are some areas you can cut corners to reduce the cost, but other times you may want to pay full price to ensure the best outcomes.
When purchasing the laminate, it is a good idea to buy as high-end laminate as you can afford, since cheaper laminate can have a lifespan as short as only three to five years, which will not be worthwhile.
However, you can shop around between different contractors and compare quotes to ensure you are being charged a fair price for installation.
For the DIY inclined, installing the laminate flooring yourself may be an option.
If you are not comfortable installing the new flooring but willing to do a more minor project, you can remove the existing flooring yourself.
Minimally, it is a good idea to remove the furniture on your own if you can, as the installers will charge for any furniture they must remove.
Choosing to install your new flooring in the wintertime, after the holiday season, will give you the cheapest prices and some impressive deals.
Most people renovate their homes in the fall before the holidays, so prices are higher during the fall, as well as in the summer.
Resale Value of Laminate Floors
Many homeowners wonder what kind of return on investment laminate floors can offer. Some worry whether laminate may actually hurt the resale value of their home. Here is some expert advice from realtors as well as builders:
If you have old vinyl sheet or plank flooring as well as carpeting, installing new laminate floors will boost resale value.
If you have old hardwoods, its best to invest into refinishing them, as they will provide much better home resale value, compared to even expensive, high-end laminate floors.
Laminate is not a good option for higher-end properties values at over $600,000. However, lower-end or mid-range properties as well as rental apartments are a great fit for laminate floors.
Its best to install laminate flooring in basements, play rooms, man-caves, entertainment rooms, laundry rooms, secondary bathrooms, finished attics, and storage rooms. Laminate floors are not a good fit for living rooms and bedrooms, especially for higher-value homes.
To get the best resale value on laminate floors, invest into high quality floors that have the most authentic hardwood look.
Lastly, consistency is best and its what prospective buyers expect to see. Its best to stick to only one type of flooring throughout the home, and its very important to make sure that two different types of flooring don’t meet in a highly visible area.