I can imagine, those who have found their way to this article are usually the very astute, investor type. Let me guess; you want to sand and refinish the floors in your house. You have gotten a couple of quotes, and it’s looking like it’s going to cost a little more than anticipated. Well, is this going to be worthwhile? Does refinishing hardwood floors increase home value?
Refinishing hardwood floors can increase the perceived value of a home. Installing hardwood floors is very expensive. Old wood flooring gives the impression that it needs replacing, which is expensive. Refinished floors look new, look beautiful, and don’t need addressing.
While there doesn’t seem to be much data on this fact, there is some related data.
In a study conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association, 80% of realtors surveyed believed that installing hardwood floors could increase the value of the house between 1-10%. Interestingly, 12% of realtors in the survey believed that increases of 12% and higher were possible.
Obviously, installing hardwood floors is a little bit different from refinishing hardwood floors. I am sure you will agree that it’s a very interesting point though.
It is reasonable to assume that refinishing hardwood floors will raise the value of the house less than a new installation. However, the cost of sanding and refinishing hardwood floors is far lower than installing new hardwood floors.
Installing hardwood floors can cost anywhere from twice to 4 times as much as refinishing hardwood floors.
What is so good about hardwood flooring?
Hardwood flooring is unmistakable next to its cheaper alternatives. Tiles and luxury vinyl tiles always seem to have a pattern that repeats across the floor. No matter how hard they try, manufacturers just cannot seem to match the variation of hardwood floors.
With natural timber flooring, every board is different to the next and that is what creates the unmistakable beauty of natural products like hardwood floors.
The same goes for other natural products like stone and leather. There’s no beating it!
When you walk into a hotel room or an Airbnb, it’s all fake material. Stone effect tile, as cheap as can be. Wood effect luxury vinyl tile or even worse, laminate.
When a prospective buyer walks into a home and they see hardwood floors, they know it’s a home that has had some money spent on it. It is a completely different environment.
The effect of new floors
One thing I have mentioned before is the effect that floors can have on the feeling of a house.
Maybe you have experienced this before. You have had your house fully decorated, the kitchen installed, and everything else that you need in your home, but the floors haven’t been finished. Maybe they are covered in paint, or plaster or have been trapped under a carpet for decades and are looking very old.
It just doesn’t feel like home until the floors are done.
“Ok ok ok, Ben, but does refinishing hardwood floors increase home value?” Absolutely! The effect of which can be substantial, or it may be more slight.
If your floors are already in great shape and you refinish them, well, there won’t be many benefits. However, lift up your carpet and throw it away and resand the old flooring you have in your house… This can do wonders for the value of your house. Not just the value, but the sell-ability.
Another notable thing reported by the National Wood Flooring Association study is that realtors found that new hardwood floors helped sell the house faster. Wood flooring was much more desirable than the alternatives.
Hardwood flooring can continue to beautify you.
How much value appreciation can you expect to see?
Well if hardwood installation can provide a 1-12%+ appreciation. I think a 1-5% appreciation is reasonable when refinishing your floors. Again, it depends on the difference between the before and after.
Installing hardwood floors can cost $3-6 dollars a foot for the timber, $2-3 dollars a foot for the installation $2-4 dollars a foot for sanding and finishing, and that all doesn’t include what kind of subfloor preparation or old flooring tear out that may be required.
Whereas refinishing can just be $2-5 dollars a foot depending on the contractor you use. If you sand and refinish your own floors, that cost is going to be a lot less. I would max out the cost of refinishing your own floors at $1 a foot.
The oldest trick in the book
Many prospecting home buyers don’t realize how much flooring can be improved by sanding and refinishing. If they come in and see old battered floors or carpet. It’s easy to assume they need to tear it out and install new wood floors.
They can’t see the potential in the floor. They can’t see the value.
By sanding and refinishing the floor you are revealing the value to the potential home buyer.
It’s the oldest trick in the book! You buy a car that needs a good polish, needs the wheels fixed, and has bad pictures. You properly valet the car, take better pictures, and voilà, you have raised the value of the car by up to 20%.
We all know that visual appearances make a huge difference to our perceived value.
I really hope this helps you keen discerning folk on whether or not to refinish your hardwood floors. If you have any questions at all feel free to leave them in the comment section below.