How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost? (2024)

Typical costs range from $7 to $25 per square foot.

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Hardwood flooring costs typically range from $7 to $25 per square foot, but most homeowners will pay around $16 per square foot on average. Hardwood flooring offers an elegant, classic look, but installing it can be a substantial investment. This guide explores the factors that affect hardwood flooring costs, such as floor size and wood type, to help you better understand this home improvement project.

Note: All cost figures in this article are sourced from Angi, HomeGuide, and The Home Depot.


Major Cost Factors of Hardwood Flooring

The national average cost of installing hardwood floors is $4 to $15 per square foot for the flooring and $3 to $10 per square foot for labor. With labor and material costs combined, you’ll pay $7 to $25 per square foot for most projects. Your total cost varies based on factors such as the area size, the type of wood chosen, and any additional services required for installation.

Cost by Area Size

Project size is one of the most significant hardwood flooring installation cost factors. The table below shows what you may pay depending on how much flooring you want replaced.

Area Size Cost Range Average Cost
500 sq ft $3,500 to $12,500 $8,000
1,000 sq ft $7,000 to $25,000 $16,000
1,500 sq ft $10,500 to $37,500 $24,000
2,000 sq ft $14,000 to $50,000 $32,000
2,500 sq ft $17,500 to $62,500 $40,000
3,000 sq ft $21,000 to $75,000 $48,000

Cost by Type

The other significant cost factor is the type of hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood and engineered hardwood are the two most common types of hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood flooring has a solid wood core that makes it durable and long-lasting but comes with a higher price tag. Engineered hardwood utilizes layers of wood and plywood, which reduces its cost and life span. In addition to cost per square footage, some key differences exist between different hardwood flooring options, which we break down below.

Type of Hardwood Cost Range Average Cost
Engineered hardwood $4.50 to $16 per sq ft $10.25 per sq ft
Solid hardwood $5 to $28 per sq ft $16.50 per sq ft
Prefinished hardwood $6 to $12 per sq ft $9 per sq ft
Faux parquet $7 to $15 per sq ft $11 per sq ft
Parquet $20 to $45 per sq ft $32.50 per sq ft
  • Engineered hardwood ($4.50 to $16 per square foot): Engineered hardwood uses multiple layers of real wood and high-quality plywood to deliver exceptional stability and resistance to moisture and temperature fluctuations. It captures the allure of hardwood while offering a practical solution that adapts to various environments. Engineered hardwood is more cost-effective than solid hardwood. 
  • Solid hardwood ($5 to $28 per square foot): Solid hardwood flooring embodies timeless sophistication and durability. This option uses a single, solid piece of wood, offering better longevity. Its natural beauty and the ability to refinish it makes it a wise investment if you want to add value to your home. Due to the higher quality material, solid hardwood flooring has a higher investment cost. 
  • Prefinished hardwood ($6 to $12 per square foot): Prefinished hardwood flooring offers convenience without compromising style. It features a protective finish and arrives ready for installation, eliminating the need for on-site finishing. This also helps you save on labor costs associated with refinishing. 
  • Faux parquet ($7 to $15 per square foot): Faux parquet hardwood flooring replicates the charm of a traditional parquet floor at a fraction of the cost. It uses materials such as laminate or luxury vinyl for durability and easy maintenance. It’s appealing for homeowners seeking a sophisticated aesthetic with modern practicality. Choosing faux parquet flooring can significantly reduce labor costs and decrease your overall installation budget.
  • Parquet ($20 to $45 per square foot): Parquet hardwood flooring is a captivating display of small wood pieces arranged in geometric patterns. Parquet flooring is renowned for its timeless appeal and for creating a luxurious focal point. It involves a more labor-intensive process, which raises overall installation costs.

Additional Cost Factors

There are a handful of additional costs you should know about before starting your project. They include the following:

  • Floor removal: Before installing new flooring, you may need to remove your current flooring. Some installers include removal in their project costs. If they don’t, you may need to pay additional charges for removal. You could pay $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot for hardwood removal and $0.70 to $1.60 per square foot for carpeting. 
  • Labor: Labor costs vary depending on the complexity of the installation and the installer’s experience. Complicated installations, such as adding flooring to stairs, will make the process more labor-intensive, resulting in higher pricing. In addition, some installers may charge extra for other services required for prep or cleanup. Some installers charge a flat rate, while others charge by the hour. Our research shows installers may charge $3 to $10 per square foot.
  • Subfloor replacements: Additional flooring prep may be necessary before installation. You may need upgrades if you have squeaky floors, mold, or water damage. Replacing the floor joists costs between $350 and $1,000 per joist. A full subfloor replacement costs $2.20 to $4.75 per square foot. 
  • Material grade: The quality of the flooring material can impact the total cost. The most common grades you encounter when floor shopping are Prime Grade (AB) and Select Grade (ABC). Prime Grade wood uses high-quality wood with few knots and imperfections to offer a more uniform look. This flooring has a higher price point due to its limited production and scarcity. Select Grade offers a mix of near-Prime and lower-grade woods that contain more knotting, imperfections, and color variance. This grade is more cost-effective than the Prime Grade. Exact pricing varies based on the hardwood species and availability. 
  • Room size and layout: The cost of installing flooring in a room depends on its size, complexity, and the number of rooms you need to complete. For large rooms, you may need to pay more for flooring, supplies, and labor. In some cases, installers may adjust the per-square-foot price if you need multiple rooms completed. However, be aware that labor costs increase with intricate installations for rooms with numerous angles, irregular shapes, and obstructions.
  • Type of installation: Glue-down and nail-down are the most common hardwood flooring installation methods. A glue-down installation is usually done for engineered flooding and certain solid wood options and involves gluing flooring directly to the subfloor. This process is more labor-intensive, resulting in higher costs. The process is highly durable, but removing planks could damage the subfloor. A nail-down installation, which uses galvanized nails or staples, is a simple and cost-effective method for installing solid wood flooring. While it makes it easy to replace individual planks, it may cause noisy flooring over time. Additionally, replacing existing hardwood floors is less expensive than installing new hardwood floors during the construction of a new home.
  • Wood type: The wood you choose for your hardwood flooring can significantly impact costs. High-end, exotic woods such as hickory, Brazilian walnut, or teak have higher supply costs since they’re not easily available. On the other hand, North American species such as red oak or maple are easily available, and their supplies are ample, which reduces the material cost.

Cost Comparison: Hardwood vs. Alternative Flooring Options

When selecting flooring for your home, it’s important to consider various factors such as durability, cost, comfort, and aesthetic appeal. Vinyl and laminate flooring options tend to be less expensive than hardwood floors and can be a great alternative to achieve a similar look for a more affordable price. However, vinyl and laminate have a shorter life span than hardwood flooring and don’t provide the same richness and appeal, adding little value to your home.

Regarding comfort, carpeting is the best choice as it provides more cushion and support than other flooring types. Moreover, it’s less expensive than hardwood flooring in terms of installation costs. However, hardwood flooring is a better long-term investment since it can last over 30 years with proper care. In contrast, carpeting requires frequent cleaning to remove dust, allergens, and pet dander. It’s also more prone to stains and wear and tear.

The table below compares the cost of installing various flooring types with hardwood flooring options.

Flooring Type Cost Range Average Cost
Laminate Flooring $1.30 to $6 per sq ft $3.65 per sq ft
Vinyl Flooring $3 to $7 per sq ft $5 per sq ft
Carpet Flooring $3.50 to $11 per sq ft $7.25 per sq ft
Hardwood Flooring $7 to $25 per sq ft $16 per sq ft

Signs You Need a Hardwood Floor Replacement

You may want to upgrade your floors on your schedule, but if you notice any of the signs listed below, you’ll want to start your replacement sooner rather than later.

  • Cracked and warped planks: If you notice that some of your hardwood planks are cracked, warped, or buckled, it may be a sign that the floor needs replacing.
  • Gaps between boards: Gapping occurs when floorboards become detached and begin rubbing against each other. If a large portion of your flooring has gaps, you must replace it.  
  • Mold growth: If you notice mold growth on your hardwood floors, it may indicate excessive moisture and the need for replacement.
  • Creaking or shifting floorboards: Nailed floorboards can begin creaking over time, which may indicate loosening boards and more serious structural issues that should be addressed.
  • Sun damage: If your hardwood flooring is exposed to sunlight for an extended period, the boards will start to fade and lose their original color. While refinishing may help with minor fading, significant color loss can’t be fixed, and the flooring should be replaced instead.
  • Surface damage: If scratches, dents, or other surface damage have rendered your hardwood floors irreparable, you should replace them.
  • Termite damage: If you notice signs of termite damage, such as small holes or sawdust on your hardwood floors, it may be a sign that the floor needs replacing.
  • Visible nail heads: If you can see the nail heads on your hardwood floors, it may be a sign that the floor has been sanded too many times and needs replacing.
  • Water damage: If your hardwood floors have been exposed to water and have dark stains or feel soft, it may be a sign that the floor needs replacing.

When to Refinish vs. Replace

Hardwood flooring refinishing is a more cost-effective option than replacing the entire floor. It works best for minor surface scratches, color fading, and dings. Refinishing is a better choice when your flooring is still in good condition but has some minor scratches and dings on the surface. Moreover, refinishing can be a viable option if you don’t have any significant issues such as mold, mildew, or rotting boards and your subfloors are still in excellent condition. It’s also a better choice to refresh your floors with a new stain or a simple buffing.

If you notice significant structural damage, such as deep gouges, gaps, warping, or cracks on your floorboards, you should consider replacing them. This also applies to subfloors, which might have weakened due to damage. Additionally, if your floorboards are 10 to 12 years old or older and have had multiple refinishings, it’s best to replace them as they might have started to wear out. If you plan on changing the style or type of your floorboards or the current floorboards can’t achieve the new look you desire, replacements are your best option.


Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring

Consider the following pros and cons before installing hardwood floors.

Pros

  • Can be refinished 10 to 12 times, extending their life span and visual appeal
  • Doesn’t trap dust, pollen, or other allergens, making it a more hypoallergenic flooring
  • Increase your home’s property value and your home’s appeal
  • Provides durability for 30+ years with proper maintenance and care
  • Uses a renewable resource, making it an environmentally friendly flooring option

Cons

  • Can warp or grow mold when exposed to moisture
  • Expands or contracts during extreme temperature changes
  • Features a higher initial cost than other flooring options
  • Offers less underfoot comfort and support compared to carpeting
  • Susceptible to scratches, dents, and creaking over time


Professional vs. DIY Hardwood Flooring Installation

Opting for a hardwood flooring professional guarantees you have a seasoned installer who performs safe and correct installations. Professional flooring contractors complete projects swiftly, and many offer warranties that safeguard the investment and provide recourse for any unforeseen issues.

A do-it-yourself (DIY) hardwood flooring installation can lead to cost savings, which is particularly appealing to budget-conscious homeowners. However, a DIY project is best suited for simpler projects and individuals with some flooring experience. Hardwood flooring demands meticulous precision, and errors can occur even with the right tools. Therefore, we recommend you seek professional installation as it outweighs the perks of a DIY job.

Cost Comparison: Professional vs. DIY

Homeowners who perform their own DIY hardwood installation could save on labor costs, which is typically $3 to $10 per square foot. For example, a 1,500-square-foot professional installation could cost between $7,000 and $25,000, based on the pricing of $7 to $25 for material and labor. With the labor charges, your cost drops to $4,000 to $15,000 for material only. 

While you do save on labor costs, you must also consider installation supplies and equipment rental. Renting equipment from local home improvement retailers, such as The Home Depot, could result in daily or weekly rental costs. Depending on the equipment, you could pay $15 to $180 per day for equipment. In addition, you also need safety and prep suppliers for your installation. While safety goggles could cost $10 or less, you could pay up to $80 or more for a high-quality respirator. Additionally, you’ll need to invest in various supplies that you can’t use for other home improvement projects, leading to unnecessary expenses.

Investing in a professional hardwood flooring installation may initially cost more, but it will save you money in the long run due to the higher quality, reduced supply costs, and warranted installation that could prevent future expenses.

Tools and Skills Needed for DIY

If you’re planning on a DIY hardwood flooring installation, you’ll need the following tools and equipment for your project:

  • Air compressor
  • Chalk line
  • Concrete nails or screws
  • Dust mask or respirator
  • Ear protection
  • Jigsaw or oscillating multi-tool
  • Kneepads
  • Miter saw or table saw
  • Moisture meter
  • Pneumatic floor nailer
  • Pneumatic pin nailer
  • Pry bar or pull bar
  • Rubber mallet or tapping block
  • Safety goggles
  • Shop vacuum or broom
  • Spacers
  • Tape measure
  • Wood glue

To ensure a successful installation, DIY installers will also need extensive knowledge in the following areas:

  • Excellent math and measuring skills to accurately measure, calculate, and mark the area where the installation is to be performed.
  • Expert knowledge of various power tools and equipment, including saws and staple guns.
  • Expertise in cutting boards precisely to fit around obstacles and at the edges for a seamless finish.
  • Extensive knowledge of expansion gaps and how to account for natural wood movement during installation.
  • Physical stamina to complete rigorous manual labor, including removing and installing heavy floorboards.
  • Proficiency in using specialized flooring nailers or staplers to securely fasten the boards, ensuring long-lasting durability.
  • Thorough understanding of the various hardwood flooring installation methods.

Importance of Proper Installation

Performing a professional hardwood flooring installation helps preserve the durability and quality of the floorboards. It requires precise measurements and installation, leaving little room for mistakes. 

A precise installation process with accurate measurements is required, as any gaps or cracks between the boards could create future issues such as walking hazards, sagging, or mold growth. Poor installation can lead to physical damage to the flooring surface, uneven floorboards, and damage to the subflooring, which can cause the flooring to lose its durability and result in more frequent replacements.

If the manufacturer requires a certified installer to perform the installation, then performing a poor installation could void the warranty for your materials. Without proper warranty coverage, you’ll also be responsible for any replacements and repairs, resulting in additional installation costs.


Questions to Ask Your Hardwood Flooring Contractor

Finding an experienced and certified installer will ensure the best results for your flooring installation. When searching for an installer, ensure the flooring company is certified, insured, and bonded. It’s important to check online reviews and verify that it has at least five years of experience. Ensure that it offers workmanship coverage for projects and obtain full details on the coverage. Lastly, we recommend gathering at least three detailed quotes from flooring experts to compare pricing and options closely. 

As you meet with potential installers, ask the following questions during your consultation:

  1. Can you provide references and/or testimonials from past customers?
  2. Do you charge extra for completing pre- and post-installation services?
  3. Do you have a portfolio of completed projects I can review?
  4. Do you include furniture moving with your quote?
  5. Do you offer any guarantees or warranties with your work? If so, what are the full details, including coverage, length, and exclusions?
  6. How long have you been in business, and how much experience do you have with hardwood flooring installation?
  7. How long will the installation take to complete?
  8. How will you protect my home from debris and sanding?
  9. What are your recommendations for my home based on its aesthetics and style?
  10. What materials and products do you offer with your installations?
  11. Will I need additional repairs for my subflooring? If so, what repairs will I need, and what are the costs?

Hardwood Floor Care and Maintenance Tips

Hardwood flooring can last 30 years or longer with proper care and maintenance. Below are some recommendations on how to extend the life of your flooring.

  • Don’t apply excess water to hardwood floors, as this can lead to warping or mold growth. If you spill liquid on your floor, clean it immediately with a soft cloth. 
  • Have your floors professionally refinished every seven to 10 years to keep the floor properly protected. 
  • Keep your floors clean of dirt and debris by sweeping or mopping daily. Excess debris can scratch hardwood flooring. You can also safely vacuum your hardwood floors using the “hard floor” setting. 
  • Use furniture pads to prevent scratches on the floor’s surface when moving furniture. 
  • Use proper hardwood flooring cleaners and a microfiber mop to clean them. Don’t use hard chemicals or cleaners to avoid damaging the surface.

Our Recommendation

A professional hardwood flooring installation elevates your home and guarantees sturdy and aesthetically pleasing flooring for decades. Although you can attempt a DIY installation to reduce costs, we recommend using a professional installer. Professional installers have better knowledge of flooring types and installation techniques to ensure the longevity of your installation. They also back up their work with workmanship guarantees, ensuring your warranty won’t be voided due to poor workmanship.

We recommend gathering at least three quotes from flooring experts to compare pricing and options closely. Our tool below instantly connects you with reputable and reliable flooring companies in your area.


Hardwood Flooring Cost FAQ

Are hardwood floors worth the money?

Yes, hardwood floors offer an excellent return on investment (ROI) due to their durability and potential to increase resale value. They can withstand heavy foot traffic and are less prone to wear and tear than other flooring options. Additionally, hardwood floors offer a natural warmth and elegance that can enhance the overall ambiance of a space.

Is hardwood flooring a good investment?

Hardwood flooring is an excellent investment for most homeowners. Compared to carpeting, hardwood is more durable and requires less deep cleaning. Additionally, it offers a wide range of styles, colors, and finishes that can complement your home’s aesthetics. Hardwood flooring is also a timeless upgrade that can add value to your home.

How often should hardwood floors be refinished?

Hardwood floors should be refinished every seven to 10 years to maintain their quality and durability. If your floors are exposed to excessive sunlight or in high-traffic areas, you may need to refinish more frequently.

What’s the difference between solid and engineered hardwood?

The main difference between solid and engineered hardwood is the construction. Solid hardwood flooring is made entirely of real wood, while engineered hardwood flooring is composed of layers of real wood and plywood. Solid hardwood is more durable and can be refinished multiple times, but it has a higher price point. On the other hand, engineered hardwood is more cost-effective to install but has a shorter life span and can only be refinished a few times.

In what room should you avoid using wood floors?

Don’t install wood floors in rooms with high moisture levels, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. Wood is susceptible to water damage, leading to warping, swelling, and deterioration.

When should you not install hardwood floors?

You shouldn’t schedule hardwood floor installation during the hotter and more humid months of the year. Hardwood flooring will absorb moisture from the air, which causes it to expand and swell.

Are hardwood floors a lot of maintenance?

No, hardwood floors only require regular maintenance to preserve their appearance and durability. While they’re durable, they can be sensitive to moisture and scratches. Routine care involves sweeping or vacuuming to remove debris, cleaning up spills, and using rugs in high-traffic areas.