Flooring Cost Estimating Tips

Waste allowances for flooring depend on the material used, the room dimensions, and the pattern or texture of the chosen material. For tiles or strip flooring allow for 5% waste. For carpet, the amount of waste will range from 5% to 35% depending on the roll width, room dimensions, and pattern.

Terazzo Flooring - Tile and terrazzo areas are taken off on a square foot basis. Trim and base materials are measure by the linear foot. Accent tiles are listed per each.

Two basic methods of installation are used. Mud set is approximately 30% more expensive than thin set.

In terrazzo work, be sure to include the linear footage of embedded decorative strips, grounds, machine rubbing, and power cleanup.

Wood Flooring - Wood flooring is available in strip, parquet, or block configuration. The latter two types are set in adhesives with quantities estimated by the square foot. The laying pattern will influence labor costs and material waste. In addition to the material and labor for laying wood floors, the estimator must make allowances for sanding and finishing these areas unless flooring is prefinished.

Sheet Flooring - Sheet flooring is measured by the square yard. Roll widths vary, so consideration should be given to use the most economical width, as waste must be figured into the total quantity. Consider also the installation methods available, direct glue down or stretched.

Access Flooring - Access flooring, originally used exclusively for computer room applications, is now being used in other areas of the building as well. Raised access flooring, with air supply openings on the floor, take advantage of natural convection to circulate air. This approach can reduce HVAC energy costs by 20%.

General Note on Finishes

Interior finish creates the identity of the building. It makes a statement about the nature of the business within—whether utilitarian, adventurous, or staid and dignified. Therefore, selection of materials should be made with an eye toward purpose and function of occupancy.

If, during the course of a project, the owner decides to cut back on costs, this is not a good area in which to do it. When a project is finished and the owner and prospective tenants walk through, they will not be able to see a complicated foundation, nor the marvelously engineered subsystems. What they will see are the finishes. If the project is “cheapened” at this point, it will show and dull the luster of an otherwise shining project.

Room Finish Schedule - A complete set of plans should contain a room finish schedule. If one is not available, it would be well worth the time and effort to put one together. A room finish schedule should contain the room number, room name (for clarity), floor materials, base materials, wainscot materials, wainscot height, wall materials (for each wall), ceiling materials, and special instructions. It is handy and easier to work out a room finish schedule on a grid system.

Surplus Finishes - Review the specifications to determine if there are any requirements to provide certain amounts of extra floor tile, ceiling pads, paint, wallcoverings, etc., for the owner’s maintenance department. In some cases, the owner may require a substantial amount of materials, especially if it is a special order or long lead time item.

Sustainability & LEED Certification - The type of materials used will have an impact on LEED certification. Current trends encourage use of natural materials, particularly those sourced locally. Materials with high recycled content are also desirable. The selection of interior finishes will also have an impact on energy conservation, light reflectance, and thermal retention.

Read more estimating tips for finishes.

Cost Estimating Resources from RSMeans

2013 Building Construction Cost Data Book
Thousands of unit costs for building components, arranged in the new CSI MasterFormat® 2010 classification system
» Learn more
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Technical Datasheets
03 00 00 - Concrete
04 00 00 - Masonry
05 00 00 - Metals
08 00 00 - Openings
09 00 00 - Finishes
09 60 00 - Flooring
10 00 00 - Specialties
11 00 00 - Equipment
12 00 00 - Furnishings
21 00 00 - Fire Suppression
22 00 00 - Plumbing
23 00 00 - HVAC
26 00 00 - Electrical
27 00 00 - Communications
31 00 00 - Earthwork
33 00 00 - Utilities
34 00 00 - Transportation