If you have carpet covering wood floors, consider shredding it before selling it. And if you don’t have wood floors, installing it might be a smart move.
That’s because most buyers today want them — and they may be more likely to abandon homes with wall-to-wall carpeting, said Leslie Piper, a San Francisco-based real estate agent who specializes in consumer housing at Realtor.com. In fact, it recently helped facilitate a great deal of buying a home that many people overlook, in part due to its pesky green carpet. Buyers tear the rug to reveal the panels underneath.
“The majority of home buyers in the market are already looking at, or expect to find, hardwood flooring,” Piper said. As a result, many sellers with this feature will mention in listing details or make sure any photos flaunt their flooring, she said.
Everyone who has grown up in a home with rugged rugs knows that hardwood hasn’t always been in vogue.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development once required laminate flooring in homes with mortgages that backed it because it contributed to the home’s structural integrity, said Anita Howard, chief operating officer of the National Wood Flooring Association. But in the mid-1960s, the rules were changed, allowing carpeting over the wooden floor. She said the carpeting was cheaper, and offered a fresh look that customers wanted.
It is easy to understand why hardwood has emerged as a strong consumer preference over the past few decades. Piper said homeowners prefer laminate flooring for its clean appearance. It also doesn’t trap allergens the way carpet does. Dennis Boch, president of Boone Creek Cabinet & Design in McHenry, Ill.
Before embarking on the task of installing or restoring laminate flooring, it is important to know your options, weigh their costs, and consider your return on investment. And if you’re a homebuyer, it’s helpful to know which floors you’ll be dealing with when you take the keys.
Hardwood floors often cost $3.50 to $12.95 per square foot, plus installation costs range from $2.75 to $6.75 per square foot, Boch said.
The wider the planks, the more expensive the flooring. More expensive, too, said Elizabeth Dodson, co-founder of HomeZada, a website that helps consumers manage and budget home improvement and maintenance projects, is also more expensive: reclaimed or reclaimed wood, which people often choose for reasons of conservation or to achieve a more distinct look.
One positive aspect of using hardwood flooring is that it can be sanded and refinished multiple times, unlike manmade types of flooring.
When making the investment, choose a classic wood; White oak, walnut, and walnut tend to be popular choices, said Chris C, vice president of contractor sales and development at Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. Lighter woods that get rid of stains easily are ideal for those who may want to change the look of their floor down the line. See said that many homeowners today stain their floors white and shades of gray—and these trends make home floors more of a design element.
An engineered wood floor is a composite of several layers of wood; The top layer is solid wood veneer. It’s usually prefinished, Buch said, unlike most traditional hardwood planks, which can either be prefinished or finished in the work.
Given both materials and labor, Buch said, you can save $2 to $3 per square foot by using pre-engineered wood flooring. Another plus side: some varieties can look so similar to hardwood planks that it’s hard for a trained eye to see the difference. Also, engineered wood flooring can often be used in areas with high humidity, where it is less likely to warp.
“Engineered flooring is an interesting and fast growing category. It used to be really cheap and of low quality, but [quality] C said.
The downside: You probably won’t be able to refinish engineered wood floors multiple times, if at all. “Some of the shells are very thin, and sanding them is not recommended,” Buch said. He added that other floors may be able to withstand sanding and refinishing.
An economical solution for laminate flooring is laminate, Buch said, which can cost between $1.20 and $3 per square foot for material, plus $1.25 to $1.50 per square foot for installation. Laminate is not wood at all, it looks like it is.
Lamination may be a good choice for those looking for temporary flooring; You probably know that you will replace all the floors in your home at some point in the future but there is one room that needs updating right now. Or laminating may be appropriate if you are replacing the floor right before putting a home up for sale and don’t want to make a huge investment.
A note on restoring existing floors
Refinishing existing wood floors can cost between $2.75 and $4 per square foot, Buch said, depending on what final finish used to seal the wood is chosen.
But you may also pay for a hotel room while it’s drying.
“When the finishes are applied to the floors, the fumes from the finishes, even flashing, require you not to be in the house sometimes for up to 36 hours,” Buch said.
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