How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost?
Typical cost range: $6 – $18 per square foot
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Elevating your home’s feel with durable and sophisticated hardwood flooring will cost you $3–$10 per square foot for materials and $3–$8 per square foot for labor, totaling $6–$18 per square foot.* This means transforming a 200-square-foot room might cost $1,200–$3,600. Use our in-depth cost guide based on our research into hardwood flooring, including analyzing various wood grades and materials, to budget for your remodel.
*All cost data in this article was averaged from multiple sources, including The Home Depot, Home Guide, and Angi.
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Average Hardwood Flooring Cost
The average cost to install hardwood floors is $6–$18 per square foot, including labor and materials. Based on these figures, a 2,000-square-foot house could cost $12,000–$36,000. However, your choice of flooring, wood species, thickness, grade, and cut all influence the total cost of your hardwood flooring installation.
Hardwood Flooring Cost by Type of Hardwood
Hardwood flooring cost varies based on the materials’ price and the labor involved in installation. Below is a breakdown of the different types of hardwood flooring that homeowners should consider and their average installation cost, including materials and labor.
- Solid hardwood ($5–$28 per square foot): Traditional solid hardwood flooring consists of real wood planks cut from trees, which are installed end-to-end. Solid hardwood muffles noise better than thinner engineered floors, and it’s durable and easy to clean. These features make solid hardwood flooring ideal for homeowners with active homes.
- Engineered wood ($6–$23 per square foot): Engineered wood flooring, which has a real wood veneer attached to a plywood base, may be slightly less expensive than other options. Engineered wood is less prone to expansion and contraction from humidity changes, making it better suited for humid environments. Many engineered woods have a more contemporary, streamlined appearance than solid wood.
- True parquet ($13–$40 per square foot): Parquet flooring uses smaller pieces of real wood to create geometric designs, such as a herringbone pattern, making it the most expensive to install. This hardwood flooring style is ideal for homeowners wanting uniqueness with its custom, one-of-a-kind design, as well as those with smaller spaces, as the block patterns help make smaller rooms feel more expansive.
- Parquet-style tiles ($10–$16 per square foot): Prefabricated, parquet-like tiles are a lower-cost alternative that gives the appearance of parquet but are easier to install. The durability, affordability, and water resistance of these tiles benefit homeowners wanting the parquet style in high-traffic, wet, or humid areas of a home on a budget.
Hardwood Flooring Cost by Tree Species
Tree species greatly influences the cost of traditional hardwood. There are several types of wood to choose from that vary in appearance and performance. Some tree species are more durable than others or better suited to certain types of climates. Generally, the harder and more durable the wood is, the more expensive it is.
Here is a breakdown of various common hardwood floor wood species, their average installation costs, and their characteristics:
- Bamboo ($2–$6 per square foot): Durable, shows few scratches, termite-resistant
- Brazilian walnut ($5–$10 per square foot): Rich color, high durability
- Cherry ($4–$7 per square foot): Rich color, soft, best for bedrooms and low-traffic areas
- Cypress ($4–$6 per square foot): Moderate durability, termite-resistant
- Hickory ($3–$7 per square foot): High density and hardness, variable in color
- Mahogany ($6–$8 per square foot): Dark color, ages well, medium price
- Maple ($3–$10 per square foot): Light coloring, medium density, good for high-traffic areas
- Pine ($2–$4 per square foot): Low cost, very soft, prone to dents, difficult to refinish
- Red oak ($2–$6 per square foot): Consistent color and finish, high durability, medium price
- Teak ($9–$13 per square foot): High price, very hard, scratch-resistant
- White ash ($5–$8 per square foot): Light color, bold grain, medium density
- White oak ($4–$7 per square foot): More water-resistant than red oak, lighter color
Hardwood Flooring Cost by Thickness
The thickness of the hardwood planks also influence the project’s cost. Traditionally, hardwood floorboards are three-quarters of an inch thick. Thinner boards—down to five-sixteenths of an inch thick—are less expensive, but you won’t be able to sand and refinish them as many times.
|Cost per Sq. Ft.
Hardwood Flooring Cost by Grade
Solid hardwood flooring comes from living trees, so it’s not as standardized in quality as factory-made flooring material. Different vendors have different standards for grading their products’ quality; for example, some grades refer to grain pattern, texture, or appearance rather than durability. These standards are set by the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA).
In general, hardwood boards of the same species and cut have three tiers of quality that determine their cost:
- Low-tier ($2–$6 per square foot): Low-grade wood, such as pine and aspen, suits budget-focused projects or secondary spaces rather than high-traffic living areas. Proper maintenance can continue to provide an attractive, affordable hardwood flooring option. Lifetime costs may be higher due to more frequent refinishing or replacement needs.
- Mid-tier ($5–$10 per square foot): Mid-grade wood hits a sweet spot between the softness of low-grade options and the premium status of exotic hardwoods. It combines durability and longevity at moderate price points. With proper installation and care, mid-grade hardwoods like oak and maple can last for decades, especially in low-moisture areas. Refinishing will be needed less often than with low-tier hardwood.
- High-tier ($8–$18 per square foot): High-grade exotic species like teak, acacia, and Brazilian walnut are the most desirable and expensive hardwood flooring options due to their combination of visual appeal, durability, and long-term value. Their dense structure makes them resilient, and they significantly increase a home’s value. With proper maintenance, high-tier hardwood floors last for generations and can be refinished repeatedly over decades of use.
Hardwood Flooring Cost by Cut and Grain
The way wood is cut creates its grain pattern, which can play into price relative to the species of tree. Plain-sawn or flat-sawn planks are cut parallel to the tree’s growth rings to create a wave or flame-like grain pattern. Quarter-sawn planks, on the other hand, are cut at a 60–90 degree angle from growth rings for a straighter grain pattern. Flat-sawn boards are more common and therefore less expensive, while quarter-sawn boards are pricier but wear more evenly. The rarest and most expensive are rift-sawn boards, which have the most linear grain pattern but create the most waste.
To estimate how much your flooring will cost, use the equation below, as illustrated in our Complete Guide to Hardwood Flooring article.
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Hardwood Flooring Cost Factors
Square footage and the type of wood are some of the greatest determinants of hardwood flooring costs, but there are other factors to consider to understand the project’s total cost. We’ve explained these additional cost factors below.
- Alternative flooring: If you love the look of solid wood flooring but traditional or engineered hardwood is beyond your budget, there are alternative flooring options that mimic the appearance of wood. Vinyl or laminate flooring and porcelain tiles can be manufactured to look like wood for a fraction of the cost. Alternative real wood options, such as floating floors and click-and-lock paneling, can help you save money on installation.
- Floor joist repairs: When you replace your existing flooring, you may discover that the subfloor or joists have mold, insect, or water damage. In this case, you’ll need to repair the joists for an average cost of $2,000–$5,000 before you can complete any work.
- Finish and coating: When installing new hardwood floors, you have two choices: boards that have been prefinished at the factory or unfinished boards that are finished with sealant following installation. Unfinished boards are less expensive but have higher labor costs since the finishing must be done on-site. Different types of finish have varying costs, with polyurethane on the low end and penetrating resin finish on the high end.
- Installation and labor: Hard and exotic woods have higher material and installation costs, while softwoods like pine are easier to work with and cheaper to install. Parquet and small wood tiles with intricate patterns are pricier to install, as is flooring in rooms with unusual layouts or staircases.
- Repair, replacement, and refinishing: Hardwood flooring may be expensive to install, but you can easily refinish it. A professional sanding and floor refinishing project costs $3–$8 per square foot and will get rid of dents, dings, and even gouges. You may even refinish your floors yourself. Replacing individual boards will cost more, but it will still be just a fraction of the cost of installing new floors.
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Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring provides multiple benefits, such as 50+ year life spans and reducing allergens, but it does come at a high up-front cost and potential water damage and gouges. We break down the most significant pros and cons of hardwood flooring below.
Pros of Hardwood Flooring
Durability and value are among the top benefits of hardwood flooring. Some other pros include the following:
- Long-lasting with a 50- to 100-year lifespan
- Good for increasing resale value
- Easy to repair and refinish
- Relatively low-maintenance
- Versatile in appearance
- Less allergenic than carpeting
Cons of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood floors are prone to scratches and moisture damage. Here are all the drawbacks of hardwood flooring:
- Expensive to install
- Prone to scratches and gouges
- Susceptible to humidity and moisture damage
- Noisy when walked on, as they tap and creak
- Difficult for people and pets with mobility problems
DIY vs. Professional Hardwood Flooring Installation
To cut down on costs, homeowners may be tempted to take on the project themselves. There are some types of wood flooring, like click-and-lock wood tiles and floating flooring, that experienced do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) may be able to install themselves. But when it comes to traditional hardwood plank flooring, the job is best left to the professionals.
Flooring contractors don’t necessarily have to be licensed, but it takes ample training and experience to properly account for variables such as changing temperatures, humidity, and moisture protection. Improperly installed wood floors are prone to cracking, bowing, and warping over time, so if you’re investing in hardwood flooring, we strongly recommend you have it professionally installed.
Hidden Costs of Hardwood Flooring Installation
This guide has covered the most common costs for hardwood flooring installation, but there are some other hidden costs you might encounter based on your project’s specifications. Hidden costs include the following:
- Difficult removals: Taking out old carpets, tiles, or glued-down floors takes extra time and includes disposal fees.
- Dust control: If your home has a lot of dust or materials that will cause a lot of dust, you may be charged extra for dust control. Plastic sheeting, air scrubbers, and filters to control dust are additional costs that may not be included in the up-front quote.
- Finishing: Multiple coats of polyurethane finish and buffing after installation require expertise and time not always considered initially.
- Location: Installation prices per square foot don’t account for higher labor costs in some regions. Your quotes should be region-specific.
- Premium features: Medallions, ornate inlays, borders, and specialty stains can elevate costs far beyond the standard quote given. We advise you to discuss any of these premium features with your installer to understand how they might influence your total cost.
- Stairs: Continuing hardwood treads and risers on staircases takes more time and materials. This is rarely accounted for up-front.
- Subfloor preparation: Your existing floors may need repairs, leveling, or moisture barriers before new hardwood. This step can significantly increase labor and material expenses.
- Transition pieces: Extra transition strips, reducers, end caps, and thresholds that blend floor height differences are usually needed but often not included in the initial quote. Point out any areas where transition pieces will be needed and discuss the cost with your installer.
How To Save on Hardwood Flooring Costs
There are some ways to save on hardwood flooring installation, such as refinishing old floors or using engineered wood. We break down these saving tricks for you here.
- Balance budget and appearance: Think about wood flooring materials beyond just the color and finish. Look for a less expensive grain (plain-sawn), type of hardwood (pine, red oak, bamboo), and thickness (five-sixteenths of an inch). You’ll also pay less for boards with more “character,” i.e., knots, varied colors, etc.
- Use engineered wood: It can cost more to install, but you can often save money by opting for engineered wood with non-exotic veneers. Depending on the panel types, you may even be able to install it by yourself.
- Refinish old floors: If you already have hardwood floors, refinishing the old flooring will cost much less than installing new wood. Unless there are deep gouges or the floors have significant moisture damage, refinishing is usually the way to go.
How To Install Hardwood Floors
Installing hardwood flooring is a complicated process, but here are the basic steps. Remove existing flooring if needed, clean the subfloor completely, check for levelness, and allow the wood planks to acclimate to the room’s humidity/temperature for 1-2 weeks before installation.
- Once the material is acclimated, lay out the planks and mix boards from multiple boxes. Mixing these boards helps make the best grain pattern.
- Then, set spacers for expansion gaps needed along the walls/fixed objects, starting parallel to the longest wall.
- Tap the planks together tightly to fit tongue-and-groove joints.
- If you have transition pieces, like T-molds, place them in doorways and at room transitions with the same process.
- Apply polyurethane finish according to directions. Allow proper drying between coats.
- Lightly sand the wood with fine-grit sandpaper between final coats for a smooth final finish.
- Install the baseboards and transition pieces to cover gaps and complete the look.
- Sweep and vacuum the floor before finishing.
You can learn more in our comprehensive guide to hardwood floor installation or the video below, which explains all these steps in detail.
How To Hire a Professional
When choosing a flooring contractor, here are some steps we recommend you take to ensure you receive quality service:
- Read customer reviews: We suggest you read customer reviews on sites such as Yelp, Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. Look for consistently positive feedback. We also advise you to check the company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile for its rating and accreditation status. These are all steps we take during our customer review analysis.
- Check that the company is fully licensed, bonded, and insured: Ask to see a copy of the installer’s general liability insurance certificate. It should have current effective dates, and you should request to be listed as “additionally insured” on the installer’s general liability policy to protect you and your project.
- Check for certification: Ask what certifications the flooring company holds and if it is trained by the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). Additionally, ask what brands the company uses and what types of installation methods it offers. Look for expertise with major brands and methods that match your desired outcomes.
- Get three estimates: Get a detailed written estimate outlining preparation, installation price per square foot, finishing, and warranty information from at least three companies you’re considering. Closely compare the details of each company’s offerings and pricing. We also suggest that you use this time to request three to five references from recent customers and check at least three of them.
Explore Other Home Project Costs
Learn about the cost of some other home improvement projects with our detailed guides here:
Hardwood flooring costs are substantial, roughly $12,000–$36,000 for an average-sized home, and no flooring material is perfect. Still, hardwood floors have lots of benefits, including a high return on investment. You also have more options than just installing wide planks in the traditional manner. Take some time to explore your wood flooring options and how they fit into your budget to determine whether hardwood floors are the right choice for your home.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hardwood Flooring
How much does it cost to put hardwood floors in a 1,500-square-foot house?
The average cost to put hardwood floors in a 1,500-square-foot home ranges from $9,000–$27,000, depending on the type of wood flooring.
Why is hardwood flooring so expensive?
Hardwood flooring is becoming increasingly expensive due to the scarcity of slow-growing hardwood trees. Supply chain issues with certain wood species lead to an increase in hardwood flooring that uses that species.
How much does it cost to put hardwood floors in a 12-by-12-foot room?
The cost of putting in hardwood floors in a 12-by-12-foot room ranges from $864–$2,592, depending on wood type.
What is the average cost of hardwood flooring?
The national average cost of hardwood flooring is between $6 and $18 per square foot.
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