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The Hidden Costs Of Hardwood Floor Installation


Hardwood floors have become the most popular choice among homeowners. Why? Because they’re elegant, durable and add long term value to a home. But what do they really cost? People often only think about the hard cost of the actual hardwood flooring material, but they forget that installation comes at a price, even when if they decide to install the floors on their own.

In order to get the most accurate cost of hardwood flooring installation for your home, you need to break down the cost. That will help you decide what type of hardwood to purchase and whether going with a professional installer is the right solution for you.

So what are the real costs behind getting brand new hardwood floors for your home?

Hardwood flooring samples at Glamour Flooring Los Angeles

1. Hardwood flooring material

Obviously, the first item on your list will be the actual hardwood floor material. Prices will vary depending on the type of wood species, with rare, exotic woods being the most expensive. Flooring retailers will usually carry selections of hardwood between $4 to $20/sq.ft. You can also find quality discount hardwood flooring as low as $2.5/sq.ft.

2. Cost of labor

If you decide to go with professional contractors, you’ll have to budget in the cost of labor for installation. Hardwood is more complicated to install than other types of floors like carpet, laminate or vinyl. If you don’t have the right tools or experience, you might run the risk of not installing the floors properly.

In the long run, a bad floor installation job will cost you more because you might have to replace your them sooner than expected. They could also require higher maintenance or repair because they were not correctly installed. Eventually, you might have to resort to professional contractors to fix or install new floors which will rack up the bill even more.

Hardwood flooring labor cost usually includes planning, equipment, removing old flooring, preparing the area, installing the new floors, and cleaning up. Labor cost for professional hardwood flooring installation will be priced based on the size of the project and the estimated number of hours required to complete the work.

3. Hardwood flooring installation supplies

This is where people often don’t expect additional cost to come in, especially if they choose the DIY approach and want to install their own floors. You’ll need to purchase specific tools, equipment and supplies to install hardwood floors.

Wood flooring installation tools
  • Hardwood flooring supplies: fasteners, flooring underlayments, adhesives and adhesive cleaners, surface sealants, floor cleaners, trims, moldings, etc.
  • Tools you’ll need: tape measurer, carpenter’s square, chalk, hammer, level, saw, staple gun, trowel and probably more depending on the type of flooring you are installing.
  • Safety equipment like gloves, glasses and dust masks.
  • Specialty equipment rental: you will most likely need to rent professional flooring installation equipment.

All in all, additional supplies, tools and equipment may end up costing several hundred dollars.

4. Cleaning up cost

Another cost people tend to forget is that of cleaning up after the floor installation is complete. Disposing of old floor materials and removing debris materials from the job usually comes at a fee.

5. Permit or inspection fees

Depending on where you live and the type of home you own, you could be required to perform inspection or obtain a remodeling permit before you change your floors. This usually applies to apartment buildings rather than individual homes.

6. Unforeseen costs

Depending on the age of your home and state of your original floors, you could run into some unforeseen costs to bring your house to safety standards or to repair existing floor damage that could not be seen before the work started.

As you remove old flooring, you could discover that your subfloor is not up to par or that plywood needs to be replaced. You could also find structural issues that may require work on plumbing or electrical systems.

This type of unforeseen cost is not uncommon so it’s important to plan for it as you are putting together a budget for a hardwood floor installation project.

In the end, you should know that when it comes to installing hardwood floors, there are a lot of different elements to consider. It’s important to look out for these hidden costs so you’re not surprised when they come up in the middle of a project.

Knowing what those will be can also help you make the decision to hire professional contractors or install floors yourself. You might find out that hiring flooring installers will save you money in the short and long term.

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