Hardwood floor consistently ranks as the favorite type of flooring for many homeowners. It is warm and inviting. It’s also classic, easy to maintain, and very attractive. A hardwood floor can significantly raise the value of your home if you intend to sell it in the future. However, many homes have something other than hardwood flooring. Why? Well, one of the main reasons is the cost. It’s no secret that hardwood flooring is more expensive than some of its other counterparts, including many cheaper options that are designed to mimic hardwood flooring. So, when you buy a hardwood floor, what are you getting for that money?

The Floor Itself

There are three basic kinds of hardwood flooring you can buy: unfinished, prefinished, or engineered. Unfinished hardwood is wood that is in its raw state. It’s been cut into planks, dried, and sanded. Everything else will need to be done after it has been installed. Prefinished hardwood is wood that has been cut, dried, sanded, stained, and then sealed in the factory. A factory seal typically involves aluminum oxide and heat to create  a hard seal. You only need to install it then. Engineered hardwood is like prefinished hardwood but instead of solid planks of wood, it is a veneer of hardwood over layers of less expensive wood.

The type of plank you buy will affect the cost. The wood it is made from will also affect the cost. More scarce woods are more expensive. Woods that are more difficult to work with, such as extremely hard woods, might cost more in labor costs. That’s the second thing you are paying for.

Labor Costs

The labor costs are the cost of installing the floor as well as the cost of finishing it. If you choose a prefinished hardwood floor or engineered hardwood, it will already be finished. So, the installer will just need to prepare the floor, lay down the planks, and then nail them down. Depending on your subfloor, they can also be glued down.

If you choose an unfinished hardwood floor, often called a site-finished floor, there will be more work to be done after the planks are laid. After the planks are laid, the floor will need to be stained to the desired color. Finally, it will be finished with a polyurethane finish. The actual installation of the floor will only take a few hours, but it generally get stretched over the course of a couple of days. You have to wait five to ten days to make sure the wood acclimates to your home. Then time will be required between the installation, the staining, the sealing, and subsequent coats. Those are the two biggest costs associated with buying a hardwood floor. There are smaller manufacturing costs that are also factored into the price of the wood itself.