Updated July 15th, 2019
Are you thinking about installing new floors in your home? If so, you may wonder, "How much value do hardwood floors add to a home?" That question is usually followed by its sister question: "what's the return on investment?"
On the other hand, you may want to sell your home wondering what type of flooring will appeal to potential buyers and increase the value of a home.
Work with an expert real estate professional to make the right decisions on flooring choice, whether it's new hardwood or a different material.
Does hardwood flooring increase home value?
There's not a ton of data on the correlation between home value and hardwood floors, but the data that is available says the increase in home value can be up to 2.5%, according to realtor.com.
Some buyers' eyes grow wide when they see a home with hardwood floors, but in certain areas, it's become the norm. If you're the last one in your neighborhood to update the floors, do so before you sell.
You don't want your house's perceived value to drop when the only distinguishing factor between your house and the one for sale down the street is hardwood floors. That could significantly impact how much a buyer will pay.
How do flooring updates affect resale value?
Adding hardwood floors to a house won't make or break the value, though.
There are plenty of houses with the original hardwood floors — and the original gaudy paint and tiled countertops.
What makes or breaks the value that the hardwood floors add is the design and type of hardwood, and the updates in the rest of the house.
The pattern and direction in which the planks of wood are placed can add or detract from the appeal. If you have short planks placed in a herringbone or cross pattern, it can look dated. Similarly, if you have the planks all going in one direction, that makes the room feel tighter, that can also be an issue.
Talk to a flooring expert and a local expert real estate agent to help you design the perfect pattern and direction for your house.
Order of Operations
Before installing hardwood throughout, consider a kitchen or bathroom update. The kitchen and bathroom are the two rooms in the house that add the most value. No amount of hardwood flooring will cover up a dated kitchen or bathrooms.
Get the biggest bang for your buck by adding some paint, replacing countertops and appliances, and re-doing the shower/bath. From there decide if it's within your budget to add some hardwood floors to your living room or dining room. At that point, the value will just continue to increase.
What is the ROI for hardwood floors?
It should be clear that adding hardwood floors to a house will increase the value, given the house supports it. But what's the return on investment for adding hardwood floors?
According to Professional Builder, the ROI for hardwood floors lands somewhere between 70% and 80%. That means if you spend $20,000 on hardwood floors (2,000 square feet at $10 per square foot), you can expect to see between $14,000 and $16,000 reflected in the sale price of your home. Again, these numbers depend on the other aspects of the house and type and design of the hardwood floors.
If you don't plan on selling right away, however, the return on investment could be even bigger.
How much does flooring cost?
Estimate for Hardwood
Hardwood floors can last over 100 years, depending on care. Experts tell you to get your floors refinished about every 7-10 years, and costs between $1,000 and $2,500 each time, depending on your square footage. If we use the example of the 2,000 square foot house we used earlier, in 100 years, you'll have spent on the high-end, about $47,500 on your floors if you refinish 9 times.
Estimate for Carpet, Vinyl, and Laminate
Let's compare that to other forms of flooring.
Carpeting costs on average between $7-$12 per square foot with installation. Experts recommend that you replace your carpet every 5-15 years, depending on the quality of your carpet. If you go with the highest quality of carpet (best value year-over-year), in 100 years, you'll end up paying about $168,000 in flooring.
Vinyl flooring, including luxury vinyl planks (LVP) costs about $7 per square foot for the mid-range planks, with an installation. Vinyl flooring needs replacing every 10-20 years depending on the care and quality of the flooring. Continuing our example above, it would cost on average about $98,000 over 100 years for vinyl.
Laminate flooring can look similar to wood and be just as durable sometimes, however, you can't refinish it. The cost is fairly low though, between $2-$8 per foot, with a foam underlay and adhesives or glue. Quality laminate can even last up to 30 years, sometimes.
How can you get a good deal on hardwood floors?
If you're looking for flooring that gives you more value to sell the home later, rethink hardwood floors.
Vinyl or laminate flooring can still give that luxurious feel buyers are looking for at half or less the initial price of hardwood. In fact, depending on the pre-floor value of the home, you could see more than a 90% ROI on the flooring you spend less than $1.30 on. Don't spend the money on hardwood floors if the value of the house doesn't demand it and you won't be living in it for a while.
Are hardwood floors worth it?
Hardwood floors can add up to 2.5% to your home's value. Many buyers love seeing hardwood flooring, but to make a dent in the value, the rest of the house needs to have updates, too.
You can expect to see between a 70-80% ROI on your hardwood floors, but the best ROI comes as you enjoy the low-cost upkeep of the floors.
If you're looking for a great way to increase your home value before a sale, hardwood flooring may not be the best way to go. Depending on the value of your home, installing vinyl or laminate could raise your house value to the same price for a lower cost.
Need a top real estate expert to help you figure out what you need to do to increase the value of your house? Consider an experienced Clever Partner Agent, who will work with you to determine the best updates for your home. Best of all, you'll save money on commission while working with an experienced local agent, paying just $3,000 or 1% (for homes over $350,000) in listing commission.
Contact Clever today to work with a fantastic agent who knows your area and the right updates to help your home sell for more.
FAQs About Hardwood Flooring
What is the average cost to install hardwood flooring?
The cost to install hardwood flooring can vary, depending on the type of flooring. At the low end, traditional hardwoods typically cost $3-5 per square foot for materials like pine, with about the same for installation. At the high end, mahogany, cypress, and other exotic woods can range from $8-$15 per square foot, with installation costing another $4-8 per square foot.
Does engineered hardwood increase home value?
Engineered hardwood is made up a real wood veneer, which is bonded to layers of cheaper wood backing to reduce cost. However, engineered hardwood can be more resilient than many solid hardwoods. It ranges in cost from $3-$14 per square foot, with installation ranging from $3-10 per square foot. Some engineered hardwoods can even be sanded once or twice and refinished, so it may be a good choice for a quick turnaround ROI. If you’re staying in the home for a long time though, solid hardwood is a better choice.
What home improvements add the most value to a home?
Here are some home improvement projects that can add value to a home:
- Kitchen remodeling, including updating the countertops, cabinets, and appliances
- Remodeling or adding a bathroom
- Replacing your windows with new, energy-efficient options
- Moving the laundry room to the main level
- Adding insulation throughout the home
- Updating or fixing the HVAC
- Updating or fixing the plumbing
- Updating or fixing electrical systems
For more information on updates that drive value, visit this page.