Nashville Hardwood Flooring- How much does Hardwood Flooring Cost?

Hardwood flooring is one of the most important design elements in a home. Blending nature and fashion, hardwood flooring is available in many beautiful aesthetics. Board width and length, milling, color and finish are all variables to be considered. For our clients, hardwood flooring is typically the foundation of the design and color scheme in the home. Getting this decision right is very important…timeless beauty that will last for decades is the goal…

This will never be out of style…Long Board Live Sawn Oak, Satin Finish- Taupe Custom Grey…Made in the USA

Not all Hardwood is created equally. Short lengths, paper thin veneers, plastic appearing finishes…you have seen these undesirable floors…the ones that scream “FAKE”…the samples and pricing look good but once installed, you see the issues right away. Not timeless and not what you picture as your dream home flooring…disappointment and regret…so, here are a couple of notes to consider when making this decision.

  1. If the flooring is 3/8″ thick, chances are the flooring will not be great looking. Sure, it will perform but it will look like a cheap floor compared to what your expectation is…
  2. Where is the material made? We represent lots of mills, large and small. An issue we have seen is that many times the difference between the good and the bad is where the material is manufactured. Our best looking materials are made in the USA…primarily Pennsylvania and California. We also have some beautiful products that are made in Europe and Asia. We have seen lots of bad looking materials flooding the market being imported from China and the Philippines. Commonly these materials are marketed based on how inexpensive they are…Important Note…When it comes to quality hardwood flooring- Price. Does. Matter.
  3. If the material is a rotary sawn or peeled product…and it is within your means to do so…run! This is the bottom of the barrel, cheap stuff… the grain looks like elementary school desks from the 80’s…not timeless, classic or in trend.
  4. Make sure the boards are at least “up to 72 inches” in length…if not, probably “gonna look cheap”
  5. Make sure it is the right color– have someone that really understands hardwood flooring coloring and style assist you. Make sure there is a large selection to choose from, this will help. The difference between green and grey can be really subtle…make sure you can trust the person helping you so this mistake is not made. Again, this will factor in to where the material was manufactured and experience level of your adviser.
Beautiful Maple Import- color was really important and a “knock off” of this would NOT be pretty…
Notice the grain– rotary peel- CHEAP LOOKING

Site finishing is a lost art…quality of labor continues to deteriorate and the expectations once understood are no longer being met. Poor labor, finishing material, experience and tight time frames are all contributing factors to poor quality sand and finish wood floors. Many contractors charge between $1.50-$2.00 per square foot for floor finishing. This typically gets you the “wham-bam” deal. Floor will not be flat, wont be sanded correctly, inferior finish material, swirl marks, cracks, trash, color inconsistent and no warranty….Consider this…net finishing material costs for quality components average about $1.00 per square foot…so the guy doing your floor (and his 1-3 helpers) are making between $.50-$1.00 per foot if everything goes well…this process should take at least one week of total time (a quality contractor will take a bit longer), a minimum of 4 trips to your home and hours of labor…do the math…for every 1000 sqft this crew can make approx $750…not exactly a good living (about $8 an hour, pre-tax). So, corners get cut and the finished product is what it is…not very good looking or very good quality. Not all is lost…it will probably at least be shiny 🙂

This illustrates a poor job…someone just doesn’t know what they are doing.

For an expert finisher that uses the right equipment, has the required level of experience and knows how and when to use the correct materials, one should expect to pay $3.50-$4.75 per square foot depending on the scope. For this, your reward will be a floor that looks like your vision and will perform.

This is a flat floor, sanded and finished by a pro…notice how the floor is reflecting the light…even…you can see the quality


Important questions to think through when buying a quality prefinished floor…

  1. Are flush mount vents available? This is really important to our clients and every prefinished floor we sell has coordinating flush mount vents available.
  2. Can the prefinished flooring be refinished? The vast majority of the materials we sell have a thick wear layer that can be refinished multiple times, thus making it a life of home product.
  3. What happens to the stairs? The stairs should coordinate with the flooring. Make sure stair treads can either be made to match the flooring or that the existing treads can be finished/refinished to coordinate with the flooring color and sheen.
  4. How will the flooring be installed…we love gluing our floors to the substrate…great moisture barrier and helps eliminate popping noises.
  5. Prefinished flooring can be made to suit your desires so know that if you can not find the “right one”, we can make your design custom. This way you can have exactly what you want. Great news is this is not really any more expensive, so this is something to consider…
Custom details– we made exactly what the client wanted


So what should one expect to pay…? Material for a quality prefinshed floor should cost a minimum of $4.75 psf. This is what we would classify as “Good”…material will be at least 1/2″ thick, board lengths of up to 72”, classic coloring, durable finish…the next step up would be “better”. Expect to have more options in color and sheen…material pricing in this category begins around $6.50 psf….the “best” category will feature extra long lengths, more design inspired coloring and ability to customize. Expect these materials to start around $8.50 psf. When considering site finished flooring, one should expect to pay a minimum of about $8.50 psf including a basic hardwood species such as 3″ White Oak.

Beautiful material in the “better” catagory- European Oak, Long Boards, never not in trend 🙂

Of course, the materials are only as good as the install…the best piece of advice I can offer is to make sure your flooring team is part of the National Wood Flooring Association. Ask your builder or designer to show you these credentials. If they are not part of this organization it is reasonable to assume they are not true “pros” and you could be dealing with significant issues down the road…and this is a BIG DEAL…this is not a wall color…this is a move out of the house for 2-3 weeks and start over type problem…so make sure the people you are trusting to do the work know what they are doing…

Let us know how we can help…we have one of the South’s largest collections of high quality hardwood flooring. We are members of the NWFA and our work is trusted by the best builders, interior design professionals and architects in the region.


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