Is our builder gouging us on hardwood?

Hello,
We are having a new home built and we are getting hardwood floors throughout, except the laundry room and bedrooms. Our builder sent us to "Contemporary Carpet" to pick our flooring out. They quoted us a price of $16,220 for all the hardwood. If I had to guess I'd say there is hardwood throughout 1500 sq ft of the house. They broke it down by room, and here is one to give you an example:
Great Room 353.5 sq ft $5192
This comes to $14.69/sq ft. Does this seem high? Here are the floor we chose: http://www.nextag.com/CAPELLA-Standard-Series-3-522001499/prices-html . This is prefinished maple flooring, which has about 5 layers. According to that price, they are charging over $8/sq ft for installation. This is higher than what I've mostly seen searching around. Is there something I'm not thinking of that could bump up the cost?
Thanks, Steve
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Licorice Tattoo wrote:

Steve, Your contractor should be able to provide you with exact price per square foot for labor. I see from the above link that material cost is $5.70/sf. If your calculation of $14.69/sf is correct (I am assuming this is labor and material cost) then labor cost is $8.99/sf (round off $9). There is also cost of insulation paper plus nails, staples and/or glue. Here in CT, Home Depot had a special $9.99/sq for labor. Regular price $11/sf. But if you are paying $14.69 just for labor. That sounds steep. Best bet would be to go to local Home Depot or Lowes and ask what is their price.
Jack,
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I do not know if this pertains to your situation, but here in South Jersey, I am replacing the carpet in each room as I remodel it. I purchase my flooring from Lumber Liquidators for less than 5.50 s/f and that is for some very nice exotic woods, including blood wood, three times harder than oak. To that I have a local flooring guy install it for about another 5.00 s/f.
To get the best, rock-bottom rate from all of the contractors that work on my house, and I have some terrific contractors, I absorb the cost of all unknowns. If it could not be be seen or predicted, I eat the cost. Saves them the worry about losing money. We both win.
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It seems high to me, but our hardwood was $4.80/sqft. Installation was $2/sqft. This was about 3 years ago. Throw in 15% tax and our 450 sqft job came to about $3500. Installers did not charge for nails/ paper/prep (or even detail work like framing a splash porch, bullnosing, etc.). My parents had a job done at the same time for $1.50 installed, and the results in both cases were excellent as far as workmanship goes.
I'm glad I live where I do....at least as far as hardwood installation goes!
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Building material costs in general have been going through the roof for the past decade or so. The primary reason has been attributed to the Chinese that are buying up everything and building like crazy. There are shortages in just about all fundamentals from cement to lumber and nails. When all is said and done its all about supply and demand.
I don't know much about the facts about the hardwood industry in detail but I do know throughout the 90s I worked for a wood window and door manufacturer and he had a lot of difficulty obtaining various hardwoods even then.
If I were you I would go to the websites of the lumber associations (hardwood specifically) and send them some questions asking about the availability and costs of hardwoods being used for flooring. A few moments of your time will give you an education you can use to continue shopping or perhaps be comfortable with the facts as they are now being presented to you.
Finally, you might also break your project down and not buy the hardwood floors from a carpet store that is yet another "middle man" that is going to mark up the product and likely going to subcontract the labor out anyway. Do the work to find the independent guys with all the old world expertise. Some jack-off salesman in a carpet store is not going to be working in -- your -- best interests.
--
<%= Clinton Gallagher
NET csgallagher AT metromilwaukee.com
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clintonG wrote:

This is what we've been hoping for... that the Chinese would use the money we're sending them for their exports (toys, electronics, textile products, etc.), and turn around and use that income to buy things from the USA.
That will help American mfgrs, and maybe we'll see a rise in the income of the ordinary laborer, reversing the 30+ year trend. Wishful thinking, maybe. Probably the Feds will enact some stupid protectionist trade barrier that will ruin the fair operation of the marketplace before this occurs.
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wrote:

Steve,
I'm currently redoing about 2200 sft, and my total cost for basic installation of solid quartersawn oak (installed, stained, finished is approximately $18,000 - or $8.20 psft), by a very very reputable firm. I am in Colorado, and prices do seem to be alot lower here. Hope this sheds some light on the topic.
MH
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