September 7, 2022
What Is The Cost Of Installing Hardwood Flooring?
This is probably the most commonly asked question by clients. I usually ask them how long a piece of string is because numbers mean very little unless you know all the variables that directly affect your hardwood flooring installation cost.
I think it's essential to understand exactly what you should expect from your hardwood flooring installation, so that the quotes you receive make sense.
I could just shoot out a number like $7 sq/ft, but that doesn't tell you anything. Is this for engineered hardwood flooring or solid? Does it include adhesive, demo, baseboards, etc.?
So to answer this question thoroughly, let me go through every item you need to look out for when getting a price on installing your hardwood flooring. That way, you have a fair way of comparing apples to apples.
Engineered or Solid Hardwood Flooring
Two completely different beasts here.
An engineered hardwood flooring installation price will generally run less than solid hardwood, mainly due to not needing plywood when installing over a concrete slab. Also, since most engineered floors are pre-factory finished, they don't need to be sanded, stained, and finished like unfinished solid wood floors.
Solid hardwood also generally runs more because of the longer time to install. For example, an engineered hardwood flooring project can take 2-4 days, whereas a solid hardwood project generally runs two weeks due to the longer acclimation time needed for the material.
Width Of Boards
Wider boards 7" and above generally run higher to install than narrower boards due to more adhesive, extra weight, extra labor to cut boards, etc.
Please try to be specific when you ask for a quote because they will often quote you based on what they have in their mind, then get to the job site and tell you it'll be extra.
Each company will charge differently for demoing old floors, especially when dealing with old tile or wood that's much more difficult to remove.
Not just the demo, but to haul off and dispose of this old material costs extra, so clarify this when getting a quote.
The adhesive is essential when installing engineered hardwood flooring.
Does the price include the manufacturer's approved glue? If not, how much extra is this going to run? Never skip this portion because the product manufacturer won't look at it if the wrong adhesive was used.
The installation cost never includes removing and reinstalling baseboards and/or quarter round.
This is the time to decide if you wish to reuse your existing baseboards or get new ones. Please make sure to have this item listed separately.
Anyone who does not moisture test a concrete slab before putting down hardwood flooring should not be installing hardwood flooring. Period. It's not just in the National Wood Flooring Association guidelines but in every manufacturer's installation instructions.
If your slab is too wet, you cannot install wood over it before taking the necessary measures.
Put it this way - excess moisture is the leading cause of hardwood flooring installations failing. Skip this step, and you forfeit your product warranty. Testing shouldn't cost any extra, but it must be done and included in the quote.
If your slab shows excessive moisture, you need to seal it with a penetrating concrete sealer to mitigate the moisture and allow the installation of your wood flooring to proceed.
Depending on the sealer and company, this can run anywhere between $1 - $3 sq/ft. This is rarely included in the installation price, so please determine this beforehand to get your actual installation cost.
Many homes today - yes, even new construction don't use plywood upstairs. Instead, the builders cheap out and put in particle board which isn't suitable for hardwood flooring installation.
Please ensure the subfloor is plywood if you want to put hardwood upstairs; otherwise, it can't happen.
Does your quote account for the possibility your upstairs area will need new plywood?
Some have heard of floating the floor, but what about flattening?
It's a term I made up because the industry term "leveling" is incorrect. When we float your concrete slab, we are not making it run like a horizontal line. This isn't possible due to the slab's pouring and natural topography. Instead, we are filling the voids to eliminate low spots, so your concrete is flat.
This is done by using a concrete patch compound; the amount used will depend on the condition of your slab. For example, you may only need a few bags of float compound or dozens.
Companies charge very differently when it comes to this aspect, so again, could you get this in writing before getting lured in by a low square foot installation price?
I know this isn't probably what you've been told so far since it's pretty common for folks in the industry to overlook these elements. However, it could make a massive difference because your installation cost could double or even triple when everything above has been accounted for.
As you can see, the cost of installing engineered or solid hardwood (in Dallas) will vary significantly.
As a general guide, engineered hardwood labor can run anywhere from $4-$8 sq. ft. depending on the product selected and the above factors, and solid hardwood between $6-$10 sq/ft.
If you see an outrageously low square foot price, I recommend you keep moving because it never ends well. There will always be extra add-ons. Feel free to reach out if you need a second opinion or have any questions - always glad to help!