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Wood Flooring Cost: 2020 Installation & Fitting Prices

Wooden flooring looks good!  

You can’t deny that a professionally installed hardwood flooring looks sophisticated and elegant in both modern and traditional homes. But that’s not all. They’re also hardwearing, easy to clean and maintain, and will last for much longer than a typical carpet. 

On average, the cost of wooden flooring in the UK for a 5m x 5m room will be estimated at around £1250 – £2000. This is if you opt for solid hardwood, engineered wood, which is slightly less expensive, will cost anywhere between £500 to £2750 according to the grade of the wood itself. You could also choose a ‘wood effect’ laminate, which would be the most affordable at under £500.

Solid hardwood floorboard prices are much higher than most other floor coverings. But, you can choose from a range of laminated and engineered floor panels that are well within the budget of most people. 

There are three types of wooden flooring: Solid wood, laminate and engineered wood. 

  • Solid wood flooring consists of whole planks of wood that fix to a subframe. Usually, youll come across these as floorboards. Or, as hardwood Parquet wood blocks laid on a subfloor. Hardwood comes in a variety of species, with different colours and grains.  Oak, maple and walnut are some of the more popular hardwoods available. But, softwood pine is very common if you’re restoring a Victorian house and need something to match the existing. 
  • Laminate flooring looks like wood but is a thin layer of plastic bonded to a sheet of MDF. The plastic laminate will have an image of wood printed onto it. In this way, the laminate can be of any wood type to suit your design scheme. 
  • Engineered wood is a thin veneer of real wood bonded to plywood. The veneer can be sanded and finished just like real wood using polyurethane satin or gloss finish varnish. 

Although hardwood floorboards used to be common in houses belonging to the wealthy, these days hardwood is so expensive that many people use engineered wood. Usually, real hardwood floorboards are expensive. However, you can buy smaller wood blocks of different hardwood species and install these onto a subfloor. This style is known as solid wood parquet flooring.

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New Wooden Floor Fitting Prices & Installation Costs

The cost of your flooring depends on the room size, the material you choose for the finished floor, whether you choose an underlay and damp proof layer, and the complexity of your room shape. Youll also have to consider whether you need a subfloor stable enough to support the finished floor. Furthermore, you might have to prepare the existing floor especially if its made from uneven concrete.  As each room will need different requirements, it’s best to contact a flooring fitter, who will give you an estimate depending on the site conditions. However, you can use the following information as a rough guide to compare your estimate. 

Wood type  Average cost/m2  Average cost (5mx5m room)
Wood effect laminate  £5 to £20   £125 to £500 
Engineered hardwood veneer  £20 to £40 Basic grade  £500 to £1000 
£40 to £70 Medium Grade  £1000 to £1750 
£70 to £110 High Grade  £1750 to £2750 
Solid hardwood  £30 to £50 Basic Grade  £750 to £1250 
£50 to £80 Medium Grade  £1250 to £2000 
£80 to £130 High Grade  £2000 to £3250 

 Remember that these prices include VAT at 20%. Also, the costs might vary depending on whereabouts you live in the country. London and the Southeast tend to be more expensive than elsewhere.

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Room Prices

Unfortunately, the costs don’t finish there. You’ll have to spend more money on the installation costs, underlay and a dampproof layer. Depending on the floor levels you might also have to trim the doors to make them fit. 

We’ll outline some typical costs in the following table: 

Task  Cost 
Relocate furniture  £30/hr 
Remove old carpet and dispose  £3/m2 
Repair floorboard subfloor  £20/m 
Levelling concrete floor  £15 to £20/m2 
New skirting board  £5/m 
Edge beading  £5/m 
Underlay for concrete subfloor  £2 to £5/m2 
Underlay for wood subfloor  £1.50 to £4/m2 

Typical labour charges will vary but usually stay within the ranges mentioned below.  The installation charges for higher-grade wood types and specific floor patterns will be at the high end of the scale. 

Labour costs to lay wood flooring  £12 to £30/m2 
Labour charges for installing insulation underlay  £8 to £15/m2  

From these figures, you can calculate the approximate costs to lay wood flooring in any room in your house, as well as any extras you might need.

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Additional Considerations 

If you walk around any of the large home improvement stores, you’ll see the different types of hardwood flooring sitting on the shelves, enticing you to have a go. Although you might think it’s easy to lay a hardwood floor, don’t be fooled. You must know what you’re doing and adapt to changing circumstances. For example, a slight unevenness under a carpet won’t notice. Whereas, you must have a perfectly level floor under any flooring types discussed here. Otherwise, you’ll see it immediately. 

If you’re installing hardwood onto existing floorboards, check that the joists and floorboards aren’t split or rotten, don’t squeak when you walk on them and don’t have any protruding nails. If you’re installing onto a concrete floor, make sure there aren’t any hollows and bumps, and repair any cracks or holes. You can use a floor levelling screed to repair concrete floors or use regular softwood floorboards if you have a wooden subfloor. Unless you’re experienced in DIY, you’ll need a professional to complete these jobs, before you carry on with the hardwood. 

Once you’ve installed the hardwood floor, it’ll need sanding, staining, and sealing. Although there’s a lot of work involved in this, especially if you’re using real hardwood or engineered veneered ply. Its possible to save some money by doing this it yourself. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

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Different Types of Wood Flooring Comparison 

If you look at the table showing the cost of the three hardwood flooring types, you’ll notice that we categorised the engineered wood floor and solid hardwood floor as ‘Basic’, Medium’ and ‘High’ Grades. Let’s look at the different types of flooring, explain their benefits and disadvantages, and hopefully expand on these categories. 

Laminate flooring 

This is just a piece of MDF with a photographic image bonded to the surface. Although the description doesn’t sound very exciting, you can achieve some incredible effects with this. 

Advantages 

  • Laminate is cheaper than both hardwood and carpet. 
  • It’s easy to install. 
  • Available in a variety of different finishes. Although the favourites seem to be different types of hardwood, it’s also available in stone and tile finishes. 
  • It has a stainresistant surface, that can withstand scratches and knocks. 
  • It’s very easy to clean. 
  • Environmentally sustainable as the MDF is made from sawmill waste. 

Disadvantages  

  • Not suitable for heavy moisture areas. 
  • Difficult to repair. 
  • Needs professional installation to achieve a good finished effect. 
  • Needs a floor cleaner designed for laminate floors.

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Engineered wood flooring 

The backing is usually plywood made from lowquality wood veneers glued together. The top surface is a hardwood veneer. The quality of the visible veneer, the rarity of the hardwood, and the underlying plywood determine its category and the cost. Basic Grade uses 3 core plywood covered by thin hardwood veneer. Medium Grade uses a 5 core plywood with a thicker hardwood veneer. HighGrade products have 7 or more core plywood with about 5mm hardwood veneer. 

Advantages 

  • Looks like real hardwood. 
  • Very easy to install. 
  • Use waterproof glued plywood for bathrooms. 
  • Very durable and suitable for commercial environments too. 
  • It can be sanded, so easy to refinish and repair. 
  • Available in boards wider than solid wood. 

Disadvantages 

  • Sometimes the quality of veneer can be very poor. 
  • Available in a limited number of styles. 

Hardwood Flooring 

This type is by far the most attractive of them all. Real hardwood flooring looks better as it matures and can be refinished many times during its lifetime. The subfloor will need extensive preparation and finishing, with multiple cycles of sanding, treating, varnishing and buffing. Furthermore, the planks need storing in the house for a few a week or so to allow the wood to acclimatise with the ambient humidity. Skipping this stage will result in warping, swelling and shrinking as the wood absorbs or releases moisture 

Advantages 

  • Very easy to keep clean. 
  • Stylish and sophisticated. 
  • Very durable. 
  • Hardwood increases the property’s value. 
  • Available in many different colours and grains. 
  • Good for allergy sufferers. 

Disadvantages 

  • High installation costs due to fitters expertise. 
  • High material cost. 
  • Cold to the touch, with no sound absorption properties. 
  • They can scratch so needs refinishing now and then.

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Popular hardwoods 

Pine 

This is actually a softwood but is often used as a finished floor surface. Colours range from beige to amber and contain warm tones. The grain contains knots and other attractive natural designs. However, it’s easily dented and scratched. Probably the cheapest solid wood flooring available. 

Maple 

A very hard and dense wood so is great for high traffic areas. Colour ranges from cream to pale red. Some professionals say this is difficult to work with. 

Bamboo 

Available in various colours and has interesting textures. Bamboo floors are one of the hardest floors available. 

Brazilian Walnut 

This is hard and durable and comes in varying shades of brown.  It has a scratchresistant surface. 

Texture & Patterns

Generally, the textures echo the grain patterns of the specific tree species, as do the colours. The thing to notice about laminated flooring is that the grain pattern will be repeated. This is because they use one photographic image. You’ll also see grain repetition on engineered wood flooring, but for a different reason. Veneers for this type of flooring are produced by putting the tree in a giant lathe, which produces a sheet of veneer. The lathe operates like a giant pencil sharpener as it peels off the veneer. Therefore, the resulting veneer shows the same grain pattern as the blade returns to the original position. But, with slight variations as the diameter of the tree changes. 

Solid wood flooring often uses narrow tongue and groove planks or sometimes, hardwood blocks, such as parquet. Although planks will usually be laid in straight lines, side by side, parquet can be laid in a variety of different geometrical patterns. All solid hardwood has the natural grain pattern and colour of the tree it came from. So, each board or block will be unique.

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How to Lay Wooden Flooring

While you can install the floor yourself, it makes sense to hire a professional. You need a certain skill-set and if your rooms are awkward shapes, you might end up with many problems. 

First, remove the carpets and gripper rods nailed to the floor. Dispose of these sensibly at your local recycling centre. 

Ask the professional how much flooring to buy. You can order the correct amount or ask the fitter to do it for you. Remember you’ll need about 10% more than you expect because there are always offcuts which are too small to use.  If you’re using solid wood, store it in your house to acclimatise to the humidity. 

You might have to remove the skirting boards. Be careful with this and let the professional do it. 

Make sure the floor is level and in good condition. If necessary use a levelling screed on concrete or repair and replace floorboards if the subfloor is wood. On a wooden floor, punch all the nail heads below the surface and make sure there aren’t any creaks or squeaks. Once the hardwood floor is down, you won’t have access. So, fix the problems now! 

Allow the flooring fitter to install the boards according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Finally, sand and varnish the flooring to the finish you want.

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Wooden Flooring Maintenance 

Wood is a natural material, so will mark and stain easily. Always clean liquid spills immediately and try not to allow the liquid to seep into the joints. Use furniture pads under chair and table legs to avoid scratches. Sweep the surface daily and vacuum weekly. Once a month, use a proprietary wood floor cleaner to lift the ingrained dirt. Finally, refinish the surface every 5 years or so. 

Hiring a Floor Fitter: Top Tips

Always ensure the fitter has the skills and experience necessary to do a good job. 

  • Ask for their qualifications. 
  • Find out their experience. Some floor fitters specialise in fitting one type of flooring, such as wood. Whereas, others fit a range of floor coverings. Get references. 
  • Are you comfortable around them? You’re inviting a stranger into your home so you must trust them and not be intimidated. 
  • Make sure you have a full quote with everything included. 
  • Agree how you intend paying the bill. Either a deposit and stage payments, or the full price on completion.  
  • Does he need to do any followup visits afterwards?

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Do I Require Planning Permission?

You won’t need planning permission to replace a floor unless you live in a listed building. In that case, check with your local planning department first. 

The UK Building Regulations specify that a floor must be strong enough to support itself and any load placed on it. You’ll also have to ensure that you won’t lose heat through it and that it’s resistant to moisture. So, a damp-proof membrane and insulation are essential for a ground floor.

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Wood Flooring Cost FAQs 

Can I install hardwood floors myself? 

Yes. You need a few DIY skills and tools to install laminate and engineered wood floors. However, if you’re unsure how to do it, or are installing a solid wood floor, get a professional to do it. Replacing floorboards isn’t as easy as it looks. 

Do hardwood floors make a room colder? 

Yes. This isn’t too bad in the summer. But, a cold floor in the winter might be very uncomfortable. Use a selection of non-slip rugs to warm up. 

What is the least expensive wood flooring? 

Laminate flooring is the cheapest to buy and to install. Each sheet has a tongue and groove so you just need to glue and click. 

What do you put under hardwood flooring? 

If it’s a ground floor, you need a dampproof membrane followed by a layer of insulated underlay. If you’re installing wooden flooring upstairs, omit the dampproofing. 

What is the strongest wood flooring? 

Hickory and maple are widely available and probably the strongest hardwood flooring. 

Which direction should you lay wooden flooring? 

Try to lay the boards in the same direction as the room’s longest dimension.  Alternatively, have your wooden flooring installation perpendicular to the direction of sight from the main entrance.  This will disguise any irregularities in the joints between boards. If these are different, then choose the direction that’s easiest to install. 

How do you lay a wooden room to make it look bigger? 

Choose wide planks so the room has fewer joints. This will make the room appear less cluttered. Alternatively, run the boards parallel to the longest wall. This will appear to elongate the room. 

Find Local Wooden Floor Fitters

Installing wooden flooring into your home will improve it’s look and might even increase its value. However, it’s always better to hire a professional floor fitter to do the job. Complete the form on this page and you’ll receive 3 or 4 quotes from local floor fitters showing the cost of wooden flooring for your home. 

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