Flooring installation costs can vary widely. Depending on the type of flooring you install and the amount of work necessary to prepare the floor.
Flooring materials that can be installed in sheets, such as vinyl, are often less expensive to install because they require less labor than items like tile. In addition, the location of installation can impact costs. Installers must take special steps to protect new flooring in a basement from moisture penetration, for example, leading to a higher installation cost than flooring in the main levels of a home.
Flooring installation factors
A variety of factors impact flooring installation costs. Following are the most important.
Size of the floor
The larger the square footage of the area where you are installing flooring, the more you should expect to pay. Installing new flooring in just one room will cost much less than replacing all of the floors in your home.
Flooring material type
Different flooring materials are available at a range of price points. In general, natural flooring, such as wood and stone, costs more than flooring made with manufactured or composite materials, like vinyl and laminate.
Flooring in dry, above-ground locations is less expensive to install than flooring in basements, which may be prone to water damage or condensation, or in areas such as covered patios that are exposed to indirect rainfall.
Features of the flooring
It costs less to install new flooring in rooms that are flat and square than in areas where the floor is warped and needs to be adjusted before new flooring can be installed. The type of flooring material you choose is also a factor here, as some types of flooring, such as sheet vinyl, can tolerate imperfections in the subfloor better than materials like tile, which may fail due to uneven subflooring.
Age of installation location
Because the floors in older homes tend to shift over time, flooring can cost more in these homes than in newer builds. That said, older houses may have been constructed with subflooring materials, like wide planks, that are more resistant to warping and water damage than the materials commonly used for subfloors in newer homes, like OSB boards. For that reason, the exact age of your home is less of a factor in floor pricing than the construction style.
Disposal, removal, and cleanup
The amount of work required to remove and dispose of an existing floor can impact installation costs significantly. In some cases, contractors can install a new floor directly over an existing floor, which eliminates removal costs. In others, they may have to pull up existing tile or hardwood floors, which is a labor-intensive and costly process.
Manufacturer and brand
Floor material pricing varies by manufacturer and brand. Homeowners can sometimes save money by choosing a discount brand, although these manufacturers may not offer warranties that are as extensive as those of other brands.
Some flooring, such as laminate, is relatively easy to install, which lowers installation costs. Flooring materials and styles that require a high degree of skill, such as patterned hardwood floorboards, will cost more.
Labor hours needed for installation
The longer contractors have to spend removing existing flooring and installing new flooring, the higher your costs will be.
Flooring types and their costs
The most common types of flooring materials that homeowners choose today include hardwood, laminate, ceramic, stone, and vinyl. The material you choose will impact the cost of your installation.
Hardwood floors, which offer an elegant, timeless look, are usually the most expensive type of floors you can install. The materials cost more, and proper installation requires a high level of expertise.
Laminate floors mimic the look of hardwood at a lower cost.
Ceramic or Porcelain
Tile flooring is available in a wide range of styles, and its water-resistant nature makes it especially popular in bathrooms and kitchens. Basic tile can be installed for less per square foot, although high-end tiles (such as tile designed to resemble hardwood) can cost more.
Vinyl flooring, which can be installed both in sheets that cover an entire room or using planks that installers lay individually across the room, is a cost-effective flooring solution for any room. Pricing starts at low per square foot and can cost more per square foot for higher-end materials or intricate designs.
Stone flooring also generally requires a higher initial investment, but is so durable that it will outlast many other, less expensive options. The cost of a stone flooring installation depends mostly on the type of stone you choose.
Carpet installation costs do vary, depending mostly on the type of carpet you choose, but the range isn’t quite as wide as some other flooring options.
How to save on flooring installation
While flooring installation can be expensive, homeowners can reduce costs in several ways.
Our installers offer free consultations and estimates. If you don’t have to pay for a quote, your total flooring installation cost can be lower. Our installers offer all flooring services, such as removal of existing flooring, flooring installation costs, especially on projects where new flooring can’t simply be installed over an existing floor.
It can cost hundreds of dollars to ship several rooms’ worth of flooring to your home. Our installers provide delivery, that can you this expense.
More ways to save
Homeowners can save even more on flooring installation by being strategic about the types of material they choose and where they have it installed.
If you want the look of hardwood without the cost, consider laminate or vinyl planks. Or split the difference by installing hardwood in areas of your home that will benefit most from its aesthetic, such as your living room, while using laminate or vinyl in less-trafficked areas like bedrooms. Engineered hardwood, which provides genuine hardwood on the surface but is less durable than solid hardwood, is also an option for homeowners seeking the look of hardwood on a budget.
You can also save money by choosing materials that are resistant to imperfections, and that therefore require less subfloor preparation when installing. Sheet vinyl doesn’t typically require a perfectly level subfloor, for instance, which makes it a cost-effective choice in homes where floors would otherwise need to be modified before installing materials like ceramic or hardwood.
Materials that can be installed over existing flooring can save you money, too. Vinyl can be installed on top of most existing floors, and hardwood can sometimes be installed over existing hardwood. Laminate and ceramic tiles, however, require special underlayment’s that often make it impossible to perform a proper installation without removing the existing flooring first.
Choosing a floating floor, which is held down by its weight and by trim along the edges of the room instead of being fastened directly to the subfloor, can also be a way to save money on flooring installation because floating floors require less labor to install. Vinyl planks and laminates can usually be installed using the floating-floor method.
What the Experts Say
Common questions about flooring installation costs
Our dealers can answer any questions you may have about flooring installation costs. Here are some questions we receive frequently.
What is the least expensive type of flooring material to install?
In general, vinyl is the least costly type of flooring material you can choose. Laminate can also be inexpensive, especially if you select lower-end material, although such products may not last as long as quality laminate.
Engineered hardwood flooring, which includes a layer of real hardwood on the surface and less expensive composite material below, is also one of the least expensive flooring options. It costs a fraction of what you would pay for genuine hardwood, with the downside being that you typically can’t sand and refinish engineered hardwood once the original surface has worn down (which can take about 20 years).
What’s the most cost-effective flooring material?
Cost-effective flooring is flooring that offers a long lifetime relative to the cost of installation. Real hardwood, which can last for a hundred years or longer if it is periodically refinished, may be the most cost-effective flooring available, although the typical homeowner may not own a home long enough to reap hardwood’s full cost benefits.
In contrast, laminate and vinyl tend to cost less upfront, but standard-grade materials in this category only last 10 to 20 years, reducing their cost-effectiveness. Tile flooring, which can last indefinitely if it is properly installed, may be the most cost-effective flooring option for the average homeowner.
Does it cost more to install a floor in a basement?
Installing floors in basements or other below-grade locations may cost more, depending on the type of flooring you install. Flooring materials that are susceptible to high levels of humidity, like hardwood, cannot be installed in basements unless you also invest in expensive systems to control moisture. On the other hand, materials like tile, which can often be installed directly over a basement’s concrete floor, don’t usually cost more to install in a basement than in another location.
Get started on your new flooring today
With so many flooring options available, and so many pricing factors to consider, it can be hard to choose the right type of flooring for your budget, aesthetic tastes, and functional requirements.
Our experienced dealers know the ins and outs of flooring and can help you make an educated choice. Contact Sam’s Club Home Install Experts™ by Service Finance to determine the best flooring option for you, at a price point you can afford.
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