Hardwood Flooring Buying Guide [Pros, Cons & Costs]

Feeling overwhelmed by the flooring options out there?

We get it. 

Hardwood flooring is a standout choice, thanks to its timeless beauty and durability.

But how do you sift through all the options, prices, and potential pitfalls? 

We’ll share all the pros and cons, as well as everything you need to make the right choice.

Key Notes

  • Pros: Adds warmth, increases home value, lasts 20-100+ years.
  • Cons: Expensive, prone to scratches, moisture damage, and noise.
  • Costs: Hardwood ranges from $7 to $20 per sq ft; varies by species.
  • Types: Solid vs. engineered hardwood—different benefits and maintenance needs.


  • Hardwood flooring adds warmth and character to any space.
  • Can be refinished multiple times.
  • Comes in a variety of species, colors, and finishes, allowing you to achieve the perfect look for your home.
  • Highly favored by buyers which can increase home value.
  • The lifespan of hardwood flooring ranges from 20 to 100+ years.
  • Hardwood floors don't trap dust, pollen, or other allergens.


  • Tends to be more expensive than other flooring types.
  • Potentially noisy due to echo sounds, especially in large areas.
  • Heavy furniture, pet claws, and high heels can cause damage.
  • Susceptible to scratches, dents, and moisture damage, requiring extra care in areas prone to spills or humidity.
  • When waxed or polished, hardwood floors can become slippery.

Hardwood Flooring Costs

The cost of hardwood flooring can range from $7 to $20 per sq ft, but this price can vary based on many different factors. This is how much you can expect to pay per square foot for different types of hardwood species:

Hardwood Species

Price per Square Foot (Materials Only)


$6 - $10


$5 - $9


$7 - $11


$6 - $10


$5 - $9


$4 - $8


$9 - $13


$8 - $12

Factors that Affect Hardwood Flooring Costs

Wood Type

Hardwood flooring comes in various types, each with its own price range. Common options include oak, maple, cherry, and walnut. Exotic woods like Brazilian cherry or teak tend to be more expensive.

Installation Method

The installation method can impact costs. Nail-down and glue-down installations are typically cheaper than floating floors.

hardwood flooring

Room Size

Larger rooms require more materials and labor, resulting in higher costs.

Subfloor Condition

If the subfloor needs repair or leveling before installation, it will add to the total cost.

Additional Features

Extras like borders, inlays, or custom designs can increase the overall cost.

Types of Hardwood Floors

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood is made from a single piece of wood that can come in various thicknesses. It gives off a traditional look and can be sanded and refinished multiple times.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood consists of a real wood veneer glued to a plywood core or high-density fiberboard, which makes it more stable and less prone to water damage.

Engineered Hardwood vs. Solid Hardwood

Engineered hardwood has several advantages over traditional hardwood, and that’s why it's a more popular pick. It is suitable for basements and other areas with higher humidity because it can resist moisture and temperature changes.

Engineered hardwood is also easier to install and more affordable than solid hardwood. However, compared to solid hardwood, it can only be refinished a limited number of times before you have to do a complete overhaul of the flooring.

brown wooden panel

Hardwood Flooring Maintenance

To maintain the quality and appearance of your solid hardwood floors, you should have them refinished every 7-10 years. This involves sanding down the surface and applying a new finish.

Questions to Ask Flooring Installation Companies

Do your homework when hiring a flooring installation company. Ask for references, inquire about their experience and credentials, and get a detailed estimate in writing before deciding. 

Here are four important questions to ask:

What experience do you have with installing hardwood flooring? 

It's important to know how much experience they have with hardwood flooring. You can ask them how long they've been doing it and how many projects they've completed successfully.

A contractor with lots of experience will have a good track record and know how to deal with different challenges that may come up during installation.

What qualifications and certifications do you have?

It's also a good idea to ask about the contractor's qualifications and certifications in hardwood flooring. 

Certifications from the National Wood Flooring Association show that they take their work seriously and meet industry standards.


Can you show me examples of your previous work? 

Seeing examples of a contractor's work before you hire them is always a good idea. This will give you an idea of the quality of their workmanship and attention to detail.

Do you offer any additional services? 

Some contractors just install, while others offer additional services like refinishing.

Asking what services they provide will ensure they meet all your hardwood flooring needs.


You might want to keep this buyer's guide on site when you go on your next hardwood flooring hunt. Remember to consider the different hardwood species and all the costs involved. Weigh all the pros and cons before settling on a final pick.

Hardwood flooring is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to add value and beauty to your home or if you’re simply seeking a touch of elegance. Whether you opt for solid or engineered hardwood, this investment can give your home a lifetime of warmth.

Author - Olivia Poglianich
Olivia Poglianich          

Content Strategist

Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the wooden crafts and 3D product design space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.


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