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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How much does it cost to install hardwood floors?

The cost of hardwood floors will depend primarily on the total square footage of flooring, the type of wood you select, the cost of labor in your region, and any preparation or repair work that needs to take place before installation. Selecting exotic woods, such as teak, will result in a higher cost for the project than a more affordable wood such as oak. The national average cost of hardwood floor installation is $5,750. Here are some examples of different woods and their average costs; actual costs will vary depending on the factors listed above.

  • Basic wood floor installation: $3 per square foot from a wood floor installation company.
    • The product cost for hand-scraped ¾-inch oak planks: $7 per square foot.
  • 620 square feet of maple floor:
    • Residential installation, total project cost: ~ $2,400 with five days of labor.
    • ¾-inch dark stained maple installed on top of new concrete in three rooms, a hallways, and a staircase.  
      • Cost for total project: ~$3.87 per square foot.

How long does it take to install a hardwood floor and a concrete floor?

The time it takes to install hardwood and concrete floors varies based on the condition of your current floors, the size of your floors and other factors. Use the following information to gauge how long your flooring installation might take.

Time it takes to install a hardwood floor: Several days to 2+ weeks

Hardwood floor installation can take anywhere from a few days to more than two weeks, depending on demolition, wood type, the condition of your subfloor, total square footage of the project and installation method. Demolition is necessary if you have existing flooring you want to replace with hardwood floors. New-construction homes do not require this step, as the subfloor is primed and ready for floor installation.

During demolition, the flooring crew may find that your subfloor has damaged wood, uneven surfaces or other problems that must be addressed before the new wood can be laid down. Subfloor repair can take a few hours to several days, depending on what’s hiding underneath your floor. The wood for your new floor generally arrives a few days before any work begins. 

The actual wood installation may take several days or more, depending on the size of your home and what type of custom cutting and designs are desired. If your flooring is not prefinished, the unfinished wood must then be sanded and stained in the home to treat and protect your new investment. Typically, staining takes a full day to dry, and multiple coats are applied. 

For a more accurate timeframe of how long it will take to install hardwood floors in your home, reach out to one of the best flooring companies near you.

Time it takes to install a concrete floor: 2 days to 1 week

Installing concrete floors can take anywhere from two days to a week, depending on what you need done. Some of the factors that can impact how long it will take to install concrete floors are: 

  • The size of the space
  • The stain or finish
  • The condition of your existing floor
  • Whether you want intricate, simple or no designs 
  • The overall complexity of the project

To get an accurate estimate of how long installing concrete floors will take for your home, speak to a concrete contractor near you. 

Should I remove baseboards when installing hardwood floors?

You can install hardwood floors without removing baseboards, but it’s recommended that you remove them to fix baseboards that aren’t properly aligned, cover the expansion gap, adjust the boards’ height and ensure the baseboards match the new flooring. When talking to contractors, ask if they recommend removing your baseboard before they install your hardwood floors.

Do you put anything under hardwood floors?

It’s possible to install certain surfaces under hardwood flooring if you’re concerned about moisture or noise transmission. Builder’s felt, solid underlayment, plastic sheets and rubberized membranes are a few options you can consider. Talk to a hardwood flooring contractor or company to discuss all of your options.

How thick is hardwood flooring?

Hardwood flooring generally comes in several thicknesses, with thicker, high-quality boards typically being more expensive and more durable. The thinnest is 5/16 inch thick. The next thickness is 3/8 inch thick, and the thickest solid hardwood flooring is generally 3/4 inch thick or 1/2 inch thick. The cost for each thickness varies by the brand, retailer and type of wood. Generally, you might see prices ranging as low as  $2.50 to $6 per square foot.

What is the best hardwood floor?

The best hardwood floors are made from durable, hard species like oak, maple and cherry. Solid hardwood is typically the better choice over engineered wood because you can sand out the scratches multiple times. However, engineered hardwood is better equipped for humid households. 

Consider buying prefinished hardwood flooring, which can be more durable and simplify the installation process. Plus, prefinished wood often comes with a warranty from the factory.

Bamboo is another popular option, though be aware that some might not be as eco-friendly as others due to its production process. Some of the popular hardwood floor brands are Bruce, Carlisle and Lumber Liquidators.

To ensure you choose the best type of wood flooring for your home, hire one of the top hardwood floor installation professionals near you.

Do engineered wood floors scratch easily?

Yes, but engineered wood flooring has the same susceptibility to scratching as hardwood flooring. Engineering wood floors have a layer of real wood on top. For this reason, engineered hardwood reacts the same way that regular hardwood does to scratching. If you don’t mind a few character marks on your floor like small scratches and dents, this is not a problem. However, engineered wood can be sanded down and resealed if the damage gets too great.

Find a hardwood floor professional in your area who can tell you more about the pros and cons of engineered wood floors.

What are the different types of flooring I can install in my home?

Here are four popular types of flooring you can install in your home. 

Solid wood flooring:

Solid wood flooring is made up of 100% wood, and has a very natural look and feel. It can add value to your home and. It can resist wear and tear, and be sanded and refinished multiple times. However, solid wood is susceptible to humidity and water damage. When it’s humid, solid wood could expand and if there’s a flood, it will be hard for the wood to return to its natural shape.

Laminate flooring:

Laminate wood flooring is an artificial product that mimics real wood flooring. Its core consists of fiberboard material, topped by an image print layer and sealed with a clear protective film. Laminate flooring is UV-resistant and less expensive than solid hardwood (approximately $3 to $7 per square foot to install). However, it also has a lower-quality feel, is unable to be sanded and refinished, has a lifespan of around 25 years and will invariably have a repeated print, according to Consumer Reports

A laminate hardwood floor is popular in living areas like dining rooms and kitchens. Their quality has improved dramatically in recent years, making them an attractive alternative to more expensive flooring types. Laminate flooring can also be scratch-prone, easy to clean and maintain, and resistant to moisture. 

Vinyl flooring:

Vinyl flooring is made completely out of PVC plastic and is an excellent option for moisture-prone areas like bathrooms and kitchens. It is durable, comfortable and inexpensive. Vinyl plank flooring and vinyl floor tiles can also imitate stone, tile and wood. However, it is fairly easy to spot vinyl flooring as synthetic. Install luxury vinyl plank and sheet vinyl flooring in areas where moisture is a concern.

Engineered wood flooring:

Engineered wood flooring often has a plywood-core substrate and a genuine hardwood veneer as its uppermost layer. Engineered wood floors are more impervious to humidity than regular hardwood, meaning that it’s less likely to expand, warp and buckle, according to Consumer Reports. However, it can dent easily. The best engineered hardwood has a thicker veneer, as well as a quality that allows it to be sanded down and refinished to increase its lifespan. It can be as durable as solid hardwood, and it’s often an affordable choice for many homeowners.

If you need help choosing the best flooring for your home, reach out to the top flooring companies near you.

What are the disadvantages of vinyl flooring?

The disadvantages of vinyl flooring are worth considering for homeowners. Vinyl flooring is difficult to repair if it tears or scratches because you cannot refinish it. And while it imitates more expensive products, it is still usually easy to spot vinyl flooring. This means it might not add to the value of a house, as most buyers would prefer to remove vinyl flooring and replace it with something of a higher quality. Low-quality vinyl flooring is also susceptible to fading and discoloration from sunlight.

For more information on the disadvantages -- and advantages -- of vinyl flooring, reach out to a flooring installation company near you.

How do I choose which type of flooring to install in my home?

If you’re ready to install new floors in your home -- or replace old flooring -- you’re probably wondering where to start. After all, there are many options to choose from: hardwood, vinyl, tile, laminate, linoleum and the list goes on. If you’re stuck on which type of flooring you should choose, start with learning the pros and cons of several popular options.

Engineered vs. Solid Wood Flooring:

Typically, engineered wood flooring is better than hardwood when it comes to humidity -- it’s less likely to expand. It’s also easier to install engineered wood, and it can be more moisture-resistant when compared to solid wood. Solid wood, on the other hand, can be more durable. Plus, you can refinish and sand it multiple times. If you have engineered wood, you’ll only be able to sand it maybe once or twice.

Hardwood vs. Laminate Wood Flooring:

Solid hardwood flooring is an authentic product — full-thickness, high-grade wood with all of its textures and imperfections. Wood floors add considerably more value to your home, with a 70% to 80% return on investment, according to Realtor.com. Unlike laminate floors, they can be repaired by sanding and refinishing. 

Laminate wood flooring is much more affordable than hardwood, as it is made from composite wood, an image of hardwood’s texture and a clear protective layer. It's resistant to both sunlight and moisture. While it’s harder to repair, hardwood laminate better resists scratches. 

Laminate vs. Vinyl Plank Flooring:

Laminate and vinyl floors are both synthetic products that imitate high-quality flooring materials like wood, stone and tile. Vinyl floors are made entirely from PVC plastic and may come as planks, tiles or sheets. They are inexpensive and waterproof. Vinyl plank flooring is a great choice for moist areas like bathrooms, kitchens and entryways, while laminate flooring is a good choice for living rooms, bedrooms and other non-wet areas. Vinyl flooring is also a bit easier to clean and maintain.

Laminate consists of a fiberboard core, a printed image layer and a clear protective film on top. Laminate floors are susceptible to damage if there is excess moisture. However, laminate flooring is superior to vinyl flooring in terms of its aesthetic quality, so you’ll have an easier time making your floor look like real stone, wood or ceramic. Laminate flooring is also more environmentally friendly than vinyl. 

If you need more help choosing flooring for your home, reach out to the top flooring companies near you.

Reviews for Ashburn hardwood floor installation professionals
Thumbtack Customer
Thank you for installing my hardwood floors. Great job ... Pam
Robert's Hardwood Flooring ServicesRobert's Hardwood Flooring Services
Michael H.
Farhad was amazing. His work ethic was just what was expected. We had two rooms in our home that we wanted hardwood floors install instead of the carpet that was already there. Farhad came in and went straight to work. The work they did was awesome snd we could not be any happier.
Pine FlooringPine Flooring
Adiah O.
I will add punctuality and professional. I have had engineered hardwood flooring installed by Costco and this team outshines them BY MILES! K&J were early, they worked cleanly, efficiently and quietly. The value cannot be beat either. I honestly wish we knew about them before paying Costco or another company to do our flooring. Beautiful, professional work! I highly recommend!
K&J FLOORINGK&J FLOORING
Carlos G.
We had a great experience hiring Marvin and his crew to install engineered hardwood floors on our stairs and 2nd floor. Our house feels completely different with the carpet gone and new flooring installed! Marvin had excellent communication with us through the whole process. He even brought several samples on separate occasions to help us decide. He's a very friendly guy and a pleasure to work with. He and his crew's workmanship was top-notch, and we're very satisfied with the end result. We highly recommend Marvin and have already shared his information with co-workers.
Marvin hardwood floorsMarvin hardwood floors
Thumbtack Customer
The job was to install two different hardwood floors and repair another. Bob was very professional, a stickler for time (which I greatly appreciated), a man of his word (which is quite rare nowadays) and great at his work. He went with me to Lowe's and helped me pick the right material for the floors. He picked it up next day and transported it to my house in his own truck. I was so happy with his work that I got some more work done including replacing the bedroom door and installing three other doors, both internal and external. Bob is very friendly and personable.
Bourassa Wallpaper Installation & PaintingBourassa Wallpaper Installation & Painting
Raphael G.
Ezequiel and his crew did an outstanding work at my home! He is very knowledgeable on the type of flooring and material to be used, and since the first message we exchange, he showed interest on achieving a quality result rather than simply getting a job. The house had already hardwood floors installed in other rooms and while staining the shoe moldings he made sure that the color matched, which is another positive for him. You can tell the quality of the installation by every single detail observed, his care on getting feedback and to leave my place only when everything was 100%. He speaks multiple languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese) and also works with garage floors, and shower remodeling. I will definitely contact him for other works. I recommend and I also hired him after comparing prices in the market, which in his case was super good and fair.
Ezequiel flooring LLCEzequiel flooring LLC
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What you need to know about hardwood floor installation.

How much does it cost to install 1,000 square feet of hardwood floors?

The cost to install 1,000 square feet of hardwood flooring can range from $4,000 – $10,000. The price can change depending on the type of flooring and the amount of prep work required from the installer. 

It also depends on how much your hardwood flooring contractor charges per square foot. For solid wood floors, professionals tend to charge between $5 – $10 per square foot. For engineered hardwood floors, expect to pay $4 – $9 per square foot.

For a more accurate cost estimate, contact several professionals near you and ask for price quotes.

How much does it cost to install 500 square feet of hardwood floors?

The cost to install 500 square feet of hardwood floors is $2,000 – $5,000. However, the price can vary depending on how much time and skill is required for the hardwood installation. It will also depend on the type of wood flooring you want and labor costs in your area. For this reason, you should get price quotes from hardwood flooring professionals near you.

How much does it cost to put hardwood floors in a 12x12 room?

It costs about $5 – $10 per square foot to install solid wooden floors and $4 – $9 per square foot to install engineered wooden floors. A 12x12 room measures 144 square feet, so it would cost approximately $576 – $1,440 to install hardwood floors in this space.

However, the price you pay may be different depending on labor costs in your area, the type of wood flooring you prefer and other factors. Always get quotes from at least three pros in your area when determining a budget.

What is the process for installing hardwood floors?

Your hardwood floor installer will begin by acclimating the flooring and preparing the room. The floor planks need to acclimate to your room’s temperature and moisture. The professional will then need to prepare your subfloor, add underlayment and install the flooring using glue and nails. Throughout the process, the professional will be doing a lot of measuring, marking, trimming, cutting, stapling, drilling and hammering.

The process may take longer if you’ve requested a complex pattern like herringbone, basketweave or parquet. Installing a solid wood floor is also more challenging than engineered wood and laminate floor alternatives.

If you opt for on-site finishing, your professional will be taking care of that as well. This process involves sanding and applying the finishing.

Can I install wood flooring myself?

Solid hardwood flooring is difficult to install, which is why it’s better to hire a professional with the experience and tools for this project. Alternatives like vinyl wood planks are a better option for a DIY floor installation project. 

What is the recommended underlayment for hardwood flooring?

Underlayment is the layer of material installed over the subfloor. The underlayment helps with sound absorption and can act as a water barrier. 

Consider the type of flooring and the amount of traffic the floor will see when deciding on the right underlayment for your project. A professional can help determine the best underlayment for your hardwood floors. Typically, your choices will include rubber, cork, foam or felt. 

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