There are 5 steps to getting an approximate idea of how much a new floor will cost. They will help you form a rough estimate on the replacement cost for a new floor. At the same time as calculating a rough estimate for yourself we recommend getting a free quote from a trustworthy professional installer as a comparison guide.
Step 1: Determine the Total Square Footage Required
Since all types of flooring are sold by the square foot or square yard, knowing how large the area is that you want to cover is the first step. You’ll need a tape measure to determine square footage. If you have a blueprint that shows dimension, it will save you from having to make the measurements.
To Get Started
Measure rooms one at a time. It’s easiest to measure rectangles, so if you have an “L-shaped” room, divide it into 2 rectangles and measure them separately. The length of the rectangle multiplied by the width equals the square footage. For example, a room, or section of a room, that is 20 feet long and 12 feet wide produces this formula: 20 x 12 = 240 square feet. If the flooring you are purchasing is sold by the yard, divide the square feet by 9. So, 240 square feet / 9 = 26.667 square yards.
Add up the square footage from all the rooms or room sections. That number will be the total square footage being covered.
Step 2: Add 5% for Waste
Trimming the flooring will produce waste. Most manufacturers recommend 5% for waste. If you’re installing the floor yourself and don’t have experience, you might consider adding 10% for waste. So, if the total square feet to be covered is 1,200, multiple by 1.05 for 5% waste and 1.10 for 10% waste.
1,200 x 1.05 = 1,260
1,200 x 1.10 = 1,320
See the installation guides on this site to learn more about installing all the most popular types of flooring.
Step 3: Know the Price Per Square Foot for the Flooring
As you’re shopping for floor covering, make notes on the price of the materials. The most common types of flooring material include carpeting, vinyl and linoleum flooring, natural stone flooring, solid hardwood, engineered stone flooring and laminate flooring. They range in cost from less than $2 per square foot for cheap vinyl, ceramic tile and carpet to over $8 per square foot for exotic wood and natural stone flooring.
If you’re looking for a quality budget carpet read our Phenix carpet review.
The individual flooring price guides on this site give complete price ranges for each type of flooring.
To Get Started
Step 4: Know the Price of Installation
You’ve got to get floor replacement estimates from local flooring contractors to find out the price of installation per square foot. The cheapest flooring to install is carpet and laminate. Vinyl and wood flooring are in the middle. Ceramic tile, stone and concrete are the most costly.
Get several estimates to find the lowest prices in your area. If you use an estimate service, the contractors are pre-screened and their bids are usual very competitive because they know you are getting more than one.
Step 5: Put it All Together
Multiply material cost and installation cost by the square footage and add them together.
For example, let’s say you’re going to hire home flooring pros to install your new carpet rather than installing it yourself. Here’s how this looks when you’ve got 1,200 square feet to cover:
- 1,200 x 1.05 = 1,260 square feet of material needed.
- Average price of carpet per square foot: $4.50
- 1,260 square feet of carpet x $4.50 = $5,670 for material
- Installation of 1,200 square feet x $1.50 per square foot = $1,800 for installation.
- Material plus installation, or $5,670 + $1,800 = $7,470
In our illustration, to cover 1,200 square feet with average carpet at average installation costs, you’d pay $7,470. If the flooring installer is going to remove old flooring and dispose of it, there may be additional costs for those services.
Flooring Cost FAQ’s
Q: Why can’t I just use a flooring cost estimator?
A: There are a number of websites that offer a flooring estimator and they are a good place to start your research, but they will only give you a rough ballpark estimate. Following the steps above will give you a much more precise estimate, researching the exact cost of the flooring you intend to buy is a particularly important step.
Places Where You Can Learn About Flooring Replacement Costs
- Porch – Calculate carpet installation prices in your zip code.
- Flooring Calculator – Estimate flooring material prices and installation costs for free.
- CostOwl – Search their site to get estimated pricing information for your new flooring project.
Did you recently replace the flooring in your home? Share your project details below.
About the Author:
Jamie Sandford is the Owner and Chief Editor of Home Flooring Pros (find out more). After 12 years’ experience in screen and stage set construction followed by a further 15 years working in the home renovation/remodeling business he now writes and curates online home improvement advice.
“Buying and installing home flooring should be a fairly straightforward process, but often it isn’t. After more than 15 years’ experience in home flooring and remodeling, I started Home Flooring Pros in 2013 to help homeowners navigate the often-over complicated process of choosing, buying and installing a home floor. The aim is to save you time and money by helping you to make better floor buying decisions.”