What Kind of Flooring Increases Home Value? (2022)

Of all of the fundamental features that can affect the value and perception of a home, flooring is often the most overlooked. If you’re planning to sell your home and want to understand where to invest your time, energy, and money in remodeling projects that will increase value, you need to take a hard look at your flooring.

“Besides the basics like your roof and mechanical things, flooring is the next most important factor that influences how buyers feel about your home. It sets the tone and mood for the entire home,” explains Joseph Singsheim, a top real estate agent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who sells homes 43% quicker than the average agent in his area.

When it comes to flooring, there are lots of options to choose from, and lots of factors that may influence which type of flooring is best for your situation.

We researched the top flooring reports and spoke to expert real estate agents to create this guide to help you make the most informed decisions about flooring. Here’s exactly what to make of your home’s floors, and what flooring investments are worth the effort.

There’s been quite a big change in the last few years. Twenty years ago carpet was in, and then the hardwoods started coming back. But now we’re trending toward the luxury vinyl tile and laminate type of flooring.

Which types of flooring do buyers look for?

It’s no surprise — hardwood flooring has long been the top choice for buyers and agents alike, and remains so in today’s market. According to a recent study conducted by the National Association of Realtors®, 90% of homeowners who upgrade to hardwood floors have a greater desire to be home and 77% have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are home.

Additionally, the same study showed that refinishing hardwood floors yielded 147% cost recovery, and installing new wood floors yielded 118% cost recovery in terms of the increased resale value as compared to the cost of the project.

Hardwoods are a solid flooring choice, with a few styles making it to the top of everyone’s list; but you can still make a great sale on your home even if it isn’t fully decked out in the materials of the moment.

There are other budget-friendly options that may provide a fantastic aesthetic and durable functionality. According to Singsheim, “There’s been quite a big change in the last few years. Twenty years ago carpet was in, and then the hardwoods started coming back. But now we’re trending toward the luxury vinyl tile and laminate type of flooring.”

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Which type of flooring provides the best value to home sellers?

At the end of the day, you need to consider more than just which type of flooring buyers want most. If you’re prepping your home to sell for the highest value, you have to factor in your home’s current condition and the cost of various flooring options weighed against the potential increase in value for each option.

(Video) Will laminate flooring increase home value?

To help you make an informed decision, reference this table to consider the cost and potential return on investment (ROI) for each potential flooring option.

Flooring typeCost per sq. ft.ROIProsCons
Hardwood (new)$6-$12High• Natural look
• Longevity
• Scratches easily
•Water resistance
Hardwood (refinish)$2-$7High•Newer finishes

•Less expensive

• Scratches easily
•Water resistance
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT)$3-$8High•Easy installation
•Very durable
• Vinyl aesthetic
•DIY mistakes
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP)$4-$12High• Hardwood look

•Very durable

• Vinyl aesthetic
•DIY mistakes
Ceramic or porcelain tile$8-$15Mid• Water resistant

• Great aesthetic

• Installation is hard
• Can break easily
Exotic Hardwood (new)$10-$30Mid•Luxurious

• Sustainable

•Very expensive

• Hard to maintain

Engineered hardwood$4-$9Mid•Less expensive
• Water resistant
•Less durable

• Harder to refinish

Natural stone$9-$14Mid•Looks luxurious

• Can re-polish

• Hard to install

• Ongoing resealing

Vinyl composite tile (VCT)$2-$6Mid• Water resistant

•Easy installation

•Less luxurious

• DIY mistakes

Carpet$3.50-$10Low•Most comfortable

•Warm and cozy

• Wears easily

•Pets and allergies

Laminate flooring$3-$7Low•Durable

• Easy installation

• Water damage

• Hard to maintain

Linoleum$3-$8Low•Easy installation

• Low cost

(Video) Will laminate flooring increase home value?

•Looks cheap

• Less durable

Which rooms matter most when it comes to flooring and home value?

Contrary to what all those home renovations on HGTV made you think, not every room needs to have the ideal flooring; there are definitely rooms where it matters more than others. Additionally, the ideal type of flooring may be different for each room.

The main areas of the home, such as the entryway, living areas, dining areas, and kitchen, are typically the first that buyers will see and will set the mood and tone for the rest of the home. Getting the flooring right in these areas is the first priority.

Ashlynn Petrocco, a top real estate agent in Dallas, Texas who’s sold homes in as few as seven days, explains that buyers want to see hard surfaces in the main areas of the home. “Wood flooring or even laminate,” she says, “and anything hard surface over carpet.”

While Singsheim agrees that hardwood or a similarly-looking luxury vinyl flooring option is best for the main areas, it can be tasteful to use a nice marble, stone, ceramic, or porcelain tile floor for the main entryway and/or mudroom. “Tile flooring, in general, has always been popular. These are great for landings inside doorways and can be used in tandem with other floorings when done well.”

As for the bedrooms (especially on the top floor), believe it or not, carpet is still a good choice. “A lot of people still use carpet on the second floor instead of the first,” explains Singsheim. “It can help reduce noise, especially when there are young children, it’s more comfortable in areas where you may be spending more time on the ground, and it keeps the floors warmer.”

So while hardwood may be more aesthetically pleasing, it’s okay to choose comfort in bedrooms.

Here are a few general tips when considering flooring for various rooms:

  1. Hard surfaces are typically better than carpet (except for upstairs bedrooms).
  2. Hardwood is a great choice, but luxury vinyl can look just as good at a lower price.
  3. Keep your flooring consistent throughout the home as much as possible.
  4. Tasteful variation is okay in a limited sense (such as a nice tile entryway or bathroom) but don’t let different types of flooring meet in high traffic areas.

A Top Agent Can Help You Prepare Your Home

A top-rated real estate agent can guide you in selecting the best flooring and other value-boosting preparations to get the most return out of your investment. HomeLight’s data shows that the top 5% of agents sell homes for as much as 10% more.

How do you get your floors ready for the home sale?

Excessive wear and tear on the flooring will drive buyers away. So focusing on getting your flooring right before listing the house is an important step.

Singsheim cites the condition of the floor as one of the main reasons that buyers walk away from a sale. “It’s a big expense for a lot of people… It’s not like painting or other things that can be done after moving in. With flooring, you can’t move in until it’s done.”

Here’s how to get floors ready for an open house:

(Video) Do hardwood Floors increase a home's resale value?

Evaluate the carpets with a critical eye

Carpets aren’t really en vogue today but whether or not the carpeting works in the home comes down to where it’s located. “If carpet is in the bedroom, and in good condition, then that’s OK. Buyers are OK with carpet when it’s clean” explains Petrocco.

When looking at carpets, think of how buyers would feel and try to see the floors with fresh eyes.

Ask yourself these questions to determine if your carpets are in good shape, and be honest.

  1. Would you think the carpet was recently installed if this were the first time you saw it?
  2. Would you walk barefoot through the house?
  3. Would you let a baby play on the floor?
  4. Does the 5-second rule apply if you drop your favorite snack on the floor?

If the answers to these questions leave you shaking your head, then it’s time for a replacement. Petrocco summarizes her rule on carpeting as follows, “If you’re going to keep the carpet, make sure it’s fresh.”

Repair hardwood floors

Proper hardwood floor maintenance may considerably increase a home’s value. But, completely redoing hardwood floors is an expensive undertaking if you don’t plan on staying in a home. Rather than making that kind of investment right away, work with a real estate agent to see what can be done to treat the floors first.

A combination of quick fixes and conditioning might be all it takes to get antique floors looking like they just came from the sawmill. “Depending on the condition,” Petrocco says, “Murphy’s Oil Soap or any other floor conditioning can go a long way, you’d be surprised.”

At a bare minimum, here are ways to bring hardwood floors up to code:

  1. Make sure floors are even, not creaking, and individually damaged pieces are repaired or replaced. Here’s a quick video tutorial on repairing wood floors.
  2. Clean and treat worn floors to give them a new sheen. Even a little bit of effort can go a long way in making old floors look brand new. Check out this tutorial with a video on how to get that done.

Consider flooring alternatives

Synthetic home applications are getting better all the time, and flooring is no exception.

According to a 2021 survey conducted by 50 Floor, laminate and vinyl flooring options were right behind hardwood flooring as the preferred option for redoing floors, capturing nearly one-third of respondents.

Floor Covering News, a national research-based publication, recently reported that resilient flooring (a blanket term used for most synthetic options) holds 22% of the total flooring market in volume and increased more than 185% since 2010 — meaning more people are choosing vinyl over wood or carpet every single year.

“Not only is luxury vinyl flooring cost-effective, but it comes in so many different and modern patterns that it can pretty much go with anything to get the feel of an updated home without a huge expense,” says Singsheim.

Faux-wood vinyl flooring is cost-effective, easy to install, offers a huge variety to choose from, and has even more perks besides. Not all vinyl is soft, and some offer extreme scratch-resistant and pet-proofing qualities that will go a long way with buyers.

Partner with a top agent who knows what buyers want in your market

Just like walls and surfaces, floors should be at their best during home showings. While hardwood floors are generally preferred, there are more synthetic options now than ever before to give your home a modern look without a huge expense.

Set aside time with an agent during initial meetings to determine what the floors in your home need. Whether it’s a quick clean or a full replacement, it’ll pay off when the buyers arrive.

HomeLight’s free Agent Match platform can connect you with a knowledgeable real estate agent in your area with the experience and intuition you need to help you make the best decision regarding your flooring. A proven agent will know how to determine the current condition of your floors, whether they need attention, and which remediation options will give you the best return on your investment.

Header Image Source: (Life-Of-Pix/ Pixabay)

(Video) Can Wood Flooring Increase Your Home's Value? | Foundation Flooring

FAQs

What flooring adds the most value to a home? ›

Hard surface flooring will give you the best return on investment, or ROI. Hardwood will be your best bet with the highest ROI since it's the long-standing preferred flooring choice. If you currently have hardwood floors, consider refinishing them if they need a little pick me up.

What color hardwood floor is best for resale? ›

Dark stained hardwood flooring is by far the best selection when it comes to overall popularity and resale value. Some of the best darks stains for wood are espresso, dark walnut, and antique brown. These darker colors often give way to more color combinations since they do not lean towards a yellow or orange tint.

Does luxury vinyl plank devalue a home? ›

You should also keep in mind that vinyl plank and tile flooring might not increase the value of your home as much as laminate flooring. However, vinyl flooring can still make all the difference in how long your floors will last, which could be vital as we head into a more competitive real estate market.

Does luxury vinyl plank add value to your home? ›

When it comes down to finding the best flooring to increase home value, it all boils down to your market. Hardwood will likely give you the highest return, but laminate and luxury vinyl plank flooring also offer plenty of perks to buyers.

What is a timeless floor color? ›

Timeless hardwood floor colors are typically the natural hues that are found in the hardwood species that are most often used for flooring. Walnut, for example, is renowned for its dark, chocolate hues while Cherry is prized for its deep red tones.

Should flooring be same throughout house? ›

There is absolutely no need to change flooring from room to room. We often work with homeowners who feel the urge to pick a different flooring for every room of their home, but there is absolutely no need to do this. Your home will look best if you create one consistent look that travels from room to room.

Are gray floors outdated? ›

How Long Will Grey Last? The Trend Is Ending. Prominent grey colored hardwood floors have been strong the last 6-7 years. With hardwood floors, strong trends usually last five years, then something else comes along or so it seems.

Whats better LVP or laminate? ›

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

Compared to laminate, vinyl flooring is a clear winner when considering moisture exposure. Vinyl flooring is made entirely from plastic which gives it superior moisture resistance. Even extended exposure to splashes and spills won't damage its surface.

Which is better engineered hardwood or luxury vinyl plank? ›

Engineered wood flooring fares better than solid wood in high moisture rooms (e.g. bathroom) BUT LVT is completely water-resistant so it is a better choice in rooms that are high in humidity and moisture. LVT is far less expensive than engineered wood for both the product and installation.

Does laminate flooring devalue a home? ›

In high-traffic areas it can show wear and tear, and laminate can't be sanded or refinished for an updated appearance. Because of its lower price point, laminate also won't do much for your home's resale value.

Is tile or laminate better for resale? ›

laminate resale value. While tile might be more expensive to install, it does have a much higher long-term value. Laminate can't be refinished, meaning that when it's worn out, you'll need to replace it (every 10–25 years or so on average). And it doesn't add a huge amount of value to your home.

Does new flooring increase home value? ›

New flooring can increase the value of a home by nearly 10 to 54 percent. Potential homebuyers say that they will put in a higher offer if a home has new flooring. Potential buyers also said they would reconsider putting in an offer if the flooring is outdated, dirty, or worn.

Do buyers prefer carpet or hardwood in bedrooms? ›

Dawn Wilson, Keller Williams: “Most buyers prefer hardwood. For selling purposes, it is better to have hardwood. If there is not hardwood in the home already, and it is cost prohibitive to put hardwood in, then in most cases, new carpet should be put in prior to resale. Buyers like tile flooring in the bathrooms.

Is tile or laminate better for resale? ›

laminate resale value. While tile might be more expensive to install, it does have a much higher long-term value. Laminate can't be refinished, meaning that when it's worn out, you'll need to replace it (every 10–25 years or so on average). And it doesn't add a huge amount of value to your home.

Does laminate flooring devalue a home? ›

In high-traffic areas it can show wear and tear, and laminate can't be sanded or refinished for an updated appearance. Because of its lower price point, laminate also won't do much for your home's resale value.

Should you put the same flooring throughout your house? ›

There is absolutely no need to change flooring from room to room. We often work with homeowners who feel the urge to pick a different flooring for every room of their home, but there is absolutely no need to do this. Your home will look best if you create one consistent look that travels from room to room.

Which is better luxury vinyl or engineered hardwood? ›

Engineered wood flooring fares better than solid wood in high moisture rooms (e.g. bathroom) BUT LVT is completely water-resistant so it is a better choice in rooms that are high in humidity and moisture. LVT is far less expensive than engineered wood for both the product and installation.

Is it cheaper to install carpet or hardwood floors? ›

When comparing the cost of installing hardwood floors over carpet, quality hardwood flooring will almost always be a larger investment compared to carpet. Installing hardwood floors can cost between $12 and $20 per square foot installed, while carpet often cost about $6 to $12 per square foot installed.

How much value do hardwood floors add to a house? ›

Hardwood floors are one of the best flooring options for homeowners looking to increase the resale value of their home, with hardwood typically yielding around a 75% return on investment.

Does carpet hurt resale value? ›

HomeAdvisor.com notes that new carpet in general tends not to affect resale value either way (compared to hardwood, for which 54% of buyers in one study were willing to pay $2,080 more). But stained or outdated carpeting doesn't do you any favors.

Does porcelain tile flooring increase home value? ›

Porcelain floor tiles are not just a source of beauty and enjoyment, though that is what they do best! They are also an investment in the value of your home.

Should you put laminate flooring in a kitchen? ›

Unlike some materials that are perfect for kitchens, laminate flooring walks a fine line. Detractors claim that laminate is not appropriate for kitchens because moisture—a fact in kitchens—can harm it. Advocates argue that laminate is one of the better floor coverings for kitchens because moisture can be controlled.

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