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What You Should Expect to Pay for Hardwood Flooring in Your Home

what you should expect to pay for hardwood floors in your homeIf you have thought about installing hardwood flooring in your home, you may already be aware that it can be quite an investment. Often, homeowners do not fully realize the entire costs involved with this type of renovation and end up shocked when the final bill arrives.

If you are shopping for hardwood flooring, your first stop is HERE to see what we have to offer!

Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or plan to have a contractor install your new flooring, you need to know all the costs involved with the process. This will avoid any nasty surprises and allow you to budget your expenses accordingly for the project.

Choosing Your Flooring

If you have shopped for hardwood flooring, you have most likely seen a wide range of prices. People often make the mistake of not taking into account that that price is for the flooring material only. It normally does not include the cost of installation, supplies, or other needed materials.

The price of the flooring itself depends on what you choose. Solid hardwood that comes in strips or planks will be more expensive than engineered flooring. The benefit of solid hardwood is that it will last a lifetime since it can be sanded down and refinished repeatedly. You can only sand and refinish engineered flooring two or three times at most before needing to replace it.

what you should expect to pay for hardwood flooring in your houseAnother consideration is where you will be installing your flooring. If you are on a concrete slab foundation and installing the flooring on the first floor of your home, you are going to want to go with the engineered flooring. This way you avoid the hassle of having to lay down a subfloor of plywood.

Not only will putting in a subfloor add to the cost of your installation, you would also have to make adjustments to doors and transitions to the rooms off of the one you are working on. This is because the added height from the both the flooring and the subfloor will interfere with your existing entryways.

If you already have a subfloor, solid hardwood should not be a problem with having to make any adjustments.

Calculating Your Cost of Flooring

Some websites, such as the one for the World Floor Covering Association, will offer tools or calculators that will assist you in estimating your costs. You enter the length and width of the room in which you plan to install the flooring and the cost per square foot of your chosen hardwood flooring.

Because most rooms are not a perfect rectangle, the best way to measure is to square off the different areas into rectangles. This includes doorways and nook areas in the room. Once you have all the individual areas measured, you can move on to the flooring calculator.

what you should expect to pay for hardwood flooring in your homeEnter the measurements for each area. When you are done, click the calculate button. This tool will figure out your total square footage and add on an extra 10% of the total square footage for waste to give you an estimate of how much flooring you will need to purchase. Additionally, the tool will give you an estimate of the cost for the flooring. Keep in mind that this only provides a rough estimate.

For example, consider if you were going to put down prefinished select or better red oak solid hardwood flooring in your living room. The current sale price is $4.29 a square foot and the room is 13′ x 17′ with a 5′ x 7′ entranceway. The total square footage adds up to 256 square feet. Your 10% extra comes out to 25.6 square feet.

The amount of flooring you will need to purchase is 281.60 square feet. This particular flooring comes 20.5 square feet to a carton with a 14-carton minimum. You will meet the required minimum, because you will have to purchase 287 square feet even though the actual amount you would need is 13.73 cartons. This means you need to purchase 14 full cartons at the cost of $1,231.23 for the flooring.

This is what sometimes confuses people. You need to purchase full cartons, so you may end up with more than 10% extra. Remember that it is better to have extra then to find yourself short during your installation.

Most suppliers will require you to purchase a minimum amount of hardwood flooring cartons, so if you run short it will cost you plenty!

Don’t forget the additional cost of tools and materials that are needed, such as:

Prefinished vs. Unfinished

You will find that unfinished flooring appears to be a lot less expensive, but the minimum order may be higher. If you choose to go with a select or better-grade red oak at $2.49 per square foot for the same sized room, you will need to purchase 300 square feet, which equals 16 full bundles. Your total cost for just the flooring would be just $747.00, which is about 60% of the cost of the prefinished.

If you choose unfinished flooring, you need to consider the cost and time involved to sand and then apply several coats of finish. This is not to mention the fumes and drying time involved, and your possible frustration with keeping your kids, pets, and any specks of dust or pollen that may be floating around off your floor! You may want to save yourself the aggravation and stick with the prefinished flooring.

Added materials for an unfinished floor on top of what was previously mentioned for finished floors would be:

  • what you could expect to pay for hardwood flooring in your homePurchase or rental of a heavy-duty sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Rags
  • Finish such as wax or varnish

Don’t Forget underneath the Floor

You will need to include the cost of whatever vapor/moisture barrier or underlayment you choose to put under your hardwood flooring. As with everything nowadays, the prices will run from a beer budget all the way up to champagne tastes. Think about it this way: It is an investment in your home and something you want to last for years.

Going cheap with just six-millimeter plastic sheeting may not give you the feel or quality you desire if you are floating your floor above a concrete slab. For the best results, you might consider an underlayment that incorporates both a moisture barrier and padding.

If you are going to install a subfloor, then you will need to include the cost of plywood. You will still need to install a vapor/moisture barrier underneath.

Contractor’s Fees

Maybe you have decided that you do not want to install your flooring yourself and instead will hire a contractor. Some flooring suppliers may offer you a special deal if you purchase their flooring and have them install it. Some may even give you an installation estimate of $1.00 per square foot added to the cost of the flooring. This does not include all of the extra costs.

what you can expect to pay for hardwood floors in your homeWhat are the extra costs you may ask? A contractor is not going to move all the furniture out of your room at no charge. Where are you going to put your large sectional sofa anyway? That means you are going to have to disassemble it if you are going to stash it in other rooms in your home to get it out of the way.

What if you have no extra room? Then you are going to have to rent a mobile storage service such as a POD or PackRat trailer to store your furniture. If that is not an option, you may need to rent a truck and store your furniture at a storage facility during your renovation.

What about the existing carpeting or floor? The contractor is not going to rip it up out of the goodness of their heart. Demolition is another cost that will be added on.

Don’t forget about where all that old carpeting, padding, and flooring is going to go. You will most likely be charged a dump fee. This is an area where you may be able to save some money if you are able to do this yourself!

The subfloor or slab will need to be cleaned up, with any dried glue or stuck-on padding scraped off. Any holes or low spots will need to be filled and leveled out before laying down the underlayment. It will also need to be completely dry before starting work. The labor and materials needed for this are also an added expense.

Finish It Off!

So now your floor has been installed and really looks great. What about the molding? Most likely you are going to need to replace the molding in that room so that it matches your new floor. The added costs are the price of the molding, nails, caulk, stain or paint, miter saw, and labor time.

what you can expect to pay for hardwood flooring in your homeNow is the time to make sure you have the proper tools you will need to care for your new investment. You will want to purchase a high-quality broom and a vacuum without a beater bar to avoid marring your new floor.

You will also want to protect your floor from any potential damage. Check out these maintenance recommendations from the National Wood Flooring Association.

Some felt pads that are made to go under the legs of your furniture are also a wise idea to purchase to limit pressure marks. Mats and throw rugs that are specifically made for use with hardwood floors are good for high-traffic areas and entrances where dirt, sand, and water may be tracked in. Such debris can scratch your new floor.

It is important when you are in the planning stages of a home renovation, such as installing hardwood floors, to consider all the costs that may be involved. This way you will avoid any unpleasant surprises along the way and be able to fully enjoy your new floor.

Check out all the types of hardwood flooring for your home when you click here NOW!

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