The average laminate flooring installation in the United States costs approximately $2,100, or $4 to $14 per square foot. Laminate is one of the most economical flooring choices, offering homeowners several benefits over other floor coverings. We’re diving deep into laminate flooring installation and cost to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your home.
When to Consider Laminate Flooring Installation
When should you use laminate flooring as opposed to other flooring surfaces? Laminate is the best choice for high-traffic areas and rooms with a lot of moisture, like kitchens and bathrooms. It’s a great solution when replacing the floor in any part of your house.
Signs It’s Time to Replace Old Laminate Flooring
It can be hard to tell when to replace old laminate flooring. You want to get as much life out of your floor as possible while ensuring your home is functional and aesthetically pleasing. The lifespan of laminate flooring is about 15 to 25 years, depending on the quality of the product and how it is treated. Several signs indicate it may be the right time to consider replacing your old laminate floor.
Visible Wear and Tear
Scratches, dents, and worn areas are signs that heavy foot traffic, furniture movement, and daily wear and tear are taking their toll. Consider replacing your laminate flooring if there are a significant number of visible imperfections on the surface.
Water Damage or Swelling
Flooding, broken pipes, and wet areas can undermine the integrity of your floor, leading to problems like water damage and swelling.
Outdated or Discontinued Styles
Whether you’re remodeling or your home just needs an upgrade, replacing your old laminate floor with a more contemporary style can enhance the aesthetics of your home.
Frequent Repairs and Maintenance
Another sign that your old laminate floor needs to be replaced is when you have to make frequent repairs. The click-and-lock method for installing laminate flooring starts to come loose when it gets old and may present tripping hazards.
Decreased Comfort and Sound Insulation
If the underlayment in your old laminate floor has deteriorated or compressed over the years, it may no longer absorb and reduce sound. It can also be less comfortable to walk on.
Allergies and Indoor Air Quality
After years of heavy use, allergens collect between the layers of your floor, accumulating in cracks and crevices. Since the finish of old laminate flooring is often compromised, moisture can get underneath and lead to the growth of mold and mildew, ultimately affecting your home’s indoor air quality.
The Benefits of Installing New Laminate Flooring
Floating floor installation costs are lower than other floor covering installations, which is a primary benefit. Take a look at the other benefits of installing new laminate flooring.
Durability and Longevity
Generally, laminate flooring is durable and long-lasting. The top layer is protected with a resin coating, making your floor resistant to scratches from pet nails, moving furniture, and foot traffic.
Not all laminate flooring is equal, however. One factor affecting the quality of new laminate flooring is the top layer’s abrasion class rating (AC rating). The higher the rating, the more durable your floor will be.
Aesthetics and Design Options
Laminate flooring comes in various colors and patterns. Finding the exact look you want isn’t hard with all the options available. Laminate flooring offers almost endless pattern options, including wood, stone, and tile designs.
Low Maintenance and Easy Cleaning
Laminate flooring is easy to maintain and clean. The protective coating resists spills and stains, making it much easier to care for than other types of flooring. Regular sweeping and occasional damp mopping are sufficient to keep the floor clean.
Increased Resale Value
Homebuyers love the look of new floors, and while the return on investment for new laminate flooring is usually only about 70% to 80% of your costs, it can make your home easier to sell if you install new floors.
Factors in Calculating Installation Costs of Laminate Flooring
When calculating the cost to install laminate flooring, consider the following factors.
Square Footage and Room Layout
The primary factor determining the cost of installing laminate flooring is the size of the area. The larger the space, the more material you’ll need. Some room layouts are more complex, and you may have more waste. It’s always smart to order about 5% to 10% more material than you need to account for waste, but if there are a lot of curves or other complex shapes, increase that number up to 15%.
Labor Costs and Installer Experience
Labor costs to install a laminate floor average about $1 to $6 per square foot. Flooring installation crews may also handle the disposal and removal of old flooring.
Materials and Quality
There are many different types of laminate flooring, with a wide range of prices depending on the quality, style, and brand. Be sure to factor in replacement costs when choosing lower-quality products.
Geographic Location and Regional Pricing
Laminate flooring pricing depends on your location. Geographical pricing and market demand play a significant role in determining the cost of the materials, and some regions have a higher labor cost. It will also cost you more if you live in a remote location because you need to account for the extra mileage, whether installing the floor yourself or hiring someone.
Additional Laminate Flooring Costs and Considerations
Most laminate flooring applications are straightforward, but you may also run into other costs that drive up the cost of your laminate flooring project.
Underlayment and Subfloor Preparation
Before laminate flooring can be installed, you must adequately prepare the subfloor. Check to ensure it’s level, clean, and structurally sound.
The cost of subfloor preparation depends on what needs to be done, ranging from $1 to $12 per square foot. In addition, you’ll also need to use underlayment, which costs about $0.50 to $1.00 per square foot.
Trim, Molding, and Accessories
You may be able to salvage the trim and molding when you replace your floor, but it’s often best to purchase new materials. The cost of trim and various accessories depends on the type and quality of materials you’re using and the total length of the perimeter of your room.
Unforeseen Expenses and Contingency Planning
Planning for mistakes and unforeseen expenses when installing a new floor is a good idea. Here are some examples of extra costs that can add up quickly:
- Warranty costs
- Special features or textures
- Tool rental
- Disposal of old flooring
- Transition strips
- Stair treads
You should also order at least 5% to 10% more materials to plan for contingencies.
Laminate Flooring Types and Their Cost Variations
Laminate flooring costs vary depending on the type, brand, and wear layer.
Standard Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is rated by how well it wears, and each product is given an AC rating from 1 to 6. The best wear layer rating for a standard residential laminate floor is an AC2 or AC3.
Standard laminate floor cost per square foot is $2 to $5.
Premium Laminate Flooring
You may need premium laminate flooring in high-traffic areas or commercial settings. It provides the best resistance to scratches, dents, and abrasion.
The cost of premium laminate flooring can go as high as $8 per square foot.
Waterproof Laminate Flooring
Waterproof laminate flooring is made of high-density fiberboard. It’s often mixed with stone plastic composites and other materials to add strength and resistance to water.
The average cost of waterproof laminate flooring is $3 to $5 per square foot.
Laminate flooring costs are calculated by square foot. Determine the area of your floor by multiplying the length by the width, and then use that number to determine how much your project will cost.
Breaking Down the Costs
Here is the cost to install laminate flooring per square foot, broken down by materials and labor.
|Square feet total
|Laminate flooring cost: $2 to $8 per square foot
|Installation cost: $1 to $6 per square feet
|Total project cost
|$400 to $1,600
|$200 to $1,200
|$600 to $2,800
|$800 to $3,200
|$400 to $2,400
|$1,200 to $5,600
|$1,400 to $5,600
|$700 to $4,200
|$2,100 to $9,800
|$2,000 to $8,000
|$1,000 to $6,000
|$3,000 to $14,000
|$4,000 to $16,000
|$2,000 to $12,000
|$6,000 to $28,000
Comparing Types and Qualities
When comparing various types of laminate flooring, you’ll be shopping across several brands and AC ratings.
Top-name brands include Pergo, TrafficMaster, LifeProof, Quick-Step, and Mannington. High-quality laminate flooring costs are higher, but they are longer lasting.
You should also compare laminate flooring by AC ratings, which are outlined as follows:
- AC1- light foot traffic, suitable for bedrooms
- AC2- moderate foot traffic, suitable for living rooms
- AC3- residential heavy traffic, suitable for kitchens and bathrooms
- AC4- commercial medium foot traffic
- AC5- commercial heavy foot traffic
- AC6- commercial very heavy foot traffic
DIY Laminate Floor Installation vs. Hiring a Professional
Laminate flooring installations are a DIY-friendly project, potentially saving you up to $6 per square foot if you install them yourself. That can add up to thousands of dollars for large projects, so it’s worth considering DIY installation.
Pros and Cons of DIY Installation
Many people enjoy laying laminate flooring, and it’s a great way to add value to your home at a lower cost than hiring a professional. However, DIY installations have risks and challenges.
Laying laminate flooring is a time-consuming project, and even though you can take your time if you want, it’s nice to have it done quickly. Most laminate floors are easy to install with the click-and-lock installation method, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can end up with gaps, uneven floors, and buckling.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional Installer
You can count on a quality installation when hiring a professional to install your laminate floor. Professionals are also fast and efficient, usually able to install a laminate floor in one day. One of the primary benefits of hiring a professional installer is that you typically can rest assured your product is covered under warranty.
How to Save Money on Laminate Flooring Installation
Follow these tips to lower laminate and faux wood flooring costs.
Negotiating Installation Quotes
If you’re hiring a professional, get quotes from at least three prospective contractors so you can negotiate on price. You can also ask them for price breaks if you do some of the work, such as tearing out existing flooring.
Cost-Effective Material Selection
Lowering your laminate flooring material costs is another way to save money. You can sometimes find clearance deals, especially for small rooms.
Timing and Seasonal Discounts
The best time to install laminate flooring is from December to February when you’ll be competing with fewer people for the services of contractors.
5 FAQs About Costs of Installing Laminate Floors
The average cost of laminate flooring per square foot for materials only is $3 to $8. With installation, you should expect to pay between $4 and $14 per square foot, depending on the materials’ finish, style, and texture.
Can I Save Money by Doing the Installation Myself?
Laminate flooring installation prices are lower if you install it yourself. The average labor cost to install laminate flooring is between $1 and $6 per square foot.
Are There Any Hidden Costs I Should Be Aware Of?
Some unexpected hardwood laminate costs include subfloor repair, existing floor removal, underlayment costs, and disposal of old flooring. When comparing work quotes from professional laminate installers, make sure you’re making accurate comparisons.
What Factors Influence Regional Price Variations?
Market demand for products and labor will influence the cost of laminate flooring installations. You may also have to pay more for installation during busy times of the year.
Are There Any Financing Options Available for Laminate Flooring Installation?
Financing options for laminate flooring installation include home equity lines of credit or using a consumer credit card from a major retailer, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. If you install it yourself, you can have a new laminate floor and make monthly payments to cover the material costs.