On average nationwide, flooring costs between $1,000 and $10,000 (with installation), but most homeowners will pay around $5,500. This is a pretty wide range, and the price of your floor installation will depend on the flooring material you choose, the size and number of rooms (flooring is priced by the square foot) and labor costs.
On top of the flooring and installation cost, you'll also need to pay to remove the old flooring or carpet.
While getting rid of your dated, old flooring may feel like a hassle, replacing it with those beautiful new hardwood floors you've been dreaming of will be worth it in the end. Before you get started, this guide will take you through common floor installation costs, what will impact your total price and tips for hiring a professional to help.
What's in this cost guide?
- Floor installation cost factors
- What you need to know before you buy flooring
- How to hire a flooring pro
Several factors will impact the total cost to install new floors in your home or building. The type of material you choose for your floors -- hardwood, linoleum or vinyl, for example -- will be the biggest factor on price. That also means it's the best area to focus on cost savings.
To give you an idea of how much different types of flooring costs, here's a breakdown of average prices per square foot. Keep in mind that, in general, the higher the quality of the material, the higher the cost.
- Vinyl : $3-$7
- Laminate: $2.50 - $5
- Engineered wood: $2 - $12
- Hardwood: $3-$10
- Tile: $2-$8
- Carpet: $8-$45 (for Nylon, the most popular carpet material)
- Stone: $5-$10
- Bamboo: $3-$10
To help you choose the best material for your floors, here's a breakdown of different types of flooring:
Vinyl mimics the look of stone, tile and wood, but at a lower cost than the real thing. Vinyl flooring comes in sheets, tiles and planks, and can stand up to heavy foot traffic because it resists wear, dents, scratches and stains.
There is a wide variety of vinyl flooring options. Click-together vinyl planks are very affordable but may not have the staying power of upgraded versions. Vinyl planks, which look like wood, are a step up. Finally, premium vinyl flooring brands can cost as much as solid wood and laminate, but they last longer and are easier to care for.
Vinyl's a good choice for high-traffic areas in your home like bathrooms, kitchens and mudrooms and, overall, vinyl flooring a cost-effective option. How cost effective? To give you an idea, here are some examples of installation costs for vinyl flooring from Nature's Touch Flooring, based in Lakeville, Minnesota:
- Click-together vinyl planks: $2 per square foot
- Vinyl planks: $4–$6 per square foot
- Luxury vinyl tiles: $5–$7 per square foot
- Installation: $3.50 - $12 per square foot
- Total cost of a 200-square foot project: $2,000
Labor costs to install vinyl flooring can start at $3.50 per square foot. This price includes prep work, underlayment, leveling and grouting but not LVT materials. If additional work, like transitions, retucking adjacent carpet, pulling appliances in and out, floor prep, leveling and sanding is required, labor rates can be as much as $4 - $7 per square foot. Labor and materials for installation of higher-end LVT can cost up to $12 per square foot.
Laminate imitates the look of wood at a fraction of the cost. Laminate is a photo of wood laminated to a fiberboard base and covered by a layer of clear, protective plastic. Some premium brands of laminate flooring have a cork backing that muffles sound. Laminates are tough and can resist scratching and fading from sunlight.
Engineered wood is made of thin layers of wood sandwiched together with adhesive. This flooring is more affordable than solid hardwood, because it has a veneer of real wood over a layer of plywood. Even so, top-grade engineered wood can be as durable as solid wood and, because it's layered, it stands up to humidity better than solid wood flooring. It's a good choice for bathrooms, kitchens and basements.
Hardwood, also called solid wood flooring, this is the real deal, sheets of honest to gosh wood. Wood has natural warmth and beauty, but it's the most expensive flooring choice in the short-term.
Long-term, however, it can be more cost effective since you can sand and refinish it several times. When properly taken care of, solid wood floor can last for decades. Harwood floors come in two thicknesses: ¾-inch and 5/16 inch. The thicker the wood, the more times you can sand and refinish it, so the longer its lifespan.
Hardwood comes in a range of plank widths, too. Wider planks are desirable because they show off the beauty of the wood. Textures of hardwood floors include smooth, hand-scraped, and distressed. Hardwood flooring's durability depends on the type of wood it's made up. Pine is the softest and most susceptible to scratches and dents.
To give you an idea of how much your wood floors will cost, here are some sample prices from Nature's Touch Flooring:
- Basic wood floor installation: $3 per square foot
- Hand-scraped, ¾-inch oak planks: $7 per square foot
Tile is a classic material that resists wear, moisture, scratches, dents and stains. If properly cared for, tile flooring can last for decades. There are several different types of tiles you can use for floors:
- Ceramic tile is durable, relatively inexpensive, doesn't absorb water and comes in a range of colors and designs. This is the classic choice for bathrooms. It typically costs between $2.50 to $3 per square foot.
- Porcelain tile is the gold standard for tile. It's the priciest tile out there, around 60 percent more expensive than ceramic, but worth the cost because it's durable, resistant to scratches and stains, water-resistant, and comes in a wide range of colors and designs. Properly cared for, porcelain tile floors can last for decades. Porcelain tile costs around $3 to $10 per square foot.
- Terracotta tile is an old-fashioned material made of clay left in its natural earthy hues. Terracotta gives floors a warm, cozy look. Terracotta tile needs to be sealed every two to three years to protect it from stains and damage. Natural stone tiles cost around $5-$10 per square foot, though designer tiles can be as much as $25 or more.
The average cost to install tile ranges from $500 - $5,000, depending on the size of you project. For example, the average national cost to tile a 50-100 square foot room is around $1,200.
Depending on the look and feel of your room, you may want to opt to install carpet. It comes in an array of colors, styles, materials and thicknesses. Carpet feels soft underfoot, acts as insulation that can lower heating and cooling bills, cushions falls for toddlers or the elderly, and can be laid on uneven subfloors.
Keep in mind that to install carpet flooring, you will have to also purchase and install carpet padding, which is about $3-$4 per square foot.
Stone tiles made of natural stone like marble, granite, limestone and slate are an elegant but pricey option. Natural stone's natural, muted colors give an elegant look to a room but they need more maintenance than other flooring materials. Stone flooring is porous and you will need to reseal it regularly to resist stains. Marble and limestone are susceptible to staining and scratching. Granite is the most durable option.
If you're looking for an eco-friendly flooring option, bamboo is a great choice because it's a renewable resource: a bamboo plant grows to maturity in five years, much faster than hardwood trees which need 20 years or more to mature.
Bamboo flooring has many of the traits of hardwood flooring even though it's made from a type of grass. It's more water-resistant than hardwood and more resistant to scratching than hardwood floors made of oak or pine.
"Bamboo floors usually cost 25 percent to 50 percent less than hardwood flooring," says Jeff Brown of Custom Construx in Monrovia, Indiana. Like any other material, there are a variety of types of bamboo, and some types are more durable 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."
It's also more affordable, with a base price for materials and labor costs around $2.75 - $3.50 per square foot to install. In most cases, you'll also need a quarter round (also known as a shoe mold) for the trim. This can be stained or painted, and the materials and labor for the trim start as low as $1.75 a square foot.
But how much will it cost to install bamboo floors? As an example, here's a breakdown of the costs for installing an 800-square foot strand-woven bamboo floor with Custom Construx:
- 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
- Total cost: $6,405
Another factor that can impact your total cost is whether or not you need someone to remove your old floors. In some cases, such as a home remodel where you're building an entirely new addition on your home, you won't need this. However, if you're replacing floors you will.
For example, Custom Construx starts at 35 cents per square foot for standard carpet removal.
If you need help moving furniture out of the room you're installing flooring in, some companies will help with this — for an additional cost. Right Step Moving charges $75–$125 per room.
For some projects, you may need to pour concrete to level the under flooring before you can install you new floors on top. Right Step Flooring charges $1,000–$1,500 for materials and labor to pour concrete.
This is an expensive addition to your total price tag, and you can opt out. However, while you will save money in the near-term, skipping this step could lead to trouble down the line if you need repair work.
Before you head to the flooring store to pick out your new bathroom tiles or hardwood planks for your living room, consider the following tips. The right preparation before installation can help you save money and time, and avoid fixing mistake later on.
Consider your home's traffic patterns
Pick flooring with an eye to how much your family and pets will walk on it. High-traffic areas like entryways, kitchens, bathrooms, or mudrooms will need resilient flooring, so consider tile, laminate, vinyl, or sold wood. For less busy areas like bedrooms or offices, engineered wood, carpet or bamboo floors are good options.
Buy the right square footage
An installer will calculate exactly how much flooring your home needs by measuring the area of your rooms in square feet. Consider buying an extra 7 to 10 percent extra to allow for mistakes and future repairs.
Get your floors installed correctly
While you might be tempted to DIY your floor installation, letting a pro do the installing job will help you avoid costly mistakes and time-consuming do-overs.
Prepare to install flooring
Before having wood or laminate flooring installed, unpack it and it sit for one to three days in the room where it's going to be laid to let it adjust to the temperature and moisture. This is an important step because it keeps the wood or laminate flooring from buckling and creating ugly gaps between boards.
Consider refinishing old floors instead of installing new flooring
If you really want to save money, consider refinishing your floors instead of ripping them up and installing totally new ones. This is an affordable option for hardwood flooring that's scratched and battered but otherwise in good shape. Most hardwood floors can be refinished several times over the course of their life.
To refinish your floor, your professional will sand off the old finish and any dings and blemishes, apply a new color and sealing it. The finished project will look like a new floor for a fraction of the cost. A basic refinishing job will take an installer about 4 to 5 hours for a square footage of 100.
Ready to hire a professional to install your home's floors? Before you do, be sure to:
- Look at past projects: Make sure the pro has experience working with the flooring type you've chosen.
- Get multiple free estimates: Ask your professional for an estimate on the project cost. Knowing a general price range for your project will give you confidence to hire a pro who's overcharging.
- Ask if they have a minimum service fee. 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 flooring. Nature's Touch Flooring charges a minimum service fee of $1,000 per job. Not all contractors have a minimum service fee, so be sure to inquire.
Get started today and find a floor installation pro near you on Thumbtack.