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Updated November 6, 2020
How much does it cost to replace carpet with hardwood? The answer is a little more complex than you might think.
Ok, ok—let’s start with the basics. If you’re thinking about replacing your carpet with hardwood, you’re making a good choice. Maybe your carpets are looking worse for the wear. Or maybe you’re just ready to invest in some timeless, resale-value-improving hardwood. Either way, we say “out with the old and in with the new”!
Let’s be clear, though—carpet is an excellent flooring choice. And advances in products like low-VOC carpet and peel-and-stick carpet tiles have made it a more attractive option than ever. But there are a lot of reasons why replacing carpet with hardwood might be the right choice.
That’s why below, we’re going to go over the benefits of installing wood flooring in your home, explain the cost to replace carpet with hardwood, and give you a few things to consider when deciding whether hardwood flooring is a good fit for you and your family!
Why Replace Carpet with Hardwood?
All types of flooring have their own great qualities. Some are better for high-traffic areas, others stand up well to moisture, and some just feel great under our feet. This isn’t a carpet vs. hardwood boxing match, so there’s no need to pick a side.
Personal preference is most important, and if you’re all about carpet in your home, we salute you! But if you’re thinking about replacing your carpet with hardwood, that’s a great choice too. Here’s why:
Hardwood Flooring Adds to Resale Value
Hardwood offers a high return on investment. While not always the cheapest flooring options, hardwood floors can offer a 70% to 80% ROI and can add up to 2.5% to the sales price of your home. According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, 54% of home buyers stated that they would be willing to pay more for a home with hardwood floors, as reported by USA Today.
Hardwood Is Preferred By Many Home Buyers
Many home buyers list hardwood floors as one of their top requests when searching for a new place to live, and it’s easy to see why. Most types of wood flooring are stylish, long-lasting, and offer great value. In certain markets, real estate experts recommend installing hardwood to help your home sell more quickly.
Hot and humid climates, in general, are not the best environment for hardwood floors. Which means they may be less of a selling point for prospective buyers in those locations. For that, we’d recommend looking into the pros and cons of tile vs. laminate (especially waterproof laminate like RevWood). Both of these flooring options stand up excellently to warm, moisture-prone climates.
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How Much Does it Cost to Replace Carpet With Hardwood?
If you’re serious about buying hardwood flooring, get ready to crack open your wallet. Hardwood’s natural beauty and value come with a price tag—especially when it comes to solid hardwood floors. While there are several less expensive (and amazing) hardwood floor alternatives, many of us are still drawn to the real deal.
The cost to replace carpet with hardwood involves many factors—the scope of the job, the type of wood floor you choose, and the associated installation expenses. We’ll take you through these costs and give you some helpful hints to save money along the way!
Cost Per Square Foot: Hardwood Floors vs. Carpet Materials
With so many styles and brands available, both hardwood flooring and carpet come with a broad price range. Carpet flooring will cost $2 to $12 per square foot on average, depending on many factors including the type of padding used, the fiber (natural or synthetic, etc.), and style.
Wood floor prices come in an even wider price range. Hardwood floors start at around $3 per square foot for common wood species and can exceed $15 per square foot for some exotic wood types. If the best hardwood floors for your home are made of Brazilian Cherry or if you’re drawn to Ebony flooring, you’re going to be paying more than you would for, say, domestic Oak.
Average Costs of Hardwood Installation
It’s a good idea to let the professionals install solid hardwood floors. Professional installation can help you avoid costly mistakes, especially if you’re not already an expert on how to replace flooring.
The cost of hardwood installation can range from $3 to $8 per square foot and will depend on a lot of factors like location and the flooring type.
For example, click-together flooring may cost less to install than traditional wood planks, which is why the cost to install engineered wood floors can be less than the cost to install solid wood. And of course, installing intricate wood floor designs and wood floor patterns could send installation costs higher.
How to Save on the Installation Cost to Replace Carpet with Hardwood
If you have your heart set on hardwood floors but the price tag is clouding your design vision, we’re here to help put you at ease. There are many ways to keep your wood flooring costs down if you’re willing to do a little of your own labor. Just because hardwood isn’t the easiest flooring to install doesn’t mean you have to leave it all to the professionals!
- In some cases, you can cut costs by moving the furniture off of the area to be replaced.
- You may be able to save even more by pulling up and hauling away your existing carpet before the installers arrive.
- There may be some disadvantages of floating floors, but if you currently have them installed, pulling up your flooring will be especially easy. If you’re looking to save on installation costs, talk to your local flooring retailer about doing a partial DIY.
- Look into faux wood flooring options. Some of these are super easy to install and can increase your home’s resale value almost as much as the real thing!
Advantages of Carpet vs. Hardwood Floors
While there are many great reasons to replace carpet with hardwood, it’s important to consider the trade-offs. If you’re drawn to some of the following benefits of carpet, you may consider keeping your existing flooring or replacing it with a new carpet.
- Carpets are obviously softer than hardwood, which can be a good choice for families with small children and other special considerations.
- The additional soft padding absorbs sound, which makes carpet quieter than hardwood, especially when installed on upper-level floors.
- Carpet feels both softer and warmer underfoot. This can be beneficial for people with joint issues and makes a great choice for bedrooms and nurseries.
- Depending on the style you choose, carpet can be a more affordable flooring type.
Advantages of Hardwood over Carpet
When you take a good look at the pros and cons of hardwood, the positives tend to outweigh the negatives. Here are just a few:
- Hardwood has an incredibly long lifespan compared to carpet. While carpet will likely need to be replaced every 10 years or so, many types of wood flooring can last 75 years or more when properly maintained.
- This type of flooring offers a higher return on investment than many other flooring types and can add significant monetary value to your home.
- Many home buyers are looking for hardwood flooring when they’re searching for a new home—and they’re willing to pay more for it.
- Many types of hardwood can be refinished. Carpets can stain and show wear over time, and it’s hard to undo the damage once it’s done. Refinishing can make hardwood floors look new again. Just remember that one of the big disadvantages of engineered wood is that it can’t be refinished as much as solid wood can (or at all)—though this isn’t an issue when it comes to super-durable factory-finished wood with aluminum oxide coatings.
Special Considerations When Replacing Carpet with Hardwood Flooring
There are so many good reasons to add wood flooring to your home. When you’re deciding between different types of flooring, it’s important to consider how it’ll fit in with your lifestyle. Before you make up your mind, ask yourself the following questions:
Where Can I Install Hardwood?
Let’s be clear: hardwood is not a waterproof flooring option. If you’re replacing the floors in an area that currently has carpet, you’re likely in the clear, as carpet is also decidedly hydrophobic. Then again, we’ve seen a few carpeted bathrooms (oof), so let’s just make sure everyone is on the same page. It’s probably simpler just to tell you where you can’t install hardwood.
No matter how much it would remind you of an Alpine spa, you should not put hardwood in your bathroom. Wood floor bathrooms are possible with certain water-resistant wood floors, but they’re a headache. To achieve this look, there are many types of tile that offer a wood grain pattern.
Kitchens and laundry rooms aren’t ideal for hardwood, either, as one dishwasher or washing machine-related mishap could cause your floors to warp and swell. Make sure that anywhere you plan on installing hardwood floors stays a consistent temperature and dry most of the time.
Does Hardwood Flooring Fit My Lifestyle?
Do you have toddlers or teens? Exotic lizards or giant dogs? Do you like to throw large parties for 50 of your closest friends? Your lifestyle should be one of the most important considerations when picking out types of flooring for your home.
While it can last a very long time when properly maintained, hardwood isn’t always the most durable flooring choice out there. It can stain, fade, scratch, and dent. This can be avoided if you’re the “shoes off,” dust-busting type, and many people are.
It’s also no big deal if you’re placing hardwood in a low-traffic area like your bedroom. But if you want to replace your existing carpet with a durable and low-maintenance option, check out the pros and cons of vinyl flooring or the pros and cons of carpet vs. laminate floors.
Does Hardwood Flooring Fit My Budget?
As we’ve mentioned, wood flooring can be on the more expensive end of the spectrum, but it also adds some of the best home value. Ask yourself if you’re willing to spend a little more now to enjoy floors that could last several decades.
This is one of the biggest factors you’ll have to contend with, whether you’re choosing between a laminate vs. hardwood floor, or even comparing a tile vs. wood floor. It’s up to you to decide which types of flooring will provide the most value in the long run.
Do I Have The Energy To Maintain Hardwood Floors?
When you make an investment in new flooring, it only makes sense that you’ll want to keep it looking fresh as long as possible. Hardwood is a timeless style choice, but it can also start to look dull and worn without some TLC.
Properly maintaining new floors directly impacts the longevity of your hardwood. This includes daily sweeping and the use of special wood cleaners—wet mopping is a big no-no for many types of wood flooring.
And remember: even the most durable wood flooring will need to be refinished every 7-10 years, but not all types of wood flooring can be refinished. If the best engineered wood flooring for your home needs to be able to be refinished, make sure to tell your local flooring store when you shop!
Some people love the look of hardwood but are simply too busy for the maintenance requirements. This is perfectly understandable, and for those folks, we invite you to check out our list of low-maintenance fake wood flooring options.
What’s the Real Cost to Replace Carpet With Hardwood?
What’s the real cost to replace carpet with hardwood? It’s up to you! If you’re ready to kiss carpet goodbye, hardwood can be an excellent replacement. For others, the cost may be too high—and other types of flooring may be a better fit. If so, compare and contrast some other options like vinyl plank flooring.
When you’re ready to take the next step and talk to the true experts, use our flooring near me tool to find a flooring retailer in your area.
And for more information on the many types of flooring available to you, check out:
- Your Complete Guide to Bamboo Flooring
- The Pros and Cons of Cork Flooring
- Pergo Reviews 2020: What Buyers are Saying
- Bamboo Flooring vs. Laminate: Which to Buy?
- The Best Cork Flooring Options & 11 Reasons They’re Awesome
- Engineered Bamboo Flooring: Pros and Cons
- Snap-Together Tile Flooring: A Total Game-Changer
- What is Subflooring? An Underlayment vs. Subfloor? We’ll Explain.
About The Author
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.