Laminate flooring is a type of floor that utilizes multiple layers of synthetic materials that get fused together using the lamination process, and it can mimic the look of tile, stone, or wood flooring with a photographic layer encased in a clear protective layer. Additionally, this flooring can last for up to 30 years, so it has a high durability factor. This sounds complicated and expensive, so it leads many people to wonder the cost to install laminate flooring.
However, the average cost to install laminate flooring falls between $1,5000 and $5,000. The average homeowner can expect to spend right around $2,170 to complete the project for a 200-square foot room. This is just the cost to install laminate flooring though, and you should keep in mind that it doesn’t include removing your old flooring, reinstalling your baseboards or molding, removing your furniture, or delivery fees. Additionally, the cost to buy and install laminate flooring will fluctuate based on the abrasion rating, finish, and other add-ons your company may recommend.
A lot of people choose to install this type of flooring because it’s relatively affordable, and it’s an easy way to mimic the look of stone or wood flooring without actually spending thousands for the real thing. It comes in several finishes and styles, and it’s durable enough to easily survive dents and scratches and still look very nice. Overall the initial cost to install laminate flooring is doable for many people who want the look of a high-end floor without the ongoing maintenance or expensive price attached to them.
If you’re interested in seeing exactly what impacts the cost to install laminate flooring, this is for you. We’ll outline the average price per square foot, wood types, features, thickness finish, and much more. By the end, you’ll have a good idea on what your cost to install laminate flooring is, and you can decide whether or not this is a good fit for your home.
Average Cost to Install Laminate Flooring by Square Foot
Depending on the type of floor and the finish you pick, the cost to install laminate flooring will range between $0.70 and $2.00 for every square foot. The most inexpensive types of laminate flooring are white oak, red oak, and maple. Hickory is one of the most expensive types you can get, adn beech, cherry, acacia, and other mid-range costs around $1.00 per square foot.
It’s also good to know that your cost to install laminate flooring will fluctuate based on the season, and winter is the best season to buy. The complexity of the project and the flooring area will also factor into the price. A small room could cost more, depending on if the company has to trim, cut, and lay the floor down in a complex pattern. If you go with laminate that mimics the look of hardwood flooring, you’ll get multiple layers of synthetic material that gets laminated together. It’s not unusual for layers to have particle board and natural wood in them to help reduce your costs.
If you want to include labor costs in your cost to install laminate flooring, the price goes up to $8 and $15 per square foot. Buying the flooring and performing the installation process yourself is cheaper if you know what you’re doing. However, if the project involves working with and around baseboards or if you need to prep the floor before you lay down the flooring itself, the cost will go up.
How Wood Type Impacts Your Laminate Flooring Cost
There are several different wood types you can pick when you’re deciding on the cost to install laminate flooring, and each one has a different price point attached to it. It’ll all come down to your design aesthetic and your color scheme because each wood type has a different color, pattern, or hue to it that will either look nice or clash with your home or apartment decor.
- Acacia – Coming in between $0.69 to $1.20 for every square foot, Acacia is a very affordable option. You can choose from light and dark brown coloring, and you get a very deep contrasting grain that mimics the look of hardwood flooring.
- Beech – Beech also costs between $0.69 and $1.20 per square foot, and it has a very fine grain to it that allows you to seamlessly piece it together. It has a light tan coloring with a very light pink hue when the sun hits it.
- Cherry – Cherry is also between $0.69 and $1.20 per square foot, and it features very small knots with a linear flowing grain. It has a very pretty darker reddish-brown hue that contrasts nicely with lighter interior paint colors.
- Elm – Elm is slightly more expensive at $1.59 to $2.50 per square foot, but it has a greyish-white to light brown look. If you get the heartwood, you’ll get a reddish-brown tinge with a very coarse and wooly texture. The grain can interlock or be straight.
- Hickory – Hickory offers intricate patterns with a red-brown to tan appearance, and it is on the higher end for pricing at $1.59 to $2.50 per square foot.
- Maple – Maple is another cost-effective pick that falls between $0.69 and $1.20 for every square foot. It offers swirling and a lighter grain, and you can get reddish-gold, off-white, or white coloring with it.
- Red Oak – Surprisingly, red oak is another lower-cost choice that falls between $0.75 and $1.25 per square foot. You get a medium brown coloring with slight or heavy pattern variations on the grain.
- Walnut – Walnut falls between $0.89 and $2.00 per square foot to put it on the higher price end. It has a very thick and heavy grain to it, and you get eye-catching chocolate or white hues that can swirl together.
- White Oak – Finally, white oak ranges between $0.69 and $1.20 per square foot. It features a linear and smooth grain with gray or golden-brown coloring.
Advancements in technology allow your flooring to feel and look like real, natural hardwood flooring without the huge cost. Usually, the very top layer is a thin piece of natural hardwood. This allows you to see and feel the actual wood’s texture to make it seem more real and solid. This lowers the cost to install laminate flooring without sacrificing the look or quality of the finished product.
Since laminate can mimic wood or stone, it’s a popular choice for almost any design aesthetic. It’s also relatively easy to install, and it has a high durability factor. New Flooring 2 by Brandy / CC BY-NC 2.0
Features That Can Increase Your Cost to Install Laminate Flooring
You don’t want for any features when you choose this type of flooring. For example, your laminate floor will be resistant to scratches, and this makes them much less likely to degrade with heavy use and much longer-lasting. You can also factor noise resistance and water resistance in your cost to install laminate flooring if it’s something you can’t live without. You can choose to install them over cork underlayment, or you can have underfloor warming. The following will give you an estimate on how much these features will add to your cost to install laminate flooring estimate:
- Cork Underlayment – Between $0.70 and $2.80 per square foot
- Does Not Require Polishing or Waxing – Between $1.00 and $3.30 per square foot
- Fitted with Underlayment – Between $1.85 and $2.60 per square foot
- Noise Resistant – Between $1.40 and $2.60 per square foot
- Scratch Resistant – Between $0.70 and $2.70 per square foot
- Underfloor Warming – Between $0.70 and $2.80 per square foot
- Water Resistant – Between $1.75 and $2.80 per square foot
Labor Cost to Install Laminate Flooring
If you’re not someone who is comfortable installing your flooring yourself, you’ll have to factor in labor when you’re tallying up your cost to install laminate flooring, and this is where it can get very expensive. On average, the cost to install laminate flooring falls between $4 and $8 per square foot, and this includes the mandatory foam underlay and any adhesive that the project requires. The labor portion usually isn’t overly difficult, and the contractor will charge by project size or by hour. They start by installing the mandatory foam underlay, and they’ll unroll it before running it across the whole floor and sliding it into place. They’ll put an adhesive strip face down with the plastic end facing up to secure it.
Next, they lay out your laminate. They start with the first row and cut strips to the desired length and width. They’ll use spacers to keep the expansion space in place. They’ll stagger the joints in the flooring according to manufacturer recommendations, and these depend on the type of floor you want. They usually start in the left-hand corner of the room and work across the room to the other side to finish it. Depending on the flooring type, your cost to install laminate flooring with labor will range around:
- Acacia, Cherry, or Beech – $5.00 to $7.00 per square foot
- Elm – $8.00 to $10.00 per square foot
- Hickory – $8.00 to $10.00 per square foot
- Maple or Oak – $2.75 to $7.00 per square foot
- Walnut – $2.75 to $7.00 per square foot
It’s possible to save money on your cost to install laminate flooring if you do it by yourself, but a professional can ensure that you have an even and solid subfloor to support it, and they’re also ready if something goes wrong. NOLA Mission Trip December 2007 by Casey at the Bat / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Removing Laminate Flooring or Carpet – Labor Costs
It’s slightly more expensive to remove laminate flooring, and you’ll pay an average of $400 for a professional-grade contractor to remove the laminate flooring out of a 200-square foot room or area. If you want to lower your overall project costs, you can remove the laminate flooring yourself before the company comes to lay the new down. You do have to be very careful not to damage your home’s subfloor or the home itself during the removal process.
If you get the floor torn out and find that you have to replace your subfloor, it’s a good idea to stop and leave the rest to the professionals. The average cost you’ll incur to have a professional repair or replace a plywood subfloor is around $550 for a 300-square foot room. You’ll usually pay between $25 and $35 in labor costs for this project, so be sure to shop around and get a few quotes before you settle on one company.
Maybe you have carpet that you want to remove before you install your new floor, and you wonder how this will impact your total cost to install laminate flooring. You can install yoru laminate directly over short carpet, but it can void the manufacturer warranty so most companies don’t recommend it. If you have carpet that is glued down, you’ll have to scrape the glue from your subfloor before they can install the new. On average, it costs between $1.00 and $1.50 per square foot to remove carpet.
Factors That Determine Your Final Project Costs
There are several factors that will help determine how much your cost to install laminate flooring is, and some of them are surprising. Knowing the biggest factors can help you budget for this expense and get the floor you want.
The industry ranks the durability of laminate by AC level. These levels start at one and go to five, and five is the most durable option. For residential laminate, the highest rating you’ll typically need is AC 4. You’ll usually see AC 5 flooring in commercial or industrial areas. For areas that have lower foot traffic in your home, you can get away with an AC 1 rating. However, you want your rating to go up in high traffic areas like the entryway and kitchen.
Did you know that the deeper hues and colors on the laminate flooring are usually considered premium? They can boost your cost significantly over picking the less expensive lighter colors. The price won’t change if the laminate material is wood, tile, or slate, but the colors do matter. Try to go for the less popular ones if you’re on a tighter budget.
Location is a key piece of the puzzle when you’re getting an estimate for a project. For example, maybe you have a large or small set of stairs or a landing in the area where you want your floor. If so, these obstacles will make the price per square foot go up. You’ll need more materials to work around everything, and this requires more maintenance and trimming.
Pad or Underlay
If you’re not looking to add on any surprise expenses after you purchase your flooring, look into options that have padding or underlayment attached. You can purchase underlayment separately, and it usually comes ready to go in 100-foot rolls. A single 100-foot roll costs between $15 and $20. The thickness and quality can drive the price up. It does take longer to install and increases your labor costs if you buy it separately because the contractor will have to measure and cut the pad or underlay before the flooring.
You would assume that the smaller your room is, the lower your final price will be. However, this is different for laminate flooring installation. In fact, the smaller the area is that you want your floor, the higher the price per square footage goes. It makes it more time-consuming to install because you’ll end up trimming a lot more to fit the space.
Time of Year
Finally, the time of year can easily impact your cost to install laminate flooring. In general, autumn is a very busy time for carpenters and contractors because they’re rushing to complete renovations before the holidays come around. You’ll usually find the best deals during the later winter months going into the new year because the contractors are less busy and they’re getting ready to bring out new stock.
Most laminate flooring manufacturers will have a warranty on their product that starts from the date of purchase. It’s not uncommon to have warranties that extend out 10 years. You do want to read the terms of the warranty and the length to know what it covers and for how long. This is where you’ll find that installing your laminate over carpeting can void the warranty if anything goes wrong.
Laminate Flooring Thicknesses
You’ll find out that the cost to buy and install laminate flooring also depends on the thickness level, and you can choose from five different ones. You can usually choose from 8 to 12mm thickness levels. Every laminate is resistant to dents, but thicker options are less resistant to bending if you don’t have an even subfloor. Also, thicker laminate means you have less noise resistance overall. You’ll spend around:
- 8mm Thickness – $1.80 per square foot
- 10mm Thickness – $2.00 per square foot
- 12mm Thickness – $2.30 per square foot
Laminate Flooring Textures
You’ll pick from several different textures with your laminate flooring. The texture will help you make it look more like a natural hardwood or stone than inauthentic. The most popular textures are:
If your laminate flooring has a brushed texture, it has a soft and textured finish that looks like it got brushed with metal wire. This can give you a very aged or rustic look that looks wonderful for a kitchen remodel. It can bring more character to your flooring as a whole, and it has a cost range between $2.00 and $4.00 per square foot.
This texture differs from most on the list because it’s not specific to the decor or final look of the floor. Instead, embossed is an overall style texture you can pick. It has a price range from $1.80 to $3.00 per square foot.
Embossed in Register (EIR)
If you’re going for the natural hardwood look, consider Embossed in Register. This type of texture will add a lot of texture and depth to the floor in the alignment. It’s easy to clean, and it has a very shiny look. This texture runs between $1.70 to $2.60 per square foot.
Different textures will give you different looks on your laminate floor, and it’s a way to add interest to a room without having to install actual hardwood or stone flooring. Laminate Flooring by floorsmk / CC BY-SA 2.0
This laminate flooring goes through a pressing process that helps it resemble a real hand scraped flooring look. It looks older, distressed, and slightly worn to add a rustic appeal. It has a price range from $3.00 to $6.00 per square foot.
The oiled laminate flooring mimics the look of a well-oiled and well-maintained hardwood floor. It’ll shimmer when the sunlight hits it, and it’s very beautiful in contemporary home designs. This texture runs between $2.60 and $5.75 per square foot.
You can get laminate flooring with a satin or smooth finish on it. This will make your flooring very smooth and soft when you touch it, and it won’t feature any really deep grain textures. It’s very easy to clean and maintain, and it has a deep shine. This texture will cost between $1.70 and $2.60 per square foot.
Laminate Floor Finish
Finally, there are different finishes on laminate flooring that can cause the cost to buy and install laminate flooring to fluctuate. If you want a more shiny or dull appearance, the right finish can help. The most popular laminate finishes are:
A glossy finish on your laminate can make it stand out and be very eye-catching. You see this finish in many club and even space locations. You can get a high-gloss finish in a broad range of colors that range from dark to light. A white glossy floor will make your room seem much larger or arier, and dark gloss will add beauty and character to your room. This finish costs between $1.70 and $3.60 a square foot.
Matte finish is very popular for professional businesses and corporate printing spaces. It gives you a nice amount of sheen and shine, but it absorbs light rather than reflects it. This makes it more discreet and subtle. It’s a nice pick for people on a budget because it costs between $0.70 and $2.80 per square foot.
Better known as a medium-gloss finish, this falls halfway between a high gloss and a matte. You get a good amount of sheen and shine with it, and it’s slightly more subtle than full gloss finishes. This is another good pick for people who want a little more shine than you get with matte without breaking your budget, and it costs between $0.70 and $2.80 per square foot.
Cost of Laminate Flooring vs. Carpet
Carpet is a very popular alternative to laminate for your floor. You’ll pay between $2.00 and $4.00 per square foot for the materials, and this makes it cheaper than laminate. For example, to carpet a 200-square foot room, you’ll spend between $400 or $800. To do the same room in laminate, your costs go up to between $600 and $1,600. Carpets hold warmth longer and it’s cheaper, but it’s more difficult to keep clean and maintain. Many people see it as dated too.
Cost of Laminate Flooring vs. Hardwood
Generally speaking, many people see the cost to install laminate flooring lower than hardwood. You can spend between $8 and $15 per square foot to install laminate, but hardwood flooring will cost between $12 to $20 per square foot. Laminate is usually easier to install, and they come in a huge range of styles. However, they don’t have the durability of hardwood.
Where to Find Laminate Flooring Installers
Frequently Asked Questions
Before you start your project, you want to ensure you have all of the necessary tools on hand to complete it. Most flooring projects take a day at most to complete. 000_0063.JPG by Vanessa Loftus / CC BY-NC 2.0
1. Which tools do you need to install laminate flooring yourself?
If you’re going to DIY your laminate flooring installation to help lower your costs, you’ll need a few tools to complete the job. You’ll need a pull bar, spacers, goggles, tapping block, hammer, utility knife, tape measure, pencil, drill, router, and a floor cleaner.
2. How much flooring do you need?
You have to get the square footage of your room to figure out how much laminate flooring you need to complete the project. You can look at online calculators, but finding the square footage of a room is easy. All you have to do is measure the length and the width of the room. Get those two numbers and multiply the length by the width. So, if you had a room that is 11 feet wide and 15 feet long, the square footage would be 165-square feet.
3. Is it easy to install laminate flooring?
Yes and no. If you’re DIY-prone and have a basic understanding of carpentry, it can be relatively easy to install your new flooring if you follow the directions. However, any obstacles in your way are going to make the installation process more complicated because you have to work around them, and your subfloor’s condition will also factor in.
There are many factors that go into deciding your cost to install laminate flooring, and it’s essential that you take everything into consideration to ensure that you can budget for it. We’ve laid out a detailed guide that highlights the biggest cost concerns, and you can apply it to your situation and see if it’s feasible. Laminate flooring can be a beautiful and durable addition to any house, and it can last for decades with proper installation.