How Much Do Prefinished Hardwood Floors Cost?
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Wooden floors add warmth and beauty to your home, and the wide range of prefinished hardwood flooring makes it easy to get the perfect look for your decor without a lot of mess. Installing prefinished hardwood flooring is significantly easier than working with unfinished flooring, but it still requires considerable skill and the correct tools, so it's a good idea to leave the work to a professional flooring contractor. Learn more about costs before requesting quotes.
Table of Contents
- Prefinished Hardwood Floor Cost
- Prefinished Vs. Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
- Pros Of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
- Cons Of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
- Prefinished Wood Types & Grades
- Prefinished Hardwood Flooring Maintenance
- DIY Or Hire A Pro?
- Find A Pro
Prefinished Hardwood Floor Cost
The main factors for determining the cost of installing flooring are labor costs for hiring a professional, the type and grade of the wood flooring, and the size of the area you want to cover. The costs for laying prefinished floorboards in a room measuring 125 square feet range from approximately $965 to $1,395, including the price of the flooring and all necessary materials and supplies.
If you undertake the job yourself, then you save around $325 to $560 on hiring a contractor, and you only need to purchase the flooring and supplies, such as underlay and fasteners. Unless you have plenty of experience with laying floors, the job is quite time consuming, and there is a relatively high chance that something will go wrong, making it necessary to purchase additional flooring to allow for mistakes or damage. The cost per square foot for prefinished hardwood flooring ranges from $2 to $12 or more.
Prefinished Vs. Unfinished Hardwood Flooring
Prefinished hardwood floorboards, otherwise known as factory-finished floorboards, have a coating of multiple layers of aluminum-oxide-infused polyurethane, cured under UV lights. The durable, hardwearing surface removes the need to sand and coat the boards yourself and makes installation quicker and easier than when using unfinished boards.
Pros Of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
Prefinished hardwood flooring offers significant advantages, especially when compared to traditional unfinished boards:
- Easy to Install: Prefinished boards do not require any top coats to protect them, making them quicker and easier to install. It's possible for a DIY enthusiast to lay the boards for a small room in a day. For contractors, the job is even faster.
- Long Lasting: Good quality boards have a durable finish that lasts up to 30% longer than any protective coating applied to traditional unfinished boards. It's also possible to sand and refinish the boards to ensure they look fantastic for years. The durability of the boards makes them a good choice for high-traffic areas, such as kitchens.
- Cost Effective: Lower installation fees and reduced maintenance equate to significant long-term savings.
Cons Of Prefinished Hardwood Flooring
Although prefinished hardwood flooring offers a wealth of advantages, there are some downsides to consider before making a purchase:
- Higher Price: Due to the initial work involved in making prefinished boards, they are generally more expensive than unfinished boards.
- Fewer Customization Options: While there is a large choice of prefinished flooring on the market, custom board widths and unusual finishes may not be available. Choosing unfinished boards and then finishing them in the desired way is a better way of getting the exact look you want for your home.
- Cleaning: Not all hardwood floor cleaners are suitable for boards with a polyurethane finish. Check your cleaner's instructions carefully before use.
Prefinished Wood Types & Grades
There are many types of prefinished hardwood flooring. Different types of wood offer different patterns and colors, and the grade of the material reflects its uniformity and finish. The wide range of options makes it easy to match up the look with your existing decor, regardless of your budget for materials.
Lumber earns a higher grade when it's cut into large, clear pieces. Lower grade flooring has more color variation between the boards and more knots and other defects. High grade flooring has a uniform finish, with fewer knots, which gives your home a more luxurious appearance. Common grades for prefinished hardwood flooring include:
- Cabin: Cost effective flooring with lots of color variance, knots and blemishes. Some people like this type of wood as it has plenty of rustic character. It's an inexpensive option that works well in country cottage and rural settings.
- Traditional: Better quality than cabin, but with lots of color variance and natural blemishes.
- Select: Also called exclusive. An average quality board with some blemishes and color variation. Suitable for many types of homes.
- Select & Better: Most prefinished hardwood flooring falls into the category of select and better. The boards are available in long lengths and have a uniform color, making them suitable in a wide range of locations.
- Clear: The highest grade of hardwood flooring. The boards are available in long lengths, with uniform coloring and few blemishes for an attractive finish. If you are purchasing the highest grade of wooden flooring, it's worth reducing the risk of incorrect installation or damage by employing a professional to complete the installation for you.
The type of wood has a considerable impact on the cost. Here are a few common choices as well as the corresponding prices.
- American Hardwoods: $4 to $8 per square foot
- Cherrywood & Teak: $7 to $10 per square foot
- Tigerwood & Kempas: $8 to $11 per square foot
- Sakura: $8 to 12 per square foot
Prefinished Hardwood Flooring Maintenance
Good quality prefinished hardwood flooring is very durable, but over time, it still picks up scratches and dents from pets, high heels and energetic kids. Every five to 10 years, you may need to screen and recoat the flooring. This involves sanding (screening) the wood and then applying a new coat of polyurethane. Failure to maintain the protective coating results in scratches and other types of damage to the wood beneath.
The cost to hire a professional to refinish your floor ranges from $1,001 to $2,156, averaging $1,570.
DIY Or Hire A Pro?
Prefinished hardwood flooring is considerably easier to work with than unfinished flooring, as there is no need to sand or coat the boards after installation. For this reason, you may consider laying your own flooring to cut the cost of upgrading your home. However, laying floorboards still requires a high level of skill to cut the boards accurately and lay them so they do not buckle when they expand or contract. Furthermore, the project requires a range of tools and equipment that you may need to rent or buy, such as a nail gun, circular saw and safety clothing. By hiring a pro, you get the job done quickly to a professional standard, which minimizes the amount of disruption in the home and reduces the risk of issues with the floor later on.
Find A Pro
Unless you are confident in your abilities, don't risk incorrectly fitting your flooring yourself. Use our free flooring lead generator to connect with local flooring contractors, and get the peace of mind that comes from having a job done correctly by an expert.
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Last updated on Nov 29, 2016