Smart Shopping

Lumberyards, home centers and flooring dealers all sell wood floors. However, dealers that sell carpeting, vinyl flooring and tile will probably offer a broader selection of wood flooring than lumberyards and home centers do. You'll also be able to get quotes on installation prices for different types of floors from dealers.
Both solid-wood and engineered flooring are discounted frequently. Unfinished solid- oak strips that normally sell for $3.75 per square foot can go for $2.50 per square foot. That's a savings of about $300 on a typical living room floor. Smart shopping can earn you similar savings on engineered flooring. Installation costs tend to be similar from one region to the next, with square-foot prices in the $2 to $3 range common. It costs about the same to install and finish an unfinished floor as it does to lay a prefinished one (prefinished flooring must be handled more carefully). If you want to do the job yourself, equipment-rental agencies have the tools and materials for this kind of work. A hammer-actuated nailer will run about $15 per day; add $15 or so for the nails required to do a 200-square-foot room. If you're installing unfinished flooring, sanding equipment (drum sander, edge sander and sandpaper) will come to about $75 per day.

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