When we think of home renovations, we often jump to big structural changes. Stripping and replacing the kitchen, adding a loft conversion or building a conservatory are all large, yet common projects. However, when we want to add value to our home, we sometimes overlook the smaller options. One such possibility comes in the form of adding laminate floors. But how much does laminate flooring cost? And what is the upkeep like on it?
This fully costed price guide, updated for 2020, is designed to answer those very questions.
For pricing information on carpets, check out our carpet fitting cost guide instead.
- How is laminate flooring installed?
- Can I install laminate flooring myself?
- What are the pros and cons of laminate flooring?
- Do I need underlay?
- How much does laminate flooring cost?
- Supply costs
- Installation costs
- Maintaining laminate flooring
- Repairing laminate flooring
- Installing laminate flooring on stairs
- What is moulding?
- What types of moulding are there?
- How much does moulding cost?
- Other laminate flooring costs
- Get a quote
How is laminate flooring installed?
Before we can answer the question “how much does laminate flooring cost?”, it makes sense to cover the installation process. After all, you should know what it is you’re paying for. If you hire a professional to fit your home with new floors, you’ll want to know what to expect.
Additionally, understanding the fitting process from beginning to end makes it easier to ensure it’s all covered in your quote.
Measuring the space
In the preliminary stages, you’ll need to acquire an accurate set of measurements. Either you or a professional can take these.
For most rooms, such as living rooms or kitchens, these should be easy to take. This is because these rooms tend to be square or rectangular in shape. That said, many rooms have features that can complicate these measurements. Examples of this include but aren’t limited to:
If your room has lots of features like this, it may make more sense to ask a tradesperson to measure the space for you. A professional can sketch a plan of the room and calculate the total square footage quickly and accurately.
Removing the old floor covering
Once measurements are done (and all the laminate is purchased) a tradesperson will start to remove the old laminate.
This is a quick process that shouldn’t take more than an hour for one room. For an entire home, the total removal time could be up to a couple of hours. All of this is dependent on how many professionals are working on the project.
Getting the sub-floor ready
What is a sub-floor, you ask? This is a term for what is effectively a foundational layer. It’s placed below the flooring material but atop the floor joists. Most of the time a sub-floor is made up of plywood, and sometimes oriented strand board.
What is critical at this stage is that your sub-floor is flat, smooth and level. If it isn’t, it’s going to be extremely difficult to lay the laminate on top of it.
A common solution to this is applying concrete, waiting for it to dry and then smoothing that out. In some cases, you may even need to install a waterproof layer on top of the sub-floor. If this is required, your laminate flooring cost is going to increase significantly – due to the price of materials and labour.
Installing the underlay
At this stage, the process of adding new materials can really begin.
An underlay is a thin layer of soft material meant to cushion the flooring as it’s laid on top of the sub-floor. There are many kinds of underlay. Depending on the nature of your floor, your hired tradesperson will pick out the best match for the job.
Underlay is laid across the sub-floor and then cut down to the correct size. There is also a requirement that when it is cut there is 16mm left between the underlay and any pipes.
Fitting and laying the laminate
Finally, the actual laminate can be installed. At this point, you need to decide which way you’re going to orient the laminate panelling. Then the tradesperson will start installing from one corner and begin working one line at a time.
Laminate panels slide into place with one another, clicking into place when they’re fully installed.
There is another component – the spacer – which is also used. Laminate is not meant to touch the walls as it can damage them. As such, spacers are placed between the boards and the walls to prevent this.
Before you hire a professional though, make sure to educate yourself on these expert floor fitting tips. Knowing these might help you save an extra bit of money along the way.
Can I install laminate flooring myself?
As with most home renovation projects, you have the choice of either hiring a professional to carry it out or going the DIY route.
There are some advantages to DIY laminate flooring. If you take responsibility for the installation, then all you have to pay for is the materials. This brings your overall laminate flooring cost down. However, if you don’t own the requisite tools to carry out an installation then you will need to buy these. Consider how much you’ll really save if you choose to do it yourself.
On the other hand, there are many disadvantages to this approach. Because you don’t have the same training as a qualified installer, a DIY approach will take much longer.
Additionally, you’ll need to be incredibly precise will you fit the panels. If you don’t have the time or attitude for this, then getting a professional quote is a better option. The cost of replacing flooring that you’ve installed poorly will be high, so in the end you may not even save any money.
What are the pros and cons of laminate flooring?
There are a variety of flooring options to choose from including carpet, hardwood and vinyl. So, if you’re going to buy new laminate floors, it’s important to know their strengths and weaknesses.
- Classy aesthetic: Of all the home flooring options, laminate has one of the strongest visual qualities. It looks expensive and refined; it can also come in one of a few colours. The directional patterns of laminate can be appealing too, especially if your home aesthetic has a lot of geometric design.
- Low maintenance: We go into this in greater detail later on, but laminate requires very little maintenance. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t need much upkeep over the years, laminate is perfectly suited.
- Underfloor heating (optional): If you’re willing to spend a little extra, laminate flooring can support the installation of underfloor heating. This can be a great addition, for example, in a bathroom. Stepping out of the shower onto heated floors is a pricey but wonderful luxury option.
- Moisture issues: While laminate is resistant to moisture, if it gets too damp there can be issues. During heavy downpours make sure any windows in rooms with laminate flooring are shut.
- Damage requires full replacement: Because of how laminate floors are put together, if one panel gets damaged then most of, if not the whole floor will need changing.
- Slippery surface: Given that the top layer of laminate is made of a smooth plastic composite, it can be slippery. This is truer of newly laid laminate – floors that have been installed for a while lose this over time.
- Difficult installation: More of an issue with DIY installation. The installation process from beginning to end can take a few hours to most of a day.
Do I need underlay?
In short, yes. Because laminate is what’s known as a “floating floor” it needs a foundational layer beneath it. This is so that the laminate has something underneath it that can provide stability. Other benefits of an underlay include noise reduction (and in some cases soundproofing), and insulation.
Underlay is constituted of an assortment of materials. These often include rubber, plastic and foam to name a few. This gives the underlayer a soft, cushion-like quality that provides support. It also makes the laminate easier to walk on, as it has space to depress into slightly when someone steps on it.
This layer shouldn’t increase your laminate flooring cost too much. For a concrete sub-floor, underlay costs between £2 and £4 per square metre. For wooden sub-floors, the ceiling increases to £5 per square metre. Certain kinds of laminate flooring come with underlay attached, but these obviously come at a premium.
While this extra expenditure may be unappealing, it can save you money in the long run. Underlay can reduce your total energy bill by 12-17%, depending on the material and natural energy efficiency of the home.
How much does laminate flooring cost?
Calculating your laminate flooring cost can involve a lot of factors. These include:
- Miscellaneous costs
If you’re performing a DIY installation, then you only need to look at supply-only costs. If you’re hiring a professional for a more reliable and qualified approach however, you will have to ensure which parts your quote covers.
|Material||Cost (per m2)|
|Elm||£20 to £30|
|Hickory||£15 to £25|
|Maple||£10 to £15|
|Walnut||£6 to £18|
|Oak||£6 to £16|
Once you’ve paid for the materials themselves you then need to pay for a professional to install them. There are two main ways this can be costed.
Some tradespeople charge per square metre. The average cost of this is around £10 to £12 per square metre of laminate.
Others prefer to charge a flat fee per day of labour. Prices vary depending on whether you hire a sole tradesperson or a company. Location also affects cost – for example, London prices will be higher than anywhere else. In this scenario, a standardised fee can add between £150 and £220 to the total laminate flooring cost.
Maintaining laminate flooring
As we noted above, laminate flooring benefits from the fact that it requires very little maintenance. That being said, there are some things you should consider once your laminate is fitted.
Make sure not to spill any chemicals on the floor, as laminate can stain relatively easily.
Also, try to avoid tracking in mud. While it isn’t as difficult to get out as it would be with carpet, it can still cause issues. Think about buying matts for any entrances to your home to avoid any stains.
Finally, it is the advice of many tradespeople that you take precautions to prevent your laminate being scratched by furniture. You can install pads so that your furniture doesn’t slide around when sat on, damaging your new laminate.
The process through which you clean laminate is not the same as it would be for cleaning vinyl. Soap and the wet mop method are both poor ways of dealing with any stains, marks or scuffs. Additionally, steam cleaning might seem like a logical choice, but it can do serious damage.
The correct cleaning method is to just use a damp cloth, applied directly and immediately to any stains. Otherwise, nail polish remover is a safe option to remove tougher stains – specifically acetone nail polish remover. Wipe away with a damp cloth once it has been applied and begins to break down the stain.
Other maintenance you can carry out includes regular use of a hoover.
There are very few costs involved in the maintenance of laminate, and fewer still that can be considered significant.
Installing pads to prevent furniture scratching your floors costs very little. The average cost per pack of pads is between £1 and £10.
Acetone nail polish remover has a similarly low yet variable price. 50ml bottles can be purchased for around £1 while 600ml bottle can cost between £5 and £6.
Repairing laminate flooring
Most of the time a little maintenance and cleaning can keep your laminate in pristine condition. Nevertheless, serious scratches, buckling and stains can be gathered over time. Fixing these issues is relatively cheap but can take a while.
Every square metre of laminate panelling that you need to fix should cost you about £8 to £10 for the materials. Labour will also increase your laminate flooring cost by roughly £150 per day of work.
Installing laminate flooring on stairs
Laminate isn’t just an ideal material to lay down for floors – many homes add laminate to their staircases. This is a great way of adding an element of class to a difficult to decorate area.
Installing laminate on stairs has its challenges, however. Primarily, this comes from having to take away the existing overhang on each step and replacing it with a new one. In addition, your hired tradesperson will need other components to finish the stairs. For the overhang, a professional will need to add new stair nosing. The top of any steps will require tread to be added. And finally, riser pieces are necessary for the forward-facing part of the stair.
The average cost of installing laminate on a staircase lands at around £40 to £100 per step.
What is moulding?
Once you’ve installed your laminate floors, you need to make sure you get them moulded too.
Whenever you lay a floor you must leave what’s called an “expansion gap” between it and other surfaces. This is to accommodate the materials expanding and compressing due to changes in temperature. The typical distance of an expansion gap is 3/8 of an inch.
Moulding covers these gaps.
It’s both aesthetically and functionally minded. You can add it to your floor as a finishing touch, refining its visual appeal. You can also add it to increase the structural integrity of the laminate. Should a heavy weight be applied to the flooring then moulding will help disperse the weight.
More specifically though, moulding serves the purpose of creating a smooth transition between two surfaces. When flooring is first installed the edges of the material are left exposed, leaving them looking sharp and unattractive. If you have animals or small children, these edges can be potentially dangerous too. Smoothing out the transitions between these edges and the adjacent surfaces can therefore be better for appearances and safety.
The transitions in question are those between two separate types of flooring, such as between a kitchen floor and a dining room floor. Additionally, you can use transition moulding to connect laminate flooring with vertical planes, such as walls and cupboards.
What types of moulding are there?
There are a wide range of different moulds that you can purchase, all of which fulfil the same purpose. The most used moulds are as follows:
- Quarter round
- Corner round
- Stair nosing
One of the most used moulds. Named after its T-shape, this mould is used to bridge the gap between two bits of flooring of equal heights. This is useful if you want to smooth the transition between two styles of floor. Alternatively, it’s great for dividing up sections of a single style that covers a large space. Doorways are another ideal space to utilise t-moulds too.
Quarter round and corner round
These two moulds are designed specifically for connecting your floor to an adjoining wall. They are, as the name suggests, round in shape. Two corner rounds are placed at 90-degree angles from each other at the corner of a wall. Quarter rounds, by example, are intended to create 45-degree angles for more unusually built walls.
Not all adjacent floors are of equal thickness and height. In some cases, the flooring to one room may be a centimetre or two higher than the flooring of the next room. An example of this could be the transition from laminate flooring to a lower vinyl floor. Reducer moulds solve this problem by adding a gradient connecting these two surfaces.
Some differences in thickness are so drastic, however, that even reducers won’t be effective. These cases will require “end moulding” instead.
As noted in our section on installing laminate floors on stairs, you’ll need to cap off each step with new stair nosing. This kind of moulding connects the vertical and horizontal panels of the stairs, smoothing off the corners.
How much does moulding cost?
Moulding is typically sold in measurements of either 78-inch or 94-inch batches. Your moulding’s price is contingent on which of these sizes it falls into, as well the type of mould.
T-moulds are the most expensive kind that you can buy, given their wide applicability. If you buy them in 78-inch sets, it will increase your laminate flooring cost by £20 to £30 per set. 94-inch sets cost closer to £28 to £35 instead.
Another popular option are quarter rounds, and these are much cheaper. At 78-inches, they cost roughly £5 to £8; the 94-inch variants cost between £6 to £15.
Other laminate flooring costs
Beyond the main costs that we’ve listed above, as well as alternatives like laminate stairs, there are other, smaller costs to keep in mind.
Many homes will need to remove and replace existing skirting boards with newer variants. The price of this is conditional on the size of the room. A general estimate for the cost of skirting comes in at around £200 to £350 for a regular sized room.
If you want to add something practical and aesthetically pleasing to your laminate, you can install trims. The volume of trims that you buy is dependent on how large each renovated room is. Average costs for this fall around £5 to £10 per piece of trim.
When you buy laminate flooring, you must choose what kind of texture you want the materials to have.
|Satin||£10 to £35|
|Hand-scraped||£12 to £20|
|Embossed||£16 to £32|
|Oiled / brushed||£40 to £55|
Like choosing textures, when you purchase laminate you also must decide what kind of finish you want applied to it.
|Hand scraped||£38 to £45|
|Lacquered||£20 to £70|
|Brushed and lacquered||£30 to £50|
|Brushed and oiled||£28 to £55|
Before you install new flooring, you need to remove the flooring you already have. If you do this yourself, then your laminate flooring cost wont increase. Alternatively, you can ask a professional to include this service in their quote.
Trained professionals will usually cost around £15 per hour to remove waste materials. Most of the time this can be completed within a day.
Get a quote
By now you should have a comprehensive idea of the cost of laminate flooring and whether it’s right for your home.
If you’d like help in finding a professional to install laminate floors for you, fill out the form below. Quotatis will get back to you with a selection of local, knowledgeable tradespeople that can help you with your project.
Alternatively, you may decide that laminate floors are not the right fit for you. In that case, check out our carpet cost guide (also up to date for 2020).