Ceramic Tile vs Hardwood Flooring Cost

Many will agree that ceramic tile and hardwood are the most common kinds of flooring among the dozens of flooring options that are available.

Walk into any given building and you will see the floors being made of either ceramic tiles or hardwood.

Sure, there are exceptions, and it isn’t like hardwood flooring and ceramic tile are the only kinds of floors in existence. However, it cannot be denied that ceramic tile and hardwood are the most popular kinds of flooring, and they deserve to be analyzed side-by-side.

While the differences between ceramic tile and hardwood flooring seem very obvious, there is one aspect between the two that is a lot more subtle: Cost.

The cost differences between ceramic tile and hardwood flooring may seem pretty obvious at first, but because there is so much that goes into installing, repairing, and maintaining these floors, they deserve to be measured against each other.

There is a lot more to how much these kinds of floors cost than just how much money you will need to spend on them. You should also factor in how much time you need to take waiting out the installation, and how much effort you will need to put forth in gathering supplies for installation or repairs if you wish to do them yourself.

All of these will be covered as the overall cost of ceramic tile and hardwood get placed under a much needed microscope. After understanding these differences, you will know for sure which one is best for you.

Why are so many factors being analyzed in the cost of ceramic tile and hardwood flooring?

Before these kinds of floors can be analyzed, a little more input on what comprises the total cost of these two is in order.

There are three expendable resources that we possess: Money, time, and effort.

There are also three major aspects of flooring: Installation, repairs, and maintenance.

As you will see, the money, time, and effort that we have available to us will be related to the processes of installation, repairs, and maintenance that go into ceramic tile and hardwood floors.

The problem with only analyzing how much these floors cost in terms of money is that it completely ignores time or effort. For example, a floor could be very cheap to install, but it could take weeks to install compared to a floor that costs a little more money to install but only takes days to install.

These can also translate to repairs and maintenance. A floor could be very cheap to maintain in terms of the time necessary, but it could take a lot of time to get the materials necessary or could take a lot of time to make the necessary repairs if you want to do these repairs yourself.

Point being, “cost” refers to a lot more than money that you spend. It also refers to how much time you plan to spend as well as how much effort you do not mind putting in to your ceramic tile or wood floor.

All three resources of money, time, and effort will be mentioned and referred to as much as possible when analyzing the processes of installation, repairs, and maintenance of ceramic tiles and hardwood flooring

What are the costs associated with ceramic tiles?

Installing ceramic tiles is no easy task, and of course, how much money, time, or effort that it can cost to install ceramic tiles depend largely on the size of the place that you want to install them in and what kind of tiles you want to install.

In terms of money, it can cost anywhere from $15 to $20 per square foot to install a ceramic tile floor. Keep in mind that this is a very rough estimate based on a very general average.

There are a lot of materials that are associated with installing a ceramic tile floor, and the interesting thing about installing a ceramic tile floor is that it is possible to install them by yourself without hiring contractors to install them at that $15 to $20 per square foot rate.

However, it might cost you a lot more money, time, and effort to install a ceramic tile floor in a DIY style where you collect all the materials necessary to install your floor.

In any case, prepare to spend more than a couple of days getting your ceramic tile floor installed.

These are the costs associated with ceramic tiles. Keep these in mind when the costs associated with hardwood flooring are explored.

What are the costs associated with hardwood flooring?

Hardwood flooring is much different in its installation and maintenance than ceramic tile flooring, and so too are they different in the costs associated.

The amount of money you will spend on installing hardwood flooring depends on whether you want to install traditional hardwood or engineered hardwood. It also depends on the quality of the wood. These will be analyzed in greater detail.

Prepare to spend $3 to $6 per square foot for flooring and another $3 to $5 to physically install a lower grade traditional hardwood floor made of soft woods such as pine. For more common traditional hardwood styles such as oak, teak, or American cherry, you’ll be spending $5 to $10 for the materials and $4 to $8 for installation. The highest grades of traditional hardwood such as mahogany will cost $8 to $14 for materials and $4 to $8 to install.

The cost to install engineered hardwood flooring is the same across the board, anywhere from $3 to $10 per square foot. However, the cost for the materials vary. Prepare to spend $3 to $5 for low grade materials, $5 to $10 for mid grade materials, and $8 to $13 for high grade materials.

You should also keep in mind that hardwood flooring uses subfloors, and if your floor does not have a subfloor that is suitable for a hardwood floor, you will need to account for that as well. If you need plywood for the subfloor, you’ll need around $22 for each 4’ by 8’ sheet.

Installing a hardwood floor completely from scratch will take a very, very long time. This is especially true if you need plywood for the subfloor. Expect to wait close to a week for hardwood flooring to be installed in your building if you need a subfloor installed. If you do not need a subfloor installed, it will only take a couple of days.

Comparing the cost of ceramic tile and hardwood flooring side by side

Comparing these two side by side, it is clear that hardwood flooring costs more in terms of money and time than ceramic tile.

However, this is only true if you need plywood for the subfloor. If you do not need plywood for the subfloor, it will cost roughly the same in terms of time and money.

While it is possible to install both a ceramic tile floor and a hardwood floor by yourself without help, it will take considerably longer to do so with ceramic tiles. There are a lot more materials involved in installing a ceramic tile floor than a hardwood one.

Installing a hardwood floor by yourself without help can also take a long time, but it does not entail nearly as many materials and because of this, it will not take as long as installing a ceramic tile floor.

Something else you should consider is that there are not different grades of tiles like there are different grades of hardwood. When you get a ceramic tile floor installed, you do not need to consider how much different grades cost like with hardwood.

If you already have a subfloor that is suitable for a hardwood floor, it will not take a long time to get a hardwood floor installed. And in some cases, it can take a shorter time to install than a ceramic tile floor, especially if the rooms are smaller.

The one thing that ceramic tile floors cost decisively less than hardwood floors is in the realms of repairing and maintenance. You do not need to worry about ceramic tile floors warping, curling, or deteriorating in any other way, meaning that repair costs are small.

It is also easy to maintain ceramic tile floors, and maintaining ceramic floors takes a lot less time, effort, and money than any hardwood floor.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a few things that are similar and a few things that are different when it comes to the cost of ceramic tile and hardwood.

Depending on how you want them installed, they can practically cost the same. This is why you need to factor in more than just money when it comes to the total cost of installing, repairing, and maintaining these kinds of floors.

If you consider “cost” as a measure of more than just money spent, you’ll discover that a ceramic tile floor will be a lot more cost effective than a hardwood floor in the area of time and effort. Maintaining and repairing a hardwood floor can take a lot of time and effort, much more than any given ceramic tile floor.

Use these comparisons to see which kind of floor is best for you.

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