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Is Wood Flooring Worth the Cost?


Jul 26, 2020 by Maurie Backman

There's nothing like the look of wood flooring to enhance a home and make it more elegant. But wood flooring tends to cost a lot more than tile, laminate, carpet, or other flooring options, so the question is: Is that higher price tag worth it? Let's dig in.

Benefits of wood flooring

Whether you're flipping a house or updating the home you already live in, there are plenty of good reasons to invest in wood flooring. First, wood flooring just plain looks nice. You also have the option to stain it to get the precise color you want. And if you prefer a neutral look, wood flooring is apt to help you pull it off.

Wood flooring is also extremely durable. Though it can scratch over time, if you're careful about not wearing shoes in the house (especially heels), the damage should be minimal. And even then, sanding or refinishing your floors can help cover up visible wear and tear.

Finally, wood flooring is fairly easy to maintain. Just sweep debris away and use a wood floor cleaner every so often to get those floors sparkling.

What does wood flooring cost?

The amount you'll spend on wood flooring depends on the size of your living space and the specific type of wood you choose. Wood flooring typically costs between $5 and $10 per square foot. If you're able to install your flooring yourself, that's all you'll spend, but if you're not handy enough to do that work on your own, you'll need to factor in labor costs as well.

Is wood flooring a good investment?

Wood flooring has a return on investment of 70% to 80%, according to Realtor.com, and it can boost a home's sale price by as much as 2.5%. That's a pretty good return on investment as far as home improvements go.

That said, you may not want wood floors for a couple of reasons:

  1. You live in an apartment with people below you. The noise you make simply by walking around could be a source of conflict, and in some cases, you may be required to put a large area rug over your wood floors, thereby forcing you to lose some aesthetic value.
  2. You have young children at home whose toys (and general rowdiness) are likely to scratch or damage your floors.

Otherwise, wood flooring could be a great addition to your home, and if you're flipping a house, it could be a solid selling point. That said, if you're flipping a home you intend to rent out, you may not want to invest in wood flooring because it may not be a huge draw for tenants -- and tenants are less likely than actual owners to treat wood floors with respect. And the last thing you want is to have to refinish your wood floors year after year when there's cost and hassle involved.

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