New flooring provides an instant home makeover and boosts resale value. Flooring installation professionals can advise on the best material for a particular climate, lifestyle and aesthetic. Bamboo floors provide an eco-friendly and affordable option for people who love the hardwood look. Families with kids, dogs or wet weather do well with waterproof vinyl flooring, while people who love the classic look of wood will be most happy with oak, pine and other hardwood floors.
Most contractors base their rates on the overall square footage of the new floor, the materials selected (vinyl, for example, is generally less expensive than hardwood), any repair work done to the subfloor prior to installation and demolition costs to remove old flooring. Other factors that affect the total cost of floor installation include the regional cost of labor and business overhead of the flooring company. Here’s a breakdown of cost factors for bamboo, vinyl and hardwood floors.
Bamboo floors are easy to clean, naturally resistant to many types of pests and sustainable because of the plant’s growth rate. Bamboo reaches maturity in a matter of several years as opposed to several decades with hardwood trees. These qualities, plus the wallet-friendly price make bamboo floors an attractive option for people who love the hardwood look. "Bamboo floors usually cost 25 percent to 50 percent less than hardwood flooring," says Jeff Brown of Custom Construx in Monrovia, Indiana. Bamboo flooring comes in vertical-grain solid strip, flat-grain solid strip and strand-woven. Flat-grain bamboo—the type most commonly installed by Custom Construx—is made up of thin, flat strips of bamboo that are stacked on top of each other and then laminated together. Some types of bamboo are more hardy than others. According to Brown with Custom Construx, “There are types of strand-woven bamboo that have twice the density of any other hardwood floor in the world, with a score of more than 5,000 on the Janka hardness test.”
Here are some examples of bamboo flooring installation projects and their costs from Custom Construx:
Base installation price per square foot: $2.75–$3.50
800-square-foot strand-woven bamboo floor: $6,405
Tear out and remove existing carpet: $280
Materials (bamboo and transitions): $3,600
Labor costs for installation of bamboo and transitions: $2,200
Quarter round trim (shoe mold): $325
This project took two days to install.
Hardwood floors are perennially popular with homeowners for their durability and classic beauty. Because hardwood has a "wear layer," homeowners can sand and refinish their hardwood floors, on average, five times during the floor’s lifetime, giving them a brand new surface and keeping them looking fresh for many decades. Professionals can advise on the best type of wood for a particular climate. Wood planks can expand and contract with the weather, and certain woods perform better in different locations. For example, oak performs better than exotic woods such as teak in the high humidity and cold winters of Midwestern states such as Minnesota. Wood type directly affects the total project cost, as does the cost of labor and the amount of prep and repair work required. Here are cost examples for installing hardwood floors from a couple companies:
Nature’s Touch Flooring in Lakeville, Minnesota
Basic wood floor installation: $3 per square foot
Hand-scraped, ¾-inch oak planks: $7 per square foot
Right Step Flooring in Hallandale, Florida
620 square feet of maple floors: ~$2,400, or ~$3.87 per square foot
Five days of labor
¾-inch, dark-stained maple installed on top of new concrete in three rooms, a hallway and a staircase
Vinyl comes in a range of price points and styles, including sheet vinyl, solid vinyl tiles, luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) and vinyl planks. Vinyl is extremely popular, says Jake Olson of Nature’s Touch Flooring, thanks to new styles and technologies that replicate the look of ceramic tiles and hardwood planks. Vinyl is also cost-effective, waterproof and resilient in the face of kids and pets. LVT flooring is typically about ⅛-inch thick and can be coated with urethane during manufacture for added durability. Here are some examples of installation costs for vinyl flooring costs from Nature’s Touch Flooring:
Click-together vinyl planks: ~ $2 per square foot
Vinyl planks (wood-look vinyl): $4–$6 per square foot
Luxury vinyl tiles (replicate ceramic tiles, etc.): $5–$7 per square foot
The price depends on the brand and quality level.
Installation of luxury vinyl tiles: $3.50 per square foot to start, including prep work, underlayment, leveling and grouting but not LVT materials.
Labor rates can be as much as $4–$7 per square foot if additional work such as transitions, retucking adjacent carpet, pulling appliances in and out, floor prep, leveling and sanding is required.
Labor and materials for installation of higher-end LVT can cost up to $12 per square foot.
Materials and installation on a ~ 200-square-foot project: $2,000, or ~ $10 per square foot
The more work required to install new floors, the higher total cost. Contractors should inspect a job site in person to determine what type of demo and prep is needed, whether any repairs are required, and whether there is a need for labor beyond the installation work. Here are some examples of tasks that increase the total job cost:
Standard carpet removal: 35 cents a square foot to start
Removal of difficult ceramic or porcelain tile: Up to $2.25 a square foot
Floor repair: $75 minimum
Furniture moving: $75–$125 per room
Pouring concrete to bring the under flooring level before installing new flooring on top: $1,000–$1,500 for materials and labor
Some flooring contractors charge a minimum fee for their services to cover their time as well as committing to one job over other customers, business overhead and other costs associated with installing vinyl flooring. Not all contractors have a minimum service fee, so be sure to inquire. Nature’s Touch Flooring charges a minimum service fee of $1,000 per job.
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