The Average Cost of Things

Average Cost of Hardwood Floors

Brandon Cornett

By Brandon Cornett
© 2011 All rights reserved

How much do hardwood floors cost on average, and which factors influence the price the most? These are the flooring questions we have answered below. We hope this article helps with your continued flooring research.

Hardwood flooring is one of the most popular features in homes today. They also help with resale value in most housing markets. As a result, many homeowners have hardwood floors installed each year. But how much does it cost for such a project? Our key findings are shown in green below, and our research methods are explained further down the page.

Based on our research, the average cost for hardwood floors is $5.75 / square foot for materials only, and $9.85 / square foot installed.

Terminology note: The "installed" price means that both material and labor is included. If you see a price that does not say "installed" (and simply says "cost per square foot), then it only includes the materials themselves. This is why there are two numbers mentioned above. So be sure you understand the full costs when getting quotes and making your decisions.

Factors That Affect the Cost

According to an article on the HGTV website ("Hardwood is Easy to Love," by Kathy Barberich), the average cost to have hardwood floors installed is $9 - $12 per square foot. These numbers are in the same ballpark as other figures we encountered through our research.

The two most obvious factors that affect the cost of hardwood flooring are (1) the square footage and (2) the type of wood you choose. The square footage is something of a fixed variable. If you want a certain area floored, there's not much you can do to control this variable.

But you have plenty of control over the second cost variable -- the type of hardwood flooring you choose. And here, the price varies a lot. For example, consider the price difference between "Brazilian Ebony" and "Gunstock Oak" floors. On the Lumber Liquidators website (as of 12/2/09), the Brazilian started at $8.29 / square foot, and the oak started at $2.59 / square foot. This is just for materials and does not include labor. If you applied those prices to a flooring space of 1,000 square feet, you would have a cost difference of $8,290 to $2,590. So you can see how much the type of hardwood flooring affects the cost of the job.

If you are having the floors professionally installed, you should ask about other costs as well. These might include fees for moving furniture, the price of the underlay material, molding installation, etc. When you add them up, these items can significantly increase the cost of your project. So find out in advance.

If you already have wood floors, and you are thinking about replacing them for appearance purposes, you might want to consider refinishing. This involves stripping and sanding (or just buffing) the floors, and then applying a new coating such as polyurethane. It's a good way to restore the appearance of hardwoods, and for much less than the cost of a new floor. It's worth considering at the very least.

Laminate vs. Hardwood Flooring

Here's something else to consider. Laminate floors have come a long way in recent years. Modern laminates look very much like hardwoods, but they generally cost much less. They are also more resistant to dings, scratches and dents than real wood. And then there's that whole environmental thing -- mature trees have to be cut down for hardwood flooring. Something to think about.

Floor Pricing Data was Scarce

When researching this article, we did not find as much data as we would've liked. This is likely due to the many variables involved with hardwood floors (types of wood, labor, etc.). The numbers presented above represent the best average we could come up with, based on a survey of more than 25 websites. At any rate, we hope this article helps you put prices into perspective. Good luck with your project!

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