Which types of flooring are less expensive? Which costs more?

Home Builder with The Flooring Girl

How much does flooring cost? Which types cost more? Which cost less?

Westchester Brazilian Cherry Hardwood flooring Now, of course, these are loaded questions, but I get this question often. I always hesitate to give per square foot prices because they vary so much and for so many different reasons...as you'll see.

Originally posted at Which types of flooring cost less and which types cost more


For example, let's take hardwood floors ... the cost depends on what species and grade of hardwood. It depends on whether it’s solid or engineered. It depends on how wide the planks are. Prices can vary based on installation method (nailed vs. glued vs. floated as well as whether it’s prefinished or unfinished hardwood). The cost depends on whether or not you have plywood subfloor. It depends if we need to do rip up and what surface we are ripping up (carpet or hardwood or tile). It depends if your floor is level and whether we need to do floor prep. Further, prices can vary on whether it’s a small, mid or large size area.


Westchester hardwood flooring - floating floorIn addition, I don’t like giving per sq ft prices because customers will measure their room and do the multiplication and think that’s the price. But, they don’t realize that they need to account for many other factors including waste, acclimation delivery, transition pieces, whether we replace the base molding on the walls or just add shoe molding. As you can see there are MANY factors.  


Also, many customers can be misled when they go to a store as they just see the cost for the materials. Carpet Westchester County New YorkThese prices usually do not include the labor nor the other factors I just mentioned above. So, I have many customers that mistakenly think some surfaces cost less. Please bear in mind that these are generalities, so it does depend on which item you select and the conditions of your floors. Also, this can vary a based on your geography. But, for the most part, these generalities should hold for Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Mid West. It is likely that the prices for tile are a lower in some of the warmer climates - especially in the South, West and Southwest.  

So, here's a look at flooring prices from least expensive to most expensive – factoring in labor + material:

Carpet: In general, carpet is the least expensive surface. So, if you really need to save money, this is the way to go. The labor on carpet is lower and you can certainly find some less expensive carpets, especially when it comes to basement carpet.

  Wool carpet Westchester County NY

That being said, carpet more than any other surface varies the most in price. As you get into much softer nylons, or multi-colored carpets or wool carpets, the prices increase and are sometimes even more expensive than hardwoods. But, as a general rule, carpet will usually cost you less than any other hard surface.  




Laminate flooring Westchester  - floating floor

LaminateLaminate flooring is usually more expensive than carpet but less expensive than hardwood. The materials for laminate are less expensive and labor is lower. In addition, pending on the conditions of the current floor, sometimes, you can install laminate directly on top of what’s there.so this reduces cost of rip up and haul away.  



Solid Hardwood flooring Westchester NY

Hardwood flooring – I really do prefer hardwood flooring over laminate, but it does cost more. (It’s usually worth it since in the long run, it will usually last longer). Oak and bamboo tend to be the lower cost hardwoods. Adding hardwood to your home not only looks great (and most people prefer), but it also improves the value of your home, so it is a great investment. Oh, and it’s easier (and less expensive) to clean and maintain.





  Marble and granite flooring Westchester NY - entryway

Tile flooring – In general, tile is the most expensive surface to install. That’s because it’s the most labor intensive. This is often a surprise to customers because they’ll see tile in Home Depot and think, wow, this is less expensive than I thought…and, that’s true…the material is not that expensive…it’s the labor that drives the price on this one.  




titile flooring Westchester County NY


So don’t be fooled by looking at the material cost. It takes much longer to lay tile and it's rip it out and haul it away. When it comes to bathrooms, there are a whole slew of other costs that come along with this. Usually when you tear up the walls, you need to resheet rock (and/or add durarock for the showers). Often a mudjob is needed for the floor and the shower. Oh, and don’t forget about the cost of a licensed plumber for toilet & sink removal as well as replacement of the shower pan.  


Tile flooring with diamond inserts Westchester NY

So, the costs for tile flooring really do add up. Tile is clearly the best choice for the bathroom, but just be aware that there are a lot of costs there. For regular floors (such as kitchens and entryways), tile will usually cost more. In warmer climates, tile is more popular, so the labor costs are a bit lower – same amount of labor – just more competitive rates.  


I hope this is helpful in providing some guidelines. As I mentioned, the prices will vary based on your circumstances and which material you are evaluating. This is another reason I like to go to customer’s homes. When I do, I can give them the prices for many different items and different surfaces so they can see the full price difference among their choices.  

If you live in Westchester NY and would like some guidance on your flooring, give The Flooring Girl a call at 914-937-2950.

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Which types of flooring are less expensive? Which types cost more?


Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. JOSH EVANS *JoshEvansHomes 516-655-5000 05/13/2012 09:12 PM
  2. Kathy Streib 05/13/2012 10:50 PM
  3. John McCormack 05/14/2012 02:02 PM
  4. Barbara "Barb" Bodnar, Licensed Associate RE Broker 05/18/2012 09:17 PM
  5. Donna Foerster 09/02/2012 02:23 AM
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ramblings from a westchester flooring store shop at home

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Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Sally & David - Yes, exactly.  Get the experts in...because even though these are general principles, they can vary pending on cost of item and condition of subfloor.

May 13, 2012 09:00 PM #2
Anita Clark
ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055 - Warner Robins, GA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA

Debbie: This gives consumers a baseline to start their flooring decision making from...go cheaper or spend more and get hardwood.

May 13, 2012 09:01 PM #3
JOSH EVANS *JoshEvansHomes 516-655-5000
Village Properties of Mineola, LLC - Mineola, NY
Great blog and great job. Keep up the good work and good luck to you this year. Thanks.
May 13, 2012 09:12 PM #4
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Anita - Thank you, and yes, that often makes sense - either or.

Joah - thx

May 13, 2012 09:16 PM #5
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

We just selected hardwood bamboo flooring for my cousins kitchen project.  In the long run, it wasn't that much more expensive than engineered hardwood or laminate and it is more durable and will more than likely last much longer.  Hence, less expensive over a period of time.  If you're going to do it, do it right the first time around.

May 13, 2012 09:16 PM #6
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

Debbie, it is geographical as well. Here tile is cheap and would be less than real wood. Now marble, stone or granite is a different story. 

May 13, 2012 09:22 PM #7
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

Debbie~ I love how you explained all of this. I have difficulty with clients at times not getting the whole picture with new construction costs. Although doing things with a new home are sometimes different, this gives them a good idea of what to expect with the flooring differences.

May 13, 2012 09:25 PM #8
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Debbie,

I have seen store list prices and items as follows.

Good, Better, Best.

Then you can see what prices and what you are getting for the square foot price.

But it's really hard to give a price when you know a "BETTER" product would make the client a lot happier in the long run.

Good post.

Best, Clint Mckie 


May 13, 2012 09:40 PM #9
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Roger - smart thinking.

Winston - Yes, that doesn't surprise me at all.

Janis - Thx so much.  Hopefully, this will come in handy.

Clint - Yes, that is very true.  Once you have narrowed down to a surface, yes, there are good/better/best products...and usually in those cases, the labor is the same,  it's just the quality of the product - how it looks, how long it will last.

May 13, 2012 10:03 PM #10
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Debbie- this is so helpful to all of us.  I know that homeowners are always going to want price per sq ft but you're right, you have to factor in material, labor and other factors.  I'm saving this one so I can address some of these with clients. 

May 13, 2012 10:45 PM #11
Emily Medvec Qualifying Broker
Hello Realty Partners - Santa Fe, NM
Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM

Debbie, as always I am floored by your knowledge and expertise. I often wish you were here as you are a wealth of information and practical advise. Suggested!

May 14, 2012 12:05 AM #12
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Debbie  - you always help consumers make informed decisions on flooring, the pro and cons depending on what your family's lifestyle, pets, kids, ect. I love all the options now available and it's amazing how great wood laminate looks! It's come a long way even in the last few years.

May 14, 2012 12:56 AM #13
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Kathy - Excellent.  I'm so glad you found this helpful and thank you for reblogging.

Emily - Oh thank you so much.  You are so sweet.

Kristine - Thank you so much.  You are too kind.  And, yes, it is amazing to see how far some of the options have come.

May 14, 2012 02:08 AM #14
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

These are great information for people looking to renovate their apartment or home. The floor cost can be vary depending on products and usage.

May 14, 2012 03:51 AM #15
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Debbie, I would have thought that Hardwood would have been more expensive than Tile, shows you how much I know.

May 14, 2012 11:37 AM #16
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Debbie - you are right, I was surprised when you said that tile could cost more than hardwood, but it is true, that we tend to look at the cost of tile, see $1.69 and feel that we got a goldmine.

Thanks for some great information

May 14, 2012 02:32 PM #17
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Eileen - Thx and yes, that is true.

George - Definitely not so in our area. but, likely in the south and southwest where homes are built on slabs and there are tons of tile people looking for work, it is likely reversed.

Jon - Yes, that is for sure one of the factors.  However, in your area, because labor for tile is less expensive, it is much more affordable than it is here.  Also, many homes in the warm climates are built on slabs vs. in Northeast/Mid Atlantic they are built on plywood, so for us, hardwood is much mroe affordable and tile requires an extra step.  For slab homes, engineered hardwood is more common (since there is no plywood). I hope that made sense.

May 14, 2012 07:35 PM #18
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Debbie, This makes a clear explanation of flooring choices and how they can vary in costs.

Sep 02, 2012 07:01 AM #19

what about stain concrete floors, you didn't mention about it..

Apr 26, 2013 07:35 AM #20
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Debbie - Thx so much.

John - Great question.  We don't actually do that, but from some of the prices I've heard that these tend to be expensive - generally less than tile but often more than more than the other surfaces.

Apr 26, 2013 10:05 AM #21
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Debbie Gartner

The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers
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