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Adding hardwood flooring is a top home improvement project. In fact, 80% of homeowners say hardwood floors add value to their homes, according to a survey by the National Wood Flooring Association.
But value doesn’t come cheaply. The national average for hardwood flooring ranges from $2,486 to $6,760, according to research by HomeAdvisor.
A cash-out refinance can be a way to pay for a hardwood installation. And if you want to get an idea of how much a cash-out refinance might cost you, Credible is a good place to start. With Credible, you can compare mortgage refinance rates from multiple lenders in minutes.
The average cost for hardwood flooring depends on many factors, including your material selection, material costs, labor for installation, delivery and disposal charges, the size of your project, and any repairs needed to the existing subfloor.
And where you live has the greatest impact, because it can affect the cost of all the other factors that make up the total cost of your hardwood floor installation.
Based on cost survey information from homeowners who used HomeAdvisor to find professional hardwood floor installers, the average per-square-foot cost is
$6 to $12. High-end jobs may run as high as $13 to $25 — or more — per square foot.
Several factors affect hardwood flooring costs, including the method of installation, whether molding and trim are included, if the wood is prefinished or traditional, and more.
Engineered wood is generally less expensive and also costs less to install. It’s made up of a layer of thicker veneer and sheets of plywood underlayment to enforce stability and durability. Once installed, it looks like real hardwood.
You can expect to pay these prices for engineered hardwood, according to Home Depot:
- Cost for installation: $3.50 per square foot; the price varies depending on the type of wood you choose and whether the subflooring needs extensive repairs
- Material cost: $2.40 per square foot, but ranges quite a bit for the different types of wood, like oak, maple, birch, or hickory
- Underlayment: $0.50 per square foot
Hardwood choices are numerous. Some, like pine, white ash, mahogany, and maple, have subtle patterns, while others, like oak, tigerwood, and hickory, can vary quite a bit in color. You can also choose varying plank widths.
Hardwood flooring requires installation over a wooden subfloor, which increases the cost if your subfloor is concrete or tile. Home Depot says hardwood flooring can cost:
- Installation: $4.00 per square foot
- Materials: $3.80 per square foot
Other cost factors
While the type of wood you choose affects your total cost, it’s far from the only factor to consider. You should also take into account:
- Repair costs — Installing engineered hardwood or solid hardwood flooring often requires some repairs to the subfloor. These costs can add up to an additional $500 to $800, according to HomeAdvisor. Major repairs, like the joists, will be an extra $40 to $60 per square foot.
- Debris disposal — Some hardwood flooring professionals include the removal of carpeting and site waste in the installation price. Others charge separately, which can range from an additional $150 to $250, according to HomeAdvisor.
- Total square footage — Naturally, the more square footage you cover, the higher the cost. You’ll also have to factor in covering stairs or risers, the thickness of the wood, and the width of the planks.
- Regional factors — Labor costs vary quite a bit from one area of the country to the next. Plus, availability of wood types will affect costs. If you choose a type of wood that has to be shipped from a distant warehouse, for example, the supplier could pass increased transportation costs on to you.
- Prefinished vs. traditional hardwood — Prefinished hardwood costs more upfront but can save you money in the long run, as finishing hardwood floors onsite adds to the cost of labor.
- Pattern and design — Opting for a pattern or design in your flooring can add to the cost of materials and labor for installation. If you choose a pattern or intricate design, installation time and costs will likely increase.
How to pay for hardwood flooring
Besides using your personal savings to pay for the hardwood flooring in your home, you might consider several financing options, including:
- Personal loan — Most personal loans are unsecured, with no collateral required. As a result, the lender takes on a higher risk, translating into higher interest rates than some other options. You can use a personal loan to fund your hardwood flooring project, and their fixed rates make budgeting easier. But fees and penalties can add to the cost of the loan.
- Home equity loan — Home equity loans are generally easier to qualify for than personal loans. They have low interest rates because they use the equity in your home as collateral, and you might qualify to deduct interest payments from your taxable income. But home equity loans use your home as collateral, putting it at risk if you can’t make your loan payments.
- Home equity line of credit — A HELOC works somewhat like a credit card because you borrow only what you need and pay interest only on the amount borrowed. You can deduct the interest paid on a HELOC if you use the money for home improvements, and HELOCs provide flexible payoff terms. As with a home equity loan, your home is collateral for your HELOC.
- Cash-out refinance — With a cash-out refinance, you’re essentially replacing your current mortgage loan with a brand-new loan, preferably with a lower interest rate and better terms. Cash-out refinance rates are usually lower than other types of credit, so you can use the money you save to fund your flooring project. Because you’re tapping into the equity in your home, loan amounts can be significant, and you can stretch out repayment terms to 15, 20, or even 30 years.
If you’re considering a cash-out refinance, it’s a good idea to comparison shop for the best refinance rates available to you. With Credible, you can compare mortgage refinance rates from multiple lenders in minutes — all without affecting your credit.
People choose to use their home’s equity to fund home improvement projects for many reasons. It allows you to refinance your mortgage, get a lower rate, and the money you need for projects. Increasing your home’s value can add to your equity and make it easier to recoup the investment of new hardwood flooring when you sell your home.
Several tactics can help reduce the cost of hardwood flooring and hardwood floor installation costs, including:
- Comparison shop for the product. Comparison shopping can take time, but it’s usually worth it. You may be able to find sales or deals on materials from home improvement or local flooring stores.
- Get multiple quotes from contractors. Gathering a few quotes from several contractors may save you a bundle in labor costs. If you have several home improvement projects, you may even get a discount.
- Do some or all of the work yourself. DIY can save money if you’ve got the skill and talent. But you’ll need a few tools you may not have on hand, so be sure to include those costs in your estimate. For example, a pneumatic flooring nailer can cost between $200 and $400 at Lowes, but you might find one to rent.
- Refinish existing hardwood floors instead of replacing them. Solid hardwood floors can usually be refinished many times over a lifetime, saving you both time and money. But even this comes at a cost. HomeAdvisor says the average cost to refinish hardwood floors will run you between $3 and $8 per square foot.
Is hardwood flooring a good investment?
Generally, experts agree that hardwood flooring is a good investment for homeowners.
In fact, refinishing or installing new wood flooring are the home improvement projects with the highest return on investment, according to the National Association of Realtors® 2022 Remodeling Impact Report. Refinished hardwood floors yield an ROI of 147%, and new wood floors recover 188% of their costs, the report found.
People who installed new wood floors said they enjoyed their homes more, felt a major sense of accomplishment, and wanted to spend more time at home since completing the project, according to the report.
If you’re ready to tackle a hardwood flooring installation, refinish, or other home improvement project, Credible can help you get started looking for the cash-out refinance lender that’s right for you.