How Much Does It Cost to Install Laminate Flooring?
Are you in the market for heavy-duty laminate flooring? The cost to install laminate flooring ranges from $1,500 to $3,500, with the national average at $2,207.
- Typical Range: $1,500 to $3,500
- National Average: $2,207
Many homeowners desire the warm, natural look of hardwood flooring, but installing wood floors can be expensive. Laminate flooring successfully mimics the characteristics of wood, stone, and tile flooring at a fraction of the cost. Heavy-duty laminate floors are more durable and easier to clean than natural wood floors. They’re a fantastic option for high-traffic areas and spaces that may experience moderate amounts of moisture. The cost to install laminate flooring ranges from $1,500 to $3,500, with the national average at $2,207 for a 12-millimeter-thick laminate installed in a 200-square-foot space with a sound-dampening underlayment. Laminate wood style flooring averages out to $6 to $14 per square foot, including labor and material costs. The difference in pricing is due to the variety of add-ons that may be recommended for your home, the type of finish, and the abrasion rating. Laminate flooring is relatively easy to install, and a flooring project can be completed in just a few hours, depending on the size of the space. Labor costs will average between $800 and $1,600 for a 200-square-foot area. Many homeowners choose laminate flooring for their homes because it’s durable, easy to clean, and resistant to scratches and water damage.
What Is Laminate Flooring?
Laminate is a composite flooring material made from a base layer of fiberboard or particleboard, an image layer, and a protective top layer. There are varying degrees of quality, and some laminate flooring looks more realistic than others. It’s also available in various degrees of thickness, and it’s recommended to use thicker laminate in high-traffic areas so it doesn’t wear out quickly.
Laminate Flooring vs. Hardwood
Laminate is viewed as a less expensive option than hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring costs between $14 and $32 per square foot, which is significantly more expensive than laminate. Laminate is easier and faster to install, more durable than hardwood, and is less susceptible to scratches, dents, and water damage.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Install Laminate Flooring
Calculating the cost to install laminate flooring depends on several factors. Prices can differ from the national average due to type, flooring size, the complexity of the job, time of year, labor costs, and geographic location.
When people think of laminate flooring, many think of a material that resembles natural wood. Laminate flooring can mimic hardwood flooring as well as stone and tile. Since the design is printed on the material before it’s sealed, the options for patterns, colors, and styles are endless. The cost of the laminate flooring will vary based on the type, color, and size.
Flooring Area and Complexity
The overall cost for laminate flooring is based on the flooring area and the complexity of the space or the flooring pattern. The average price to install a laminate floor is between $6 and $14 per square foot, including labor fees. The cost can fluctuate based on the type and finish of the flooring. The room size will also affect the project price. Typically, the larger the space, the more expensive it will be since more material is needed. A small room may be on the higher end of the price point if there is a lot of cutting, trimming, or the flooring is installed in a complex pattern.
Time of Year When Purchasing
Laminate flooring prices fluctuate with the seasons. Prices go up when people tackle home improvement projects in the fall before the holiday season, so the end of winter is usually the best time to install this type of flooring. After the holidays, contractors are not as busy, so the prices will go down to entice business.
The cost of labor to install laminate flooring is between $4 and $8 per square foot. This price includes the cost of the underlayment. The underlayment is rolled out and taped down, and then the laminate is installed on top of it. Thinner laminate flooring costs about $8 per square foot to install since installation is more difficult and time-consuming. Laminate wood flooring costs between $6 and $14 per square foot, including labor and all materials. If you buy the laminate flooring from a home improvement store such as The Home Depot, they typically charge between $4 and $11 per square foot for materials and installation.
Geographic location also impacts the cost to install laminate flooring. Labor and material prices will change from state to state. Material and installation costs tend to be more expensive in large urban areas compared to more rural locations.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for the cost to install laminate flooring, there will be additional price factors and considerations. These include the cost to remove old flooring, subfloor repair or replacement, warranty costs, AC rating, underlay, flooring texture, thickness, finish, and extra added features.
Removing Old Flooring
Even though laminate flooring can be installed on top of old flooring, many homeowners prefer to remove the old flooring. There is always the chance that the new laminate flooring will become uneven due to the old flooring underneath. The average cost to remove the old flooring is $400 for 200 square feet.
Subfloor Repair or Replacement
If the subfloor needs to be repaired or replaced, it will cost approximately $550 for a 300-square-foot plywood subfloor. Labor costs will run from $25 to $35 per hour.
The majority of laminate flooring manufacturers offer a warranty on their products. It’s recommended that homeowners read the warranty carefully to understand exactly what is covered and for how many years.
AC rating is how laminate flooring is ranked for durability. AC levels are ranked one through five, with five as the most durable. Usually, residential laminate flooring doesn’t need to be ranked higher than AC 4 since AC 5 is used for commercial spaces. Like a kitchen or foyer, areas with high levels of foot traffic should have flooring with a higher AC rating. Areas with lower levels of foot traffic, such as a bedroom, would be fine with flooring that has a lower AC rating.
Pad and Underlay
Some laminate flooring comes with a pad or underlayment attached. Underlayment can also come as a different material that’s installed over the subfloor. The rule of thumb is the thinner the laminate, the thicker the underlay should be. Underlayment acts as a cushion and support under the laminate flooring. It also provides noise dampening. Underlayment costs start at $30 and $50 per roll. The thicker the material, the more expensive and difficult it is to install.
The texture of laminate flooring is what successfully mimics the look of hardwood, stone, or tile. The finished flooring can be smooth or textured, depending on the type. Keep in mind that floors with a deeper texture are harder to keep clean. Laminate flooring that imitates the look of natural wood is typically embossed to create a wood-like texture. A high-gloss texture is easier to keep clean, and it’s the most resistant to scratches and damage. The type of texture the flooring has will affect the costs. Smooth-textured flooring can run from $1.69 to $2.59 per square foot, and the most expensive is a hand-scraped texture at $2.99 to $5.99 per square foot.
Laminate flooring is available in 6 millimeter to 12 millimeter thicknesses. The thicker the laminate flooring is, the less resistant it is to bending when placed on top of an uneven subfloor. 6 millimeter laminate flooring can cost $0.69 to $0.99 per square foot, and 12 millimeter flooring can run from $2.29 to $5.99 per square foot.
Laminate flooring is available in three finishes: semi-matte, matte, and glossy. The semi-matte finish is a happy medium between matte and glossy. This subtle finish is a budget-friendly option at $0.99 to $3.79 per square foot. The matte finish has a flat appearance that is most often used on wood laminate flooring, and it hides scratches and comes in a wide variety of styles and colors. Matte flooring usually costs between $0.99 and $4.40 per square foot. Glossy laminate flooring has a highly polished surface. It reflects light well and can make rooms appear larger. This high-gloss finish costs between $1.69 and $5.60 per square foot.
There are a variety of extra features available with laminate flooring. Some laminate flooring options are scratch- and water-resistant. Others are approved for radiant floor heating. There are also laminate floors that won’t need waxing or polishing and others designed to reduce noise.
Cost to Install Laminate Flooring Types
Laminate flooring comes in three different types: wood, stone, and tile. Each of these has its own pricing based on color, pattern, and style.
Wood Laminate Flooring
Wood laminate flooring averages $1.50 to $3 per square foot. Wood laminate is the most common type of laminate, and it’s available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and thicknesses. Most wood laminate flooring is click-lock, meaning that it is installed as a floating floor. Nail or glue-down wood laminate flooring is not as common. The most inexpensive wood laminate materials are red oak, white oak, and maple. Hickory is the most expensive option, and the midrange varieties are cherry, beech, and acacia.
Stone Laminate Flooring
Stone laminate flooring costs from $3.50 to $4 per square foot. While not as common as wood laminate, the stone variety imitates the look of an antiqued or tumbled stone floor. Available in a wide range of colors, stone laminate is installed as click-lock tiles and not planks. The tiles are typically larger than planks and will have different sizes of stones on each tile.
Tile Laminate Flooring
Tile laminate flooring runs from $3.50 to $5 per square foot. Tile laminate is not quite as common as wood laminate, but it’s more widely available than the stone option. Tile laminate can mimic the appearance of concrete, terrazzo tile, or stone. The tiles click-lock together, but they are not sealed along the edges. This is why tile laminate is not recommended for wet areas since water can seep through the joints.
Benefits of Installing Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is popular since it’s durable, easy to install, attractive, and a solid alternative to hardwood or tile flooring. Some of the benefits of laminate flooring are that it’s easy to maintain, it’s an affordable option to hardwood flooring, it can imitate other materials, and it can be installed over existing flooring.
Laminate flooring requires minimal maintenance. It’s easy to clean with a broom or vacuum, and it can be mopped with water or laminate floor cleaner. It’s recommended to avoid excess water when mopping since it can seep through the seams in the flooring. Laminate flooring has a durable wear layer that is resistant to stains.
Compared to hardwood, stone, or tile flooring, laminate flooring has a much lower price point. Since it’s relatively easy to install, labor and installation costs are some of the least expensive for flooring materials.
Aesthetic and Style
Laminate flooring offers a wide range of styles, colors, patterns, and types. Whether you’re interested in wood, tile, or stone laminate, there is a style that will match your home’s personal aesthetic.
Laminate flooring is one of the easiest flooring materials to install. When laminate flooring is installed as a click-lock floor, it can be installed over the existing flooring. This makes it easier to replace planks if they’re damaged, and you don’t have to tear up the old floor.
The top wear layer makes laminate flooring one of the most durable flooring materials on the market. It can stand up to pets, heavy foot traffic, and everyday wear and tear. When it’s compared to hardwood flooring, laminate is the more durable option.
Can Be Installed Over Existing Flooring
A click-lock laminate floor can be installed on the existing floor to create a floating floor. One benefit of this is that the existing floor does not need to be removed, so you’ll save money because you won’t have to pay for removal costs. This also makes for a quicker installation, meaning less hassle for the homeowner.
Cost to Install Laminate Flooring: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Since laminate flooring is sold as a click-lock option, it can make a realistic DIY project. A few items to keep in mind are that you’ll need to accurately measure the room, cut the materials precisely, and have the correct tools and materials for the project. If you’re an experienced DIYer and already have the tools at your disposal and the knowledge of how to use a saw and cut exact measurements, the job can be done in a weekend. Some homeowners prefer to hire professional floor contractors to ensure the job is done quickly and correctly, especially if stairs are in the project. The tricky part about stairs is that every step needs to be measured and cut accurately to avoid material waste. This difficult part of the project can be compounded by spindles attached to the risers. If you’re unsure about installing laminate over the existing flooring or if the subfloor needs repairs, don’t hesitate to call in a professional to do the job for you.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Install Laminate Flooring
The cost to install laminate flooring can get high, especially if you opt for extra features. One way to save on the cost to install laminate flooring is to buy the cheapest materials, but there are other ways to save without compromising quality.
- Research your options. Read third-party reviews online to find a reputable laminate floor installation company near you.
- Get multiple estimates. Get at least three estimates from some of the flooring contractors you found in your online research.
- Remove the old flooring. Removing the existing flooring on your own can save on labor costs from the flooring contractor. Be sure to let the professionals know that you’ll be tearing out the existing floor so this charge won’t appear on your bill.
- Do the small things. Remove glue, nails, and other items from the subfloor and remove the baseboards in anticipation of the new flooring installation. This will save money on labor costs.
- Think about the seasons. Most people take on home improvement projects in the fall, right before the holiday season. This is the busiest time for contractors, and their rates will be higher. If you’re willing to schedule floor installation for the end of winter, the prices usually drop to entice customers.
Questions to Ask About the Cost to Install Laminate Flooring
Asking a professional the right questions about the cost to install laminate flooring can minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Here are some questions to ask a laminate flooring professional.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you have workers’ compensation?
- Do you have references?
- Do you charge for an estimate?
- How long will the installation take?
- Who will install the laminate flooring?
- What type of warranty do you offer?
- Will you clean up at the end of the project?
Deciding on new flooring while staying within your budget can be a daunting process. Here are some frequently asked questions about laminate flooring to help guide you in your decisions.
Q. How much does it cost to install 1,000 square feet of laminate flooring?
On average, it costs between $6,000 and $14,000 to install laminate flooring in a 1,000-square- foot space.
Q. What is the average labor cost to install laminate flooring?
The average labor cost to install laminate flooring is between $4 and $8 per square foot.
Q. Are there different types of laminate flooring?
Yes. There are three types of laminate flooring, each of which can mimic the look of natural hardwood, stone, and tile.