Last Updated: May 26, 2023, by: Rob Parsell
Hardwood flooring remains the top choice of homeowners who want a premium product renowned for its beauty and durability. It’s a lifetime floor that can be restored to its original splendor by refinishing as needed, usually every 15 to 25 years. A few fresh coats of sealer in between and easy maintenance with a broom and damp mop keep hardwood floors looking spectacular. Click here for our full guides to solid hardwood and here for engineered wood flooring.
In our dedicated guides to solid hardwood prices and engineered hardwood prices we give specific examples… In this hardwood flooring costs guide, we cover initial flooring prices and the cost to maintain your hardwood floors in the decades ahead. We also compare hardwood floor costs to tile floor costs and the cost of other popular flooring materials.
PURCHASE AND INSTALLATION COST
Hardwood flooring has a high upfront cost when compared with carpet or vinyl, but its longevity significantly reduces the average cost over the life of the flooring. The costs of hardwood flooring material and installation are more in line with those of quality tile flooring and natural stone flooring.
Hardwood Floor Costs to Buy: There are various grades of hardwood flooring. The higher the grade, the more it costs. In addition, exotic and rare wood species cost more than common species. These factors account for the wide range of hardwood prices found in the chart below. We also provide separate pricing for solid hardwood and engineered hardwood flooring, though the pricing is quite similar.
Hardwood Floor Installation Cost: The differences in the hardwood installation prices are a result of varying costs depending on who installs the flooring. For example, a handyman might charge less than a flooring contractor. If you hire a designer or general contractor to oversee the entire job, including hiring a flooring contractor, the wood floor installation cost will probably be even higher. Install the flooring yourself, and your costs might be zero or limited to the price of a few essential tools.
To Get Started
COMPARING HARDWOOD FLOORING COSTS
Here’s a breakdown of the material costs and installation costs of hardwood flooring compared to the most popular alternatives. All costs are noted per square foot and assume you’ll be hiring someone for installation.
|Solid Hardwood Flooring||$2.50 to $8.25||$2.75 to $6||$5.25 to $14.25|
|Engineered Hardwood Flooring||$2.50 to $7.00||$2.75 to $6||$5.25 to $13|
|Ceramic Tile Flooring||$1.40 to $3.25||$6.65 to $10.50||$8.05 to $13.75|
|Natural Stone Flooring||$2.85 to $4.75||$4.75 to $8.00||$7.60 to $12.75|
|Carpet||$2.00 to $4.55||$1.00 to $2.25||$3.00 to $6.80|
|Laminate Flooring||$1.50 to $2.75||$3.00 to $4.75||$4.50 to $7.50|
|Luxury Vinyl Flooring||$2.85 to $7.75||$1.00 to $1.75||$3.85 to $9.50|
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
One of the main advantages of hardwood flooring is that it is easy and cheap to maintain. The tough, non-porous polyurethane finish holds up well to spills and debris. Cleaning hardwood floors involves using a broom or slightly damp mop to clear them of loose debris and warm water and a dry cloth to remove liquid spills that have dried.
Every 4 to 8 years, depending on how the floors are used and maintained, you might want to lightly sand the surface, remove the dust and add a new coat of clear and durable polyurethane sealer. The gentle sanding can be done with a mechanical sander or by hand. The purpose is to remove light scratches and the dulling of the finish caused by foot traffic and pets. The sanding shouldn’t go all the way to the wood. Adding a fresh coat of polyurethane will produce a gleam that restores the “just installed” appearance to your solid or engineered hardwood floors. Read more about oil based vs water based polyurethane.
Here’s a look at your hardwood floors maintenance costs.
- Annual Cost of Hardwood Floors Cleaning Supplies: $35 to $60 per 1,000 square feet
- Cost of Lightly Sanding Hardwood Floors: $40 to $125 per 1,000 square feet
- Cost of Sealing Hardwood Floors with Polyurethane: $75 to $120 per 1,000 square feet
How often you need to finish your hardwood floors depends on multiple factors that include:
- How many coats of polyurethane were applied when the floor was installed or refinished
- How much foot traffic they receive
- Whether or not shoes are worn on them
- Whether or not table and chair legs are padded
- The presence of pets, especially large dogs
- Whether furniture is lifted and carried or dragged across the hardwood flooring
- How often light dust and grit are removed through sweeping or damp-mopping
Typically, hardwood floors that have been properly installed, sealed and maintained will need to be refinished every 12 to 25 years. That’s a wide spectrum of time, but keep in mind the factors we listed that determine how long hardwood flooring keep its good looks. Hardwood floor refinishing costs aren’t cheap. In the chart below, we compare hardwood floor refinishing prices to the cost of refinishing other high-end flooring options per square foot of flooring.
- Hardwood Floor Refinishing: $3.00 to $4.25
- Tile Flooring Regrouting: $2.85 to $5.00
- Marble or Slate Floor Sanding & Sealing: $1.25 to $2.00
- Slate or Concrete Floor Resealing Only: $0.85 to $1.50
You can also visit our guide to diy hardwood floor refinishing.
To Get Started
TIPS TO MINIMIZE HARDWOOD FLOORING COSTS
When you decide on hardwood flooring, there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of the material and installation. Down the road, you can minimize restoration costs too. Here are tips for reducing hardwood flooring costs over the life of the floor.
- Choose hardwood flooring that is on sale or clearance
- Shop around online for the best prices on the wood species you want
- Select a grade of flooring that has more imperfections and therefore costs less
- When old flooring needs to be removed, do it yourself
- Install the floor yourself or with the help of an experienced friend
- Remove and install baseboard trim and shoe molding yourself
- Get estimates for installation from several flooring installers who know they’re competing for the work
- Have a “no shoes” policy on your hardwood floors to reduce the rate of wear
- Prevent dogs from running or playing on the hardwood floors
- Keep the floors free of dirt that can scratch the surface and quicken wear of the floor
- Wipe up wet spills immediate to prevent water damage, and don’t use a mop that is more than slightly damp
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COST TO INSTALL WOOD FLOORING
Sweeten.com – Prices vary from stste to state and city to city. Here’s an idea of pricing in New York.
Angie’s List – This helpful article gives you further info on wood re-finishing prices.
We love to hear from our readers so if you have flooring costs for your completed project please share them in the comments below.
About the Author: Rob Parsell
Rob joined the Home Flooring Pros team in 2014 and is a freelance writer, specializing in flooring, remodeling and HVAC systems (read more).
“I’m the son of an interior designer and picked up an eye for design as a result. I started hanging wallpaper and painting at 14 and learned enough on the job to be the general contractor on two homes we built for our family and did much of the finish plumbing, electrical, painting, and trim work myself.”