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The Best Flooring for Resale

Whether you’re just moving in or looking to sell, all homeowners beg the question: What’s the best flooring for resale value? We’ve answered that question and more including trends, colors and styles.

Have you ever remodeled a house? I can tell you first hand, it is a totally, completely, utterly overwhelming process. You have so many decisions to make: floor, paint, counters, cabinets, lighting, the list goes on!

Then you have to consider, not only what you like, but return on investment. Do you want to spend $10,000 redoing your floors if it is going to bring your home value down? I didn’t think so.

Alternately, it’s important to ask yourself the question: how long do you see yourself living in this house? The typical resident stays in a house for 5-7 years. If you’re planning on flipping the house, you will (likely) be looking for the cheapest option with the best resale value; whereas if you’re planning on living in the house for several years, you’re better off considering what will bring you a happiness.

To get the real deal on the questions related to flooring and resale value, I interviewed local real estate agent Lindsay Rusk.

Lindsay Rusk has established herself as one of the youngest producers at Coldwell Banker in her market. She is a strong negotiator bringing innovative ideas and strategies to each transaction as well as utilizing the most current technology, media, and targeted marketing to bring Buyers and Sellers together.

Related Content >> The Best Flooring for Flipping Houses

What flooring has the highest resale value?

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Hard flooring (wood, stone) is always in demand. If you can’t afford or justify hardwood or stone, go for looks and durability, such as porcelain tile or engineered hardwood. People always love the combination of beautiful and durable.

High-end markets will see hand-scraped wood, barn style plank wood (yes sometimes from actually barns, or of European decent), large format travertine/marble and limestone, and some cantera stone touches for outdoor spaces.

Not looking to sell a million dollar home? Middle-class families love the look, durability and easy maintenance of laminate flooring, which you can purchase for a fraction of the cost of solid hardwood.

Related Content >> Wood Flooring Trends

What flooring yields the lowest resale value?

Joy Carpets Windsor Carpet

Carpet. Even if you invest in high-end carpet, it usually shows wear and tear more quickly than hard flooring. Also, a lot of people have a hard time with the sanitation/health aspects of it.

Vinyl is also another material that people turn their noses up….it has come A LONG way in looks and durability, but it still has a stigma and it will typically render very little on return on investment.*

*Editor’s note: Although many buyers still have misconceptions about vinyl flooring, we anticipate that as technology in vinyl flooring continues to advance, the stigma will gradually fade away, and high-quality luxury vinyl will outgrow the ‘vinyl stigma’.

Related Content >> Vinyl Flooring Trends

Are there any hidden gems?

Flooring options that people don’t typically think of first, but generally do really well on the market?

Trends are trends for a reason and, within trends, you have items that will remain classic. Neutral colors, finishes and sizes are always a “safe” bet.

And I always say: if you are planning on selling in the near future, pick something that will please the masses. People want to feel comfortable with what they are buying and how to take care of it.

Of course, they are always people who like unique and rare items in their homes (or the home itself) and they will likely be less concerned with resale but simply concerned with their enjoyment of the remodel.

Related Content >> All Flooring Trends

Common misconceptions about resale value

The standards are pretty cut and dry. However, tiles with a high sheen (shiny) finish often look beautiful in display rooms, but end up not looking great in the home, making them a less than ideal choice.

How does layout/design affect retail value?

Especially trendy options like parquet*?

12mm Mannington Palace Waterproof Laminate

Parquet? Are people still using parquet? HA!

I spoke a bit about that above….there will ALWAYS be trendy items. However, the average person lives in their home for about 6 years. Ask yourself: is installing something ultra trendy going to last you until you could potentially sell?

I can typically tell how long ago a home was remodeled or refreshed when showing property based on the finishes.

Typically, stylish tasteful patterns tend to be most common in high-end markets where buyers are looking for something unique.

*Editor’s note: Although most people think immediately of dated 1970s parquet designs, parquet flooring is actually defined as planks laid in a decorative, geometric pattern, including the super-trendy-at-the-moment chevron and herringbone.

Flooring colors and selling price

Shaw Cornerstone Oak Engineered Wood

It’s all about beach chic right now. Cool tones, grays, whites, blues and light woods. Touches of modern hardware/light fixtures. Jeff Lewis estimates that this trend should be around another 5 years or so.

When choosing colors, think about the future and your ideal buyer. Is hot pink going to attract all the buyers to your yard? Probably not.

Does consistency influence the selling price?

Absolutely. There is nothing that can chop up the flow of a floor plan more than different flooring choices. If it’s done right, say a transition from wood to tile into the kitchen, and it’s done with purpose, I think that can add class and style.

But the Do-It-Yourselfers who go to home depot and pick whatever on sale and do a room at a time? No. Don’t do it. Save your money and do it all in the same material/run.

If you can’t afford the labor, buy all the material so the dye lots match, and do a room/section at a time.

Related Content >> Real Estate iBuyers Guide

Estimated spend/value ratios for updated floors

(i.e., what percentage of spend can sellers expect to earn back on return)?

Daltile RevoTile - Stone Visual

There is not much difference in cost and ROI (return on investment) between solid hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood, but the same isn’t true of laminate flooring. On the plus side,

On the plus side, laminate is easy to clean, scratch-resistant, and can be installed in places where natural wood can’t. And though it doesn’t last as long as hardwood, it costs 50% less on average to buy and install.

Expect to pay about $5 to $8 a square foot for laminate flooring installed. Laying laminate floors is a relatively easy project, so you can save even more if you opt to DIY.

Related Content >> Laminate Flooring Trends

Conclusion

Lindsay, can you sell my home or help me buy a new home?

Absolutely!

You can find more from Lindsay on her website, or follow her on Facebook.

 

About Ari Ziskin

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Ari Ziskin is our resident expert in all things fitness, dance and flooring trends. After five years of blogging at Ari’s Menu, where she was featured on sites like The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, Ari decided to pursue writing full-time. Nothing makes her happier than sharing her knowledge to help people create their gyms and begin their fitness journey.

37 Comments on “The Best Flooring for Resale

  1. It’s great to learn about the different flooring styles, and what their resale values are. We are hoping to sell our home in the near future, but the carpets we have are disgusting. I like how you said to pick a floor that will please the masses, like new carpet or tile.

    • I don’t know what you chose to do but I would say that cleaning the carpet is not out of the question. However, if you do have to replace, always keep your market in mind. If it is a cheap flip, make sure your floor guy can supply you with something that won’t break the bank.

  2. I am thinking of installing vinyl plank flooring throughout my house. What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Mike,

      Vinyl is super hot right now and will only increase in popularity! As long as you choose a high-quality vinyl, I think you’ll be extremely happy with your decision.

  3. We are thinking about using ceramic plank tiles in our bedrooms that were damaged by a city sewer back up. I’d prefer laminate wood flooring but I can live with the tile. My husband prefers carpet which we had before. We will eventually sell the house and it may be a knockdown because of a new country club community next door. What are your thoughts on ceramic plank flooring for bedrooms?

    • Hi Peggy,

      That’s what I have in my bedroom and I love it! It used to be that bedrooms had to be soft and carpeted, but the trend of keeping flooring consistent throughout the house has changed that and you are seeing a lot more hard surfaces in bedrooms. I think it’s a great choice!

  4. We have a mix of wood flooring and carpet that is 20 years old. The wood is still pretty ok but carpet is gross. We will be selling our house next year and need to get rid of the carpet. Is it dumb to take out the natural wood flooring and replace with vinyl plank all throughout? Or should we keep he existing wood and do plan b? Also the entire upstairs is carpet! Including the stairs and we don’t want to put the money in for entire house new flooring. What to do. :/.

    • Hi Susie,

      I don’t think it’s dumb at all – vinyl is the fastest growing floor on the market these days and you can get a gorgeous wood look that buyers will love. I think it’s probably okay to keep your carpet upstairs – just get a really good steam cleaning in before listing. I would focus on the downstairs and stairs themselves – that is most likely what buyers will see. I think many people expect carpet in an upstairs since that’s where the bedrooms tend to be.

  5. My husband and I are redoing our rental to sell and debating between a tile slate floor or a rustic tile would look.

    • Hi Jeanette,

      I recommend going with the wood look! It will stay in style for the lifetime of the floor.

  6. I am planning to sell my house within 5-10 years. I have tile in the kitchen/dining area and carpet in the rest of the house excluding bathrooms. New tile in the kitchen area would require an expensive demo. I live in a very nice area but do not want to over upgrade. Was thinking of some hard surface throughout the house except for carpet in the bedrooms. What do you think is the most practical option and retain the most value?

    • Hi Jim,

      I would strongly consider doing a WPC vinyl. You could likely do it without removing any of your tile and it is 100% waterproof with beautiful, realistic wood looks.

  7. Pingback: 2018 Laminate Flooring Trends: 14 Stylish Laminate Flooring Ideas - FlooringInc Blog

  8. Me and my hubby are banging heads on what flooring to put down? We are looking at selling in 5-10 years for sure if not sooner. I want vinyl plank, he wants hardwood floor. We have hardwood floor now, except 2 different kinds in the kitchen and living room and tile which we ripped up in between. I would like to do all one color flooring to be consistent. We done the rooms with laminate so not changing that. Its a smaller house with open concept and my front door comes right to the Kitchen, and living room. Can you help us, whats best for resale ?

    • Hi Tammy,

      Hardwood is always excellent for resale. However, it is extremely costly compared to vinyl options and significantly higher maintenance. A lot of this depends on the type of neighborhood you live in. If you live in an expensive community where your neighbors’ homes include solid hardwood and natural stone, you may consider going for hardwood.

      Alternatively, if you live in a family community, I would suggest going with vinyl. Vinyl looks are extraordinarily convincing these days and if you’re selling to another family, vinyl is much better for kids and pets, particularly WPC vinyl.

  9. Hi there,

    What would you suggest for a family of 5 with a big while bulldog. We are buying a contemporary/industrial looking house. white walls.. Need to redo all the bedrooms and bathrooms and stair landings (no carpet) for a reasonable prrice Does it all need to be the same?

    • Hi Aryn,

      It doesn’t all need to be the same, but you want everything to work together and look cohesive. With a large bulldog, I’d recommend either WPC vinyl or tile. There are super durable, not slippery for your pup, and quite easy to clean. The wood looks are super hot right now and an upscale, realistic waterproof vinyl will convince even the biggest vinyl skeptics.

  10. Hi Ari, we live in a very nice community with some very large homes. Most were built in the 70’s. Not all home have been remodelled. Ours is a large 3000 sq ft bungalow.

    Here is my dilemma: We have gorgeous original hardwood flooring in the large foyer that is located in the middle of the home. Connecting to that foyer are the stairs going to the basement, the hallway leading to all of the bedrooms, the entrance to the formal living room, a curved staircase leading to a closed in loft, AND to a family room off the kitchen. None of the flooring matches anywhere! All are different (3 different carpets and one different though similar hardwood). Though it would be amazing to match to the beautiful original hardwood, the cost would be prohibitive. Within the house, there are currently probably 8 different carpets, 4 different tiles, and one bathroom in linoleum. Do you have any suggestions at all?? I have considered removing the original hardwood from the foyer and placing more modern (and less costly but uniform) flooring, but it is heartbreaking to take that out. I am stumped what to do. We are not selling anytime in the near future, but it will someday be in the cards.

    • Hi Joanne,

      That is a tricky situation. What I would recommend is keeping that beautiful hardwood and choosing a complementing consistent flooring for the rest of the spaces. I would personally suggest a hard surface like tile or vinyl, but if you live on the east coast, carpet is still quite popular so a lot of this is dependent on your location.

      While you want everything consistent, it’s not always feasible so it’s more important to focus on looks that look good together and stay in your general style/theme.

      Hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any further questions. We’d be happy to get you started with some free samples that you can look at next to your existing wood so you can see what works.

  11. Thanks for the article! I just purchased an investment house that is in a family neighborhood. Max value of the house is probably $345k-$350k. I need to replace flooring throughout the house. Would LVP work, or at the $350k price point do you think buyers would expect wood? The house is a 4/2 ranch on a concrete slab with an inground pool. Thanks, tim

    • Hi Tim,

      I think vinyl would be a perfect choice! I think homeowners are becoming more and more open to vinyl as an alternative as they understand the benefits, particularly waterproof vinyl planks. I’ve seen plenty of comparably priced homes using luxury vinyl and selling very quickly.

      If you’d like, we’d be happy to send you some vinyl plank samples to check out for yourself!

  12. I just bought a town house the kitchens and bathrooms are a tile from the 80’s light amber wood floors in the dinning and living room floors and carpet up the stairs and in the bedrooms. I was considering putting in 24 x 24 white high gloss porcelain tile, and go with a modern theme on the Reno. I would welcome any advice you might have.
    Thank You,
    Adam

    • Hi Adam,

      Tile floor is always a good choice and white is super in right now. You could also choose white stone-look luxury vinyl tiles for a little more warmth and resiliency.

  13. We are building a 7,000 sq ft under air home (10,000 sq ft total) in Florida in a high end area. My husband wants to install luxury vinyl flooring. I am looking to install porcelain tile that looks like marble in the great room/kitchen/dining and hallways and wood-like prorcelain tile in the other rooms. I have had beautiful engineered wood and marble flooring in my current home. In the high traffic areas, the engineered wood has dulled or chipped and the tavertine marble has cracked and requires professional polishing. Real wood in Florida seems a poor choice due to humidity. Your opinion would be helpful!

    • Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your comment. I’ve lived in Florida before too and totally understand the humidity issue! Humidity can certainly be a problem for solid wood floorboards as they’ll likely expand and contract, maybe leaving gaps between planks or buckling. Luxury vinyl flooring is one of the best choices for a room that is prone to moisture. Made of durable PVC, vinyl flooring is not likely to expand or contract under changes in humidity. But porcelain tile is also great for humid areas. If you go the tile route, just be sure to seal the grout. (That rhymed!) A grout sealer will help strengthen the floor’s water resistance. Additionally, tile flooring will help keep your rooms cool in that Florida heat. So either way, you can’t go wrong with porcelain tile or vinyl flooring.

      Good luck building your new home, and let us know what you decide to go with!

  14. I am buying a new house which has 3 1/4 inch engineered hardwood as standard and I have option to choose Luxury vinyl flooring (waterproof) without any additional cost or 3700$ extra for 5 inch engineered hardwood. Will it be a bad Idea to take LVT instead of level 2 hardwood(in resale and general trend perspective). I am totally confused whether to go with LVT or 5 inch hardwood at extra cost. My realtor suggested LVT as its maintenance free and I read at many places that hardwood is in trend always and good for resale.Please help me decide

    • Hi Praveen,
       
      Great question. It’s definitely a personal preference, but we believe your realtor is giving good advice here. Vinyl flooring, especially waterproof vinyl, is super trendy right now and will be great for resale. People are looking for floors that don’t require much maintenance but are still beautiful, and vinyl gives you the best of both worlds. For more guidance, please check out our Vinyl Flooring Buying Guide and our 2018 Flooring Trends post.
       
      Hope this helps!
       

      • Thanks for the Reply Michele.I didn’t see your reply till today.I ended up selecting Armstrong Pryzm LVT, what are steps I need to take protecting it from sunlight? Also it will be allover my main level of townhome.I.e In kitchen,great room and dining room(its open floor plan with center kitchen).Also you suggest glueing it down or leave it to the builder to do whatever is best?

  15. Hi! We are installing Acacia brown vinyl plank flooring throughout our living room, kitchen, dining room and hallways. Would installing a different color vinyl plank, maybe very light, in the master bedroom reduce the value of the home?

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you for your question. I don’t think using a different color in the master bedroom would reduce the value of your home. Keeping the common areas are consistent in flooring color is a great choice and a different color in the bedroom creates a necessary separation and feel from the rest of the home, which you want with the private rooms. There are such beautiful colors in vinyl flooring, and it really depends on the size and style of your bedroom for which color you choose to go with.

      Best wishes with your project, and please keep us posted!

  16. Great article!

    We are replacing the old carpet in our home with laminate, but have a question about the stairs.

    It seems that originally, the stairs had a runner, but that was removed and in place are those carpet pads you place on each step. They are ugly as hell and don’t match anything. We want to remove them and are trying to figure out the best approach to move forward.

    Money is a consideration, so completely refinishing isn’t an option. We are thinking about painting them white and then perhaps a new runner. Or would painting the treads black with everything else white be just as effective? Really looking for the best bang for the buck in terms of appeal and return.

    Thanks
    Ed

    • Hi Ed,

      Thank you for your question. This is tough to advise on without knowing your home’s colors and such, but it sounds like you’re on the right track with painting the stairs white and getting a new runner. A runner is a good choice for resale value, just be sure to stick to neutral colors and patterns for the most appeal.

  17. Great post. I’m leaning towards luxury vinyl and am wanting to not go too trendy. I’m guessing those gray floors will scream “late 20-teens” eventually. How can I achieve an updated yet classic look?

    • Hi T., I understand your concern about gray eventually being the flooring of the 20-teens, but it really is a timeless color. However, if you wanted to be a little different, “greige” is something that’s getting more popular. It’s kind of the best of both worlds because it combines the modern gray with the more old-school beige, creating something quite classic! I’d suggest checking out our 2019 Flooring Trends and 2019 Vinyl Flooring Trends to get an idea of colors that are popular now and whether they’re a safe bet.

      Good luck with your project!

  18. I have a large upstairs bedroom that I want to re-carpet. I’m trying to decide between regular wall-to-wall and a high-end commercial carpet tile. The tile system I’m looking at locks together with clips underneath (no adhesive). I like the idea of the tile because you can individually clean or replace tiles as needed. What are the thoughts on carpet tile for resale value versus wall-to-wall?

    • Hi Laura,

      Great question. The ROI for carpet isn’t as great as wood floors or wood-look floors, so the best thing for you to do is go with the option that makes most sense for you but go with a color that will appeal to the general market. I would go with the tiles because, like you said, you can replace them easily if you need to, but I suggest going with a bland color like beige. Most people can imagine themselves in a home where the color choices are less bold.

      Hope this is helpful. Good luck with your project!

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