2023 Hardwood Flooring Installation Cost

Typical Cost To Install New Flooring Average: $1,410 - $2,460
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Installing hardwood flooring is a great way to breath new life into an old house and boost the resale value of your home.

Today, there are many hardwoods to consider: domestic and exotic species, reclaimed hardwoods, or engineered wood floors. There is something that can fit pretty much anyone’s aesthetic tastes and budget.

If you are ready to install new hardwood floors, contact your local flooring pros for FREE ESTIMATES!

How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost?

Average Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $1,769 - $3,192 (for 180 sq. ft.)
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High End

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Installing hardwood flooring in a 12×12 room costs $1,200 – 1,700 and includes removal of old carpeting. Installing 1,000 sq.ft. of hardwood flooring costs $6,500 – 12,000

Your total hardwood flooring cost will depend on the wood species you select (maple, hickory, pine, cherry, bamboo, etc), wood grade and grain, complexity of the installation, as well as local labor charges.

Oak, maple and cherry are the most popular hardwoods that homeowners choose to install most often.

In terms of professional labor charges, costs can vary by as much as 20-25% depending on where you live.

States and cities with a higher cost of living and higher real estate prices tend to see the most expensive contractor charges for flooring installs.

You can use our Hardwood Flooring Cost Calculator to estimate the price of installing hardwood flooring in your house.

Wood Flooring Cost Per Sq.Ft.

Pine is the cheapest hardwood flooring and can cost as low as $3-4 per square foot, excluding the cost of installation.

Most popular hardwood species such as oak, maple and cherry cost $5.5-7.5 per square foot.

Exotic wood species, such as tigerwood and mahogany start at $10 per square foot, and can cost as much as $20 per square foot.

Cost of Hardwood Flooring Based On Wood Type

cost of hardwood floors

There are dozens of beautiful hardwood varieties that will satisfy any budget and aesthetics, from domestic classics to exotic show-stoppers.

In recent years, reclaimed hardwood floors have become exceedingly popular. Reclaimed wood offers a unique look and style that is well suited for high-end remodels and historic homes.

Because its popularity continues to grow, many manufacturers now produce engineered floors designed to look like expensive, reclaimed antique hardwoods.

Here is a reference chart with the installation cost per square foot for the most popular types of hardwood floors.

Cost of Domestic Hardwood Flooring Per Sq.Ft.

Red Oak $3.50 – $7 The most popular wood installed in US. Known for durability, hardness, and stain absorption. Prices depend on wood grade, plank width and finish.
Heart Pine $3.00 – 6.00 Offers a rusty hued and knotty look. Highly popular in country-style/Southern homes.
Birch $3.00 – 5.00 Looks similar to maple in terms of color and grain, and is often mistaken for it. Less expensive substitute for maple
Hickory (Pecan) $5 – $9 Looks similar to oak in color and graining, but is a lot harder. Hides scratches and dents really well.
Maple $4.60- 7.00 Has a light, yellowish color, light grain and a sleek, smooth look. Perfect for contemporary style homes.
White Ash $5.60 – 7.00 Offers a beautiful blond color and a prominent grain pattern.
Douglas Fir $6.35 – 7.50 A softer wood, with radiant gold undertones. Typically refinished on-site
American Cherry $7.34 – 10.00 Offers a smooth texture, and a beautiful red color that reddens with age. A soft wood that dents easily
American Walnut (Black Walnut) $7.84 – 11.00 Boasts unique color hues that range from lighter pale brown to dark chocolate, with undertones of purple, grey and red.
Average Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $1,769 - $3,192 (for 180 sq. ft.)
Low End
High End

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

Cost of Exotic Hardwood Flooring Per Sq.Ft.

Bamboo $3-7 Eco-friendly, sustainable flooring that can be just as hard as oak. Price varies greatly depending on origin.
Black Acacia $4.40 Boasts a uniquely beautiful golden tone when stained with a clear finish
Australian Cypress $5.00 Offers a distinct grain with multiple knots. Perfect for rustic interior decor
Brazilian Redwood $5.70 Boasts a very subtle grain and a deep russet color. Ideal for clean contemporary design spaces
Brazilian Tigerwood (Koa) $5.80 One of the most unique looking species, with the alternating, eye catching pattern of dark chocolate and blonde stripes
Brazilian Cherry (Jatoba) $6.84 Offers smooth graining, and a striking, deep red color, which tends to deepen with age.
Royal Mahogany $6.90 Boasts a very fine and even grain, with a luxurious dark reddish brown color.
Tiete Rosewood $7.64 Offers a unique pinkish color with a fine grain, Over time, the color darken to a beautiful, rich red color.
Brazilian Walnut (Ipe) 7.95 One of the hardest wood species. Similar in color to Brazilian Cherry, but has more brown tones

Cost of Distressed Wood Flooring Per Sq.Ft.

Handscraped White Oak $4.60 Beautiful ripples are randomly carved along the length of each board
Distressed Hickory $6.40 Dented with chains, then stained to a rich hue

Cost of Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring Per Sq.Ft.

Oak, Pine, Hickory, Chestnut $7.00-14.00+ Boasts a unique look and feel of antique wood, with dents, scratches, nail holes, interesting markings, etc.

How Much Do Flooring Contractors Charge to Install Hardwood Floors?

In most areas of the country, flooring pros charge $70-95 per hour to install hardwood flooring.

Its important to note that contractors charge MORE for smaller size jobs. This means that you can save on the cost of labor per square foot, if you need to install hardwood over a large area (many rooms) of your home.

Often, homeowners are surprised and taken aback when they get a quote from a contractor, which is double or more than the cost of the wood itself. There are a number of factors that go in to this estimate, which we break down for you below.

As you will see, final flooring installation labor charges greatly depend on the type of install you want, with stapled or nailed method being the cheapest option.

***Keep in mind that prices quoted bellow are for installing prefinished hardwood flooring planks.

1. Stapled or Nailed $3.00 – 3.50
2. Floating $3.60 – 4.65
3. Glued Direct $3.90 – 4.75
REPLACE OLD/BROKEN SUBFLOORING (REQUIRES HIRING A CARPENTER) $90 – 135 (for around three hours of labor billed at a rate of $30 – 45 / hr
Average Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $1,769 - $3,192 (for 180 sq. ft.)
Low End
High End

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

Cost of Prefinished vs. Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

One of the major decisions you need to make is whether you want to have a prefinished or unfinished floor.

Overall installing finished hardwood flooring turns out to be cheaper than unfinished wood floors.

Prefinished means that the final finish has already been applied at the factory. This floor is completely ready for installation and requires no additional work.

Unfinished means that either you or the contractor will need to stain and finish the hardwood, after it has already been installed. A pro will charge you about 15% extra, but sometimes as much as 40% to apply stain and finish coats.

Take a look at the table below to compare the advantages of each option.

1. Factory – applied finish is usually more durable. It often comes with a lifetime warranty 1. No worrying about accidentally dropping a tool or a mortar pebble during installation that would ruin a finished floor
2. Installation is fast and can be completed in one day 2. Much greater selection of stains and finished to choose from
3. Overall lower cost: while initial cost of finished wood can be $1.5- 2.5 more than unfinished, the total cost of finishing the floor on site ends up costing more 3. No micro-bevels that exist on pre-finished floors. Unfinished floors can be finished to a mirror-like surface
4. No toxic VOCs to deal with in the application of on-site finishes 4. Initial cost is lower than finished flooring
5. No worries about dust and errant hairs that can get stuck when trying to finish an unfinished floor and ruin its looks 5. If you have hardwood and are adding more, unfinished wood can be finished and stained to match more exactly.
6. You can walk on the floor right away. No need to wait for the finish to dry or wait to move back the furniture

Cost to Finish Hardwood Flooring

If you install unfinished planks, you need to budget for the cost of finishing your floor, which averages $1.50 – 4.00 per sq.ft..

Your total costs will depend on numerous factors, such as the size of the room, number of corners, any irregular room design, type hardwood finish and stain, job complexity, accessibility and other factors.

You should also keep in mind that there are different types of finishes, each with its own features, pros and cons. They are also priced differently.

Here is a quick reference chart for how much you can expect to pay for different types of hardwood finishes:

Polyureathane Finish (Water-based) $40 – 60 / gallon. Covers 400 – 500 sq.ft.
Polyureathane Finish (Oil-based) $18 – 40 / gallon. Covers 500 – 600 sq.ft.
Moisture Cured Urethane Finish $2 – 4 / sq. ft. professionally applied
Acid Cured (Swedish) Finish $3.75 – 5.00 / sq.ft. professionally applied
Wax Finish $10 – 25/ lb. Covers 400 – 500 sq.ft.
Penetrating Oil Sealer Finish $60 -70 / gallon. Covers about 500 sq.ft.
Shellac Finish $80 – 90 / gallon. Covers about $300 sq.ft.

DIY Hardwood Flooring Installation Cost

When it comes to hardwood floors, one of the biggest expenses is professional labor. Indeed, depending on the size and complexity of the job, it can be as high as the price of the floor itself.

As we discussed above, professional installation starts at $3.5 per square foot and can be as high as $10+ per square foot. Therefore, one way you can save a lot of money is by doing the job yourself.

Keep in mind that its significantly easier and faster to install engineered wood floors, many of which are manufactured as floating planks.

On the other hand, hardwood floors need to be either nailed or glued down, and this is a complex job that usually requires expert knowledge.

You also need to make sure that the subfloor is completely smooth before laying down your floors.

You can use this formula to estimate your materials cost, if you are planning to go the DIY route

1. Measure your room’s square footage.
2. Add 5-10% to the total calculated square footage to account for waste.
3. Multiply your total square footage (with waste included) by the price per square foot for a wood board.
4. Add $50-100 to the final cost to account for door thresholds, and shoe moldings.

How Can I Save On Hardwood Flooring Installation Cost?

Installing new hardwood floors throughout the house can end up costing thousands of dollars. However, there are ways you can cut down some of these expenses:

1. Shop discount flooring

You can get a wide range of hardwoods at 20-30% off the retail price in places like Lumber Liquidators.

Online stores such as Build.com also have many hardwood floors at deep discounts, of as much as 50% off compared to in-store prices.

However, if you are shopping online you have to factor in shipping costs, which may end being very high.

If you are considering buying your flooring online, see if you can get samples of the flooring first to make sure that its exactly what you want.

Its also a good idea to go to hardwood flooring showrooms to see the types of flooring that are available and then look for a discount option on the flooring that you liked.

2. Go for mid-range quality wood floors

Consider purchasing wood flooring grades that are not perfectly clear. Even if there are some blemishes, knots, etc, the overall look will still be great, but you can save hundreds of dollars.

3. Remove old flooring yourself

A professional installer will charge $1-2.5 per square foot to remove and dispose of old floors. If you are doing floors in many rooms, this alone can add up to hundreds of dollars.

4. Move the furniture by yourself

Here again, pros will charge extra for moving the furniture from the room/s where they will be installing floors. You can add another $100-350 of savings if you are willing to sweat and get the job done yourself.

5. Get multiple quotes from flooring pros near you

Different flooring installers will give you variable rates for their work. For example, you can get flooring installation from home improvement chains like Home Depot, but it will generally cost more than working with a small private flooring contractor.

Also, don’t go for overly low-end offers. These pros will either do a sub-par job, or they are not being honest about all the labor charges involved.

Once you sign a general contract and they begin work, you will be slammed with additional charges, that have “suddenly” come up.

Average Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $1,769 - $3,192 (for 180 sq. ft.)
Low End
High End

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

About Leo Bender

Leo has been a contractor since 2003, specializing in: roofing, siding, general contracting (GC) and residential remodeling. Leo is also a Certified HVAC, Oil & Gas Heating Technician/Installer. In addition to roofing and remodeling, Leo is passionate about Solar, green building and energy conservation, so a lot of my time and energy goes to installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

See more about Remodeling Calculator team here

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