There are so many determining factors for laminate flooring cost and installation price, so don’t rush things when you are thinking about remodeling the floor.
Not many people have the budgets to do home improvement project, so going for the inexpensive and affordable flooring would be logical.
Laminate is one flooring option that you should seriously consider it is quite sturdy and strong in high traffic areas, it is easy to care and maintain, and it is also simple to install.
Another thing to consider is about the quality of the floor over the last few years.
Laminate flooring has undergone serious improvement some of the high quality brands are able to imitate the texture and look of natural materials, such as stone and hardwood.
So, what should you know about it?
The Cost Factors
There are so many factors that determine the laminate flooring cost, including:
- The brand
- The square feet you are covering
- The quality (of the floor)
- The place where buying the floor
- Sales tax, shipping fee, and delivery cost
Laminate floor has a different price range, from low to mid but never too high.
It would be wise to really know how much flooring you need to cover the area. That’s why the first thing to do is to measure the floor.
Once you know the exact number, add up another 5% to 10% – just in case there are trimmed or wasted pieces.
After you know the estimation for the floor, then you can consider the brands of floors. Naturally, different brand would have different price range. The more premium the quality is, the higher the price would be.
In general, the prices would go from as low as $1 a square foot to as high as $5 a square foot. In most cases, the laminate flooring cost would be from $2 to $4 a square foot.
And since we are talking about quality, what kind of quality you are you looking for from the laminate floor?
When you want to choose high-quality floor, think about:
- Overall thickness
- The wear layer
- Bottom layer type
Based on these classifications, there are different types of laminate flooring:
- Cheap laminate. This one costs as low as $1 a square foot and that’s about it. But, the price does define the quality of construction. it only has 1/8 inch of thickness with super thin wear layer on the top. If you have a busy house with high foot traffic areas here and there, you can forget this floor. It won’t last long. When compared to other options, this one would wear down super quickly.
- Medium-quality laminate. It comes with 3/8 inch of thickness. The wear layer is also thicker. In general, it will cost you a good $2 a square foot to $4 a square foot.
- High-quality laminate. This is the floor with ½ inch of overall thickness. Among the three types, this one is the thickest with also the thickest wear layer on top. The cost is around $3 a square foot to $5 a square foot.
Keep in mind that some floors include high-quality attached underlayment or vapor barrier or sound proof barrier as the extra features.
These would definitely affect the overall laminate flooring cost of the flooring too. But be advised that you will save a lot of money in the longer run.
Yes, you spend a lot of money at the beginning, but it saves you tons of money in the future.
Different Brands and Their Price Ranges
As it was mentioned before, different brands have different quality and laminate flooring cost range.
Here are some general knowledge about some of the popular brands in the industry.
- Shaw, Quick-Step, Mohawk, and Armstrong offer both basic laminate flooring as well as premium collections. For their basic collections, the price range is from $1 to $3 a square foot, while the premium collection is set from $2.80 to $4.25 a square foot.
- Pergo, Mannington, Bruce, and BerryAlloc also offer basic collections and premium one. The basic one is offered at $1.55 a square foot to around $3.60 a square foot. The premium one is set from $3.50 a square foot to $5.25 a square foot.
The decision to choose and buy your floor would also determine the price range.
Most online stores and popular retails are offering competitive price, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t open your eyes for local discounts or sales.
Don’t forget that online purchase may cost you with delivery, shipping, and also tax. If you choose the local shopping, you won’t have to deal with shipping or delivery.
In the event you are willing to pay extra, you can have all of those stuff delivered to your front door. If you aren’t, then you need to take them all by yourself.
And don’t forget, there are 38 states imposing sales tax in your purchase. If you live in one of them, then you should add other figures in your calculator.
The arrangement about the general laminate flooring cost isn’t as simple as you may have thought, so make sure to do your research and be extra careful about it.
Installation Cost Elements and Factors
Aside from the general flooring price elements, there are also considerations about the installation laminate flooring cost.
The overall cost depends on:
- Subfloor condition
- The installer
- The complexity and difficulty of the work
- Whether you need to remove the old floor or not
- The area where you live
- Whether you need extra materials or not
The installer is the FIRST and the MAIN factor that will determine the installation cost adding up to your laminate flooring cost.
Will it be a professional installer or yourself?
Many of this type of flooring come with tongue and groove or click lock technology.
This is the reason why the floor is DIY friendly. If you think you can pull it off by yourself, then you should be able to save a lot of money for the project.
However, if you are completely clueless about the whole thing, then you should leave it to the pro.
If you are thinking about hiring a professional installer, the average installation cost would range from $1 a square foot to $3 a square foot.
But then again, it depends on the difficulty of the job itself. If you have to deal with complicated subfloor or the flooring may have to go around HVAC, electrical, or plumbing equipment, then you will have to deal with extra spending.
The extra spending includes installing the laminate floor in small and tight place.
Since you have to cut the floor, it will add up to your spending. The condition of the subfloor will also determine whether you have another spending or not.
Basically, laminate floor is coming as a floating floor, which means that you can install it on top of another floor. If the subfloor is pretty decent, then it should be good to go.
But if the floor below your laminate flooring is in bad condition, then you should seriously think about having it removed. If your installer is going to dispose the old floor, they may charge you extra for it.
And don’t forget, if you are going to remove the old floor, it means that you are dealing with dried glue, old nails, and other useless debris.
These things may need removal if you are going to level the subfloor. This will add to your expenses.
There are still other things that will add up to your expenses. Don’t forget that you have to consider the extra materials.
Think about the possibility that the floor may be damaged or chipped during the work, and you need the extra supply. And then, think about the extra stuff.
Let’s say that your choice of laminate flooring doesn’t have any attached underlayment, so it is only normal that you have to buy the underlayment.
Don’t forget that you will also have to deal with the extra stuff, like transition pieces, caulking, and baseboards you need to buy them and install them.
The area where you live will influence the overall laminate flooring cost.
If you live in metropolitan area, like New York or Los Angeles, then the cost would be pretty high. If you live in areas like Boston or New Orleans, then it won’t be too high.
Moreover, if you live in a remote area and the installer has to drive a long way (and long hour) to reach you, then expect a trip cost to be added to your expenses.
Measuring the Laminate Floor
Doing the measurement is pretty easy, really. You only need a piece of paper, a pen, and also a measuring tape. When you measure a room, do it as a rectangle.
So, when you have an L-shaped room, you need to measure two rectangles.
And how do you know the square footage?
Simply times the width and length, and you get the square feet.
Let’s say that the width is 15 feet, and the length is 25 feet, your calculation would be 15 x 25 and you get 375 square feet.
Don’t forget to add up 5% to 10% for any trimmed pieces and waste. For a 375 square feet of a room, you should have between 394 and 413 square feet of the floor.
This is the general rule of thumb in laminate flooring cost planning and arrangement.
Buying the Floor
Since laminate flooring is a popular pick these days, you should have no problem finding them.
Whether you pick your local home improvement shops or the online retailers, they will provide one for you.
But if you are thinking seriously about saving money, you should consider the online purchase.
They don’t have to deal with overhead and storefront costs, allowing them to offer lower price sometimes way lower!
Moreover, if the online retailer is from out of your state, it is possible that you save up money on the taxes.
Any online purchase from other states doesn’t subject you to paying the sales tax. And the matter of delivery is another thing to consider.
Since the floor would be delivered to your front door, you won’t have to be confused about getting them from the store to your house.
However, such purchase has its own flaws. You won’t be able to know exactly see what you are buying.
Unlike the offline retailers where you can touch, feel, and see the flooring material directly, you won’t be able to do so at the online retailer.
If you are still adamant about buying the floor online, you should pick a reputable retailer and they should have a good return policy.
Some of the popular online retailers are Empire Today, Wayfair, BuildDirect, and iFloor.com. The latter one was the first online store in flooring business.
They don’t charge sales tax (well, except if you live in Washington or Georgia), they have solid guarantee, and they allow you to return the floor is you aren’t happy with it. The time limit is up to 30 days.
BuildDirect is another popular name in the industry, known for high-quality building and flooring materials.
When it comes to laminate flooring, they have a huge collection of it. They are also offering a return policy and a refund in 30 days if you turn out dislike the floors.
Wayfair is another brand that is offering competitive laminate flooring cost without compromising quality. Their website is super easy to navigate and explore, making them quite stand out among the others.
However, be advised that their policy of free shipping (if you order more than $50) won’t apply to flooring. So, don’t get your hopes high.
Empire Today is another name offering unique services. Feel free to use their web to pick the laminate floor that you want, and then you can make a schedule for home consultation.
The company will send you a trained sales representative, bringing you the samples and helping you make a decision about which floor to order.
They will even provide professional (and free!) estimate. If you are willing, they will schedule the installation just for you.
There are still many other retailers that are willing to expand their services to help customers.
Besides providing offline services, they are also providing online purchase. Some of them include Lumber Liquidators, Home Depot, Floor&Decor, and Lowe’s.
When we are talking about Lowe’s and Home Depot, we are talking about two biggest (home improvement) retailers in America.
You won’t have any issue choosing their laminate flooring collections whether online or offline.
Not to mention that they also provide trained sales people to guide and help you through the process. As if it weren’t enough, they are also offering installation, if you want to.
Floor&Decor and Lumber Liquidators are both (flooring) brands specializing in hard surface floors. It means that you won’t find carpets in their offline and online stores.
They do provide local offline retail as well as online shops. Not only they offer installation, but they also offer competitive prices to help customers with limited budgets.
Saving Money on Installation
When you want to save money on flooring PURCHASE, the best way to do it is to shop around. But let’s not forget that laminate flooring cost includes installation too.
And how do you save money on INSTALLATION?
The most obvious way is to have a DIY project, meaning that you should do it on your own.
If you like DIY work, you have plenty of time, you aren’t rushed by anything, and you are pretty handy, then having a DIY lamination installation can be an ideal option. After all, it isn’t complicated or difficult.
However, if you prefer hiring a professional to do the work, there are still many ways to do to cut costs significantly.
For a starter, if you have to remove the old floor, why don’t you do it on your own?
Tell your contractor that you want to do this by yourself, so they won’t include the charge in the cost.
Simply remove any glue, nails, and other types of debris from your subfloor. You should also remove the baseboards, if there is any.
If you have concrete subfloor, check whether it needs leveling or patching.
If not, then you are good to go.
If yes, you should be able to do it on your own.
If you have wood subfloor, check for damaged or warping. Replace them if there is any. Sand down the unlevel parts.
Make sure to remove the furniture. If your installer has to do the removal, they will surely charge you. And if you want to seriously save money for the installation, schedule it to the end of winter.
You see, many people would schedule their projects in autumn right before the holiday season. Because this is the tendency, the contractors would be super busy.
But after the holiday is over, business will slow down. If you have the work during this period, your chances to get lower rate would be bigger.
Don’t forget to compare quotes. Get 3 quotes, minimum, from 3 different contractors that are professional, insured, and licensed.
Laminate floor can be highly effective in the right environment. Don’t be afraid about making your house look cheesy such a thing won’t happen if you pick the one with high quality premium would be okay.
After all, it is a cost effective alternative to improve your house without hurting the wallet.
There are many factors to consider not only about purchasing the material, but also about the installation.
There are so many different tips and information about how to save money and where to turn to if you want to buy the floor.
In the end, the laminate flooring cost shouldn’t be intimidating not if you come prepared.