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living room with gorgeous hardwood floor

Use our free online hardwood floor cost calculator below to calculate the approximate cost for hardwood flooring based on many variables including square footage, type of wood, installation, job complexity and quality of wood.

Hardwood flooring cost calculator





More hardwood flooring cost information

When designing your home, the flooring is one of the most discussed and stressed over options there is. Should you go with carpet, laminate, hardwood?

The options seem endless, and when you do make a choice, that option has more options. It’s enough to pull your hair out. Don’t stress. This extensive guide on hardwood floors will explore all the options and help you find the right hardwood floor for your home style.

When you are budgeting for a hardwood floor you have three major factors to consider:

  • Wood type
  • Square footage to cover
  • Labor costs

There will be extra costs in the overall design with things such as patterns and sealants. However, these costs are minimal compared to the big three listed above.

1. Costs of Hardwood Flooring

Your cost can vary depending on where you live, the materials you choose and the cost of installation by professionals.

You can save money by doing the installation yourself, however, with home flooring, it is better to leave it to the professionals, so you are ensured that there will be a timely install and a warranty on the installation and flooring materials.

When hiring a contractor, you should always look to get at least three different bids. These bids should include removal of old flooring (if applicable), materials and labor costs.

Most homeowners associations won’t have much to say about the interior of your home, however, if you belong to such an association, it is always better to check with them before beginning any work.

The national average for hardwood floor installation is between $2,500 and $6,000.

2. Square Feet

The overall coverage of the flooring will be measured in square feet. This total will be the basis for all costs associated with your flooring choice. Materials purchased should cover a greater area than measured.

Labor costs will also count by the square foot. When looking at bids, you should note that the square footage for materials is greater than the square footage for labor. Some areas also require that installers be licensed and bonded. If your area is one that does, you should make sure the company you receive bids from, have the required licenses.

Cost calculators are available to help you determine how many square feet of coverage you will need. These are just guides though and should only be used for comparison purposes.

Once you know the exact square footage that will be covered with hardwood flooring, you will have a better idea of what to budget for when it comes to materials and labor.

A. Cautions

Traditional wood flooring comes in three main categories: soft, medium and hard. Because they are natural wood planks, it is advised not to install them below ground level. They are not very tolerant to moisture or heat.

Exposing these planks to excessive heat or moisture can cause them to warp, crack or splinter. Your contractor will be able to advise you about these factors before installation to help you make the right choice for your flooring needs.

Hardwood options are also not advisable if you have pets as the flooring will scar and dent from their claws. You also need to be vigilant in maintenance and cleanliness. Spills can damage the wood and stain quickly.

3. Types

There are as many types of hardwood flooring options, and a bird has feathers. You can get hardwood flooring in light or dark woods, soft, medium or hardwoods and even manufactured or engineered hardwoods.

With near limitless options, you should narrow it down based on your style preferences and budget allowances.

A. Soft Woods

Softwoods are among the less expensive options for hardwood flooring. They come in a variety of colors and are made from a range of wood sources. The most common types are outlined here.

i. Pine

Pine is a fairly common flooring option because of its rich color and availability. Pine also has a great look due to natural knotholes and grain patterns. It will usually come in softer tones of yellow and red.

The cost of pine is about $2 to $4 per square foot. The labor to install a pine floor is going to be another $3 to $6 per square foot.

ii. Cedar

Cedar is another softwood that is common in household flooring. It has a vibrant color and appearance. With colors ranging from very light to very dark, you can create wonderful patterns of colored planks using cedar.

The more complex and exacting the pattern, the more you will pay for labor to install. The materials themselves will cost on average between $3 and $7 per square foot with labor being between $3 and $10 to install.

iii. Spruce

Spruce is a rarer softwood that can add a nice bright finish to your floor. With amazing knothole and grain patterns, spruce is a wonderful, eye-catching flooring option.

Because of its rarity, you will pay a little more for spruce. However, it is still less than the exotic woods and most of the hardwood options. For materials, you can expect to pay between $4 and $8 per square foot with an additional $3 to $10 for installation labor.

B. Medium Woods

While most wood flooring options are left to either soft or hard, this is not a term for the density of the wood. The terms softwood and hardwood actually come from the originating tree. Trees that have an enclosed seed that sprouts, such as oak or maple or walnut are called hardwoods.

On the other hand, open seed trees such as pine and spruce are referred to as softwoods. When it comes to the hardwood flooring options, soft medium and hard refer to the durability of the flooring option.

Softwoods tend to dent and damage more easily than hardwoods. Medium woods are stronger and more durable than softwoods and less so than hardwoods.

i. Cherry

Cherry wood is an excellent wood for flooring as it has rich and vibrant colors. While it is not very common for flooring when used, it is an exceptional aesthetic look.

Cherry is a medium grade wood with few knotholes and very little grain. The more solid colors allow for a seamless look. Materials will run about $5 to $7 per square foot with an additional $5 to $9 for installation.

ii. Ash

Ash is a flooring wood that is growing in popularity. It has a very distinctive grain pattern that makes for a wonderful floor design.

It’s white natural color lends itself to many style options for the room. Combining it with dark furniture sets the room apart and makes for a very eye-pleasing design.

Materials for Ash will run an average of $5 to $6 per square foot with installation running another $5 to $9.

iii. Oak

Oak is a very durable medium grade wood. It is used primarily in medium to high traffic areas. It is also available in two primary colors, red oak, and white oak.

Red oak is the more common for flooring as it’s light red tones and grain patterns show through and with a natural light source it has been reported to give off a slight glow that adds to the atmosphere of the room.

White oak has more grain variations that the red oak option. However, you will not get the same ambiance as you do with the tones of the red. White oak is great for kitchens and dining rooms, especially when paired with white appliances and furniture.

Oak will cost you between $3 to $6 per square foot with an added $5 to $10 for installation, on average.

C. Hard Woods

The hardwoods are more expensive than the other two wood options. However, they are also more durable and have a longer lifespan. The durability will usually outweigh the cost, and most homes will use a hardwood because of the traffic that is on them.

i. Maple

Maple is a standard flooring in commercial applications. Ballet studios and basketball courts are made using maple. It is a highly durable wood that will give you years of beauty.

Maple is easily stained, though and any spills should be cleaned up immediately. Maple has a rich, light color that stands out with natural and ambient lighting. When using maple in your home, you can use natural wood furniture to bring out the beauty of the maple.

Maple will cost you between $3 and $5 per square foot. However, as with most hardwoods, installation and labor will be slightly higher, averaging $7 to $10 per square foot.

ii. Hickory

Hickory is known for its high density and durability as well as its inconsistency. No two planks will ever look alike, and for that reason, the floors stand out and demand attention.

Used in high traffic areas, these floors will stand the test of time and outlast most other options. You will pay for the durability and longevity though, with hickory costing between $6 and $9 per square foot with an additional $7 to $10 for installation.

iii. Walnut

Walnut is a very common dense flooring option. When you want a darker flooring choice, walnut steps up. It has a very dark and consistent look with natural light tones throughout. For its beauty alone, walnut is hard to beat.

When paired with light colored natural wood furniture or white appliances the floor stands out and is very appealing. You can do a lot with your style and design is you choose walnut as your hardwood flooring preference.

Like hickory, walnut will cost you between $6 and $9 per square foot and an added $7 to $10 per square foot for the installation.

iv. Bamboo

Technically, not wood, bamboo is grass. However, it is the most durable of all the flooring options. It is also sustainable grown and selectively harvested. Because it is a grass, new bamboo is harvested every two to three years, which makes it a cheaper option because of the consistent availability.

Hickory and maple are the only other flooring woods that have a higher durability score than bamboo. However, bamboo is not a solid wood and will resist scratching and denting at a matched or higher level than either of the two others.

Bamboo is also less susceptible to heat and moisture damage and can be used below ground level to finish a basement or sub-level floor.

Bamboo will cost you between $3 and $5 per square foot with an additional $5 to $10 for installation.

4. Other Factors

You should also factor into your budget subflooring. When you are placing hardwood floors, you will need a subfloor to place the planks on. Plywood is the general choice for subfloor and should be budgeted in at an average of $8 to $16 per square foot. If you have a concrete subfloor already, you may be able to skip the plywood.

You should also consider if your purchase should be finished or unfinished before installation. Most contractors will prefer to finish the floor after it is installed to ensure an even and smooth look.

However, you may prefer to purchase prefinished planks and not have to worry about the finish and sealing after it is in your home. Prefinished wood planks will cost more, sometimes up to double, per square foot.

Finally, you may also consider engineered wood flooring. This is a mix of prefabricated wood mixtures with a top layer of the wood of your choice. These tend to last a lot longer than sold wood flooring options and can be used in sub-level floors due to their decrease in moisture and heat susceptibility.

5. Conclusion

When you decide to go with hardwood flooring, you have a lot of options to choose from. They type, style and tone of wood is the primary choice. However, you shouldn’t forget to budget for subfloors, moldings, and thresholds either. These smaller costs can creep in and eat away at your budget without you realizing it.

Whatever style, wood, and options you go with, hardwood floors are unsurpassed in beauty and elegance and will bring any room to life.

As you can see our hardwood floor costing tool enables you to figure out the approximate cost of hardwood floor with many wood type options including oak, pine, teak, mahogany, maple, cherry, tigerwood, Brazilian walnut, bamboo and more. It also includes DIY vs. hiring a pro cost assessment.

Disclaimer

Thank you for your interest in our hardwood floor cost calculator.

The results of this calculator are NOT a professional quote. This is a free online cost calculator that provides an APPROXIMATE cost of hardwood installation. There are many variables that go into a new floor, including expansive price ranges for every material as well as labor costs by region. This calculator is intended to be used merely as a guideline to give you an idea of how much hardwood flooring may cost according to select variables, materials and sizes.