Wood Flooring Resale Value

Reclaimed Plank Wood Flooring
Reclaimed Plank Wood Flooring. Jeremy Levine/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

It is often said that solid wood flooring or engineered wood flooring convey higher resale value to a home.  Is this true?  Can you make back your investment when it comes time to sell the house?

Bottom Line

No hard data support the notion that wood flooring provides greater resale value to a house than other types of floor coverings.

A few studies posit the idea that home buyers might be willing to pay more for wood flooring.

 Some of the data associated with claims of greater resale value use speculative terms such as "would" and "believe that."

As yet, wood flooring's assumed higher resale value is based on speculation, not actual dollar amounts. 

Still, the people consulted in the studies who speculate about wood flooring's value are seasoned professionals with many years of gut-level experience under their belts:  Realtors, builders, and designers.

Better Aesthetic Value:  Unmistakable

No doubt about it: wood flooring looks fantastic.

Even if you do not like its coldness and hardness--both of which can be mitigated, by the way, with area rugs and carpet runners--the visual appeal of wood flooring cannot be argued.

Sacramento-based Realtor Liz Weintraub, reinforces that wood flooring, notably bamboo and Brazilian cherry, provide greater intrinsic value to a home.

But does nearly universal acceptance of wood flooring's beauty translate to high resale value?

Higher Resale Value:  Difficult to Verify

This is where the argument gets vague and is further compounded by the fact that home resale value itself is fickle.

To illustrate the fluid nature of resale values, Weintraub relates that, in years past, two-story houses were highly valued. Now, one-story houses are more valued among home buyers.

What about the current trend of sucking up every available inch of yard space to build the giant cubic McMansion? Will yards be more valued a generation from now?

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) indicates that U.S. real estate agents say that they believe that houses with hardwood flooring:

  • Are easier to sell (99% of agents say this);
  • Sell for more money (90% say this);
  • Sell faster (82% say this)

While these tend to be some of the most-cited statistics about wood flooring's resale value, the original source--a NWFA press release--comes with no methodology.

A USA Today study that uses National Association of Realtors data found that 54% of potential home buyers said that they would be willing to spend more for wood flooring--up to $2,080.

The reliable Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine does not break out hardwood flooring figures, either.

And most real estate sites, such as Zillow or Realtor, do not drill down into the data to differentiate between houses with or without wood flooring.

Summary

  1. No one really knows if wood flooring provides more monetary value to your home upon sale.
  2. Most people consulted think that hardwood provides higher resale value than other floors, such as carpet, luxury vinyl flooring, or laminate, though they cannot confirm this with figures.