How Much Money Will You Spend Installing Laminate Flooring?

When it's time to select a new type of flooring for any room in your home, laminate is a versatile option. It can mimic hardwood or stone with a far lower level of maintenance required and with a far lower price, all while offering excellent durability. You can even repair water-damaged laminate flooring, if necessary, enhancing its overall value. For a 200-square-foot installation, you can expect to pay about $3,000 on average for the materials and labor, yielding an average cost of about $15 per square foot. The actual cost can range from about $500 to $8,000.

The costs will be at the higher end of the range when you select laminate flooring that has scratch-resistant coatings that resist scuffs and abrasions, leading to greater durability. Certain designs may carry a price toward the top portion of the range. Less durable materials and styles could deliver a lower price than the average. Thanks to the photographic layer at the top of the material, laminate flooring can have a design style that resembles hardwood or stone. This photo layer includes realistic colors and patterns. 

As a bonus, you can expect to pay about half for the installation of laminate versus actual hardwood planks. However, it's worth noting that while modern laminate flooring has a more realistic look compared to designs from a couple of decades ago, you will be able to tell the difference when looking at it versus looking at actual hardwood flooring.

Can you save money with a DIY installation of laminate flooring?

If you hire a professional to install your laminate flooring, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2 to $8 per square foot for the labor alone. The actual material costs around $1 to $2 per square foot on average, although high-end models can cost as much as $10 per square foot.

The average cost of the entire job approaches the $15 per square foot price that we mentioned earlier because most homeowners need a previous type of flooring removed or may need repairs to the subfloor before the work can begin. Such costs would add to the overall price for the labor. If you don't need any repair work or removal work, your cost could be at the lower end of the overall range, often between $3 and $5 per square foot. 

You also have the option of doing the work yourself, saving on the labor costs. You don't need a lot of experience to do this type of work when you purchase click-in planks of laminate flooring, which are similar to vinyl planks. As long as you can measure and cut the planks, you can make this installation a DIY project. To save money, you may be able to hire a professional for the more difficult aspects of the work, such as going over the top of stairs or repairing and leveling the subflooring properly, while doing some parts as a DIY job.

Factors that could drive up the cost of the laminate flooring installation

When selecting laminate flooring material, a few factors can drive up the cost of the materials. Mimicking certain types of hardwood can increase the price. Hickory, cherry, or walnut laminate flooring costs a dollar or two more per square foot than maple or oak. Although a hardwood design is the most common option, you also could select designs that resemble stone or ceramic tile. Such designs carry a slightly higher cost per square foot than the more expensive hardwood designs, usually by a dollar or two.

The various finishes on the planks also affect the final cost of the materials. A glossy finish can cost almost a dollar more per square foot than selecting a matte finish. If you would like a textured finish on the planks of laminate flooring, expect to pay a dollar or two more per square foot versus a smooth texture. Brushed, embossed, oiled, and hand-scraped textures are all available in planks of laminate flooring that resemble hardwood.

Depending on the time required for the work and the amount of preparation required to make the space suitable for the laminate flooring installation, you could see the labor cost increase significantly. For example, you may need an underlay layer or padding that will sit underneath the laminate flooring, or you might need to repair damage to the subfloor. Contractors charge around $70 per hour for labor for this type of work.