How Much Does It Cost to Install Engineered Hardwood Floors?
$2,000 - $7,000
$2,000 - $7,000
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Updated October 18, 2022Written by HomeAdvisor.
Engineered hardwood flooring installation costs $4,730 on average, typically ranging from $2,000 to $7,000. A more affordable alternative to the cost of traditional hardwood flooring, you’ll spend anywhere from $3 to $25 per square foot on engineered wood floors, depending on the type of wood you choose, the installation method, your location, and the project size.
Engineered hardwood planks have a layered core of plywood or fiberboard and a surface veneer of natural hardwood. They come pre-finished to save time and money during installation. You can't refinish them like solid wood, but engineered wood floors can still last about 50 years. This guide details the factors that influence the cost of installing engineered hardwood.
|Average Cost||High Cost||Low Cost|
Installation labor costs generally account for about 50% of your total cost. For example, if you spend $2,500 on flooring materials and equipment, expect to pay about $2,500 on labor, for a total project cost of $5,000.
Your installation cost will vary depending on the contractor. Most flooring contractors charge per project. Project rates are typically based on square footage but may also depend on the flooring type you’re installing. When gathering estimates, ask each contractor about their rate for engineered hardwood floors.
Some contractors opt to charge $60 to $80 per hour on average. In these cases, you could spend more than you budgeted for if a project takes longer than expected. Ask each contractor for an estimate of how long the project will take and have them draw up a contract specifying what will happen if they exceed their timeline.
Engineered wood flooring installation—including materials and labor—can cost anywhere from $3 to $25 per square foot, the most common method professionals use to charge for installation. Exotic wood species tend to cost more than domestic hardwoods.
The simplest and cheapest engineered planks cost about $3 to $9 per square foot. They usually feature three core layers topped by a 1/16- to 1/12-inch-thick veneer. This is the average type of engineered hardwood floor installed by homeowners, with all the benefits you’d expect: increased stability, resistance to changes in humidity, and installations below ground level.
Mid-range engineered planks usually cost $6 to $12 per square foot. These floors are slightly higher quality than basic engineered wood and are a good choice if you have children or pets due to their ability to resist scratches better than lower-grade products. They usually feature five core layers topped by a 1/12- to 1/8-inch-thick veneer.
The most durable engineered wood planks typically cost $9 to $16 per square foot, though they may reach as high as $25 per square foot. These floors last a long time and resist wear from heavy foot traffic, making them great for large families who spend a lot of time at home or host large parties. They usually feature seven or more core layers and at least a 1/6-inch-thick veneer.
Like solid hardwood floors, you can make engineered planks from various tree species. Each type is rated based on strength using the Janka scale, which runs from 600 for the softest woods to 3,800 for the hardest. The wood type you choose will impact your total installation cost.
Below is a list of the most commonly used wood species for flooring. You may see other species when shopping for new floors, and your local flooring specialist can explain the features of each one.
|Wood Type||Cost Per Square Foot||Janka Rating|
|Heart Pine||$1.50 – $4 per sq. ft.||1,225|
|Hard Maple||$3.50 – $6 per sq. ft.||1,450|
|White Ash||$5 – $6 per sq. ft.||1,320|
|Acacia||$3 – $8 per sq. ft.||2,220|
|Brazilian Koa||$4 – $9 per sq. ft.||2,160|
|Brazilian Cherry||$5 – $9 per sq. ft.||2,350|
Engineered heart pine planks usually cost $1.50 to $4 per square foot. Also called longleaf pine, this type of wood is durable and dense with a defined grain. Heart pine is naturally darker and takes a dark stain well, offering a vintage charm. With a Janka score of 1,225, it works well in areas with lots of foot traffic, such as a dining room, living room, or children’s play area.
Engineered maple planks usually cost $3.50 to $6 per square foot. This popular flooring choice has a Janka score of 1,450 and is great for families and high-traffic areas. It can be difficult to finish, but the unfinished wood ranges from creamy white to a rich reddish-brown. You’ll find maple planks that can be fastened, glued down, or glued together.
Engineered white ash planks usually cost $5 to $6 per square foot. This wood varies in color from cream to grayish-brown, with grain patterns that hide imperfections well. The beautiful light colors work well in sunlit rooms. With a Janka score of 1,320, it can handle many types of traffic. However, it often boasts lower installation costs thanks to being easier to cut.
Engineered acacia planks usually cost $3 to $8 per square foot. Acacia wood contains natural wax for a veneer that repels pests and water, making it less likely to warp. Its color varies significantly from light creams to dark browns, and its interesting graining is popular in rustic and Colonial designs. It’s also right in the middle of the Janka scale, with a score of 2,220.
Engineered Brazilian Koa planks usually cost $4 to $9 per square foot. The warm orange hue and high-contrast dark brown wood grain give it a distinctive striping, leading to its common nickname of tigerwood. It offers a bold look and a Janka score of 2,160.
Engineered Brazilian cherry planks usually cost $5 to $9 per square foot. Brazilian cherry is a great choice if your home gets a lot of foot traffic, with a Janka score of 2,350. This exotic wood features deep red-brown tones that can really warm up the look of a room.
The cost of an engineered hardwood flooring installation will vary somewhat depending on the region you live. The prices in the table below are based on the average range per square foot to install engineered hardwood in varying cities.
These figures include the cost of the engineered wood flooring itself, installation labor, job supplies, and required equipment. They also include the cost to remove and dispose of existing flooring.
|Region||Cost to Install Engineered Hardwood Floors|
|Miami, FL||$8.50 – $17 per sq. ft.|
|Salt Lake City, UT||$9 – $17.50 per sq. ft.|
|Albuquerque, NM||$9 – $18 per sq. ft.|
|Kansas City, MO||$9.50 – $18.50 per sq. ft.|
|Hartford, CT||$10 – $19.50 per sq. ft.|
|Los Angeles, CA||$10 – $20 per sq. ft.|
|Philadelphia, PA||$10.25 – $20.50 per sq. ft.|
|Chicago, IL||$10.50 – $21 per sq. ft.|
|New York, NY||$12 – $24.50 per sq. ft.|
|Honolulu, HI||$12.50 – $25 per sq. ft.|
Aside from your location and product type, several other factors may influence the cost of your engineered hardwood flooring installation.
Many engineered hardwood products come as click-together floating floors that don't attach to the subfloor. These allow for faster, easier, and less expensive installation than traditional nailing, stapling, or gluing methods.
If you prefer conventional installation techniques, harder planks may cost more to install than softer wood types due to the extra work required to cut and shape them. Intricate wood floor patterns such as herringbone or parquet are also more time-consuming to create.
A variety of complications can add work for your contractor, which may end up adding to your overall cost. If your subfloor isn’t level, you may need to pay $1,000 to $1,500 to have concrete poured. Damaged underlayment or subflooring may also require sanding or mold removal, and you may need to pay the cost of hardwood floor repairs before your installation can begin.
Engineered hardwood flooring is less costly than traditional hardwood flooring. While engineered hardwood floors cost $3 to $25 per square foot, traditional hardwood floors cost $6 to $12 per square foot, but high-end jobs can go as high as $13 to $25 or more per square foot.
Deciding which flooring is best for your home depends on your personal preferences and priorities. If you are a handy DIYer, engineered wood flooring may be appealing to you because it is easier to install. When it comes to installing traditional hardwood, you will most likely need to hire a pro unless you are an advanced-level DIYer.
Both floors differ in their construction. Traditional hardwood floors consist of natural wood like maple or walnut, meaning you can sand and refinish it multiple times over the years. On the other hand, engineered hardwood consists of a thin layer of hardwood on top of plywood to mimic the look of solid wood, so you can only refinish it one or two times.
|Characteristics||Hardwood Flooring||Engineered Hardwood Flooring|
|Installation||Best left to a pro who will nail the wood planks to the subfloor||Doable for a handy DIYer using interlocking planks or gluing planks to concrete or a subfloor|
|Lifespan||Lasts generations with proper maintenance||Up to 50 years with proper maintenance, more resistant to warping and moisture but scratches can be difficult to repair|
|Construction||Solid wood||Wood veneer layered on top of plywood|
|Refinishing||Can refinish multiple times over the years||Can only refinish once or twice|
Engineered hardwood flooring installation is possible as a DIY project and can save you money if done successfully. However, you could end up needing a professional to come in and re-do the work unless you’re confident in your skillset or have the help of a friend or family member with the required experience.
Before deciding, weigh the cost of hiring a professional against your skill level. Start by comparing flooring installers in your area. Most contractors will provide a free estimate, so get at least three before you commit.
When contacting installers, ask how long the project will take, how they set their prices, and what to expect throughout the installation process. Have them visit your home to assess your space for the most accurate estimate.
On average, a DIY installation will cost $1,000 to $3,500. Since labor typically accounts for about 50% of your total cost, installing engineered hardwood floors as a DIY project is worth considering. However, while a successful DIY project may be less expensive, any mistakes you make may cost you more than what you’d pay to hire a local hardwood floor installer.
Between removing a botched flooring installation, buying new materials, and starting over, you may end up paying more than hiring a pro for installation. If you don’t have the necessary experience, there are other DIY ways to cut installation costs and save your contractor’s time:
Move furniture or appliances yourself to save $75–$125.
Remove and dispose of old flooring or carpet, but test for asbestos first.
Choose a sturdy mid-grade or basic wood type instead of a high-end product.
You can install all engineered hardwood floors on or above ground level. You can also install them below grade in finished basements, unlike solid hardwood floors. Engineered wood isn't waterproof and won't make a good surface for a bathroom, laundry room, or mudroom where moisture is common. These floors make great additions to rooms like bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms.
While you should expect your installation to take a few days, you can install engineered wood more quickly than traditional solid wood, thanks to the abundance of pre-finished products and floating installation techniques. For example, two people can install 1,000 square feet of flooring in one day. Remember to avoid walking on your new floor for at least one full day.
If you know how to take care of hardwood floors, then you know how to take care of engineered hardwood floors (since the top layer is hardwood). Sweep a few times a week and avoid using water or cleaning solutions to help your floors last as long as possible. Wipe up spills as soon as they occur and use a damp cloth or a mop as needed in the same direction as the wood grain. Always clean up spills as soon as you notice them.
Consider installing engineered hardwood if you want to increase your home's value. Any natural hardwood product will have a higher return on investment than wood-look synthetic products. On average, engineered hardwood is comparable in cost to other flooring products, depending on the type of wood you want. Furthermore, engineered hardwood is a durable option and often comes with a long-term warranty.
Engineered wood consists of layers of natural hardwood. While some laminate planks may look like real wood, they're actually particleboards with a photographic wood-image layer on top. You’ll likely pay less for the price of laminate flooring repairs and installation, but a well-maintained engineered wood floor can last twice as long and add more resale value to your home.
You can refinish engineered hardwood flooring but only one or two times over the life of the floor. Unlike solid wood, engineered hardwood flooring only has a thin layer of solid wood that sits on top of plywood. Therefore, while you can refinish solid wood flooring multiple times over the years, you can only sand and refinish engineered hardwood a couple of times.