labor cost to install laminate flooring

Average Cost of Laminate Flooring

The average cost to have laminate flooring installed is $4.75 – $7.95 per square foot for most jobs. Laminate is easy to install, though it takes time. When you do it yourself, paying just for materials and supplies, DIY laminate installation cost is about $1.25 to $4.65 per square foot.

Professional installation cost of $4.75 – $8.85 per square foot includes the laminate flooring, underlayment when needed, and the removal and disposal of old flooring. Installing laminate on stairs is often estimated separately.

Average Do It Yourself cost

$1.25 – $4.65 / Square Foot

Average Contractor Installed Cost

$4.75 – $8.85 / Square Foot

Typical Cost Average

$6.90 / Square Foot

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

New Laminate Floor being Installed

Overview of Having Laminate Flooring Installed

Laminate flooring offers the look of hardwood flooring at less than half the cost. In fact, photographic images of genuine hardwood are used in laminate production to achieve a very similar appearance as real hardwood floors. Options using stone tile images are also available.

You have a wide range of quality, style and performance options in laminate flooring. And if laminate floors are not your thing, take a look at various other flooring costs we have covered at Business Finance News.

Cheap laminate flooring costs less than $1.00 per square foot. It has a thin abrasion or wear layer and an AC rating of 2 or 3. This rating is explained in Cost Factors. It is backed by warranties from 5 to 10 years.

Midgrade laminate flooring, the most popular styles, are water-resistant and have warranties of 15 years to Lifetime. A thicker wear layer, often including tough aluminum oxide, make this laminate much more durable. Wear ratings are mostly AC3 and AC4.

Premium laminate flooring has sides that are coated or wrapped to make it waterproof – guaranteed to resist water damage from 24 to 72 hours depending on the specific flooring. Most have Lifetime warranties for residential installation and commercial warranties up to 15 years. Ratings are AC4 and AC5.

This laminate flooring cost estimate includes retail laminate flooring prices, installation labor cost and cost factors. The factors will allow you to know what to expect when you get professional laminate flooring estimates.

We’ve also gathered laminate flooring installation estimates from reliable pricing sites. Readers have submitted the costs of their flooring. Feel free to bookmark this page and return to Business Finance News when your project is complete to share your laminate flooring cost with other readers looking for accurate pricing details.

Flooring and Installation Supplies Cost Details

Laminate Cost Factors

Our price range is higher than some give, such as Home Depot that estimates laminate floor cost at $3.80 – $4.80 per square foot. That might reflect the fact that Home Depot generally carries low-cost and mid-priced materials. On the other end, Homewyse comes in a little higher than our estimates at $6.77 – $10.20, primarily due to higher installation rates.

With prices for DIY laminate flooring starting at about $1.00 and premium laminate professionally installed topping $9.00, flooring cost factors play a major role.

Factors that affect the cost to install laminate flooring are:

  • Who Installs the Flooring – Laminate planks are designed to easily “click” and lock into place. The technique is easy to master, so many homeowners install their own. There is more information on the DIY option below. In terms of pro installation, handyman services typically have lower prices than flooring contractors, and it pays to get multiple estimates for installation.
  • Flooring Quality – Your options range from cheap flooring that might last 10 years with light traffic to laminate that is quite good and will give you 15+ years of service. Price and warranty length are good indicators of general quality.
  • Wear Layer Thickness and Type – Perhaps the clearest indication of laminate floor quality is the thickness of the urethane wear layer in mils, not to be confused with total flooring thickness measured in millimeters (mm). The wear layer is usually a thin layer of urethane. Thickness starts at about 4mils for cheap flooring. Most common wear layer thickness is 8 to 12 mils. For commercial use, the layer should be 20-30 mils.
  • AC Rating – This is related to the thickness of the wear layer and the hardness of the flooring. The AC ratings span from AC1, cheap residential, to AC5, heavy commercial rating.
  • HPL vs DPL – High-pressure laminate flooring is made using 1000 psi of pressure. It is denser and more durable than direct-pressure laminate made with 400-500 psi and costs 40-100% more depending on the specific cost comparison.
  • Texture – A process called EIR, embossed in register, gives laminate a textured or handscraped feel. Flooring made with EIR is midrange to premium in price.
  • Waterproof Laminate – Waterproof lines guarantee against water damage for 24 to 72 hours. This is achieved by wrapping or coating all edges. Generally, floors with longer water resistance cost more.
  • Attached Pad – Laminate flooring requires a thin underlayment or pad. Some flooring comes with attached pad and is slightly more expensive. However, it means you don’t have to buy and install underlayment – or pay an installer to do it.
  • Removal and Disposal of Old Flooring – You can save money with DIY here. Cost is found below.
  • Installation Difficulty – The more trimming, the higher the labor cost. Installing laminate in an open floorplan typically costs less than installation in a number of small rooms.
  • Stairs – Expect estimates of $40-$100 per stair. It is time-consuming work. Home Guide estimates this a little higher at $45-$125 per stair.
  • Square Feet Installed – Cost per square foot goes down slightly as volume of flooring goes up. This is because the crew is already there and set up, so travel time and fuel costs are spread over more square feet.
  • Moving Furniture – Expect charges of $15-$50 per room.

Cost of Installation Supplies

Here are the material and supplies that are needed to install laminate floors.

  • $0.90 – $1.50 per square foot | Entry-level laminate flooring with wear layer up to 8 mils and warranty of 5-10 years.
  • $1.50 – $3.00 per square foot | Midgrade laminate with a wear layer of 8-12 mils and a warranty of 10-20 years.
  • $3.00 – $5.00 per square foot | Premium laminate with a wear layer of 20-30 mils. Most have Lifetime residential warranties and commercial warranties up to 15 years.
  • $1.90 – $4.00+ per square foot | Waterproof laminate flooring. General quality varies from average to premium. Warranties are typically 20 years to Lifetime.
  • $10.00 – $12.00 per roll | 100 square feet of 6-mil Vapor barrier underlayment required for installing laminate over a concrete subfloor.
  • $10.00 – $16.00 per roll | 100 square feet of foam underlayment which softens the floor and deadens sound. Thickness ranges from 1.5 to 6 mils.
  • $70 – $125 | Laminate flooring cutter. This tool is not a saw, though saws can be used. The advantage of a cutter is that it doesn’t create sawdust or make a lot of noise.
  • $10 – $25 | Carpenter’s square for making straight lines for cutting flooring.

Average Project Costs for Laminate Flooring Installation: As noted, labor cost is slightly lower per square foot for large jobs.

For example, installing 150 square feet of laminate in small home office will cost $5.00 to $8.00 per square foot for midgrade laminate.

Installation of 1,000 square feet will lower cost to $4.25 to $7.00 for the same flooring.

Here are cost ranges from typical-sized jobs.

  • 100 square feet: $500 – $800
  • 200 square feet: $960 – $1570
  • 400 square feet: $1840 – $3050
  • 600 square feet: $2700 – $4350
  • 1000 square feet: $4250 – $7000

Flooring Removal and Disposal Cost

Handymen and flooring contractors charge $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot to remove carpet or laminate before installing new flooring.

If you’re installing 500 square feet of laminate, that’s a potential savings of $500 to $1000. If you have a lot of flooring to dispose of, consider renting a roll-off container.

If your like many homeowners, you’ll probably find quite a lot more to throw in it – or possibly share the cost with others in the neighborhood that have junk to get rid of.

Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time

Permits and Inspection Cost

  • $0 | No permit is needed for this project.

Related Costs and Installation Time

Here’s what you’ll “earn” by installing your own laminate floors.

  • $2.50 – $5.50 per square foot | Labor cost to install laminate flooring. There is no cost difference based on the wood species. After all, it is just a picture. But oddly some sites, like Home Advisor, do make an installation labor cost distinction by what type wood the flooring is mimicking.

Time Schedule

An experienced installer can install 15-25 square feet of laminate per hour.

  • 6-8 Hours | 150 square foot bedroom or office
  • 2-3 Days | 500 square foot open floor plan
  • 1.5-2 Days | Set of 13 stairs

DIY or Hire a Pro?

For most laminate flooring projects, the labor cost exceeds material cost. That makes DIY very attractive.

Many homeowners install laminate with good success. The keys to doing it right are to:

  • Acclimate the flooring by bringing it indoors for 3-4 days prior to installation
  • Open several boxes, and mix up planks to blend them since small color variations might exist from box to box
  • Follow instructions closely, like these, especially about installing the first and last rows of flooring to balance them – you don’t want a full plank on one side and a 1.5” plank on the other
  • Use spacers at edges to give the flooring a little expansion room
  • Stagger the seams to avoid “stepped” or “H-seam” appearance

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Author S Krone

A lawyer never retires. So I would just say that I am not as active as I used to be. Now I simply dedicate myself to fishing, my hobby, and my grandchildren. For Business Finance News I write about legal aspects of mortgage policies, mostly regarding the rights of policyholders. I also have articles about personal injuries.

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