How much does it cost to install vinyl plank flooring?
Let’s put it this way. Of all the types of flooring out there, vinyl plank is one of the more modestly-priced options. But like anything else, the final cost will depend on a lot of factors.
Are you going with a budget option, or are you purchasing from one of the best vinyl plank flooring brands? Will you be gluing your floors down or opting for a click-together installation? Are you hiring a professional installer or will you be doing the job yourself? Where in the US are you located?
Your specific needs and circumstances will go a long way in determining the actual total cost to install vinyl plank flooring. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help!
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the average cost to install vinyl plank flooring. From average material costs to normal labor prices, we’ll give you everything you need to calculate how much it will cost to install vinyl plank flooring in your home.
If you’re picturing the smooth, floral-patterned material that probably lined your parents’ kitchen floor, hold on. That would be sheet vinyl, and it still exists today. But it is not the same thing as vinyl plank flooring.
What is Vinyl Plank Flooring Made Of?
Vinyl plank is a high-tech composite material that comes in planks—just like real wood. Each of these planks is made up of several layers:
From the bottom up, they are:
Either a rigid or flexible core layer.
A design layer (usually embossed for added realism) that can mimic just about any other material.
A clear plastic wear layer that protects the plank from damage.
Many of the best vinyl flooring products will come with added layers. Topcoats for extra protection, attached underlayments to absorb sound, you name it. It just depends on the product!
LVT vs. Vinyl Plank: What’s the Difference?
You may have read the term “LVT” around the internet, or heard people talking about it in flooring stores. What’s the difference between LVT and vinyl plank?
Well, the answer is…not much. LVT stands for Luxury Vinyl Tile. It’s the exact same thing as vinyl plank flooring, but instead of being faux-wood flooring, it’s made to look like different types of tile. The word “luxury” is just there to distinguish it from sheet vinyl, which we mentioned earlier.
And to make things even more confusing, many people use the terms “vinyl plank” and “LVT” interchangeably!
For the sake of clarity, unless we explicitly reference vinyl tile, it’s safe to assume that any time we mention “vinyl plank” we’re referring to both LVP (luxury vinyl plank) and LVT (luxury vinyl tile).
How Does Vinyl Sheet Compare to Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Okay, just one more thing before we discuss the cost to install vinyl plank flooring. We want to clear up any remaining confusion regarding the differences between vinyl plank flooring and vinyl sheet flooring.
Vinyl Sheet is Exactly What it Sounds Like: One Big Sheet of Material
Vinyl sheet flooring is the godfather of vinyl flooring. It was invented in the middle of the 20th century, but is still commonly sold today.
It’s sometimes confused with linoleum flooring (which is very similar), but they’re actually made of different materials. You can read our comparison of vinyl vs. linoleum vs. laminate, if you’re interested.
All you really need to know is that vinyl sheet is installed in an entirely different way than vinyl plank. And that also means the cost to install vinyl sheet flooring is different from the cost to install vinyl plank flooring.
Today, sheet vinyl is more commonly used as a budget option—or in rooms where you’re not overly concerned about appearances (like basements or kids’ bathrooms).
National Average Prices for Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring
Here’s the most recent national data for vinyl plank installation costs:
The national average cost to install a room of vinyl plank flooring is around $2,000 overall (according to HomeAdvisor).
The average overall price ranges between $800 and $2,900.
Average labor costs to install vinyl plankrange between $1.50 and $6 per square foot.
Average material costs for vinyl plank flooring generally range between $1.50 and $10 per square foot, depending on the product.
We know—those are huge ranges. And what’s inexpensive in one area may be extremely expensive in another! So let’s break these costs down further by labor cost, installation type, and material cost.
The Average Labor Cost to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
And we’re here! So let’s get right into it: the average labor cost to install vinyl plank flooring generally ranges between $1.50–$6 per square foot.
Let’s break that price range down a little further, though.
Labor costs vary super widely, depending on a lot of factors. For example, labor is going to be much cheaper in Kansas than it will in New York. And if you live in an area that’s experiencing a boom in home sales, you’re also going to be paying a bit more—because more demand means higher prices.
The biggest factor in estimating the labor cost to install vinyl plank flooring, though, is the type of installation method you choose. Which brings us to our next section.
Estimating the Cost to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring by Installation Method
There are three primary methods used to install vinyl plank flooring.
Installing as a click-together floating floor
Installing as a glue-down floor
Installing as a peel-and-stick floor
These cost estimates are based on what professionals will charge, but the general idea also applies to DIYers.
1. Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring as a Floating Floor (Cheapest)
If you don’t know what a floating floor is, it’s simply a floor that’s made of click-together planks. Since the planks attach to each other, the surface doesn’t have to be attached to a subfloor with nails or glue or anything like that.
And given that click-together floating floors are some of the easiest flooring to install, they’re also the cheapest option when it comes to the labor cost of installing vinyl plank flooring.
That means you’re going to be looking at the low end of the $1.50–$6 labor cost spectrum.
2. Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring as a Peel-and-Stick Floor (Middle)
Peel-and-stick vinyl planks are exactly what they sound like: pieces of flooring that have an adhesive backing that you can simply “stick” onto your subfloor. Think of them like the vinyl version of peel-and-stick carpet tiles.
You might be thinking: “That sounds so easy. Why is this more expensive than a click-together installation?”
And you’re not wrong. The process itself is easy. Unfortunately, the prep is not. See, almost all peel-and-stick vinyl products are flexible-core. And flexible-core products need a perfect subfloor. Otherwise, they’re not going to adhere properly. And they’re going warp and bend with every imperfection in your subfloor.
Translation: unless your subfloor is pristine, you’re going to spend more money evening it out than you will on your floor installation itself!
That means peel-and-stick products are in the middle range of the $1.50–$6 labor cost spectrum for installing vinyl plank flooring.
3. Installing Vinyl Plank as a Glue-Down Floor (Most Expensive)
It’s a no-brainer that the cost to install vinyl plank flooring will be more expensive when you have to glue down each individual plank.
In fact, glue-down installations are some of the most labor-intensive ones around. And that’s true for all types of flooring, not just for vinyl plank. This puts glue-down installation on the high end of that $1.50–$6/sq. ft. cost spectrum.
Oh, and another thing to note: if you want low-VOC vinyl flooring, glue-down installations are probably not the way to go. Many flooring glues contain VOCs, which can make even the most low-VOC flooring options…not particularly eco-friendly.
What Other Factors Affect the Labor Cost of Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?
As we mentioned, labor costs will vary widely depending on where in the country you live. Here are a couple of other factors that may affect your labor cost to install vinyl plank flooring.
Removing Old Flooring Can Be Time-Consuming and Expensive
Unless your new floors are going into a house under construction, you’re going to have to get rid of your old floors first. And ripping up old flooring can be a tedious process.
Depending on what types of floors you have, some jurisdictions may require special disposal methods that require one or more trips to a select site.
These labor costs can stack up in the hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars before the first vinyl plank is installed.
A Lot of Trimming Can Increase Price
If you’re installing vinyl plank flooring in a room that has lots of weird angles and nooks, you’re going to end up needing to trim a good number of planks.
Luckily, this is relatively easy to do with vinyl planks. Some can be trimmed with nothing more than an x-acto knife, whereas others need a power saw.
Either way, it’s going to be a lot easier than trimming hardwood flooring. Some of the harder hardwood species can be an absolute nightmare to cut to size. One of the disadvantages of hickory flooring, in particular, is that it blunts saw blades like crazy—adding to both labor and material costs.
And Installing Vinyl Plank on Stairs Can Get Expensive Too
Like trimming, installing vinyl plank in stair form is labor and time-intensive. You may have to cut planks to size, which means you’ll have to add trim to hide edges. And more trim means—well, you get the idea.
Trendy Designs Can Also Increase Prices
We all love classic wood floor patterns like chevron and herringbone parquet. And those styles are totally achievable with tons of vinyl plank products. But if you do opt for one of these, remember that it’s going to increase your installation price as well.
Average Materials Cost to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
Ok, let’s talk about materials! As we mentioned earlier, the average material cost to install vinyl plank flooring ranges between $1.50–$10 per square foot.
The easiest way to ballpark the actual cost to install vinyl plank flooring is by quality. Let’s break that down further.
Remember: this is still an average price estimate. Certain brands, installation styles, and other considerations can all affect the final price.
1. Budget Vinyl Plank Flooring Material Prices
Budget vinyl plank flooring will generally cost between $1 and $2/sq. ft. Choices in this tier may not have adequate protection and aren’t likely to offer many appearance options. In general, very few (if any) of the top vinyl plank flooring brands offer products at this price range.
2. Standard Vinyl Plank Flooring Material Prices
Standard vinyl plank flooring will generally cost between $2 and $4/sq. ft. You’re much more likely to find the style choice you want in this tier.
For reference, this price is comparable to what you might pay for some super-lower-end cork flooring. Lowe’s cork flooring sells for about $2.99/sq. ft. And, unsurprisingly, it’s a not-so-great product that offers many of the disadvantages of cork flooring without the upsides.
3. Above-Average Vinyl Plank Flooring Material Prices
Vinyl plank flooring of above-average quality generally costs between $3 and $6/sq. ft. Textured products—which add realism—start to pop up in this price range. All told, it’s the range that offers the most beautiful visuals for your buck.
High-end vinyl plank floors will usually cost between $6 and $10/sq. ft., though some range as high as $12–$15/sq. ft. These products should offer superior durability, an extensive range of appearance options, and more.
How Much Does it Cost to Install 1000 Square Feet of Vinyl Plank Flooring?
So: using the price ranges we estimated above, the cost to install vinyl plank floors for 1000 sq. ft. of space(including material costs and installation), will run you anywhere between $3,000 and $16,000, with a median price of $9,500.
If we estimate that an average apartment has 4 rooms, this is very much on par with the per-room estimates we noted above.
Of course, this is a broad average that doesn’t take into account whether you are hiring a professional, what installation method you’re using, whether you’re trying to emulate intricate wood floor designs, and so on.
How Much Does Lowes Charge to Install Vinyl Planks? What About Home Depot?
Lowe’s charges somewhere between $3–$4/sq. ft. for vinyl plank installations. That’s not including the price for materials, either. Home Depot charges closer to $2/sq. ft. for installation.
Just remember: these big box stores do not install floors on their own. Rather, they subcontract to the cheapest 3rd-party installers they can find—who they essentially have zero oversight over.
Translation: you get what you pay for. And when you pay a box store to install your floors, you almost always get a crummy looking floor. Our advice: buy your vinyl plank flooring from a top-rated flooring store in your area instead. They actually stand behind their products and installations.
Vinyl Plank vs. Sheet Vinyl Installation Cost
On average, sheet vinyl costs between $1.80 and $2.40/sq. ft. to buy. However, it’s not easy to install. It has to be glued down and, since it’s all one sheet, it has to be cut and glued perfectly. Translation: add another $4–$6/sq. ft. for installation.
Cost to Install Vinyl Plank vs. Cost to Install LVT: Is There a Difference?
As we said earlier, luxury vinyl plank (LVP) and vinyl tile (LVT) are the same product, just in a different shape and appearance. That means the cost to install vinyl plank flooring is about equal to the cost to install LVT.
Vinyl plank can be more expensive than vinyl tile per piece—but that’s because vinyl planks generally come in larger sizes. So you’re paying more because you’re getting more material.
This also means it covers more space than smaller vinyl tiles. In the end, you will probably pay a very similar price regardless of which you choose.
How Much Do Vinyl Plank Installation Accessories Cost?
Whether you hire help or install your vinyl plank floors yourself, there are some additional costs you should be aware of.
Underlayment isn’t required, but it’s almost always recommended. Lowe’s sells underlayment for anywhere between $0.15–3.00/sq. ft., depending on the kind you need.
Transition strips and stair noses are a bit more expensive, pricing out between $2–$4/ft. These are what you use for trim. Some manufacturers will include trim with floors, but you may be responsible for providing your own.
Adhesives are another major accessory that’s necessary if you’re using a glue-down installation method. Adhesive for vinyl usually costs $30–$50 per gallon, which can cover about 150 sq. ft.
How Do Hardwood Accessories Compare to the Cost of Vinyl Plank Accessories?
Hardwood floor accessories can easily climb in price because you also have to buy nails or staples, blades for cutting, and if you don’t have them, the proper tools. Most of the tools you use for installing vinyl planks, on the other hand, are household items.
Even a relatively inexpensive real-wood floor like pine can see high installation costs. Pine flooring pros and cons include a vulnerability to scratching, which vinyl plank does not share. And accounting for that with pads, blankets, and the like can be expensive.
What Other Factors Affect the Cost of Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring?
We’ve thrown quite a bit at you so far, but there are a few more factors to consider when estimating your cost to install vinyl plank flooring.
Plank Thickness and Wear Layer Thickness
We mentioned that high-end vinyl planks usually cost more, but we didn’t go into too much detail about what separates great vinyl planks from average vinyl planks.
Thickness can be a key indicator. Generally, the thicker the vinyl plank is, the sturdier it will be. This goes double for the thickness of the wear layer.
How Thick Should a Vinyl Plank Be?
Overall, 5mm is considered solid, but an 8mm vinyl plank might be the best. Anything under 3mm should only be used in low-traffic areas.
Similarly, we would recommend a wear layer 12mil+ only (“mil” means a thousandth of an inch). For active homes, though, we would recommend a wear layer of 20mil or thicker.
Core Construction: Rigid vs. Flexible
Most vinyl planks have either a rigid or flexible core. Rigid-core vinyl plank is, by definition, stronger (and usually more expensive too). It’s also easier to install because it doesn’t need a perfect subfloor and it can go over existing surfaces.
Flexible-core vinyl isn’t necessarily bad though. You just have to be careful when placing it in direct sunlight because it’s more prone to expansion and warping. And of course, it needs a smoother subfloor and underlayment.
Warranties are usually optional, but they may be worth the premium price if you think there’s a likelihood your floors will be damaged. And since vinyl planks can not be refinished, we would highly recommend getting one if it isn’t included with your purchase.
The best vinyl flooring may come with a premium price tag, but it’s likely worth it. Plus, it’s not a stretch to assume these are still cheaper per square foot than many of the best hardwood floors.
Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring: FAQs
Let’s go over some common frequently asked questions about the cost to install vinyl plank flooring.
Can I Install Vinyl Plank Flooring as a DIY Project?
Installing vinyl plank flooring as a DIY project is absolutely doable! Like we mentioned before, vinyl plank is one of the easier types of flooring to install. You could potentially save a lot of money by doing a DIY project—but remember that mistakes…well, they can be costly.
However, if you’re concerned about the cost to replace carpet with hardwood and you don’t feel comfortable trying to DIY wood floors, vinyl could be a great user-friendly alternative.
Where Can I Use Vinyl Plank Flooring?
One of the best features of vinyl plank flooring is that you can use it almost anywhere in or outside of your home. Most varieties are water-resistant, so there’s no reason you can’t put it in a bathroom or kitchen.
If you do happen to use it as an outdoor flooring option, just keep in mind that vinyl plank can be susceptible to fading with frequent exposure to sunlight. Pro tip: make sure to get a UV-resistant finish!
Is Underlayment Required for New Vinyl Plank Flooring?
The keyword here is “required.” Some plank floors don’t need an underlayment, but would certainly benefit from one. Underlayments offer extra insulation, increased comfort, and better soundproofing qualities.
That being said, many of the best vinyl plank flooring products come with built-in underlayments, or will strongly recommend the use of one. In fact, if you take a peek at some Pergo Extreme reviews (Pergo Extreme is one of the most popular vinyl plank floors on the market), you’ll find that the product’s warranty depends on using the proper underlayment.
Vinyl plank also needs good subflooring (if you’re wondering what subflooring is, it’s just the bones under your floor). Uneven surfaces in your subflooring will show in vinyl flooring, especially in flexible-core vinyl.
How Long Does It Take to Install Vinyl Plank Floors?
Two big factors affect the time it will take to install vinyl flooring:
How big your space is.
What installation method you’re using.
Click-together vinyl plank flooring is usually the easiest to install. It just pops together and, unlike snap-together tile flooring, you don’t need to seal or grout it.
And even if you’re going with a glue-down method to install your vinyl plank, it’s much less time-intensive than most other types of flooring (especially hardwood).
To return to our hickory example from before: chief among the pros and cons of hickory flooring is how hard it is to work with. Even if you’re installing it as a click-together floor (many of the best engineered wood flooring brands sell hickory as a click-together option) it will still be harder to work with—because cutting and trimming it is so much more difficult! In other words, the installation will take longer and be more expensive.
How Long Should I Wait to Walk on Vinyl Plank Flooring After It’s Been Installed?
This depends on if you use click-together or glue-down vinyl plank. You should be able to walk over the former right away, but glue-down vinyl will need between 24–48 hours to set. Doing so beforehand could disrupt the adhesive, resulting in uneven floors.
We Know Vinyl Plank Floors Are Water-Resistant. Are They Waterproof?
Vinyl plank floors are almost always waterproof, but this is sort of a technicality. Water won’t typically damage vinyl plank itself, but that doesn’t mean that you should turn your vinyl plank living room into a swimming pool.
Standing water may be able to seep through the seams of your floors, causing damage to your underlayment, subflooring, and insulation.
But comparing teak’s water resistance to vinyl plank’s water resistance is like comparing a cup of watery, grey, off-brand 7-11 coffee to a venti caramel frappuccino from Starbucks (with the caramel drizzle, of course). They’re not even in the same league!
How Do I Clean Vinyl Plank Floors?
With a bucket and a mop! Not only is vinyl plank easy to work with, it’s easy to clean. For most types of vinyl plank flooring, there are no special care instructions.
Coupled with its water resistance, this makes vinyl plank a great option for use as mudroom flooring.
Buyer beware: if you choose to vacuum your vinyl plank floors, make sure you’re not using a vacuum with a beater bar or rotating brush—these could permanently scuff your floors!
Advantages of Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring
While the cost to install vinyl plank flooring can be a little steep, it’s much more affordable than the cost to install most other types of flooring. And it offers tons of advantages.
Vinyl Plank is a Fantastic Hardwood Floor Alternative
You Can Get Any Look You Want (At a Reasonable Price)
If you want the look of creamy ash flooring in your kitchen, vinyl plank is the way to go—because it’s virtually waterproof!
Alternatively, if you want to get your hands (or feet?) on an exotic and beautiful surface like ebony flooring, vinyl plank is a solid choice because it’s ethically-sourced and won’t cost your children’s college tuition.
It’s Incredibly Durable (and it Looks Great)
You might be thinking that a synthetic floor like vinyl plank couldn’t possibly stack up against real hardwood. But you’ll be surprised to know that while, sure, real hardwood is beautiful and yadda yadda—vinyl plank can be just as beautiful.
Upon close inspection, you’ll probably be able to tell the difference (but not for certain). And when it comes to hardness, vinyl plank flooring is more durable than even the most durable wood flooring.
The Cost to Install Vinyl Plank is More Economical Than Hardwood
Vinyl plank isn’t just easier to care for than real hardwood. The cost to install vinyl plank flooring is generally cheaper than the cost to install most wood flooring types, too.
And we’re not just talking about the possibly-warped hardwood you’d buy from Home Depot either; we’re talking about high-end products from the best hardwood floor brands.
Vinyl Plank Compares Favorably to Other Composite Floors (Like Laminate)
Vinyl plank is durable and waterproof, but some products can be dented by harsh impacts. This is usually more of an issue with flexible-core products.
That would be fine, except that vinyl plank products are nearly impossible to repair. If a piece is damaged, you’re probably going to have to pull it up and replace it. And if you installed your floor with a click-together assembly, that can be a bit of a hassle.
As we mentioned before, vinyl plank flooring may emit harmful VOCs, especially if adhesives are used.
These chemicals can be hard to avoid as they are known to pop up in plastics, finishes, and stains, as well as in adhesives. So if you’re considering the cost to install vinyl plank flooring as an alternative to putting carpet or hardwood in your bedroom, you may be better off looking into low-VOC carpet. From an environmental standpoint, anyway.
Conclusion: The Cost to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring Is Absolutely Worth It
If there’s one thing you should take from this article, it’s that the cost to install vinyl plank flooring is affordable—and very much worth it.
Take any subject and there’s a good chance Christian has written about it. From marketing and international relations to wildlife (hobby!) and sports, Christian writes, edits, or helps publish just about everything that’s resigned to written form. His love for home design and remodeling began with his first job working for his uncle’s property management business.
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