Hardwood is a popular flooring option because it adds beauty and value to your home. It’s also sturdy, versatile and can last for decades when properly cared for.
Unfortunately, these benefits come with a heavy price (tag). From the cost of high-quality wood to labour and installation charges, hardwood flooring is an investment.
Generally, hardwood costs around $7 per square foot, with an additional $2.50 or so per square foot for nail-down installation. More exotic varieties, like scraped or distressed hardwood, will cost between $8 and $12, with less-expensive ones priced between $4 and $6.
The price may also vary depending on the size, brand and species you choose. For example, Brazilian walnut and mahogany are typically three or four times costlier than pine. While it’s never advisable to compromise quality for the sake of savings, there are some subtle tricks to save money on your new and existing hardwood floor.
8 Tips to Save Money on Your Hardwood Floors
If the high cost of materials, installation and repairs are coaxing you to give up your dreams of hardwood flooring, this blog should help. Since there are so many types of hardwood available, each with its own price tag and labour costs, it’s important to be aware of their differences. This post outlines the bigger picture about different hardwood varieties so selecting the one that works for you is easier.
Many homeowners have a certain colour or shade in mind when shopping for hardwood floors. If you like light- or medium-shade hardwood, you may go for ash, maple, hickory or oak. But if you’re a sucker for dark hardwood, mahogany or walnut may be your best choice. However, each species has its own price range, with hickory and oak at the lower end and mahogany at the upper.
Grain is the display of wood fibres or the pattern resulting from this, and basically comes from the way the wood is sliced at the mill.
For those who want wavelike patterns, an inexpensive “plain-sawn” cut is perfect. Longitudinal patterns are an expensive option because they involve a more detailed cut, like the ones that are “quarter-sawn” or “rift-sawn.”
A wood’s grade is basically a way to qualify its appearance. It measures natural characteristics such as variations in shade from board to board, the presence of knots or wormholes, and mineral streaks. The four most commonly used grades are Clear, Select, No. 1 Common and No. 2 Common, which is also referred to as Rustic or Builder’s grade.
A Select grade has colour variations, knots, mineral streaks and other natural flaws. A No. 1 Common grade has even more knots, colour variations and wormholes. No. 2 Common is an advanced rustic form of No. 1 Common.
Since Clear grade hardwood has few to no flaws, it’s the most expensive. If budget is an issue, go for Select or Common grades, which are more affordable but look equally great.
Solid or Engineered
Now it’s time to choose between solid and engineered hardwood. While solid hardwood boards/planks come from the tree, engineered wood is factory-made, with a layer of hardwood over multiple layers of plywood to make it water-resistant.
If you’re considering hardwood for your kitchen or basement, go for engineered hardwood.
The cost of solid hardwood generally depends on its hardness, with harder wood being costlier. The price of engineered hardwood depends on plank thickness, the number of wood veneer layers, and species. Labour and installation charges for engineered wood are usually less than that of solid wood.
Should I Refinish or Replace?
The answer depends on a number of factors, like the age and condition of your hardwood floor, whether you want to change its look, and your budget.
Refinishing is generally less expensive. In case of hardwood replacement, you need to pay for the new wood as well as ripping up and hauling off the existing wood. If your hardwood floor is generally in good condition, with just a few scratches, dents and stains, it’s easier and cheaper to refinish it.
A Few More Tips
Look for a Reliable Flooring Contractor
Comparison shopping can be a hassle, but you won’t know your best option unless you speak to several flooring contractors or companies. Consult with friends, relatives and acquaintances, and get quotes from at least three or four of the recommended service providers.
Also make it a point to read their online reviews. Just because a company is having a massive sale doesn’t mean that it’s reliable. Sometimes, there are hidden charges you aren’t aware of until you get the final bill.
Remember that people won’t review a company unless there was something remarkably good or tragically awful about it. Are there more positive reviews than negative ones? Look at the trend of the reviews to make an informed decision.
Purchase the Materials Yourself
Many contractors ask for some kind of deposit before they start work. If you purchase the material directly from a wholesale hardwood flooring company, you may only need to make a small deposit. When your contractor isn’t having to shell out money for wood, there’s no need to pay them a large deposit.
Maximize the Life of Your Existing Floor
Hardwood is a highly durable material that usually lasts for decades, unless it’s not taken care of. With proper protection and maintenance, you can enjoy your hardwood floor for years, while saving money on repair and replacement.
Here are a few simple things you can do to extend the life of your wooden floors.
- Ask guests to remove their shoes when entering.
- Use rugs in high-traffic areas like the entrance and hallway to minimize scratches and dents.
- Use only recommended hardwood cleaning products. Make sure they are pH neutral and free from harsh chemicals.
- If you own cats or dogs, choose the right finish, as a light-coloured one can show up every claw scratch.
No matter what type of hardwood flooring you choose, you must always hire a professional to install and repair it. Remember that proper installation is the key to creating the look you want and ensuring that it stays intact for years to come. While quality should always be your first priority, you can use these above-mentioned tips to save money and hassle.