Hardwood Flooring Prices

But It's Listed at $ 3.89 Per Square Foot? So Why Does It Cost $ 10.00?

Many stores do not list pricing because of claims they Hardwood floor price per square footchange too often. True or false, it doesn't matter. Below is a summary of what you may run into for a 1,000 square foot installation for prefinished hardwood flooring. Following that is a breakdown of using a full service dealer opposed to doing a lot of the legwork on your own.

The Accessories. Nailed Or Stapled Flooring

That $ 3.89 price sold by the square foot only represents the actual hardwood flooring material. It will not reflect other prices because it will depend on how the floor is installed. For instance, if you have a wood subfloor, installation is generally done by fastening with special hardwood floor nailers or staplers provided by the installer.

Essentially there are no extras needed for the actual installation of the wood itself, except for the nails/staples and common underlayment. These items are inexpensive and usually calculated into the installer labor cost, as most installers supply them. If one is looking for cost, one box (7,720 count) of standard 2" staples for a 3/4" hardwood floor runs in the $ 50.00 range. Standard asphalt felt paper, often recommended by manufacturers, runs about 4 cents per square foot.

Floating Floors

Now the costs begin to rise. If the $ 3.89 product is being sold and installed as a floating floor, it requires an underlayment. Underlayments are necessary to provide a cushioned effect and will offset very minor irregularities in the subfloor. Considering there are many forms available, prices can vary from as low as 25 cents per square foot up to $ 1.50. Rarely are they broken down into separate amounts when a bid is written up. Let's assume the high side. Now our $ 3.89 price is $ 5.39.

Floors Glued Direct To Concrete

Depending on what type of wood flooring adhesive is used or where it is purchased, costs can range from approximately 35 cents per square foot to $ 1.00 and higher for a recommended type. Let's take that $ 3.89 and add one dollar. Our price is now $ 4.89, but installers are likely to charge more labor because glued installations generally involve more time and some prefer not to handle them. Essentially, some will attempt to price themselves out of the job.

Trim Moldings

Nearly all hardwood floor installations will need some type of trim moldings. Whether or not it's needed to trim off the baseboard or creating an unobstructed transition to ceramic tile, extra costs are involved. Let's say you prefer quarter round that matches the floor being considered. These little buggers can add up the dollar cost of the job quickly. One prefinished stick measuring 78 inches may cost as much as $ 5.00 per lineal foot from a local retailer. Let's also assume you need 350 lineal feet. Add $ 1.75 to that quoted price. Add in four or five other trim moldings or $ 200.00, our material cost is $ 1.95 per square foot on top of the original $ 3.89.

The Big Expense. Labor

Labor for installation can vary significantly. For more information and general guesstimates see our link below. Let's look at some examples below of prices we've discussed.

High Side. Full Service Dealer

Installation Type Listed Price Material Costs Labor Moldings Labor Actual Price
Staple or Nailed $ 3.89 None $ 3.00 $ 1.95 $ 0.44 $ 9.28
Floating $ 3.89 $ 1.50 $ 2.75 $ 1.95 $ 0.44 $ 10.53
Glued Direct $ 3.89 $ 1.00 $ 3.25 $ 1.95 $ 0.44 $ 10.53

Low Side. You Handle The Leg Work

Installation Type Listed Price Material Costs Labor Moldings Labor Actual Price
Staple or Nailed $ 3.89 $ 0.09¹ $ 3.00 $ 0.80 $ 0.44 $ 8.22
Floating $ 3.89 $ 0.25 $ 2.75 $ 0.80 $ 0.44 $ 8.13
Glued Direct $ 3.89 $ 0.25 $ 3.25 $ 0.80 $ 0.44 $ 8.63

Our low side example represents the customer buying all materials online or cash and carry from a local dealer. Taxes not included for the latter. We've chosenNailing quarter round basic underlayment and minimum adhesive requirements. In addition, we've replaced the expensive matching quarter round with basic pine, calculated at 60 cents per lineal foot. This is easily obtainable at nearly all home improvement stores.

Labor shown to the right of the moldings cost represents trim installation at $ 1.25 per lineal foot. However, more costs may be incurred should you need the cost of a painter to do the touch up of nail holes, or final painting should you desire the color to match the baseboard. Caulking may also be needed.

Prices shown above do not include other extras. There may be carpet removal and floor preparation to get the subfloor flat to within acceptable working tolerances. Installers also charge for moving furniture. All told, a guesstimate on this could add another $ 1.00 per square foot and more. It will depend on the amount of furniture, weight, value, and floor preparation involved.

¹ Although installers provide these materials we're assuming you are handling everything. Don't expect a discount of 9 cents from the labor cost.

NOTE: Not included in the glue direct section are concrete sealers designed for hardwood floor applications that can add to both material and labor cost or in the range of $ 1.00 to $ 2.50 to the square foot number.

About This Page

Some may wonder why I chose the $ 3.89 square foot price as a reference point. After all, it is considered a budget entry price level. The figure typically reflects those doing the work themselves, as about 40% of the site visitors fall into that category.

Imported Chinese Hardwoods

My $ 3.79 price reflects many imported Chinese hardwoods today, namely engineered with a thin wear layer. I do not consider it an inferior product, but it does have it’s limitations on longevity compared to higher quality. In this case longevity speaks for allowing refinishing if need be or color changes at later dates. They also have a similar characteristic in that all are considered shorter length products.

In recent years better quality Chinese hardwoods have been introduced. Popular names include Bella Cera, Monarch Plank and Hallmark. Most are distressed in one form or another that are meant to be permanent. However, there are some that can be completely refinished should the dated look make an ugly visit years down the road.

What’s In Your Average Flooring Store May Surprise You

Over the last ten years imports of Chinese hardwood have grown at an incredible rate. So much that your average flooring store today carries a weight of 70% imported and only 30% made in America floors. Not surprising, many sales people don’t know what comes from where.

Unfortunately higher quality American made cannot be found in your average flooring store. While I consider products like Bruce, Anderson, Shaw and Mohawk to be good choices, the better gems just aren’t there. Sure, Mirage and Lauzon, both higher quality Canadian made are easier to find. But the distribution network (just another guy wanting a piece of the action) and pressure from the same manufacturers in keeping prices high in dealer stores turns away many from actually buying.

 


Where Are The High Quality American Made Hardwood Floors?

They’re out there, but finding them is a chore many don’t have the time for. Contrary to what some people think, they're not through the roof in price either.

Follow my story and let’s rediscover them together.

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