Laminate flooring is getting more and more popular.
Laminate Floor Cost Calculator
Below is our simple laminate floor cost calculator that gives you an approximate cost estimate for how much laminate flooring will cost for your room or rooms.
Disclaimer: The calculator is meant to be used as a rough guideline. The actual cost may be higher or lower depending on many variables. Labor costs vary by region. The cost estimate provided is not a quote for services; we do not provide services, broker services or sell services.
Floor Type Popularity Chart
The chart below may surprise you. The floor data surprised me. I thought hardwood would be the flooring type most in demand, but it’s not. In fact, hardwood is 4th – after laminate, carpet and vinyl. The reason is simple – hardwood costs quite a bit more than laminate and vinyl. As for carpet, there are distinct benefits to carpeting that the other flooring options don’t offer (I particularly like carpeting in bedrooms and basements).
What determines the cost of laminate flooring?
Several factors go into the cost of laminate flooring. They include the following:
If you want scratch and/or water resistant it costs more. These are good features to get and are a big benefit of laminate over hardwood – it’s tough and durable nature.
Thickness is a huge determinator of the cost. The thicker the laminate, the more expensive it is. Thickness ranges from 5 mm to 11+ mm.
If you go with commercial grade (AC4), it will cost more than residential grade (AC3).
To a certain extent, plank width can impact price. Typically wider will cost more per square foot (but not always). This is a weak cost factor, but there is some correlation between width and cost.
Installation typically costs more in urban areas where the cost of living is more expensive. This is particularly true in high-cost regions such as the Northeast and Westcoast of the United States.
Laminate vs. Hardwood vs. Carpet Cost
To give you an approximate difference in the costs among laminate vs. hardwood, below are some example comparisons.
The following comparison is based on mid-grade installed by professionals.
- Laminate: $4,000
- Oak Hardwood: $6,000
- Maple Hardwood: $9,000
- Cherry Hardwood: $6,000
- Pine Wood: $4,500
- Teak Hardwood: $10,000
Types of Laminate Flooring
Generally speaking, there are two types of laminate flooring. One type is an engineered laminate, while the other is a plastic laminate. The two kinds of laminate flooring are easily found in a good deal of hardware and home improvement stores. Both engineered and plastic laminate flooring has several benefits, making them a desirable option for homeowners worldwide.
Engineered Laminate Flooring
Engineered laminate flooring is at its core a laminate option. This flooring has natural wood elements that help make up the uppermost layer of the wood plank product. To make engineered laminate flooring, very thin strips of real hardwood have adhered to the surface of the laminate plank.
The real wood is layered with each strip run perpendicular to the previous strip to add strength and durability to this product. The upper-most layer of engineered laminate is one solid sheet of thin hardwood. This hardwood layer has the look, feel, and texture of natural wood. The top layer is then coated with a thin lacquer to help better protect the natural hardwood.
This type of laminate flooring has a great appeal to people. It gives you the feel and looks of a wood floor, without the hefty price tag. Plus, the laminate floor is easy to install and can often be done by the homeowners. Engineered laminate flooring is a great addition to any space and can typically be sanded and refinished at least once. This is a perfect option for people with small children or pets who may scratch or damage the flooring.
The downside of laminate flooring made with engineered hardwood is that it comes with a big price tag. On average, engineered hardwood costs about double the price of traditional plastic laminate options. This application can make it a price-prohibitive flooring option for many people. If you are looking to add value to your home, the look of real hardwood floors is appealing, but the engineered option will be similar to the cost of solid hardwood floors.
Plastic Laminate Flooring
The alternative to an engineered hardwood laminate flooring is a plastic laminate option. This is usually what people think of when they conjure an image of a laminate flooring option. Plastic laminate flooring uses a fiberboard core, compared to a hardwood core like engineered hardwood. Manufacturers will then print an image of a hardwood-looking texture and apply it directly to the core’s surface. A plastic protective covering is then adhered to the top of the print, creating the look of hardwood.
Plastic laminate flooring has several benefits. First, this is a lightweight and easy-to-use product. Compared to other laminate options, like engineered laminate, this is a durable and long-lasting product. The plastic covering often makes this flooring option waterproof and very scratch and dent-resistant.
This laminate flooring option will continue to look great for years to come and gives the illusion of wood floors. Plus, many plastic laminate flooring options are relatively inexpensive and offer an affordable flooring option for many homeowners. Compared to the cost of engineered hardwood, laminate plastics are cheaper and can be installed just as easily as engineered hardwood options.
Unfortunately, though, the lower price point does have some disadvantages. The printed image of wood can appear as a reproduction. It follows that cheaper plastic laminate options often have a less realistic image. If you want a more realistic image that mimics hardwood’s look, expect to pay more for the product.
LV Vinyl Flooring
But wait, I thought there were only two options for laminate flooring? A new popular option for flooring is a product called LV flooring. This is a flexible flooring option that can also give the look of hardwood floors. Instead of having laminate planks to install, this flooring option is usually sold as a roll, which can be cut and applied as necessary for your home. LV flooring also has a printed surface, which allows it to mimic the look of more costly materials, including ceramic tile and hardwood.
When it comes to installation, LV vinyl flooring is probably the easiest to install and is perfect for aspiring DIYers to tackle. This flooring is also incredibly flexible and works well if you have uneven subfloors in your home. The vinyl flooring option is also very easy to cut, making this perfect to fit around difficult corners and navigating tough dimensions and flooring shapes.
This product is incredibly durable and can resist scratching and damage from wear and tear. Plus, the LV vinyl is waterproof, which can make it ideal to use in high traffic areas, or areas of the house that may see some weather, like a mudroom or in an entryway.
The product is pretty affordable, too, and is on par with the cost of plastic laminate flooring. The downside of this product is that it lacks the feel of real hardwood flooring. Although it is flexible and affordable, this flooring option is the farthest from real wood flooring when comparing the texture, feel, and installation.
Laminate Floor Cost Estimate
Your laminate flooring cost will vary depending on many factors. Possibly the biggest determining factor is the product you choose to install. Engineered hardwood laminate options will be the most costly and will often be on par with the cost of real, solid hardwood flooring.
Many laminate wood flooring options made from engineered wood can be $5 per square foot, with several designer options costing upwards of $10 per square foot. Plastic laminate flooring options and LV vinyl will be the cheapest flooring options. These will typically run around $3 per square foot.
Next, the cost of your laminate flooring will be determined by the amount of material required. Because these products are offered by the square foot, larger spaces with more square footage will have a higher price tag. Remember that larger spaces will also require more supplies to install the floor, adding to the overall cost to install laminate flooring. (More about those additional costs for supplies below!)
Laminate Flooring Installation Cost
When it comes to the laminate flooring installation cost, you have two options. You can choose to have your laminate flooring installed by a professional, or you can choose to tackle the project yourself. Of course, both options have several pros and cons associated with them.
Professional Installation vs. DIY Installation
The first option to install laminate flooring is to hire a professional flooring contractor. This is a person who has the knowledge and tools necessary to tackle your floor installation in your home. Not only do you have the peace of mind knowing that a professional is installing your floors, but you also have the benefit of saving money by not having to purchase the necessary tools for the job.
Plus, a professional will be able to install a new laminate flooring in a fraction of the time it will take you to install the floor on your own. If you have a large project, a professional will often come with a team of workers to make quick work of a new floor installation.
Unfortunately, hiring a professional adds an expense to your overall project. Expect to pay between $2 and $7 more per square foot to have a professional contractor take on your project. Each contractor will operate differently, so be sure to talk to your professional to confirm what will be included in your scope of work.
Depending on the contractor, you may or may not have the demolition of the old flooring, necessary supplies, and clean-up work, like baseboard installation, added into your total price.
The other option for people wanting to upgrade their home with laminate flooring is to tackle the project yourself. Many laminate flooring options are made in easy-to-use and manageable laminate planks that easily snap together.
The product can be floating, glued, or stapled to the subfloor giving ambitious DIYers options for installing their flooring. The obvious benefit to tackling this type of project yourself is the added cost savings. By putting in your own sweat equity, you can save money that would otherwise be used to hire a professional.
While the cost savings may be enticing, there are some downsides to installing laminate flooring yourself. If you do not have any prior experience or the tools necessary to complete the job, you may end up spending more in the long run to re-do sections of flooring or to buy the necessary tools and supplies. Plus, installing a laminate floor yourself for the first time will take some time and patience.
Laminate Flooring Supplies
The low price point of laminate flooring is attractive, coupled with the fact that this can be an easy DIY project, saving money on labor and installation costs. Remember, though, that there are necessary supplies needed to install laminate flooring that will add additional costs.
All laminate flooring needs some type of underlayment material that goes on top of the subfloor. This material is typically foam, which helps to cushion the flooring as you walk on the laminate flooring. The underlayment is also sold by the square foot and can easily be pieced together using adhesive tape. The underlayment is a necessary expense and step for installing laminate flooring. A typical foam underlayment will cost about $0.45 per square foot.
For some applications, it makes sense to also add a moisture barrier. The moisture barrier, often called a vapor barrier, can prevent water and moisture from penetrating the flooring from the ground up. A moisture barrier may be a good addition if you are installing laminate flooring over a concrete subfloor in the basement.
Natural groundwater can often seep into the concrete, which can damage laminate flooring without the right vapor barrier already in place. Most vapor barriers are sold by the square foot and cost an average of $0.70 per square foot.
Adding new laminate flooring to your home is a great way to give the look of tile or wood floor varieties without the hefty cost. However, aside from the materials needed to install a laminate floor, there are several hidden costs that could impact your bottom line.
One of the highest hidden costs is the price to remove old flooring material. If you are replacing tile, carpet, or vinyl floor, it is necessary to remove the unwanted material first. While it is possible to remove the carpet or tile yourself, you may need to spend additional money to hire a dumpster to have it properly disposed of. A professional contractor is able to remove or demolish old flooring material like tile and carpet, but this will also be an additional price.
Additional expenses could be added to your total cost depending on what you do with the molding and baseboards in your house. Removing old flooring material from your home will often require you to remove the existing baseboard and molding in your home. Depending on the condition of the molding, you may or may not be able to re-install the molding around the floor.
Molding is often available from many home improvement stores at varying prices depending on the molding’s complexity and material. Expect to pay about $0.70 per linear foot for simple quarter-round molding made of wood. Additional baseboards added to the molding can cost about $2.00 per linear foot. Also, remember to include the cost of paint if you choose to have white-painted baseboards and molding.
Laminate Flooring Calculator
To determine how much laminate flooring and materials you need, you must determine the overall size of the room you are finishing. The supplies and laminate flooring material are sold by the square foot. To measure the square footage of your room, you must measure the length of the room and multiply it by the width.
If you do not have a regular rectangle or square room, it may be necessary to divide the room into smaller rectangles to make the math easier. Calculating smaller square footages can then be added together to get the total square feet in the room. If you measure your room in inches, be sure to divide your final number by 144 to get the number of square feet needed.
Because many of the laminate planks must be cut to fit into your room, you may need to buy more material than is necessary. Always assume that you will need about 10% additional material to accommodate the various shapes and cuts necessary to finish a room. 10% excess material is necessary for both the flooring material and the supplies and underlayment needed to lay the floor over the subfloor.
Laminate Flooring Alternatives
Laminate flooring is a great option for any home and offers a durable yet affordable option that mimics a hardwood floor’s look. Laminate flooring can go over a number of different surfaces and subfloors and is simple enough to install on your own. Although a popular option, there are several alternatives to laminate flooring.
One of the most popular laminate flooring alternatives is LV vinyl. This is a flexible material that comes in a roll. The material can be cut and glued to your subfloor and runs about the same price as a laminate floor. Plus, LV vinyl can mimic the look of hardwoods, tile, or anything in between. This material is waterproof and durable, making it a popular laminate flooring alternative.
Other alternatives to laminate flooring include traditional flooring materials. They include solid hardwood flooring, ceramic tile, and carpeting. Of course, these various materials will come at different price points and will all come with their own pros and cons. Many of these materials also require the use of a professional contractor, which can drastically increase your overall installation price.
When it comes time to remodel your home to include updated materials, it is exciting but also overwhelming. It seems that laminate flooring is a popular option for many homeowners, but how do you even know where to begin comparing the many available laminate flooring products on the market?
Below, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions surrounding laminate flooring. Hopefully, these answers to commonly asked questions will help point you in the right direction, allowing you to choose the best laminate flooring option and allowing you to calculate the overall cost for materials and installation.
What determines the cost of laminate flooring?
Although laminate flooring is often an affordable alternative to traditional flooring options in your home, the price of laminate flooring can vary drastically. Often, the type of laminate flooring you choose will have the biggest impact on the overall price. Laminate flooring that is made of engineered hardwood will be the most expensive option, with plastic laminates the cheapest option.
Further, laminate flooring options with an incredibly realistic-looking print made to mimic the appearance of wood will cost more. Certain name brands of laminate flooring, like Pergo, will also cost more because of the quality and reputation they carry within the flooring industry.
The cost of your laminate flooring will also depend on the size of the installation, as many laminate flooring options are priced by the square foot. Larger projects and laminate installations will cost more money. Remember that the laminate flooring also needs a proper underlayment and moisture barrier,, which will also add to the project’s total cost, with larger spaces costing more money.
Lastly, hidden charges can increase the overall cost. Remember that existing flooring may have to be removed, baseboards replaced, and molding added to the new laminate flooring. These costs must be factored into your total cost for the project in order to get an accurate number.
How much does laminate flooring installation cost?
Having a professional install your laminate flooring is a great idea to offer a fast, professional, and flawless installation. Not only will a professional do a great job installing your updated floors, but he or she will come with their own tools, which can also help to save money. Expect to pay about $2 to $7 per square foot for a professional installation, on top of the price for materials.
If you have a large space, additional crew to install the floor quickly may be an added labor cost. For a finished room, expect the total to be around $6 to $15 per square foot for all necessary material and labor. This price does not include the cost of removing the old flooring or replacing damaged baseboards or molding.
Do you need underlayment for laminate flooring?
At a minimum, yes, you need some level of underlayment material. Foam is commonly used for laminate flooring because it is lightweight, easy to work with, and adds cushion to the flooring. Foam underlayment is easy to piece together and adheres with just simple adhesive tape. Underlayment can also help to give an even surface for the laminate flooring to go on top.
For laminate flooring installations in basements or flooring directly onto concrete, you may want to add a vapor barrier or moisture barrier. Water that is naturally occurring in the ground can often seep into the concrete. If laminate flooring is lying directly on the wet concrete, it can damage the product.
When can you put furniture on laminate flooring?
Laminate flooring is easy to install and can be adhered to the floors in many ways, depending partly on your preference and partly on the product that you choose. Laminate flooring can simply float above the subfloor, be glued into place, or stapled into place.
One nice aspect of laminate flooring is that the floor is ready for use immediately, unlike tile floors, which take time to dry and cure. Immediately after installing a laminate floor, you can move furniture into place and walk across the floor without any negative effects.
Can you install laminate flooring myself?
One of the attractive aspects of laminate flooring is that it is an easy-to-use product that many homeowners are able to install themselves. This product comes as individual laminate flooring planks that are simply snapped together using the pre-cut grooves in the sides of the boards. Depending on your preference and the product you choose, the floorboards are then left floating over the subfloor or can be stapled or glued into place.
Installing a laminate floor yourself is a great way to save money on a floor installation by a professional. Some basic tools are required ahead of time, including:
- Rubber Mallet
- Measuring Tape
- Pull Bar
- Combination Square
- Drill with a Spade Bit
Many homeowners already have these tools, and purchasing them is not expensive. Installing your laminate flooring is a rewarding exercise but also takes time for first-time DIYers. Depending on your project’s size and how much old flooring material must be removed, an average size room can be completed with new laminate flooring on a weekend.
Choosing to hire a professional to install your laminate flooring is also an option. This will add a cost to your flooring installation but can help speed up the process. A professional will have the necessary tools to complete the job and will be able to manage any difficult cuts, corners, or room dimensions that a first-time DIYer may not be able to handle. Plus, a professional installation will help to give you peace of mind knowing that your floor was installed the first time correctly.
Can you put heavy furniture on laminate flooring?
One of the main attractions of laminate flooring is that it is incredibly durable. Both plastic laminate and engineered wood laminate options are strong and sturdy, able to withstand heavy weights and a moderate amount of traffic.
If you choose to install laminate flooring in your home, putting heavy furniture in place over the flooring is perfectly acceptable. Between the solid core base of the planks and the durable plastic exterior, heavyweight will not make an impression or damage the laminate flooring.
Should laminate flooring be glued?
Using glue to install your laminate flooring is an option for some types of laminate flooring. While some manufacturers design laminate floors to float above the subfloor, other designed laminate flooring can be glued. Choosing to glue your laminate floors has several pros and cons.
By gluing your laminate floor, you can create a solid surface that will not move over time. This means that the boards will stay firmly in place and will not pop or come disconnected over time as a floating floor can. Plus, gluing your laminate flooring to the subfloor can help prevent moisture from becoming trapped between the subfloor and the laminate floor planks, which can damage the laminate floor over time.
Unfortunately, though, using glue to keep your laminate floors in place does have a downside. Glue can tend to be very messy, and it can be difficult to work with to a beginner. Plus, glue makes the floor installation rather finite.
Removing the laminate flooring later for a remodel or renovation can be long and tedious work. A great deal of sweat equity and time is required to remove a laminate floor once it has been glued into place. Using glue also leaves very little wiggle room for mistakes.
Can laminate flooring be used with any subfloor type?
Yes! Laminate flooring is a versatile material that can be used for several applications. Laminate flooring can easily cover traditional plywood subflooring as well as concrete. When putting laminate flooring over concrete, be sure to use a moisture or vapor barrier to prevent ground moisture from damaging the laminate planks.
Laminate flooring is also a great option for subfloors that may be uneven. Compared to hardwood or ceramic tile that will show every imperfection within the floor, a laminate floor is a great way to mask tiny undulations and unevenness. A foam underlayment will also help to even out a subfloor to create a smooth flooring surface once the material is installed.
If you have a particularly uneven floor using a narrow plank laminate flooring option, it will help further mask the imperfections. Large or wide planked laminate flooring can enhance the unevenness present in the subfloor and can even pop apart at the seams over time.