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How Much Does it Cost to Install Engineered Hardwood Floors?

June 9, 2020

How much does it cost to install engineered hardwood floors? That’s a good question—and one with an interesting (or at least complicated) answer.

If you’re thinking about changing up the flooring in your home, you’re not alone. We all know that buying a hardwood floor can add timeless style, warmth, and value to your house, condo, rental property, or igloo (just kidding about that last one). But not everyone knows what to expect when it comes to cost. 

And when it comes to pricing out different types of wood flooring—especially for engineered hardwood—hoooo boy, the numbers can get complicated. Are you saving money by using engineered wood? How much does installation cost by the square foot? How do you even get started?

Below, we’ll answer all of those questions—and more. 

We’ll talk about average material and labor costs. We’ll show you how to calculate the cost of installing engineered hardwood. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of engineered hardwood in general. we’ll even show you a few ways to save a little bit of money on your floor renovation! 

How much does it cost to install engineered hardwood floors? Let’s find out together, friend.  

How Much Do Engineered Hardwood Floors Cost in General?

As you probably know already, engineered wood flooring is composed of a core layer, often made from plywood or fiberboard, and a thinner veneer layer of natural hardwood. Most types of engineered wood come pre-finished so there’s no need to finish on site. 

According to recent data:

  • The national average cost to install wood floors (solid or engineered) is around $4500 overall
  • The typical cost ranges between $2,499 and $6,747. 
  • This range depends on many factors including your location, the size of the project, the wood flooring types you choose, and your installation method. After all, a tiny project in Nebraska is probably going to be a lot cheaper than a giant project in Manhattan.
  • Wood flooring often ranges between $3 and $15 per square foot (solid or engineered) for domestic wood species, while exotic woods can cost more. 

And remember: while some of the best engineered wood flooring costs the same—or more—than solid wood, this is much more common with domestic species. If you’re considering an exotic wood species like Brazilian Walnut (one of the best hardwood floors around), you’ll typically save more when you opt for engineered over solid.

How Much Does it Cost to Professionally Install Engineered Hardwood?

Cost to Install Engineered Hardwood Floors—Feet, Boards, and Mallet

The labor cost to install engineered hardwood floors averages between $3 to $8 per square foot. Many types of engineered hardwood are made to be installed as click-together flooring, which allows for faster and easier installation. This simplified assembly method usually helps you save on pro installation.

Where Can You Install Engineered Hardwood Floors?

It’s important to note that engineered hardwood is not a waterproof flooring option. Even the most durable wood flooring options don’t make for great bathroom, laundry room, or mudroom flooring.

For these areas, you’re better off choosing one of many hardwood floor alternatives that are water-resistant or waterproof. There are some types of tile that can give you the look of wood with the benefits of porcelain, and many of the best types of vinyl flooring also come in wood-look options. 

Oh, and pro tip: you’re weighing laminate vs. hardwood floors in an area that may get wet, remember that laminate also has a fiberboard base—so it’s similarly a no-go. 

How to Calculate the Cost of Installing Engineered Hardwood 

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to calculate the cost of wood flooring for your own home. There are tons of factors that will contribute to the overall cost, but you can get a good idea of what price range to expect with a few simple calculations. 

Use this handy guide to help you calculate the estimated costs of installing engineered hardwood floors!

Engineered Flooring Cost Installation Calculator

Flooring experts (hello!) recommend purchasing enough flooring to cover the square footage of the room or rooms you’re updating plus at least 10% extra for waste, cutting to size, and potential repairs in the future. 

Some homeowners purchase up to 20% or 30% extra to stockpile for later projects. When you think you’ve found the best hardwood floor brand for you, this might be a good idea—especially if you plan on expanding your hardwood flooring into other rooms. Some brands discontinue or replace specific products after periods of time, and you want to be sure you’ll have matching flooring for future projects.

The math gets more difficult with oddly shaped rooms. But for rectangular or square rooms, carefully measure the length and the width of the room you’re renovating, and multiply these two figures to calculate the square footage. To calculate an extra 10%, multiply by 1.1. 

(Length x Width x 1.1) = [Square Footage + 10%]

Your Cost Per Square Foot (For Materials) Will Vary Based on Your Wood Flooring Type…

Different types of wood flooring naturally come with different costs. Typically, softer domestic woods like pine cost less than harder woods like hickory or maple. Rare and exotic woods cost the most and may carry additional transport and import costs.

Engineered hardwood also varies in thickness and quality, which can impact price.

  • Basic engineered wood with three core layers and a thin veneer (between 1/16” and 1/12” thick) often costs between $3 and $9 per square foot.
  • Mid-grade engineered flooring is likely to have both a thicker core and thicker veneer layers. It often ranges between $6 and $12 per square foot.
  • Top-quality engineered wood flooring may have as many as seven core layers and a 1/6” or thicker veneer. These are typically the most durable and long-lasting options and can cost between $9 and $16 per square foot.

…And So Will Your Cost For Installation

The materials you choose will also impact the cost of installation. 

While there are some disadvantages of floating floors (though not very many if we’re being honest), they are a lot easier—and therefore cheaper—to install than flooring products that need to be glued or nailed down to a subfloor. So if you’re going for a cheaper installation, a click-together floor might be your best bet.

If you want to nail your floors down, on the other hand, you also have some things to consider. Harder types of wood flooring may cost more to install than softer woods, due to the increased difficulty required to cut them, plane them, and shape them. And of course, any special or intricate wood floor designs will also impact installation costs.

How to Save on the Cost of Installing Engineered Hardwood 

There’s no reason to sugarcoat it: flooring can be expensive. Unless you’re putting down some peel-and-stick carpet tiles from Home Depot, you could still end up paying a small fortune for installation—even if it’s for something cheap like the cork flooring Lowes sells

Luckily, there are a few ways to keep costs down when you’re replacing your floors.

First and foremost, if you already know how to install hardwood floors, you can save a great deal of cash by doing the installation yourself. The tradeoff is, of course, your own time and effort. And probably a good bit of stress. And a bucketful of swear words.

That said, many brands offer click-together flooring options these days (they even have snap-together tile flooring now) so do-it-yourself flooring projects have become easier than ever. 

Don’t have time to take on an entire flooring project? Consider a partial DIY. You can save hundreds of dollars (or more) on installation costs by moving your own furniture, taking out your old flooring, and even disposing of it yourself. 

And if you don’t have time to learn how to replace flooring, we highly recommend you talk to a local flooring expert. Unlike the big box stores, specialized flooring retailers will work to get you the best possible price for your project. They may also be able to introduce you to a selection of affordable and durable fake wood flooring alternatives that can give you the same timeless look with a fraction of the cost!

Engineered Wood Floors vs. Other Flooring Types

There are pros and cons of every flooring type—it’s all about finding the right fit for your lifestyle. So how does engineered wood stack up against other types of flooring? Let’s take a look.

The Pros and Cons Of Installing Engineered Wood Floors

Engineered hardwood has many advantages. Unlike the best cork flooring and the best bamboo flooring, it is real hardwood (cork is made of tree bark, and bamboo is technically a grass!). And unlike solid hardwood, it can go in basements, sunrooms, and even kitchens.

That being said: if you’re looking for more durable or outdoor flooring options, engineered hardwood is not your best bet. It’s not water-resistant and can chip or scratch. 

If you need a more scratch-resistant flooring option, consider an alternative like LVT, concrete flooring that looks like wood, or plain ol’ laminate (and if you’re currently looking up “what is laminate,” we can help with that too). 

Basically, the pros and cons of engineered hardwood are the same as the pros and cons of engineered bamboo… and the pros and cons of any other engineered flooring product, really. 

So whether you’re debating between carpet vs. hardwood, bamboo flooring vs. laminate, or even a tile vs. wood floor, the considerations are always the same. Weigh the cost, weigh the benefits, and consider the durability you’re going to need out of your floor.

Pro Tip: Talk to a Professional Before You Start Your Project

With that in mind: whether you opt for a DIY renovation or a professional job, you should always consult a professional flooring expert before starting your project.

A flooring expert won’t just give you a better idea of the average cost to install engineered hardwood floors in your area—they’ll also be able to clue you in on all the pricing info you need to know, from the cost to replace carpet with hardwood to the cost of heating wood floors to… well, basically anything having to do with hardwood. 

So don’t be shy! Expert help is the best help, after all.

Ready to get started? Find a flooring store near you. And for more information on flooring, check out:

About The Author

Kelly Pitts

Kelly is a freelance lifestyle and wellness writer. Her guilty pleasures are coffee and celebrity gossip. When she’s not hard at work creating content, you can find her traveling the world, being a crazy fish mom, and cooking vegan food.

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