Comparing Hardwood Flooring Costs

Here’s a breakdown of the material costs and installation costs of hardwood flooring compared to the most popular alternatives. All costs are noted per square foot and assume you’ll be hiring someone for installation.

Flooring Type Material Installation Total
Solid Hardwood Flooring $2.50 to $8.25 $2.75 to $6 $5.25 to $14.25
Engineered Hardwood Flooring $2.50 to $7.00 $2.75 to $6 $5.25 to $13
Ceramic Tile Flooring $1.40 to $3.25 $6.65 to $10.50 $8.05 to $13.75
Natural Stone Flooring $2.85 to $4.75 $4.75 to $8.00 $7.60 to $12.75
Carpet $2.00 to $4.55 $1.00 to $2.25 $3.00 to $6.80
Laminate Flooring $1.50 to $2.75 $3.00 to $4.75 $4.50 to $7.50
Luxury Vinyl Flooring $2.85 to $7.75 $1.00 to $1.75 $3.85 to $9.50

Care and Maintenance

One of the main advantages of hardwood flooring is that it is easy and cheap to maintain. The tough, non-porous polyurethane finish holds up well to spills and debris. Cleaning hardwood floors involves using a broom or slightly damp mop to clear them of loose debris and warm water and a dry cloth to remove liquid spills that have dried.

Every 4 to 8 years, depending on how the floors are used and maintained, you might want to lightly sand the surface, remove the dust and add a new coat of clear and durable polyurethane sealer. The gentle sanding can be done with a mechanical sander or by hand. The purpose is to remove light scratches and the dulling of the finish caused by foot traffic and pets. The sanding shouldn’t go all the way to the wood. Adding a fresh coat of polyurethane will produce a gleam that restores the “just installed” appearance to your solid or engineered hardwood floors. Here’s a look at your hardwood floors maintenance costs.

  • Annual Cost of Hardwood Floors Cleaning Supplies: $35 to $60 per 1,000 square feet
  • Cost of Lightly Sanding Hardwood Floors: $40 to $125 per 1,000 square feet
  • Cost of Sealing Hardwood Floors with Polyurethane: $75 to $120 per 1,000 square feet

Refinishing Costs

How often you need to finish your hardwood floors depends on multiple factors that include:

  • How many coats of polyurethane were applied when the floor was installed or refinished
  • How much foot traffic they receive
  • Whether or not shoes are worn on them
  • Whether or not table and chair legs are padded
  • The presence of pets, especially large dogs
  • Whether furniture is lifted and carried or dragged across the hardwood flooring
  • How often light dust and grit are removed through sweeping or damp-mopping

Typically, hardwood floors that have been properly installed, sealed and maintained will need to be refinished every 12 to 25 years. That’s a wide spectrum of time, but keep in mind the factors we listed that determine how long hardwood flooring keep its good looks. Hardwood floor refinishing costs aren’t cheap. In the chart below, we compare hardwood floor refinishing prices to the cost of refinishing other high-end flooring options per square foot of flooring.

  • Hardwood Floor Refinishing: $3.00 to $4.25
  • Tile Flooring Regrouting: $2.85 to $5.00
  • Marble or Slate Floor Sanding & Sealing: $1.25 to $2.00
  • Slate or Concrete Floor Resealing Only: $0.85 to $1.50


Tips to Minimize Hardwood Flooring Costs

When you decide on hardwood flooring, there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of the material and installation. Down the road, you can minimize restoration costs too. Here are tips for reducing hardwood flooring costs over the life of the floor.

  • Choose hardwood flooring that is on sale or clearance
  • Shop around online for the best prices on the wood species you want
  • Select a grade of flooring that has more imperfections and therefore costs less
  • When old flooring needs to be removed, do it yourself
  • Install the floor yourself or with the help of an experienced friend
  • Remove and install baseboard trim and shoe molding yourself
  • Get estimates for installation from several flooring installers who know they’re competing for the work
  • Have a “no shoes” policy on your hardwood floors to reduce the rate of wear
  • Prevent dogs from running or playing on the hardwood floors
  • Keep the floors free of dirt that can scratch the surface and quicken wear of the floor
  • Wipe up wet spills immediate to prevent water damage, and don’t use a mop that is more than slightly damp
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