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Old 02-27-2012, 11:55 AM
 
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Not sure if this is high. Labor only for a small room (250 sq ft): $3.99/sq ft for prefinished oak and $6.99/sq ft for unfinished, sand and poly (why do you need to sand a brand new floor?), plus $100 to remove the carpet, pad and prepare the subfloor.

For those of you who have purchased prefinished hardwood as opposed to unfinished where I'd have the whole surface covered with a few coats of poly - is the prefinished "water resistant" enough? I'm thinking a spill would seep between the boards of the prefinished.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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We didn't pay anything because hubby installed it.

We were quoted $2/sq ft for installation only from someone who did side work under the table. That wouldn't have included staining. So I think around $3.99/sq ft for finished would be appropriate.

In regards to sanding, the wood is unfinished, meaning it wasn't sanded or anything, just cut. That's why it needs to be sanded. Staining and clear coating is a pain in the ass because it requires returning multiple days because each coat needs to dry before the next coat is added. That's why it costs significantly more. The upside is that your unfinished hardwood is usually cheaper than a prefinished floor, so the cost probably comes out very similar for both floors.

Just know that if you go with unfinished it will take more days to install. A finished floor is faster because it's done as soon as it's nailed down and the trim is installed. Unfinished requires returning over and over again.

You can save that $100 by removing the carpet and padding yourself. It's not hard. Just cut it into 3' width sections and roll it up. Tear up the tacking strips. Repair the subfloor where needed. If that's a hassle worth $100 to you, let them do it.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:38 PM
 
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It varies obviously, also by the size of the job

I got 3 1/4 inch red oak select installed in my whole house, I think it worked out to $7.50 a sqft installed with them supplying the materail. granted this was for about 1400 sqft.

I think it worked out to about $3 for the wood, and 2.50 for the sand and finish and $2 for the install

This is all from a floor guy who's been doing this for many years.

your quotes "seem" high, Also where are you getting the wood and what are you being charged there?

the thing is, yours is a small job so the price per sq is probably going to be higher. my guess is $3 install, $3 finish

as someone who has site finished oak and has seen plenty of prefinished installs, I like site finished a lot better, unless you're talking about the handscraped or very wide planks. It makes for a much more continious floor.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
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There's a big difference between prefinished and site finished.
Mainly, most prefinished is about 3/8" thick versus site finished 3/4". There is 3/4" prefinished but, most people look at price and immediately fore go the 3/4.

Another major difference- you can get about one refinish on the 3/8 engineered stuff and about three on the site finished 3/4. Another thing that I really dislike about prefinished is the bevel or "micro-bevel" that manufacturers put on the edges. When two boards are put together it creates this little trough that collects water, dirt, dust, crap- you get the idea. Works it's way down into the boards and can create squeaks and buckling (in extreme cases).
I'm definitely a big proponent of site finished floors- even if it does take a few days to finish.

Another thing to consider- and generally overlooked- baseboards. Currently, your baseboards are set for carpeting. If you go with the engineered flooring you can usually leave the b'brd at the present height but, if you go with site finished the b'brds should be raised the 3/4". Otherwise they look like short, sawed-off crap- and then add quarter round instead of shoe and it really looks like S#!T- not that shoe makes it look any better.

The dilemma has been cussed and discussed several times before- just do a search
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:19 AM
 
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We put in 1 1/4" red oak into our old house. We had 2 rooms and a hallway that had wood floors, we added wood and had everything finished/refinished at the same time. We put in a little over 550 sq feet of wood and had about 400 sq feet sanded and finished. That 400 sq feet for sanding and refinishing added about $700 to our job which totaled about $5300 or so. So the price per sq foot is roughly the same as what you got for the site finished quote. We had this work done in 2004. It was worth every penny. I LOVED those floors and will put the same into our next house when we move again in a couple years.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:30 AM
 
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Its tempting to go with the prefinished product to avoid the installers having to come back over several days, having to keep the pets off the just polycoated floor... The installer is most fond of Bellawood. I think its 3/4" thick, but will have to check again. Would like to be able to get several refinishes out of it but I guess Bellawood's claim with their 100-year finish or whatnot is that you won't have to be refinishing it. But the beveled edges sound like a terrible idea, collecting dirt, etc.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fields of Green View Post
Its tempting to go with the prefinished product to avoid the installers having to come back over several days, having to keep the pets off the just polycoated floor... The installer is most fond of Bellawood. I think its 3/4" thick, but will have to check again. Would like to be able to get several refinishes out of it but I guess Bellawood's claim with their 100-year finish or whatnot is that you won't have to be refinishing it. But the beveled edges sound like a terrible idea, collecting dirt, etc.
I don't know what type of pets you have, but it's not just keeping the pets off the floor. You need to keep hair from getting into the coats while they are wet. That means any dog hair floating around in your house could get stuck in the finish. I considered sending my dogs away to stay with relatives for the week. In the end, we decided to go with prefinished.

Bellawood is 3/4". It has an 8 layer finish. That's more layers than any finish that will be applied at your house.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:09 PM
 
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btw, Bellawood comes in both beleveled edges and square edges.
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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We had our engineered hardwoods installed for $4 per square foot including furniture removal & returning to place, carpet removal, slab grinding & leveling where necessary, and glue/moisture barrier for the glue-down aspect of the process. We paid a slight premium for the area because of a bunch of weird angles, a sunken living room, and stonework they had to go under.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:12 PM
 
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First, you need to be clear on whether you are using solid hardwood or engineered. From your initial post, it sounds to me like one way or another you are using solid hardwood.

Next, you can't compare labor costs to what others have paid unless you know what area of the country everyone is talking about.

I live in Maryland. In December, I paid Lowes $2.80 per square foot to install Bruce Lifetime Finished solid hardwood. In Delaware, 20 miles north of me, Lowes is charging $2.50 per foot to install.

Before choosing Lowes, I got installation prices from independent flooring contractors in DE and MD. They all charged $3 per foot.

I was only paying for a straight install of the floor. I had already taken up the carpet and spent hours on my knees pulling all of the staples out of the floor. I had removed my baseboards because I didn't want to use shoe molding. I had a carpenter that was going to put on new baseboards later. The flooring guys would have wanted $1 a foot to do it and it would have come out to about $75. I think it cost me $40 to have the carpenter do it and I needed him here for other stuff anyway.

There is a flooring forum here. You might want to search it for discussions about on site finishing vs. pre-finished.
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