Are you considering a home flooring improvement? Trying to decide which is the best flooring to increase your home’s value can be a challenge. Wondering, does hardwood flooring increase home value? With so many flooring choices on the market, we’re here to help.
Hardwood adds character, style, charm, and warmth to a home, making it an aesthetic choice for both owners and buyers. It offers both a contemporary and traditional look and is much sought after by buyers. Properly installed hardwood flooring generally will increase a home’s value by between 2% and 5%, and sometimes more.
In this article, we’ll discuss the impact of hardwood flooring on a home’s value, its return on investment (ROI), and compare its ROI with laminate, engineered hardwood, and carpet. We’ll also look at which colors and tones of hardwood have the best impact on resale, plus the cost per square foot, and if hardwood floors are worth it. Our goal is to provide you with the information to make the best flooring choice for your home.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- Does Hardwood Flooring Increase Home Value?
- How Much Value Does Hardwood Floors Add to Your Home?
- Hardwood Floor vs Laminate Resale Value
- Does Engineered Hardwood Increase Home Value?
- Does Replacing Carpet With Hardwood Increase Value?
- What Color Hardwood Floor Is Best for Resale?
- Cost of Hardwood Floors per Square Foot
- Are Hardwood Floors Worth It?
Does Hardwood Flooring Increase Home Value?
Hardwood flooring adds style, charm, character, and warmth to a home and can increase its value, but there are other factors that need to be considered too. Even sparkling, pristine floors won’t help a home with dated décor or septic, foundation, roof, or other structural issues. The color, type, and style of hardwood will also affect the value as it can look dated or make a room feel small.
Hardwood in a house that is in good repair with modern updates will help bump up the home’s value. According to the National Association of Realtors, many people under 55 will pay more if there is hardwood throughout a home and not just in the principal rooms, as will those living in moderate and midrange climate zones. The Association further identified that hardwood floors also increase the speed as well as the value with which homes sell.
Hardwood can be sanded down, stained, and finished to personal taste, whereas other types of flooring can’t be. Many older homes have original hardwood floors that may require refinishing, or that are hiding under wall-to-wall carpeting, linoleum, vinyl, laminate, or even engineered hardwood flooring. These older, salvageable hardwood floors can also improve resale value. However, much depends on the amount of work required to bring those hidden gems to light, and the other factors mentioned.
Laying hardwood in a dated kitchen or bath may not give the ROI expected, so if the plan is to install it to improve resale speed and value, talk to a realtor first. Many realtors have a finger on the pulse of the market and are willing to provide advice on how to improve a home’s value. If installing it solely for personal pleasure and its innate elegance for the foreseeable future and not imminent resale, then enjoy it and don’t worry. Today’s trends will give way to something else, but hardwood always seems to be desirable.
How Much Value Does Hardwood Floors Add to Your Home?
Determining the actual value hardwood floors will add to a home is like trying to guess which leaf will fall off a tree first. If the house colors, appliances, fixtures, and décor are current, then flooring often comes into play as a price-point factor; provided it is in good repair and a popular color choice. Mixed flooring choices throughout a house is not popular today, so many buyers may view hardwood only in one or two rooms as little better than a home without hardwood – it may all have to be ripped out if it can’t be matched.
Many home-improvement specialists suggest leaving floors as is and letting buyers personalize the home’s look by replacing the floors. It’s also recommended to replace flooring and do other upgrades 5 years prior to selling. That way you get to enjoy them, regardless of their impact on the selling price. Plus, the upgrades will still be current and in good repair when it comes time to sell.
To help get a feel for the market and what is trending, wander through several homes for sale nearby to see what the finishes and flooring choices are. If your home is the first in the neighborhood to go on the market, it often sets the trend for others around you. However, if it’s one of the last on the market in the neighborhood,, then upgrades may be necessary to improve offers. Remember, there are buyers who look for the ugly duck on the street with the plan to pay less and turn it into a beautiful swan.
According to the National Association of Realtors, hardwood floors can improve the resale value by between 2% and 5%, and sometimes more. Plus, they can increase the speed with which a home sells. Unfortunately, the data supporting this isn’t hard or fixed but drawn from existing trends, market information, buyer surveys, and realtor experience. However, 2% of $100,000 is $2,000 and 5% is $5,000. So, depending on the cost of the hardwood flooring, and the resale price being asked for the house, the ROI could be significant.
Hardwood Floor vs Laminate Resale Value
There are many factors that need to be considered when comparing the impact of flooring on resale value. Installing hardwood flooring with the expectation that it will improve resale better than any other flooring is presumptuous. Tasteful decor and up-to-date finishes can complement most flooring choices in good condition, so consider updates too.
Hardwood floors are 100% natural wood which is expensive but can be sanded down and refinished and easily last 30 to 100 years or more. Hardwood typically has a non-transferable warranty for 10 to 30 years, which usually covers structure and milling or the finish, and sometimes both. Hardwood flooring is durable and can withstand exposure to some moisture, plus it can be dried and refinished. It also provides a warmth and feel that most photo-image floors can only mimic, not replicate.
Laminate flooring commonly has a particleboard or fiberboard base with a photo-like image layer topped with a hard clear protective layer. It will last 10 to 25 years, depending on quality and use, but can’t be refinished. Laminate is often warrantied for 5 to 10 years against wear, with warranties being transferable with home ownership.
Laminate is a durable flooring option, but if it gets moisture below the protective coating, it can swell, crack, chip, or even turn to mush. And although laminate may look like wood, it isn’t, so the feel and warmth of true hardwood are lacking.
Another issue is the amount of hardwood in the home. Many people are looking for hardwood throughout the main floor of a house for uniformity and flow, not just in the principal rooms. Hardwood in one or two rooms with other flooring types scattered around in other rooms and passageways on one level is no longer considered acceptable or tasteful. Plus, trying to match the hardwood in the future may prove impossible and necessitate the removal of not just the other flooring types, but the existing hardwood too.
When considering which type of flooring will have the best resale value, much depends on other factors. However, when comparing the actual impact of buyer preference for natural hardwood versus wood photo-image laminate, most prefer some hardwood to none at all. So, based on all the factors, hardwood flooring will increase a home’s resale value more than laminate flooring.
Does Engineered Hardwood Increase Home Value?
Engineered hardwood is a manufactured flooring with a wood veneer top and a plywood base. The wood veneer gives the same warmth, feel, and durability as solid wood flooring, and the plywood base helps minimizes warpage and reduce overall cost. So, it is less expensive than solid hardwood flooring but has the same look, feel, warmth and durability.
The veneer’s thickness varies, affecting how often it can be refinished. The thicker the veneer, the greater its cost and lifespan. Most engineered hardwood flooring is expected to last 25 to 75 years or more. The width and length of the planks are also cost-determining factors. However, the plywood base makes wider boards easier to manufacture and install, and helps prevents twisting, cupping, and warping.
Considering how closely engineered hardwood resembles solid hardwood, it’s easy to understand how it will impact a home’s value. It will increase the value better than other flooring options, and often equally to solid wood – most people can’t tell the difference just by the look and feel. Many consider the ROI on engineered hardwood to be better than solid hardwood since it typically costs less while offering an equal return.
Does Replacing Carpet With Hardwood Increase Value?
Carpeting is quieter, softer, warmer, less expensive, comes in more colors and textures than hardwood, and, depending on quality and traffic, commonly last 5 to 15 years. Unfortunately, many homeowners leave carpets in place much longer than is healthy and fail to have them professionally cleaned yearly.
Carpets require more maintenance than hardwood, and are more susceptible to water damage, fading, and wear. Plus, they often contain VOCs and hold onto dust and odors which can contribute to allergies and other health issues.
The carpet craze of the 1970s to the 90s has given way to other more easily maintained flooring types, including a resurgence of hardwood flooring. Replacing carpet with hardwood flooring will increase a home’s value and improve its air quality and aesthetics. If carpets are still desired, area carpets can be used on the hardwood to reduce noise and add color and comfort, and can easily be changed out or removed.
What Color Hardwood Floor Is Best for Resale?
Color trends for walls, siding, bricks, roofing, and flooring change with time. What was ‘in’ 5 years ago, may be dated today, so selecting a hardwood color or stain is a matter of timing. In the 19-century long wide planks or parquet were common, while during the 1920s and 30s, dark wood tones lent character to craftsman-style homes.
The 1950s and 60s gave way to narrow boards in light or clear finishes. The first decade of the present century saw distressed, reclaimed, or scraped wood become the rage for an industrial or rustic look. Today, wide planks in bleached wood tones of white or gray have taken hold.
The choice of color, wood species, finish, and plank width are often termed contemporary or traditional. Light wood tones or colors can brighten a room and provide a contemporary feel, while darker flooring commonly makes for a more luxurious or traditional look and feel. Today gray and white tones presently are trending, but tomorrow is anybody’s guess. However, dark color wood species or stains, such as walnut, espresso, or other brown tones retain good popularity overall and thus offer the best resale value.
Cost of Hardwood Floors per Square Foot
The cost of hardwood flooring depends on a number of different factors. The species of wood, color, finish, thickness, width, length, and quality all affect the cost. Other determining factors include where the flooring is purchased and who does the installation.
The cost per square foot can vary significantly based on the ZIP code, so it may pay to shop around. The cost for the same flooring at 3 home improvement stores of the same company in one mid-western city varied (at the time of writing) by 28 and 73 cents a square foot. A little driving can make a huge difference in the overall cost.
The cost of solid hardwood flooring ranges from $2.00 to $18.00 or more a square foot. For 3/4” hardwood flooring, expect to pay between $2.00 and $4.00 for basic quality, $4.50 and $6.00 for better or mid-quality, and $6.50 to $10.00 for the best quality planks.
Exotic woods like teak, Brazilian walnut (Ipe), Brazilian pecan or cherry, jatoba, mahogany, purple heart, tigerwood, Australian cypress, kempas, and others will range up to $18.00 or more a square foot.
Installation costs will also vary with both ZIP code and flooring quality, and with the complexity of the floor layout. Installing lower-quality hardwood commonly costs between $2.50 and $3.00 a square foot, mid-quality between $3.00 and $4.50, and high quality between $4.50 and $6.00.
Again, exotic woods will typically cost more to install. However, hardwood installation can be accomplished by a DIYer with good carpentry skills and some common tools, which can be big savings to the budget.
Are Hardwood Floors Worth It?
Hardwood floors offer an ageless, warm, natural beauty, charm, style, and aesthetic appeal that most other flooring types can’t match. Wood species or stain color, along with the width and length of the boards, create a contemporary or traditional look that is much sought after by buyers.
Properly installed and maintained, hardwood flooring can increase a home’s value between 2% and 5% or more, and has a better ROI than most other flooring types. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how hardwood flooring can improve the value of your home.