Waterloo Region Home Seller’s Guide to Great Flooring
Home sellers want to sell their property quickly, and as far as possible without having to spend a lot of money on upgrades. If flooring is an area in your home that needs an update, you may not be sure how to make that happen.
There are some ways – and flooring choices – you can make use of to ensure that your flooring will be appealing to buyers – bad flooring is a huge turn off for them as they do not want to deal with hassle and expense of repairing/replacing it when they move in – without blowing cash you really do not want to invest in a home you hope to be leaving soon.
Looking Under the Flooring
The first thing you should do is to take a close, subjective look under the current flooring of your home. This might be tricky if you currently have anything that is listed as “peel and stick.” However, it is often worth the effort. Looking at the subfloor is useful because it helps you understand what is going on.
You may have nasty pet stains, mold, mildew or even wonderful hardwood lurking underneath. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the majority of people thought that carpet was better than hardwood.
To follow this fad, they laid the carpet on top of solid hardwood planks in older homes. If you happen to have a home built in the 1950s or earlier, you might have a treasure trove of lovely flooring that only needs some light sanding and staining to be ready to wow homebuyers, who often go crazy for hardwood floors, and older, beautifully restored ones especially.
Flooring Considerations for Home Sellers Type By Type
So, once you know what you are working with you may still be left with lots of questions. How much will the current flooring align with homebuyer's wants? What should you do to ensure it's in the best possible, show ready condition? And if some of your flooring has seen far better days, and should really be replaced, what should you replace it with without breaking the bank?
Next we are going to take a closer look at the most common - and desirable - flooring types found in homes today and answer these questions - an more - as they pertain to each.
Solid Hardwood Flooring
If you already have solid hardwood flooring in the major living areas of the home, your path to broad appeal will likely be easier with this timeless choice. In 2021, most home buyers would prefer to have hardwood, at least on the main floor. In this case, all you have to do is get the flooring looking its best.
Invest some time and a little money to sand down the rough spots and buff out the scratches. If you have a stain in a noticeably outdated colour, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to have a pro come in and re-stain in a neutral that will suit recent trends without costing you a fortune. This is not something we would recommend doing yourself however, as a botched staining job looks terrible and can be very expensive to fix.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
When you want the look of hardwood, but you do not want to pay for the ‘real thing’, you should look at something like engineered hardwood. Engineered hardwood is not the least expensive flooring choice you can make, but it may be just enough to provide many of the classic advantages of solid hardwood for about half the price. Including that ‘wow buyers’ factor you are looking for.
Engineered hardwood is a plank that is made of several layers of wood. Because it is not a solid plank, it can only be sanded down and re-stained a couple of times, meaning that it may not have the same lifespan as real wood, but it still looks great for years.
If any kind of wood flooring is beyond the budget you set for presale flooring upgrades, laminate might be a good choice. It is hardy, easy to install, and has a low cost per square foot. It does not pose a lot of the problems inherent to solid hardwood, which is not ideal in certain rooms and requires varying lengths of acclimatization prior to installation. Laminate flooring probably will not net you a huge amount in terms of a significantly higher resale value, but it will look a lot better than aged carpet or vinyl.
Having a tile floor in good condition is a boon for the home seller. Tile is expensive, and it looks it. The average cost for tile flooring means that it does not generally make sense as an upgrade right before you sell. Tile can last a long time, but it is prone to chipping and cracking.
If your home currently boasts good tile floors – lucky you – make sure to replace any broken or chipped tiles on your floor, and have the grout thoroughly cleaned and resealed before listing.
There are certain parts of a home or condominium where carpet is still common and quite desirable, and the bedrooms are at the top of the list. A plush, thick carpet feels good under bare feet, particularly in areas with cold winters like ours. The trouble is that carpet wears out fast, so the carpet that you bought only 5-10 years ago may need to be replaced.
In rooms with little wear, you can keep the carpet and call in a professional to execute some major carpet cleaning and deodorizing (or do it yourself if you have the time and access to the right tools). For a trendy upgrade, consider adding carpet tiles or a cut-and-loop style in warm neutrals.
Bamboo flooring has become a massively popular and desirable flooring option, especially with younger homeowners who are very eco-conscious. The cost of this flooring material is very similar to hardwood flooring though (even though bamboo is technically a grass.)
The light colours of bamboo flooring fits well with today’s modern interiors. It also has the advantages of being easily refinished like hardwood floors but made from quick growing and sustainable materials.
When properly finished, bamboo flooring is also very easy to clean and maintain. All it needs is washing with a mop and mild soap.
However, this flooring type can also have some drawbacks. The flooring can be absorbent, which can result in water damage if flooding occurs. Some bamboo flooring can also be vulnerable to scratches, depending on the finish.
While linoleum flooring can seem like an outdated option, many homeowners are choosing it for its durability, style and eco-friendliness. Many people are surprised to learn that linoleum is made from natural materials that include cork powder, pine resin and linseed oils. This mixture makes a very resilient surface, with warranties lasting up to 25 years.
Linoleum is easy to care for, requiring only washing with mild soap and a mop. It is inexpensive, with prices that are similar to vinyl flooring. It comes in a number of colors and finishes. Homeowners can choose between glue down sheets of linoleum and linoleum tiles.
There are some caveats, however, to keep in mind when installing linoleum. The material can absorb moisture, which means that it is not a good choice for damp areas like bathrooms. It is durable, but can be dented by furniture or high heels. It can also discolor over time when exposed to sunlight. However, this can be avoided with protective coatings.
For the budget-conscious home seller, vinyl is often the top option. The thing about vinyl is that it is ridiculously versatile. This is not the linoleum floor of yesteryear. You can have vinyl plank flooring that looks like hardwood, and vinyl tiles that seem to be made of ceramic or slate. For a fraction of the price, you could install flooring that is mostly waterproof and guaranteed to last 20-25 years. The best part is that you can probably install it right on top of your subfloor, or even on top of other vinyl.
While most people agree that hardwood flooring is the most popular flooring to have when you are selling a home, not having hardwood is not the end of the world. With a targeted investment based on your budget and the home’s needs, you can present your home with the best flooring possible that will impress home buyers in just the way you need.