There are many factors that can increase or decrease the cost of hardwood floor installation. The size of the space that needs flooring, or the total square footage of the area, will be the biggest determining factor when it comes to price, but choosing engineered hardwood over solid hardwood planks can also reduce costs by as much as one-third. The type of wood chosen can also raise or lower the price, and common types like oak and ash tend to be cheaper. While very dense woods may seem like a long-term bargain, their hardness makes them difficult to work with and can actually increase the overall price.
Although many people speak about hardwood floors as a single building material, it is important to understand that they can be made from dozens of different tree varieties, and each has a different color, price and durability. Here are a few of the most popular hardwood flooring options as well as some unique characteristics about each:
Maple: Very hard, creamy white to pale red in color, can be hard to work with.
White Ash: Pale yellow in color, bold grain, durable and hard to stain.
Hickory: Reddish-brown with varying color patterns, very durable and hard.
Red Oak: Reddish, tight but visible grain, ideal for cutting and staining.
Brazilian Cherry: Exotic red-brown color, coarse texture but easy to scratch.
Due to the expense of installing new hardwood floors in the home, many individuals want to know whether the process is really necessary. In a newly constructed home, hardwood floors are more expensive than alternatives like carpet, tile or vinyl, but they also have the potential to add greater value to the house and may be worth the investment in the long term. When it comes to replacing older floors with hardwood, however, there is a little more flexibility on when it should be done. Repairing or refinishing the floors is an option, but regular repair of hardwood floors can add up in terms of cost, and complete replacement could be more affordable and less disruptive in the long run. Some signs that replacement is necessary might be old and damaged flooring, a desire to change the species of wood used or wanting to get rid of loud squeaks and noises that naturally occur over time in planked hardwood floors.