Labor Costs: Installation and Refinishing


Labor costs shown below are purely estimates and should only be used as a ball park guesstimate. Figures are calculated as contractor pricing only. Retail store labor prices are always higher because they add their own profit margin to contractor labor performed.

Costs shown could vary by as much as 50% lower and 100% higher. Much has to do with the general cost of living index in your region and who you are paying (retail store or individual) to perform the work. Example; Hunstville, Alabama is a cheaper place to live than Seattle, Washington.

Description Of Work Performed Average
   
Nail down $ 3.00 S/F
Glue down $ 3.25 S/F
Floating $ 2.75 S/F
Plywood installation on concrete $ 1.50 S/F
Installing moisture barrier (trowel spread) $ 1.25 S/F
Shoe molding or quarter round installation $ 1.25 L/F
Baseboard installation $ 2.00 L/F
Shoe or base remove and re-install $ 2.50 L/F
Sound control (high rises) $ 1.25 S/F
Install common borders¹ $ 3.00 L/F
Install medallions Varies
Install hardwood on stairs(3' width) $ 60.00 ea. step
Refinishing $ 3.25 S/F
Refinish parquet floors $ 3.25 S/F
Screen and coat (buff and top coat) $ 1.25 S/F
Stain wood floors² $ 4.50 S/F
Refinish steps(3' width) $ 60.00 ea. step
Remove carpet (includes tack strip & pad) .25 SF
Floor preparation $ 60.00 hour
Remove and reinstall toilet $ 40.00 each
Appliance movement³ $ 30.00 each
Furniture movement Varies

S/F- Square foot
L/F- Lineal foot
¹ Individual strip or plank, not special designs. Calculated by the running lineal foot.
² Will vary significantly, includes finishing coats.
³ Zub zeros not included

Repair - prices are often calculated by time and material. In other words, total expense of materials used and going labor rate.

Waste Removal & Disposal- Will vary significantly. Often they are not quoted as an individual cost but figured into other expenses.

Electrical, and Gas- Work is not considered within the scope of a hardwood professional.

Other Notes: Depending on what is common in your region, or who is quoting the rates, some labor rates shown may or may not include accessory materials such as adhesives or finishes. Refinishing expenses may be higher depending on whether or not dust control systems are used.

Other Floor Covering Removal

Type Average
   
Nail down $ 2.00 S/F
Glue down $ 3.00 S/F
Floating
$ 1.00 S/F
Ceramic tile $ 3.50 S/F

From Our Readers:

Subject: Quote Too High. Manhattan, NY

Question: I have a quote for 1,124 square feet of wood flooring to be installed in a condominium in Manhattan. I'm shell shocked with the number. They want $18,000 for the work. My sister had the same floor installed in her home two months ago at a price of $ 12,000 and she only lives 20 miles away. Why is this so expensive?

Reply: I think the word Manhattan can probably add a premium to the cost. Other items that can substantially increase the cost in condos or apartments in urban areas would be sound control. Your contractor may be charging you as much as $ 4.00 for adding a sound control system before the actual hardwood floor is installed. Also if you're installing solid hardwood many applications call for adding a plywood subfloor. That can add to the rate as well.

Subject: Removing Floating Floors

Question: Our installer looked at your quote on removing floating floors and laughed. He said he wouldn't get out of bed for that amount. He wants $ 2.50 a square foot that includes dump fees.

Reply: As shown above some pricing does not reflect waste removal. You could just as easily hire a handyman to take care of the floor. Removing floating floors are very easy but does require some care when actually pulling them up. For instance you don't want the guy destroying your door jambs when they pull the floor out. I've seen that happen far too many times.

Think about some costs. As a general guess 500 square feet can be removed in less than two hours by one person. This only includes removing from the home. For 500 square feet it may take one trip to the dump or better yet find a friend that has access to a dumpster at their business.

Subject: Wide Plank Floors Less To Install?

Question: I was wondering if wider plank floors cost less to install compared to the skinny 2 inch boards?

Reply: You would think so because wider floor boards take less time to install. But as a general rule the difference in width is rarely quoted different.

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