What is the Most Expensive, Luxury Flooring?
The most expensive flooring is natural stone because of the cost of excavation, transportation, and installation. Other expensive flooring options include exotic, hand-scraped, and reclaimed hardwoods and high-end wool and designer carpets. The highest quality flooring can easily exceed $20 per square foot to buy and install.
Last Updated: June 27, 2023, by: Greca Fotopoulos
Here at Home Flooring Pros we like to give you information on all the best budget flooring prices, home floors that give you the best bang for your buck, but what about luxury flooring?
If money’s no object and you just want the best of the best then what are the most appealing, aspirational top quality flooring options available? The following high quality flooring options are expensive but we don’t mean overpriced.
Quality flooring comes at a price and you inevitably get what you pay for when it comes to luxury interior design.
From marble floors to luxury vinyl flooring let’s take a look at the products that design trend setters crave. If you see something you like why not get a free estimate for installation.
NATURAL STONE FLOORING
No doubt, when many of us think of the most decadent and opulent flooring we think of natural stone. A palace wouldn’t be a palace without beautiful stone flooring right? And sure enough one of the most expensive flooring material is indeed stone, for reasons that should be abundantly clear.
Quarrying for stone is an expensive business which becomes more expensive if the quarrying needs to take place below ground. The harder and denser the stone, the harder and more expensive it is to quarry and the more vivid the color or patterning the stone the rarer it often is and so, again, the higher the price.
Stone is heavy and produced from quarries across the world creating high transportation costs and once the stone finally reaches your door you will have to budget for installation, the most man-hour intensive installation of all flooring types.
Marble is probably one of the most aspirational stone floor materials and while you can pay as little as $3 per square foot for some marble floor tiles, the highest quality marble will set you back as much as $15 to $20 per sq/ft.
Add on installation costs by highly qualified stone tile installers and you could be looking at a further $6 to $10 per sq/ft meaning that your ultimate dream marble floor could cost as much as $30 per sq/ft!
And remember the prices quoted here are for marble tile, were you thinking of installing solid marble slabs? Then think of spending between $50 to $80 per square foot…well nobody said a palace would come cheap!
MOSAIC AND DESIGNER CERAMIC FLOOR TILES
Nothing says style and sophistication like mosaic floor tiles and the look of your floor will only be limited by your imagination.
Handmade tiles, designer Italian tiles, antique reclaimed tiles, glass tiles, pebble mosaics and even a custom designed floor mosaic are all options. On and on the options go and when it comes to price the sky’s the limit.
Good quality mosaic or ceramic floor tiles alone will cost anywhere between $5 and $10 per sq/ft but that really is the tip of the iceberg. For high-end designer tiles of real quality and uniqueness it’s not hard to find plenty of options in the $30 per sq/ft range and above.
And all this before installations costs! For installation you’re looking at another $5 or more per sq/ft for standard tiles and intricate mosaic tiles, set on a mesh, will come in at around $10 per sq/ft for installation.
Looking to commission a mosaic artist to create a one of a kind work of art in the middle of your floor? Installation could cost anywhere between $150 and $800 per sq/ft!!!
EXOTIC HARDWOOD FLOORING
There’s nothing like scarcity to drive up the price of just about anything. So if you want the rarest and most unusual flooring in your neighborhood then why not look abroad for an exotic hardwood.
Lumber imported from South America and Africa already has the cost of transportation to be factored in. Then add to that the limited supply of some species of hardwood, despite sustainable forestry initiatives, and you soon come up with a few types of quality hardwood floors that will cost you anywhere from $12 to $22 per square foot. And that’s before wood installation costs, which will add $3 to $4 per sq/ft on to your bill.
There are reputable hardwood suppliers who practice responsible, sustainable lumber production and you should look for companies aligned with organizations like the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative).
Sustainable forestry adds costs to wood production, hence the higher prices, so if you stumble across exotic hardwood flooring for much less than $12 per sq/ft then you should definitely question the source of the wood.
HAND SCRAPED HARDWOOD FLOORING
A quick look at our article on the most popular hardwood trends will reveal that hand scraped planks have been a real bestseller recently, reflecting the retro trend for vintage old style wood flooring.
However, while there are more “hand scraped” wood planks to choose from than you can wave a stick at, the reality is that nearly all of them should more accurately be described as “hand scraped effect” wooden floors.
Modern production methods mean that most of the so-called hand scraped planks have been nowhere near a craftsman’s hands. That’s not to say that machine scraped planks are cheap or of bad quality, not at all.
Armstrong sell a beautiful range of, what they call, American Scrape Hardwood and their solid oak hardwood planks will cost you around $10 per sq/ft. But if you are looking for something authentic and truly customized by hand then take a look at something like Homerwood’s Amish Hand-Scraped collection.
Each plank from this collection of flooring has been individually fashioned by Amish artisans creating a truly unique look for each and every floor board. And the price? Well Homerwood sell their products through local flooring dealers and you can find your nearest dealer through their website, but we have seen prices between $12.50 and $14 per sq/ft for 3 inch wide planks and between $16 and $19 for 5 inch wide width planks.
And of course don’t forget to add installation costs, for a free quote from a qualified local professional installer click here.
RECLAIMED HARDWOOD FLOORING
If you’re looking for a wood floor with real character than look no further than aged, reclaimed wood. Reclaimed hardwood flooring has the scarcity factor of exotic wood and the originality of hand scraped flooring rolled into one.
Clearly there is only so much pre-existing wood out there that can be reclaimed for reuse and as the wood has already been around for a long time it has, like a great wine, lots and lots of individual character. Finally of course, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are installing a green recycled product.
All these factors make reclaimed quality hardwood flooring both desirable and aspirational, not to mention pretty expensive. Although interestingly not quite as expensive as you might think.
You can pick up antique ash, oak or pine from between $4 and $7 per sq/ft and if you want to push the boat out take a look at the beauty of old walnut or elm flooring with a price tag of between $10 and $15 per square foot. Don’t forget to add-on installation costs on top of that.
There are a number of reputable reclaimed wood distributors to choose from. We like Elmwood and recommend them as a good starting point.
LUXURY VINYL TILE
We all know vinyl as a cheap flooring option…but times are changing and Luxury Vinyl Tile (or LVT) is now a major player in the flooring industry challenging laminate flooring as the imitation wood or stone flooring of choice.
You can find cheap LVT that competes on price with laminate but the more realistic and durable the luxury vinyl flooring the more expensive it is.
There are a number of reputable Luxury Vinyl Tile brands and one of the best known is Mannington, a company founded back in 1915. Their Adura (tiles and planks) and Resilient (sheet vinyl) ranges offer some highly realistic products that will set you back between $4 and $5 per square foot, to put that in perspective that is the same price as a very decent quality porcelain tile.
So why would you choose Luxury Vinyl Tile over porcelain tile? Well for a number of reasons. Firstly, if wood or natural stone is the look you crave then LVT is still a good deal cheaper than the real thing both in terms of product and installation costs.
Secondly LVT is softer and warmer on the feet than tiles, as well as being quieter and more slip resistant. Simply put, luxury vinyl plank or tile flooring works well in certain households.
Additional Reading: Bathroom Vinyl Flooring
Linoleum is another flooring type that has been around for decades and was seriously out of fashion for a while, but like vinyl it is making a comeback thanks in no small part to its green credentials.
If you’re looking for a green flooring product of the highest quality then look no further than Forbo’s Marmoleum (their brand name for linoleum) range of products.
Forbo’s flooring products are all about creating a modern look with a retro attitude and interior designers are tripping over themselves to install it in both commercial and domestic settings with dramatic results.
Just take a look at their product range over at www.greenbuildingsupply.com to get some idea of the many colorful, funky and generally awesome options available.
Marmoleum is quick and easy to install (choose from basic tiles, sheet or click together tiles), healthy (non-toxic and asthma and allergy friendly), warm and quiet under foot, long-lasting and about as eco-friendly and sustainable as you can get. All qualities that justify its price tag of between $3 and $7 per square foot.
CARPET AND CARPET TILES
“What?” I hear you cry, “Carpet is one of the most expensive flooring options?!” Well typically carpet is one of the cheaper flooring options and carpet tiles even more so, but that doesn’t take into account the trend for designer flooring.
There isn’t room here to analyze the cost of bespoke designer carpets and rugs, as you soon start to enter into the world of “how long is a piece of string”, but taking a look at the commercial success of a carpet tile brand like FLOR will soon reveal that today’s interior design trend setters are willing to pay top dollar for a unique contemporary look.
Launched in 2003 the FLOR concept of carpet tiles targeted design conscious customers offering them an easy to install, green and highly adaptable modular carpet square system that can be as unique as you want it to be. As Jon Peters says, over at www.interiorsbystudiom.com,
There’s practically no limit on the number of applications that Flor can be used in, from rugs and runners to full-on wall to wall flooring, helping you transform your old, bland space into a customized work of art.
Choose from bold solid colors (with over 70 colors to choose from), multi-colored stripes, abstract patterns or traditional squares mimicking wool and sisal styles. Versatile and ever so cool FLOR carpet tiles don’t come cheap but we think they’re worth every penny.
Prices start at $3.35 a sq/ft but the majority of their tiles are priced in the $5.50 to $8 range and their top of the line squares going as high as $10 per square foot. Now that’s aspirational carpeting.
Additional Reading: Basement Carpet Ideas
About the Author:
Greca is the lead style writer at Home Flooring Pros (more), with a BA in Technical Art, she’s focused on flooring trends, flooring ideas, and flooring brand reviews.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than creating a home that you love. The hardest thing about this job is trying not to covet all the great floors I get to review; if I could remodel my home every month, I would!”