Estimating Rehab Costs: Floor Installation Cost

Carefully running the numbers on rehab costs is critically important for any flipping project. The floors in a home are one of the most important factors for prospective buyers. It’s clear why – they’re what people notice first, and defects are easily seen or felt. Without planning and research, though, you may find yourself spending way more than you planned for when repairing or replacing flooring in your property. Small expenses can add up. This article is all about figuring out a reasonable cost estimation for a floor install. This includes costs for removing different kinds of floor material as well as installing them. With that said, let’s get into it.

How Much Does a New Floor Cost?

The cost of new flooring ranges all over the place. It can go from a couple of thousand for a simple vinyl sheet floor to tens of thousands for premium hardwood floors. The costs to install a new floor also depend on whether you’re paying to remove flooring or doing it yourself, as well as whether you’re using a flooring professional or handyman service to put it in (there’s often a difference in price between the two) or doing it yourself. The next sections are all about these costs, so read on to find out more.

Cost to Remove Flooring by Material

Engineered Wood Flooring Removal

Engineered wood generally costs between $1 to $4 to remove per square foot. Removal costs vary a lot depending on how securely it is attached to the subfloor and joists, as well as other factors. Engineered wood can be messier to remove than hardwood flooring as the planks are often thinner and, being made up of several layers, can crumble or come apart. 

Hardwood Flooring Removal

Hardwood flooring removal costs from $1 to $10 per square foot. The usual range is $1.5 to $6 per square foot, though. As with engineered wood, there are a few things that affect the price. Flooring made of relatively young and softwoods, such as pine, will be cheaper to remove. If the property has thick planks of decades-old hardwood flooring (such as oak or maple) that is tightly nailed down – the price will be towards the higher end of the range.

Laminate Flooring Removal

Laminate is, along with vinyl/linoleum, cheap to install and cheap to remove. You can expect to pay $1 to $2 per square foot for laminate flooring removal. If the job is more complicated due to the laminate being rotted from moisture damage, or presenting a health hazard due to mold, expect costs to go up.

Vinyl / Linoleum Flooring Removal

Vinyl or linoleum flooring is among the cheaper materials. For a floor that doesn’t have any extra issues or challenges, expect to pay around $1 to $2 per square foot to remove it.

There are a couple of potential challenges, though, that you should be ready for, and both have to do with the floor’s age. First, glued-down vinyl tiles from before the 1980s can contain asbestos. A sign of potential asbestos presence is if the floors are dark or if the vinyl flooring’s adhesive is black. Removing asbestos is an unpleasant process. As a result, the flooring removal cost will certainly rise if it’s found under vinyl flooring.

The second issue is that vinyl adhesive sets in stronger with age. Older vinyl floors are tougher to rip up than newer ones, and damage to the subfloor is often hard to avoid. It would be a good idea to include the cost of a new subfloor as a potential expense. If you have very old vinyl flooring, a more realistic removal cost estimate is $3 to $5 per square foot, as well as the potential added expense of a new subfloor. It’ll be even higher if asbestos is present.

Carpet Flooring Removal

Removing carpet is relatively straightforward and easy. Therefore, you can expect the cost to be around $1 to $1.50 per square foot. 

Tile Flooring Removal

When removing tile flooring, the tiles are broken up, and all pieces are thoroughly scraped off the floor to ensure an even surface for the next layer of flooring. You can expect a $2 to $5 per square foot removal cost for tile floors. 

Polished Concrete Flooring Removal

Polished concrete floors are tough to remove and require power tools and potentially even heavy equipment to do so. That drives the price of removal up, and you can expect to pay $4 to $6 per square foot for removal. Simple concrete slabs or unreinforced concrete might start at $4, but if it’s reinforced with rebar and inaccessible to heavy machinery (as most places in a home other than the garage are), the price will be higher near $6 or more.

Calculate Flooring Cost

To calculate flooring cost, you must multiply the width by the length of the area you will put flooring on. You can calculate costs for an entire room or part of a room.

Width x Length

When you have that, multiply that number with the cost of the flooring material you have in mind.

(Width x Length) x (Material Cost Per Square Foot)

It’s also a good idea to add 5% to 10% extra to the final sum to account for waste or mishaps during the flooring process.

Let’s say you have a square area that you need to floor.

You measure it – it turns out to be 20 feet by 20 feet.

You multiply those numbers with each other and get 400 square feet in total.

You want to use vinyl planks for this area that cost $2.5 per square foot.

Multiply 400 with 2.5, and you have $1000 – that’s how much it’s going to cost you in materials to floor that area. If you add 5 to 10 percent extra to be on the safe side, that would be $1050 to $1100 as a final sum for material costs.

New Floor Cost: Cost by Material

Engineered Wood Floor Installation Cost

Engineered wood can start at $2 per square foot and go up to $10, but most types of engineered wood flooring will be between $2.5 and $5 per square foot in material costs.

Hardwood Floor Installation Cost

Depending on what type of wood you want to use, hardwood floor installation (including both labor and material costs) can average between $5 and 20$ per square foot.

Pine costs between $1.50 and $5 per square foot.

Teak, American Cherry, Oak, Maple cost between $5 and $15 per square foot.

Brazilian Walnut, Tigerwood, Mahogany, Cypress cost between $8 and $20 per square foot.

Laminate Floor Installation Cost

Laminate is cheap and popular. Remember, though, that laminate needs underlayment, so add that into your cost calculations.

Laminate flooring: $1 to $3.00 per sq. ft.

Underlayment: $0.30 to $0.80 per sq. ft.

$2 to $3 per square foot for labor, for an overall average installation cost of around $4 to $5 per square foot.

Vinyl / Linoleum Flooring Installation Cost

Vinyl flooring ranges in price – from as little as $1 per square foot for thin, glue-down vinyl sheets to $5 per square foot for premium vinyl planks. Installation can cost from $1.50 to $2.50 for installation, for an average overall cost of $3.50 to $6 per square foot. 

Vinyl tiles: $1.00 – $3.00 per square foot 

Carpet Installation Cost

Carpet installation ranges from $4 per square foot on the cheaper end to around $8 per square foot for higher-quality carpets (labor and materials included).

The cost will vary depending on what material you use. Nylon and polyester are cheapest, at $1 to $5 and $1 to $3 per square foot, respectively, while natural material like wool starts at $4 and can go all the way up to $12 per square foot.  

Tile Floor Installation Cost

Tile flooring material prices range widely, from around $5 per square foot for ceramic tiles to $7 for natural stone tiles, up to $24 per square foot for premium marble tiles. The average homeowner spends $5 to $10 per square foot, on average, for the materials. Add installation costs, and you’ll be paying between $10 to $20 per square foot for the whole package. 

Polished Concrete Floor Installation Cost

$3 to $12 per square foot, with mid-range (two stain colors, simple geometrical patterns) prices being $5 to $8 per square foot. 

Floor Installation Costs by U.S. Region and Location

Flooring installation costs can vary widely by location across the U.S.  Materials costs tend to fall in roughly the same 10-20% range, but labor costs differ substantially.

For example if you’re installing hardwood floors in Boca Raton, FL then the cost will be substantially lower than a major city like Chicago or San Francisco.  It always pays to shop around and ask for a breakout of labor versus materials.

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