How Different Factors Affect the Cost of Wood Flooring(Updated)

Hardwood floors are beautiful, tempting, and costly. Add in the price of installation, and you may find yourself looking at other options.

But before giving up on hardwood flooring entirely, let’s look at the factors that affect its cost. It will also give you an idea about where you can save on hardwood flooring costs.


Wood Species & Their Costs

The more rare and exotic the wood, the more it will cost, of course. The hardest and most durable of these include mahogany, as well as Brazilian cherry and Brazilian walnut. Oak and black walnut are comparatively less expensive.

Pine is a softwood and usually the cheapest flooring option. Then there is bamboo, followed by maple, hickory, red oak, white oak, cypress, and white ash. The most expensive hardwood flooring includes African blackwood, Brazilian cherry, zebrawoods, ebony, mahogany, and Brazilian walnut.

Softwood is more affordable. The drawback to these species is that they are not very durable, so it tends to scratch and dent easily. Pine is the most popular softwood flooring option in the Toronto area.

In the middle, you can opt for non-traditional species like cork or bamboo. The latter is much more durable than the hardest hardwood, sustainable, and eco-friendly.

Grain also affects the price of wood flooring. Rift or quarter sawn planks with grain lines running down the board’s length is more expensive than plain sawn planks with grains running across them in a wave-like pattern.

Cost of Engineered Hardwood vs. Real Hardwood

Engineered hardwood floors mimic the look of real wood and are a lot less expensive because they use less real wood. The gap between the cost of real wood and engineered wood flooring widens as you move towards the look of more exotic wood. Even the installation price of the two differs a lot.

You will also find differences between the prices of engineered wood floors because their cost also depends on the thickness of their veneer and the construction of its core. Basically, the thicker the veneer, the higher the price. A thicker veneer also means you will be able to refinish your floor more often and hence make it last longer. Engineered flooring with a plywood core will be more durable and, so, more expensive.

Shape and Size of the Room

Another factor that determines how much your solid hardwood flooring costs to install is the shape and size of the room. Remember, the more area that needs to be covered, the more it will cost to install flooring, both in terms of labour expenses and materials. Furthermore, you need to consider the number and types of cuts required, which depends on the shape of the room. Typically, rectangular and square rooms are more cost-effective than oddly-shaped ones, such as those that are circular.

Grade of Wood

Hardwood flooring is typically graded on its physical characteristics. Graded solid hardwood flooring tends to look uniform and lacks imperfections like knots. Hardwood floors that have a more natural appearance are graded as ‘select”. These types of hardwood have mineral streaks, colour variations, and knots. These factors determine the cost of your hardwood flooring.

Market Demand and Location

Due to the law of supply and demand, the more popular a hardwood species or flooring type is, the more expensive they tend to be. Furthermore, a robust housing market can drive up the cost of hardwood flooring. This is because it is one of the most widely-used products in homes and increases the resale value.

Another factor that determines hardwood flooring costs is where you live. This is because lumber costs vary greatly across provinces. Labour costs may also differ depending on where you live. These factors can result in varied pricing of the same product in different places.

The Flooring Installation Work Required

On the one hand, a renovation project can be cost-effective as you can use different techniques such as sanding, refinishing, and deep cleaning to restore your solid hardwood flooring. However, if you are looking to entirely revamp your space, it will require substantially more work, time, and effort.

The more work required during the installation can increase your hardwood flooring costs. Additionally, if your existing floor has structural issues or water damage, it may require extensive work. Your installation experts will first have to get rid of any damaged flooring before installing new planks; this is to ensure that more problems don’t arise later. However, this also means that your installation costs will be higher as the contractors will need to put in more time and effort and require more hardwood to complete the project.

Preparing the Subfloor Will Cost You More

Before starting a solid hardwood flooring installation, you need to think about the surface it will be placed on. Since hardwood flooring can be damaged by changing humidity levels, it’s necessary to pay extra to treat it. Furthermore, if your existing subfloor requires repairs, the overall costs may add up to approximately $500 to $800. Any major repairs like those required on joists will cost an additional $40 to $60 per square foot.

Pre-finished vs. Finished Onsite

Prefinished hardwood flooring has become popular in recent years. And while it may cost a bit more upfront, it’s quicker and easier to install. This goes a long way towards reducing the installation time and investment required, as installers don’t have to wait while multiple layers dry when the finish is applied onsite. Instead, you can move in as soon as the hardwood flooring is installed.

Moreover, the polyurethane finish used on prefinished solid hardwood flooring is much more durable than products used for onsite finishing.

If you prefer having it finished onsite, the hardwood flooring cost will increase as more time will be required to complete the installation.

Removal and Disposal of Old Flooring

Flooring installation contractors generally charge extra if existing flooring needs to be ripped out for the new floor to be installed. Plus, the old materials need to be disposed of properly.

While you can try to do this part of the project yourself, it’s recommended that you let the professionals take care of the job. They will have the tools,   experience to do it properly.

If the existing flooring is not removed properly, it may damage the subfloor and result in additional costs. Hiring a professional to do the job means having to spend more on your hardwood flooring installation upfront, but saves you repair costs later.

How Floor Design and Installation Affects Cost

If you are looking for chevrons or herringbone parquet in your living room, be ready to spend more; the more intricate the pattern, the pricier the flooring. An intricate pattern will require a lot of installation work.

Talking about installation, most hardwood planks come with tongues and grooves and need to be glued, stapled, or nailed to the subfloor. And that’s why you will always need to rely on professionals to install them for you.

Others click together (these are called floating floors), where planks snap into each other. Thanks to friction and pressure, they stay. So the usual installation processes such as the nail-down method, gluing or stapling to the subfloor can be avoided. You can also install them by yourself, thus eliminating the cost of labour.

The condition of your subfloor also affects cost. Ideally, it should be level and dry before any wood flooring is installed. If it is damaged or uneven, it will cost more to make them fit for installation. On the other hand, floating floors are more forgiving of your subfloor’s shortcomings. But if it has moisture issues, you must address them to avoid mould problems later.


Hardwood flooring is a fabulous investment that adds a wow factor to your home and increases its real estate value. But with so much money on the line, it’s hard to make a decision on your own. Here we have answered one of the most frequently asked questions about hardwood floors, but ask the wisdom of your local retailer to make this decision easier. Before you give up on your dreams of having a stunning wood floor and go with engineered hardwood instead, ask the experts. Find out where you can save money and work together to make it happen because you can never go wrong with hardwood flooring.

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