Big Bob's Flooring Blog

Before You Buy It: Hardwood Flooring 2019 Edition

Jul 1, 2019 10:30:00 AM / by Rob Lewis

The enduring reputation of the strength, style, and stability of hardwood is undeniable and that continues to make it the most popular flooring choice.


There are many factors that determine the cost (which we will get into) you would be paying specifically, but it typically starts around $950 at about $5.50 to $9.50 per square foot. However, part of the beauty of hardwood floors is that you can go all out or save a ton of money. The final price has a lot to do with however much you’re willing to spend.





Listen, I’d love it if you could take a survey and get the exact price that fits your needs.

The price of wood fluctuates based on its availability, the demand for it, its hardness and its finish.

The range of variables that dictate the cost of hardwood can include but isn’t limited to, the weather! If a specific species of hardwood is undergoing harsh weather conditions where it is harvested, it could affect the prices you’ll see in the stores.


But much like the weather, we can at least predict how much you could be spending. Here is a formula that might help you measure a price.

It does not account for installation prices because, much like the price of the wood itself, it varies on a case by case basis.


Price Customizer Formula


I’ve gathered some common types of wood used for floors, common board sizes, common rooms in the home and the prices/sizes of each. Go ahead and plug in some numbers - I’ll give you an example of how to see your estimated cost!




Beware the short answer!


It’s easy to move towards hardwood alternatives like laminate or vinyl, but I’m here to tell you that the financial investment is well worth the time, effort, and money that will go into you hardwood purchase!


It’s important to take the time and understand what goes into the installation and everything that the home and the family will get out of new hardwood floors in the long run.

There is so much to consider when looking into hardwood floors and one of the first things to understand is the difference between Real and Engineered hardwoods. Let’s break those down real quick!



Real hardwood that we use for floors comes from trees that were farmed and harvested specifically for flooring. There is an incredible variety of species that are available and you can mix and match different ones when replacing your floor for a one-of-a-kind design unique to you!


They are cut in different ways during the manufacturing process so you can take your pick when picking your floor! Here are the three types of cuts and what to know about them:





Although there are other types of cuts out there, this cut offers the most value. Not to mention it is the most common out there!

It also offers the widest boards and a ton of grain variety. I’ll save you the Google search, it refers to the natural irregularities of the wood that make it beautiful! Some examples of grain variety include knots or discolorations.



The difference between real and engineered hardwood is that it is constructed in layers and plies for stability instead of slabs straight from the log.

The whole log is used (so there is no waste!) and cut into thin sheets which are layered on top of each other. The way Engineered hardwood is layered makes it incredibly stable and durable which then contributes to its popularity in households.


You solved the equation above and came to a rough idea on what you could expect to pay for a specific floor in a specific space before the cost of installation.


We looked at how it is created and how that plays a role in its cost. Now I’d like to break down the biggest factors that dictate the cost after its made so that you can familiarize yourself with the why and maybe it will help inform your decision.




The Janka Rating is how those in the industry determine the hardness of the woods used for flooring.


The harder the wood, the more durable and higher quality it is. This typically leads to higher prices! The woods that have a lower rating are softer and have an increased chance of cracking or denting.


However, this doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to have Brazilian Walnut if you want a durable floor!

Birch and Red Oak are among the lower rated woods that are often used because they fit a great price and offer still a sturdy floor.









The next factor when determining the cost per square foot is supply and demand. I mentioned that the rarity of certain woods makes them more expensive.

If you take a look at the diagram above, you’ll see that species like Maple and Oak sit in the middle. Maple and Oak are some of the most popular types of flooring, meaning that the demand is there and the prices will be more competitive.


Whether you’re looking at species at the top of the list, or further down, the supply is more likely to fluctuate. Supply, demand, and quality are all determining factors when calculating a price. We encourage you to go beyond your own research and consult your local flooring retailer for the best advice!




What does it mean for a hardwood floor to be finished, you ask?

It just means that it’s given a protective coat of UV treated polyurethane to give it a glossy layer of protection.


Although you can buy your hardwood floors unfinished, it is more common to purchase your hardwood pre-finished.

Only factory finishes contain Aluminum Oxide which has superior resistance to micro-scratches.


Engineered Hardwood, on the other hand, is always factory finished.


Unfinished Real Hardwood is about half the price of finished but the cost of finishing it in the home would essentially make it the same price if you were to buy it pre-finished.

So there is a cost to consider when choosing finishes and if you want factory finished hardwood or unfinished hardwood. Much of the options are determined by preference and taste!


Screenshot (59)


Your final cost is based on your needs, taste, and budget as well as the four factors we just discussed - hardness, supply, and demand (and quality!), as well as its finish.

The goal here was to help familiarize you with the wonderfully complex world of hardwood floors!

The next step is to get in touch with a professional so they can answer your questions and listen to your needs, taste and budget options.




Topics: cost, hardwood, maintenance

Rob Lewis

Written by Rob Lewis