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The Labor Costs of Your Hardwood Installation

Hardwood Flooring Installation and Labor Costs - Cost guide hardwood flooring

2. Hardwood Floor Installation and Labor Cost

Hardwood floor labor cost is affected by several factors related to your existing floor and the type and shape of the new hardwood floor you want to install. Getting the best labor prices is contingent on knowing exactly what you want at the start of your project and properly preparing for your installation.

Preparation for installation

To best determine the cost for installing hardwood floors, you need to be sure you are prepared for a hardwood floor installation. Preparation can include moving furniture, removing existing floor, covering surfaces, ensuring subfloor readiness and any number of other preparatory tasks that directly affect your labor costs. It´s a good idea to decide early on if you have the ability and inclination to prepare your home yourself. Otherwise, it might be wise to allow your installation contractor to prep your home, even though this will also increase your labor costs.

  • Moving furniture costs: The cost of moving your furniture in preparation for a hardwood floor installation entirely depends on who you hire to move your furniture and your items need to be packed, disposed, or removed back at the end. Costs can range from $20.00 per one item to hundreds of dollars if multiple pieces of furniture from multiple levels of your home need to be moved. You may choose to move the furniture yourself, hire online moving companies or negotiate a deal with the contractor. If there is some demolition work involved in moving your furniture, then the cost can reach several hundred dollars and it is recommended to at least consult with a professional contractor. Tools and additional labor can also be needed on a case by case basis. For example, if a toilet or other installed appliances need to be removed and reinstalled after floor installation, it might require plumber or contractor work. Contractors estimate their costs based on time, and the time they spend on your project depends on the location and shape of the furniture. If disassembly and re-assembly are needed, then the price can range from $25.00 to $75.00 per item.

  • Removing Existing Flooring: Removing an existing floor can be tricky, requiring an individual consultation. You can either hire a 3rd party company to do the job or request a quote from your contractor. For example, you can remove carpeting yourself for zero cost or higher a contractor who will charge a starting price of $0.20 per square feet. If a wooden floor needs to be removed, the cost might vary from $0.25 to $2.00, depending on the wood, type of installation, and condition of the old floor. If the existing floor detaches from a mounting surface, or if anything needs to be drilled, broken, or disassembled, your costs may increase much more than you had anticipated. On average contractors $1.00 per square foot for removing existing floors.

  • Preparing Floor Joists and Subfloor: Once your old floor has been removed, the floor joists and subfloor must be evaluated, paying special attention to if they are leveled, spoiled, rotten or if there is any other damage which will prevent correct installation of the new hardwood floor. Depending on the type of hardwood floor you´re planning to install, the subfloor might be different and affect the cost greatly. Preparation costs range from $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot, depending on the existing sub floor: Plain wood, for example, is cheaper to prepare, costing around $1.00 per square foot, while decking floor will be be more expensive because each plank needs to be prepared individually.

  • Additional Prep Notes: If you install engineered hardwood floors over concrete floor, it is a must to check the level of humidity of the concrete floor to see if it is in the acceptable range to install your engineered hardwood floors. To make sure your concrete floor is ready to be installed, it is highly recommended to hire a hardwood installation professional contractor who posses the needed humidity test kit and the relevant experience to make sure your installation is correct.

Hardwood Floor Installation Cost

After the old floor is removed and the subfloor is ready for installation, the next step is to install the new hardwood floors. The cost depends on two major factors: The size and shape of the installation, and the type of hardwood floors that you want to install, whether prefinished, unfinished, solid, engineered, size of planks, and installation pattern. This cost will also usually include all equipment and materials that are needed for the installation. For example, installation of engineered hardwood floors on a ready surface can start from $2.50 per square feet and can go as high as $8.00 for a more sophisticated installation. If you desire more exotic woods and installation patterns, then the cost is limited only by your imagination. See the table below for a price breakdown:

Min/sq ft
Max/sq ft
Preparation works
Moving furnitures / plumbing
$20.00 (per item)
$75.00 (per item)
Demounting existing floor
$1.42
$3.54
Sub floor leveling
$0.50
$6.00
Debris disposal costs
$0.25
$0.50
Installation works
Pre finished
$3.96
$8.00
Unfinished
$2.00
$7.40
Finishing costs
$1.50
$4.00
Solid
$2.00
$8.00
Engineered
$2.00
$8.00
Exotic
$8.00
$150.00
Designed floors
$3.00
$150.00
Behind the scene costs
staircase cost
$100.00 (/stair)
$200.00 (/stair)
material and supply cost
$1.00
$1.75
moldings costs
$5.00 (/feet)
$10.00 (/feet)