You see a product such as a luxury vinyl tile (LVT) or a wood laminate and, based on the price per square metre, you reckon you have sufficient funds for surface renovation. But have you considered the flooring installation costs?
We help you understand what flooring installation actually costs by looking at the factors that affect installation and pricing. It is not possible to give exact figures as many variables affect the price, but with the cost estimator tool at each product, you can get an estimate to help you prepare a budget for laying the laminate or vinyl flooring. See an example here.
What Is the Cost of Labour?
In general, add about R75* plus per square metre for laying the floor. However, this doesn’t include sub-floor preparation or removal of the old floor. The area that must be covered and the complexity of the project add to the labour cost. You can save money by preparing the sub-floor and work area beforehand. Make sure it is 100% level, debris and moisture-free. Remove furniture and side panels where needed. The longer a project takes to complete the higher the labour costs. The labour costs account for about 33% of the project cost. If you invest in self-levelling screed beforehand after having the old floor removed, you can also save on installation costs.
What Is the Sub-Floor?
You cannot install luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) or wood laminates on hardwood floors, carpets or any type of sub-surface that can move. If it is an old house, it may suffer from moisture seeping through the original concrete floor surface because the older houses often don’t have waterproofing, or their waterproofing has already perished. To this end, special sub-floor preparation may be required before installing laminate or vinyl flooring.
Newly built homes also pose a problem because the screed may still not be dry. You may have to wait up to six months before installation can be done. The installers may have to return several times to inspect the surface, which can add to the cost of installation. For a wood laminate flooring of R220* per square metre, you can add, for instance, R30* per square metre for the underlay. But this is a broad guideline because the type of underlay you choose affects the overall price.
Materials and Tools to Be Used
The materials required for laying the floor add to the installation cost. This includes the adhesives, nails, trimming tools, equipment to cut the planks, pull bars, a self-levelling mix where needed, spacers, tapping blocks, moulds, sealants and the likes. Fortunately, the installers already work these into their quotes whereas with a DIY project you soon end up paying far more than planned for because you need to buy tools and equipment for a once-off project.
If the room has many obstacles that make it difficult to lay the floor without cutting, you can expect to pay more for installation. Account for cutting, measurement, trimming and product wastage.
A built-in kitchen island is an example of an obstacle. Also, do you want the same vinyl or wood laminate flooring throughout the house, or do you want different products for the kitchen, bathrooms, living rooms and bedrooms? This is important as the entire house must then be prepared, and the laying of the floor must be done to allow for a cohesive look and feel if you use only one product. This affects the direction of the planks or vinyl tiles placement.
The installers factor in the connection areas, but the direction of placement is done according to the room layout rather than the entire home.
Odd-shaped rooms make installation more difficult. The larger the area of installation, the more materials and labour will be needed. That said, a smaller room with a complex layout can require more work as it may have several obstacles. Fewer corners to navigate reduce the installation cost. Laying the floor around stairs can be time-consuming and a rather complex process. Expect the installation cost to increase considerably for staircases.
Pay more and get a better end-result or less with more results?
When it comes to a carpet quote, ask the consultant for two quotes:
- One where the least amount of material is used.
- One where the least amount of joins is applicable.
Why is that?
With fewer joins you will require more material. The end-result is better although you can expect to pay more. If you want to pay less on material, you might have to settle for several joins. Although it can work out perfect, you do have the risk of joins in highly visible places, which may detract from the aesthetic pleasing effect of the new flooring. It’s a tough choice, but with quotes on both options, you can decide whether the saving is significant enough to take the risk.
Laminate or Vinyl Type
The thicker wood laminates are easier to install on sub-floors that are not 100% level. Wider planks are more difficult to install and require more cutting than narrower ones. The way the flooring is installed also determines the cost. Is it a floating surface that only clicks in without having to be nailed or glued to the sub-surface? Is it a vinyl tile solution that comes with a self-adhesive backing? Keep in mind that a thinner wood laminate or vinyl requires a more substantial underlay if you want adequate noise absorption and soft footing. This can also add to the overall product cost.
Does It Need a Sealant?
For flooring in the kitchen, laundry or bathroom you may need a sealant as well even if the flooring has a protective layer. Of course, this adds to the overall product cost. Waterproofing must be done around the baths, shower cubicles, basins and toilets.
Don’t Forget About the Underlay
Enquire whether the price quoted for the flooring includes the underlay. This also relates to the installation of the underlay. Some products already include underlay, but many don’t. The underlay covers the same area as the floor that is installed on top of it. Factor in materials, labour and equipment for the underlay in addition to the actual product price per square metre. Want an allergy-free home or office environment? Start with the underlay. The Healthier Living installation makes it possible to protect your family members against surface allergens. It provides antimicrobial protection for the floor, significantly reduces dust, inhibits the development of allergens and eliminates odours and mould. If you want to benefit from a hygienic and healthier living environment, do so with this type of installation.
Enhancing the End-Product
Do you need to install baseboards? Perhaps you want to install underfloor heating? Or what if you want to increase the hygiene profile of the surface? As with the underlay consideration, don’t forget about the Healthier Living Installation System that makes it possible to create an allergen-free environment with pre-treatment of the installation area to protect against mould and bacterial growth.
Final Thoughts on the True Cost of Flooring Installation
The sub-floor preparation is essential if you want to save money and ensure long-lasting beauty. The surface must be level, moisture-free and clean. It must be stable enough to provide sufficient support to the vinyl or wood laminate flooring. The location of installation, obstacles, area to be covered, preparation, the type of floor product, where you install it and finishes affect the true cost of installation.
Use our cost estimator available at each of our flooring products to help get an idea of the final price. Use our easy-to-follow process for getting an accurate quote and benefit from our superb installation guarantees.
*Disclaimer: Prices correct at time of publication.