The Cost of Installing Hardwood Floors

There are so many things to consider when looking to buy hardwood flooring. Probably the most important aspect is investing your dollars into craftsman-made hardwood. When you have a vision for your home, you want it expertly created by true professionals in their craft. Not everyone can produce your vision, but the best can. That is why when you look for hardwood companies, you look for the highest quality; ensuring beautiful flooring that lasts a lifetime.

When creating a space you will love, you want to consider every aspect that goes into your floors. Every style, color, wood species, cut, and pattern comes together to determine your costs.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Hardwood Floor Installation

Installation can have a large range of prices. Many factors impact the price including the type of wood and its origin, the person installing your floors, and the time of year they are being installed.


The cost of hardwood flooring can vary tremendously, especially as lumber prices continue to fluctuate. Depending on the time of year and availability, the pricing of wood can change. Therefore, when discussing initial pricing to achieve your desired look, you will want to talk to a professional who can give you an exact breakdown of pricing on any wood you desire to build your new floors with. Whether you are looking for a domestic wood like white oak or an exotic wood like brazilian cherry, a wood flooring contractor can give you the most accurate estimate based on the most recent numbers. 


The true cost of hardwood flooring depends on the type of installation you choose. If you break it down simply, there are 3 different types of finish that determine the labor needed for installation.

Unfinished hardwood – During the onsite installation, unfinished hardwood flooring, also known as on-site hardwood, is installed by doing any necessary sanding, texturing, staining, and finishing directly within the home after the initial “raw” wood is installed. Depending on the look you are trying to achieve, this option could end up being less cost effective than other finishing options, like prefinished.

Prefinished hardwood – is wood boards that are fully sanded, stained, and finished before you even get your hands on them for installation. All of the boards come finished and are installed on site. While these boards can be a little more costly, installation is much quicker as it is one-and-done. However, for those looking for a hand-scraped look, this can save you a lot in costs, if chosen over onsite installation.

Engineered hardwood – is a unique option for hardwood flooring that is often prefinished, so your floor is ready to go, right after install. Engineered hardwood is composed of several layers of plywood, topped with natural wood on the top and bottom. 

Cuts of Wood

There are many types of cuts that lead to different grain patterns in the wood. Each wood grain can range in price due to the waste produced by cutting the log a particular way. 

  • Plain Sawn
  • Live Sawn
  • Rift Sawn 
  • Quarter Sawn

Rift and Quartered wood is typically a more expensive wood cut because it yields less from the log, however these are also the most dimensionally stable woods since they expand and contract in thickness (up) and not width (sides). This could save you on repairs later down the road, if you are interested in lower maintenance hardwood floors.

Each style also produces their own unique patterns, so if you are looking to achieve a particular look, talk to your hardwood flooring expert about those needs. They will be able to help you craft floors you will love.

Patterned Installation

Patterns don’t just come from the grains of the wood. You can also use the individual planks to create unique patterns in your floor. If you want to elevate your look or are interested in creating something unique for your home, you might want to talk to your hardwood craftsman about a patterned floor. 

Any experienced craftsman will be able to effectively and efficiently put down any number of complex patterns. It takes many years of practice and experience to make patterned hardwood a true work of art.


Considering labor is important because it can elevate the cost.  Having a professional, over someone with limited experience, is a must. Hardwood flooring requires having someone with a lot of experience because of how easily it can be damaged if installed improperly. Whether you are installing prefinished floors or looking to install a complex pattern, you need someone who is an expert in their field; someone who has spent the time it takes to be a true craftsman of their trade. 

Why Are Hardwood Flooring Installation Prices so Different?

The ranges for installation cost can be very high and also very low. There are a lot of reasons why installation prices can vary so greatly. It often depends on the contractor providing the service.

Material Cost

Not all wood is created equal. Every type of wood is going to have a different price, as well as pros and cons to using that type of wood. Woods like pine, oak, and American Cherry are going to typically be the more cost efficient options while some of the more exotic wood species can come with a more expensive price tag per foot.

Another determinant factor is where the hardwood flooring comes from. If the wood is domestic, then it is likely going to be more affordable than wood that needs to be imported due to shipping costs from out of the country; especially when it must be shipped overseas. 

The cut, stain, and finish all have additional cost determinants with them as well. If you want a different cut or grain view, or you want a more durable finish, you will likely pay more.

Craftsmanship and Labor

Labor costs are going to be one of the most important factors when considering prices. With hardwood flooring, it is important to find a high-quality contractor with years of experience. There are many things that could go wrong with hardwood flooring. Skimping out on a contractor, for a cheaper price, can lead to poor installation, quicker repairs and replacements, and more headaches. 

‘Tis the Season

Cost is not just measured in money, but there is also the cost of your time. Summer is the most popular time to complete home-improvement projects for many reasons including:  

  1. Nicer weather and more relaxed work schedules often lead to a higher motivation to complete projects that have been put off.
  2. Kids are out of school and people are working around their vacation schedule and home renovation projects.
  3. It’s right before the holidays. Everyone wants their homes to be in tip-top shape when their family visits. Summertime is the best time to do this. 
  4. Nice weather makes it so much easier to work on those home renovation projects without unexpected delays due to weather.

All of these reasons make it difficult to find a contractor, especially those highly sought after craftsmen. For this reason, try to plan ahead and get your home renovation project scheduled ahead of time. Avoid waiting until the summer rolls around.

Alternatives to Hardwood Installation – Hardwood Refinishing

If you already have hardwood flooring, there’s no reason that you have to fully replace it. Refinishing your hardwood flooring can be an easier, cost-effective solution. When replacing your hardwoods, you have to pay for the removal and installation of new wood, in addition to the actual cost of the flooring. Refinishing costs can vary, largely depending on how much square footage you’re refinishing. Regardless, this is a MUCH more economical option than a total replacement.

Know Your Options, Work with a Professional 

At Totta Hardwoods, our craftsmen are dedicated to making sure you understand everything. We want to make sure all of your questions are answered so there is no uncertainty about your hardwood flooring. We want you to feel comfortable knowing that you are working with experts on your project. That’s why we offer an in-depth consultation that walks you through all your options and your budget so you can get hardwood floors you will love. 

Schedule a consultation or contact us to understand your options and what works best with your budget.

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