Some people may buy expensive flooring because it is durable, has a low need for maintenance and replacement. It is also aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This type of flooring might be more expensive to install, but it will last longer and can save money in the long run.

What makes flooring expensive?

resin flooring for homes most expensive flooring

There are several reasons why certain floorings can be expensive, but they all come down to the materials that are used in each product. Every material is made up of different chemical compounds and unique elements which all have different prices.

Some materials may also be harvested only in a few places on the earth, so the price will reflect how rare that material is. Simply put, the quality of the flooring material, processing, and its scarcity can drive up its price in the market.

Here is a list of the most expensive flooring options: 

  1. Exotic Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring, if treated and maintained well, will last up to forty years. It can also be sanded, varnished, and stained to make it last longer. Exotic hardwood is among the most expensive flooring and ranges from $12.00 to $23.00 per square foot.

Why hardwood flooring is expensive? The number of hardwood trees has diminished over the years with regular and faster cutting using logging technology. Now cutting down of timber has been heavily regulated which causes a short supply of hardwood. This has resulted in a major price increase for all wooden floor products. You can expect to pay a minimum of $3.50 per square foot for basic Red Oak Flooring. The recent forest fires have also significantly decreased the supply. 

How much is hardwood? According to HomeGuide.com, the cost of new hardwood floors ranges from $3.00 to $15.00 per square foot. While you are expected to pay, on average, $3.00 to $8.00 per square foot to install hardwood flooring. This will cost you approximately $6.00 to $23.00 per square foot for both the materials and installation. 

Traditional vs Engineered Wood

Traditional hardwood flooring is made of solid wood without the layers whereas, engineered wood is constructed with many layers of hardwood and plywood. Engineered hardwood also has higher moisture resistance which makes it slightly more expensive. Traditional wood flooring costs around $6.00 to $13.00 per square foot, while engineered wood averages between $6.00 to $15.00. However, both are durable.

Which traditional hardwood flooring is the most durable (and costliest)? Three different grades categorize hardwood flooring according to the type of wood. 

1. Low tier – Softwoods like pine and poplar cost around $6.00 to $11.00 per square foot.

2. Middle tier – Hardwoods like oak, teak, American cheery can range anywhere between $9.00 to $18.00 per square foot.

3. High tier – The costliest hardwood flooring is constructed from rare and exotic wood such as tigerwood, mahogany, and Brazilian walnut. With exotic hardwood flooring, expect to pay $12.00 to $23.00 per square foot for this high-tier hardwood. 

There are different grading and price points for engineered hardwood such as:

1. Low tier – This engineered wood consists of three layers and is finished with a veneer as its top player. This is the most basic and costs around $6.00 to $14.00 per square foot. 

2. Middle tier – Its upgraded version with five layers and finished with a top layer of thicker veneer averages between $7.00 to $19.00 per square foot.

3. High tier – Expect to pay around $11.00 to $23.00 for this top-of-the-line engineered hardwood with seven layers and a thicker veneer finish. 

Hardwood Flooring Prices by Type (Square Foot)

  • Pine: $2.00 to $4.00
  • Bamboo: $2.00 to $4.00
  • Red Oak: $2.00 to $6.00
  • Maple: $3.00 to $6.00
  • Hickory: $3.00 to $6.00
  • White Ash: $5.00 to $6.00
  • Brazilian Walnut: $5.00 to $9.00
  • Engineered Heart Pine: $10.00 to $11.00
  • Engineered Maple: $10.00 to $12.00
  • Engineered White Ash: $12.00 to $13.00
  1. Natural Stone Flooring

What makes stone tiles expensive? Beautiful stone flooring is expensive because of the manufacturing process that each tile is made from. Each tile is made with different minerals and each mineral has a different cost to be used in the tile. A slurry method of manufacturing gives each stone its unique look, while a casting method gives each stone a consistent appearance.

On average, stone flooring cost ranges between $2.00 to $10.00 per square foot depending on the type of stone and its natural appearance, with installation costs at around $9.00 to $18.00 per square foot.

Types of Stone Flooring

Marble Flooring

Marble floor tiles, if cared for, can be installed and maintained very easily. They are also an eco-friendly way to decorate your home because it is a natural material which helps keep the earth clean and free from harmful chemicals. The cost of the marble tile flooring depends on its size and the hue of its pattern. You can expect to pay $5.00 to $50.00 per square foot for a small-sized die-cut tile. 

Travertine Stone Flooring

Travertine is a porous marble that forms when limestone is heated and water escapes. Travertine is a beautiful stone that forms irregular patterns when the marble is cut, but it can be costlier than regular marble. Depending on their size and texture, travertine tiles can cost between $3.00 to $20.00 per square foot. 

Granite Stone Flooring

Granite is an extremely tough stone used to build up entire buildings. The stone is mostly used for countertops, walls, and floors. Its price can range between $2.00 to $15.00 per square foot.

Slate Stone Flooring

Slate is a very hard stone that forms when softer materials erode to create layers. It can be found in many colors but its natural color ranges from gray to brownish-black. Slate has very intricate designs and patterns that make it a well sought-after material by homeowners. It can cost between $2.00 to $20.00 per square foot.

Limestone Flooring

Limestone is a stone that comes in many different colors and patterns. It makes for durable, hard-wearing tile flooring that is also very easy to maintain. The price of this stone can range between $5.00 to $20.00 per square foot.

What factors determine the stone flooring installation cost?

Installation cost increases when the job is complex or if you want the natural stone floors installed on the stairs. Removal, replacement, and repairs of the subfloor will also cost an extra $2.00 to $5.00 per square foot. 

  1. Designer Mosaic Floor Tiles

What makes mosaic tiles expensive? Mosaic tiles cost more than regular tiles because they use thicker and rougher glass. The larger the piece of tile, the higher the price. There are many options to choose from for designer mosaic tiles, from ceramic, metal to stone. Designer ceramic floor tiles are cheaper compared to stone and metal flooring. 

Mosaic tiles are also expensive because of the amount of work that goes into constructing, connecting, and finishing them. Custom-designed floor mosaic is labor-intensive and takes a lot of time as opposed to traditional tile laying. 

Ceramic mosaic tiles cost can go from $4.00 to $23.00 per square foot depending on the pattern. While glass and marble mosaic tiles can start from $5.00 to $15.00 per square foot. Professional installers may charge about $20.00 per square foot to install mosaic tiles. 

  1. Luxury Vinyl Tiles

Why are luxury vinyl tiles expensive? Luxury vinyl flooring is more expensive than traditional vinyl flooring because it is made from PVC, wood fiber, and EVA. These materials are sourced from all over the world and are used to manufacture premium flooring. It can closely resemble the realistic look of natural materials such as wood or stone. The wide range of designs and styles makes it popular in new homes and design trend setters. 

The flooring is installed on the subfloor and pulled up from below to create a finished product. Luxury vinyl tiles cost about $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot, with installation costs at around $3.00 to $10.00 per square foot.

  1. Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles are small swatches of carpet that are used to create a patterned floor. They come with a pre-attached carpet backing and can be installed in creative ways and is ideal for design conscious homeowners. 

What makes carpet tiles expensive? 

Carpet tiles are expensive because of the thickness and type of top-grade carpet. Factors that affect the cost of carpets include age, type (wool, olefin, nylon, polyester, recycled materials), thickness, construction (tufted, woven, needle-punched), styles (loop pile, cut pile, cut and loop pile), and color. Whether it is hand-made or machine-made also plays a huge part in its price.

For instance, thick carpeting can cost between $9.00 to $15.00 per square foot whereas thin carpets can start from $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing expensive flooring is a very personal decision. While price is always a factor, other aspects should be considered before you can make an informed decision. These include the durability of the product, the life span, maintenance, and sound absorption.

The key to getting value for your money is to find a solution that fits both your needs and your budget. You can check with a professional installer to find out the types of flooring they recommend and their installation cost.

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