Hardwood floor installation cost guide

Among different flooring types, hardwood is a true king. Not only is it aesthetically rich and pleasant to walk on. It's also a very long-lasting material that can serve for many years without the need to be finished anew. While some of the hardwood floor types can be installed by homeowners themselves, it's normally something only professionals can do. If you've decided to have this type of floor in your home too, the information below will help you get an idea how much it may cost.

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Hardwood floor installation professionals perform a range of services including the removal of old flooring, preparation of subfloors, installation of boards or planks of wood, finishing, and others. The cost of materials in the case of hardwood flooring is as important as the cost of labor.

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There are two main types of wood flooring: solid wood and engineered wood. The price of installing these varieties differs according to how easily they can be put in place. The kind of wood also has a great impact on the final figure in the bill, with soft wood like pine costing less than exotic material like tigerwood. Other price-shaping factors include the room configuration (standard rectangular room or room with angles and curves), need to finish the floor after installation, condition of the subfloors, whether the old flooring needs to be torn out, contractor's experience, and others.

The most typical payment structures hardwood installation professionals use are by the square foot and by the hour, with flat rates taken for smaller tasks. On average, expect to pay from $2,550 to $6,500. The maximum reported cost is $10,160. The lowest price is $1,120.

Price-related questions

What's the difference between solid wood and engineered wood? What are their advantages and drawbacks? How much can I expect to pay for having them installed?

There are two main types of wood flooring: solid wood and engineered wood. They have their distinct benefits and shortcomings.

Solid wood

This natural type of wood flooring has the following benefits:

  • Durable and long-lasting: with proper maintenance, its lifespan can be as long as a century
  • Has no finishing limit: sand and finish it to your heart's content.

Solid wood is not devoid of drawbacks, though:

  • Bad for homes with animals and children: spills must be removed as soon as possible. Otherwise, the floor will have a permanent stain. Scratches from claws will also remain visible on the boards.
  • Poor water resistance: gets warped when exposed to humidity for a long time. Having a solid wood floor in a basement is a very bad idea for this reason.

Solid wood is normally sold in boards (3” in width). You can also find it in planks (7” in width). Those can be either pre-finished or unfinished and can be softer or harder. Here are some options with their approximate costs (per square foot):

  • Maple: $3.60–$5.90
  • White ash: $5.10-$6.10
  • Bamboo: $2.1–$4.1
  • Hickory: $3.1-$6.1
  • Brazilian Walnut: $5.1–$9.1
  • Pine: $1.60–$4.1
  • Red oak: $2.1–$6.1

Other kinds of solid wood include tiger, birch, teak, beech, mahogany, cherry, and Douglas Fir. Depending on the price of the wood, professionals charge different fees for its installation. Some examples (from least expensive to most expensive, per square foot):

  • Wood such as pine: $3.2 to $5.2
  • Wood such as oak: $4.5 to $8.5
  • Wood such as mahogany: $5 to $9

Engineered wood

This type of flooring is a combination of several layers of inexpensive wood plus the top layer made of a high-end solid wood variety. It has a heftier purchase price in comparison with conventional hardwood but boasts several important benefits:

  • Excellent moisture-resistance characteristics. That allows homeowners to place it anywhere they wish, even in basements and damp spaces.
  • Good heat resistance.
  • Very durable. If you have pets or children who like splashing their Cola around, this is a great option.

There are disadvantages as well:

  • More expensive to purchase than traditional hardwood.
  • Has a certain finishing limit: depending on the type, you can only have engineered wood refinished 5 or 6 times.

Engineered wood comes in planks of varied thickness (half of an inch to three fourth of an inch), as parquet, or as strips, also varying in thickness (from one and a half of an inch to 2.25”). Here are some examples with their prices (per square foot):

  • Heart pine: $10.1–$11.3
  • Brazilian cherry: $3.1–$6.2
  • Maple: $10.1–$11.2
  • Acacia: $4.1-$5.1
  • Brazilian Koa: $5.2–$7.2

While engineered wood has a higher on-the-shelf cost, it's easy to install and, thus, cheaper as regards labor. Oftentimes, homeowners themselves can install it by simply connecting one plank to another. To give you an idea how much professionals may charge for installing engineered wood (per square foot):

  • Three low-cost wood layers: $4-$9
  • Five low-cost wood layers: $4-$9.50
  • Seven+ low-cost wood layers: $5-$10.50
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What other services may I have to pay for as a part of the installation process?

Before hardwood floor installation can begin, there could be a great deal of work to be performed. Here are some of the services you may be asked to pay for.

Moving furniture/appliances out of the way

The exact price is hard to give. However, some companies may charge up to 25 cents per square foot for this service. By removing furniture on your own, you can save a percentage of the total project cost.

Taking out old flooring

How much you will pay for removing the old floor is determined by its type. For instance, hardwood floor installation professionals will take more from you if they need to tear out a tile floor. $7-$12 per square foot is a typical price range for this kind of service.

Subfloor preparation

In many cases, especially if it's the first time you've opted for hardwood flooring, the subfloor has to be prepared properly. If it's traditional hardwood, it will be placed atop plywood. That commonly comes in sheets 4 feet in width and 8 feet in height, with one sheet costing around $21. For a standard-size room (12X12), expect this budget item to equal a little over $100. If the matter is more serious and joists need to be installed as well, prepare to hire a carpenter for $25-$30 an hour.


While engineered wood is always sold finished, traditional hardwood may be not. If it's unfinished, professionals perform this service after putting all the boards in place. Read our guide to learn how much your can expect to pay for finishing your hardwood floor.


If a new hardwood floor joins the floor in another room, installing either a reducer or a threshold is common. Expect to pay $35 for a reducer. A threshold made of hardwood will cost you from $6 to $22.

Patterns and borders

Are you after aesthetics? Then, be prepared to fork over more. Patterns and borders will greatly enhance the visual appeal of the new flooring, but at a cost: plus around $290 to the overall project budget.

Information to check


Choose an experienced and reputable contractor. While no license is required for hardwood floor installation, make sure the contractor is properly insured in order to avoid any legal problems should any type of accident occur during the process. Ask the professional for references from previous customers. Read online reviews and complaints.


Before signing a deal, ask the contractor if they provide a warranty for their work. A 1-year warranty is typical in this case. If it's not given, look elsewhere.


Ask for a written estimate with all the services described in detail and properly priced. Will the contractor remove the old flooring? Will they move the furniture out of the way? Is finishing required? All those points should be covered in the estimate.

Other frequently asked questions

I wish to have hardwood flooring on my staircase. Is this type of service priced differently?

It is. This job is more labor-intensive and, thus, is more expensive. Expect to pay a professional around $85 to lay new flooring on one step. Materials are priced separately.

I've heard that engineered wood can be laid on concrete. Is it true?

Yes, it is. Engineered wood can be placed right on concrete. Before it, however, a certain amount of concrete may have to be poured on the subfloor to ensure correct installation. Spending between $1,050 and $1,500 on this service is typical.

Bottom line

The total cost of the hardwood floor installation depends on a number of factors including the type of wood, difficulty of the job, need to remove old flooring, and others. Most homeowners report paying from $2,550 to $6,500.

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