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How Much Does Exotic Hardwood Flooring Cost?

Last Updated: January 14, 2022

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Exotic hardwoods are those species of hardwood which are imported. American cherry, for instance, is a hardwood native to the United States, while Brazilian cherry is an exotic species. As you might imagine, exotic hardwoods are more expensive due to the distance they must travel to market. Many people are willing to pay the extra money for imported woods, however, because they offer distinctive color and grain pattern as well as excellent durability.

What Exotic Woods Are Available? #

There are hundreds of species of exotic woods suitable for flooring; far too many to list here. Some of the more popular varieties include zebrawood, teak, African and Honduran mahogany, African and Brazilian cherry, Brazilian walnut, ebony, purpleheart, and tigerwood. All of these species are ranked very high on the Janka hardness scale (a universal wood hardness test) and stand up to humidity, heat, and liquids extremely well.

Keep in mind that exotic woods such as these are not for the budget-minded homeowner. High demand in addition to transportation costs combine to make exotic species significantly more expensive than native woods. Those who can afford them, however, will be treated to flooring that is beautiful, tough as nails, and a conversation piece.

Unless you have significant experience, do not attempt to install these expensive floors on your own. Hire a professional contractor and be sure to get several price quotes and carefully compare your choices before you hire.

Are Exotic Woods Sustainable? #

A common concern among those considering exotic hardwoods is whether the species are sustainably harvested. The short answer is that some are and some aren't. If you want to make sure that your purchase of an exotic hardwood doesn't contribute to deforestation, look for wood that has been certified as sustainable by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative or the Forest Stewardship Council. While woods that have been certified as sustainable typically cost a bit more than non-certified woods, the extra money is definitely going towards a worthwhile cause.

Exotic Hardwood Flooring Costs #

  • Exotic hardwoods are quite expensive. Compared to a traditional wood floor which might cost anywhere from $4 to $10 per square foot, exotic hardwoods cost as much as $40 per square foot, although prices tend to be closer to $10 to $30 per square foot. For a typical 10 x 12 room (120 square feet), this works out to an average materials cost of $1,200 to $3,600.
  • Save money on exotic hardwoods by buying unfinished wood, which you can then finish yourself by applying a stain and a sealer. It's possible to save as much as $5 per square foot with unfinished hardwood products (or $600 for a 120 square foot room).
  • Professional installation of hardwood floors costs $3 to $6 per square foot ($360 to $720 for 120 square feet). This price assumes a new installation; tearing out an existing floor, disposing of it, and then laying down the new flooring can brings installation costs up to $15 per square foot ($1,800).

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