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How Much Does Flooring Cost?

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

How Much Does Flooring Cost?

One of the most popular customer questions asked is: "how much does flooring cost?" In this article, we will attempt to break down the costs of doing a floor covering product, as well as some of the expenses that need to be considered. Depending on the size of the project and scope of work, a floor covering project can be inexpensive or it can be a major home expense.

How Much Does Flooring Cost?

Items to consider

One of the first items to consider in determining how much a flooring project will cost is to look at the flooring materials in the project. Not only does each type of flooring material (example: carpet, laminate, ceramic, hardwood, luxury vinyl plank) cost different amounts, but each product category has hundreds of good, better, and best products in it, which all have different costs as well.

Some retail floor covering stores will put price tags on the product displays, while other stores do not. Customers cannot walk into a floor covering store, and simply ask to see the $1 a square foot material. Everything has a different price, even within the same product display. Likewise, the same flooring product might cost differently from one store to the next. Each store works on different pricing methods.

The best way to look at material costs is to evaluate costs by "flooring category." As a general rule, here is a list of products ranked from the cheapest material cost to the most expensive material cost:

  1. Carpet

  2. Sheet Vinyl

  3. Luxury Vinyl Tile & Plank

  4. Laminate

  5. Ceramic

  6. Hardwood

As mentioned above, this ranking is a "general rule," meaning there are products in each category that would be more or less expensive than anticipated. For example, even though we have listed carpet as the least expensive product, a customer could easily find a carpet that is more expensive than most laminate products. Likewise, hardwood is listed as the most expensive product, but a customer could certainly find a hardwood product that is less expensive than several ceramic products. This product ranking is not absolute.

One of the tricks of buying floor covering is, to begin with, the end in mind. The best purchases are made when the customer knows their budget and has a clear understanding of how much money they can afford. For example, if finding the lowest price is the main goal, a customer might want to look at the carpet as a product option.

On the other hand, if cost is not a factor, and a customer is looking for a special design and look, hardwood flooring or ceramic might be a good product to consider. Depending on the budget, customers should not look and fall in love with products they simply can't afford.

The best way to determine what type of product to use in a project (based on cost and product expectations) is to follow our buying strategy. This article, however, is not about buying strategy. We would refer customers to our blog article, "How To Buy Flooring For Your Home," to get our exact method to always get the best flooring price.

How Much Does Flooring Cost? - Outside Factors

Another factor that determines floor covering costs are the outside factors that influence shipping and the manufacturing process. Changes to shipping regulations and workforce issues have greatly influenced product costs.

The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has acted as a massive restraint on the home furnishings and floor coverings manufacturing market in 2020 as supply chains were disrupted due to trade restrictions and consumption declined due to lockdowns imposed by governments globally. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused countries, including the United States, to enact travel restrictions and social distancing measures, disrupting major economic and financial markets. Demand from downstream markets in pandemic induced a decline in 2020 due to a decrease in corporate profit and private spending on home improvements for the year. However, the market is expected to gain momentum in the long term. Mordor Intelligence

As a potential floor covering buyer, the costs of materials will in large part, depend on any shipping issues and labor prices. The costs of product categories could change as one product sees a significant cost bump, while another product category remains the same.

How Much Does Flooring Cost? What About The Installation Costs?

Buying the flooring material is only part of the overall project cost. The installation of the flooring material is the other big component of the process. Similar to material costs, each time of flooring category will cost a different installation cost. As a general rule, here is a list of the cheapest installation costs to the most expensive (by material category):

  1. Carpet

  2. Luxury vinyl plank

  3. Laminate

  4. Sheet Vinyl

  5. Hardwood

  6. Ceramic

Similar to material costs, this list is not absolute. There are many variables that affect the cost of installation. Prior to the start of a flooring project, unless a homeowner is handy with installation procedures, we always recommend to homeowners they get a flooring professional involved with their project. A flooring professional can look at the project area and put together a plan of action for the project. Here are some basic cost factors:

Removal and disposal of the old floor (Having your contractor dispose of your old flooring material can be a great help.)
Replacement of subfloor
Labor and extra wood—small spaces with intricate corners/angles, floor registers, staircases take more time
Moving furniture (do this yourself and save money)
Your location. You’ll pay more if you live out of town than if you live in the middle of the city.
Installation materials—glue or nails. Home Guide

How Much Does Flooring Cost? Determining How Much Material Is Needed?

When it comes to figuring out the amount of material that is needed to complete a flooring project, unless a homeowner is doing a DIY project, it is always best to leave this part of the puzzle to the flooring professional. However, to get a general idea of material quantity, we can share the following tips:

Hard Surface Flooring (laminate and/or luxury vinyl tile & plank): With this type of flooring, figuring out the quantity needed is quite easy. Multiple the length and width of each room, from the furthest point, then do the same for each closet. Make sure measurements go through any doorways. Take the total number, then multiply that number by 1.07. This will be an estimate of how much material will be needed. The 1.07 (or 7%) is a waste factor added to the job. Not every piece will be installed as a full piece. For example, several pieces will need to be cut to hit walls, cabinets, etc... These cut pieces take away from the total square foot measurements. Also, keep in mind, that hard surface flooring is sold in full carton quantities, so the total square footage will be adjusted to whatever the full carton quantity comes to.

Carpet: Trying to determine how much carpet to order is a little bit more difficult. For carpets, we always recommend getting a professional carpet installer involved in the project. The carpet comes in 12' widths. Why is this important? Customers can't measure a 10'x10' room and then say they need 100 s/ft of carpet. In this case, they would need 120 s/ft of carpet (a 12'wide x 10' long piece). Plus, with carpet, seams in the carpet are important to understand.

If a room is 15' wide, a 12' wide piece of carpet will not be enough material. The second piece of carpet will be needed to fill the space. Likewise, some carpets have patterns. In order to seam the carpet together, the pattern match needs to be understood. To get a very general idea of total carpet material, we would recommend using the same procedure as mentioned above (with hard surface flooring), and then take a room diagram (with dimensions) to a flooring store and let the professional figure it out.

Conclusion - How Much Does Flooring Cost?

There is really the no clear-cut answer to this question. Each type of flooring costs different amounts. Likewise, each flooring type has good, better, and best products. With flooring projects, customers will mostly like to have, both material and installation costs. The best way to be happy with a flooring purchase is, to begin with, the end in mind. Customers should know how much they are willing to spend and also understand "why" they are doing the project. What are the expectations of the flooring material? For example: is this a project that needs to last 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years?

If customers move forward with a project, and they fully understand their project goals, as well as their budget constraints, then they will most likely end up with a project they are happy with.

Almost every retail floor covering store will offer a free home measurement and quote. It is always a great idea to take advantage of this service. Once a customer gets a general idea of the cost of a project, they can have a better understanding of how much money will be needed. Attempting to find out how much flooring cost, by simply doing an internet search is not the way to get accurate information.


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