Roger Diez | Improvement Center Columnist | December 13, 2011
If you've begun shopping for new floors, you have probably experienced information overload. The choices can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to choose from carpet, vinyl, tile, wood, stone, or laminate, but each category has a myriad of colors, styles, grades, and prices. Your choice in new floors will be dictated by your taste and your budget.
Each type of flooring has a wide range of costs, depending on quality and manufacturer. For instance, unfinished wood flooring is less expensive than prefinished. Carpet and vinyl vary in thickness and manufacturers have product lines ranging from basic to premium. Below are the ballpark cost ranges per square foot for popular flooring types plus the ranges for installation.
- Sheet vinyl: $1.50 - $5.25 material; $0.20 - $0.75 installation
- Nylon carpet: $2.75 - $6.50 material; $0.65 - $2.00 installation
- Wood: $3.65 - $9.75 material; $1.20 - $4.30 installation
- Laminate: $1.00 - $7.00 material; $1.60 - $5.00 installation
- Ceramic Tile: $1.25 - $5.75 material; $3.30 - $10.00 installation
- Porcelain tile: $3.50 - $14.50 material; $4.70 - $15.50 installation
- Stone: $2.50 - $6.75 material; $4.25 - $15.00 installation
- Bamboo: $2.25 - $6.85 material; $0.11 - $0.43 installation
As you can see, installation costs are the major expense for some types of flooring such as tile and stone. Other types, such as sheet vinyl and bamboo, are easy to install and therefore much less costly.
Additional cost factors
There are some types of flooring that can be installed by a fairly handy do-it-yourselfer, such as peel and stick vinyl tile and hardwood or laminate flooring such as Armstrong Lock&Fold® which requires no gluing or nailing.
Most others require professional installation, with costs as noted above. Other costs may include removal and demolition of your old flooring ($2 per square foot), sub-floor preparation ($1 to $3 per square foot), carpet pad or laminate underlayment ($1 to $3 per square foot), and additional materials such as moisture barriers, adhesives, baseboards, and other items.
Finishing a bare wood floor will add up to $4.50 per square foot for staining and an additional $1.25 per square foot for coating. There is also the removal and replacement of furniture and fixtures (such as toilets and freestanding bathroom sinks), which is additional labor cost. You need to make sure all these costs are calculated into any flooring quotes you get.
As with any home improvement project, deal only with reputable contractors who are recommended and have references. Make sure they are properly licensed and insured.