What is a good budget for hardwood flooring?

Hardwood flooring goes with just about any style of décor. It is ageless, and it does not go out of style. Hardwood flooring is also highly durable. Hardwood flooring costs higher than some of its alternatives, but the funds you spend are an investment in your home. It is the number one flooring option for potential homebuyers if you ever decide to sell your home.

So, how much should you budget for hardwood flooring? That is a question without a specific answer because there are many different choices for hardwood flooring. Solid or engineered hardwoods? Exotic or native species? Hardness, thickness, and type of finish? All these factors impact price. You can ballpark a possible number after weighing all these factors. 

Let us make it easy for you.MEASURE

Begin by determining how much flooring you will need. Measure the square footage of the floors you plan to cover. Add 5% to 10% to account for waste and planks that will have to be cut to fit. Creative Carpet & Flooring can come out and measure for you for free to give you an accurate calculation in figuring measurements and accounting correctly for waste. Once you have a price per square foot, you can narrow your options and create a hardwood flooring budget.


Solid hardwood can vary between $5 to $14 per square foot. 

  • $5 - $10 sq. ft. for native woods like cherry, red oak and white oak
  • $8 - $14+ sq. ft. for exotic woods like Brazilian walnut and mahogany

Engineered hardwood can run between $3 to 13 per square foot. 

  • Basic $3 - $5 sq. ft.
  • Mid-range $5 - $10 sq. ft.
  • High-end $8 - $13 sq. ft.


Brands can also impact the cost. A lower price on a similar product from another brand does not necessarily mean you are receiving a better deal. You want to look for brands that have high-quality control standards. The United States and Canadian companies have more stringent guidelines than some materials manufactured overseas, particularly with engineered hardwood flooring.

Do not forget to factor in delivery and sales tax into your hardwood flooring budget!

hardwood flooring budgetINSTALLATION

Solid hardwood flooring is either nailed, stapled or glued down to a subfloor. You can install engineered hardwood the same way, but you can also install it as a floating floor. A floating floor means it can go on top of existing flooring. Professional installers know the proper subfloor needed. They are also knowledgeable in how much space to leave between every board for expansion and contraction. Done incorrectly can cause your floor to buckle when it expands or form gaps within planks when it contracts and create a costly mess. Since labor can vary, it is a little harder to ballpark. But, in general, plan for an average of $5 to $7 per sq. ft. in additional sundries and labor when hiring a professional.

The difficulty level of the job is will influence the cost. For example, hardwood on stairs takes longer, and the price will go up accordingly. If you need to remove the existing flooring, you can save some money by doing this yourself. Otherwise, there is a removal charge for old flooring. The current condition of the subfloor will also influence the overall installation expense. It needs to be relatively level, clear of nails, staples and other debris. If your installer must clean it up or level it out, additional efforts will run extra. Because solid hardwood needs to be nailed, glued, or stapled, those materials will also acquire a cost.

Underlayment is another charge. Despite the type of flooring you pick, you will need an underlayment. This can range from four cents to $1.25 per square foot, depending on what you need. Another determinant that influences your total installation cost is finishing materials and labor to install them. Typically, you add baseboards and trim to connect the gap between floors and walls. Trim and baseboards average about $2 per linear foot. To install trim and molding is roughly $1.25 per linear foot. But, if you want nail holes painted over or caulking, that is another additional fee.

If you currently reside in the home, then you presumably have furniture. Of course, there is a charge for the installers to move the pieces for you. However, moving your furnishings in advance out of any remodeled rooms will save a few dollars.

Where your home's location is can impact the cost of any flooring installation. If you live far from the contractor's headquarters or in a remote area, anticipate paying for travel expenses.

hardwood refinishingREFINISH

If you currently have hardwood floors, contemplate refinishing them rather than replacing them. This will lower the cost of your project significantly, especially the floors are in decent condition. Do not let a couple of scratches fool you. Refinishing solid hardwood floors will make them look as good as new.

Calculating all the potential costs beforehand is the best way to budget for hardwood flooring. That way, there are no surprises. You can determine what type of hardwood flooring is best for you if you know your budget in advance. Different species, grading and brands can influence a material's price. Even though solid and engineered hardwoods cost about the same, anticipate paying a little more in labor costs for solid hardwood flooring. Whichever material you pick, hardwood flooring is worth the expense. It is a charming and timeless look that will add warmth, elegance, and value to your house.

Let our knowledgeable Flooring Consultants at Creative Carpet & Flooring help make your residence an inviting home you will love for years to come with beautiful hardwood flooring.

Cody BouquetCody Bouquet, Flooring Consultant

Cody is not only a flooring consultant; he is a qualified vinyl tile installer. Cody holds a certification for luxury vinyl flooring installation from Karndean Design Flooring. Being the youngest within the Bouquet family flooring business, he is no stranger to ANY type of flooring! Passionate about all that is flooring and its possibilities, Cody provides residential and commercial consulting services at our Mokena, Illinois showroom. When not in the showroom, you will find Cody on his Harley cruising down LaGrange Road. Stop in for a consultation with Cody and experience the massive “Bouquet” flooring expertise firsthand!

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