What types of floors give the best ROIOften, customers ask me which types of flooring are the best investments, or which provide the best ROI (return on investment) for your home in Westchester County?  I also have many real estate agents and home stagers asking me this same question, so I know it’s an important question, especially if you intend to sell your home now or in the next 2-3 yrs.  I work with a lot of new homeowners right after they close on a home, so I see all the changes they make + I work with a lot of customers and stagers who are putting their homes on the market.



Also, more and more, I’m seeing a trend to fixing up the home 2-3 years before homeowners intend to sell.  I think this is really smart as you get to enjoy the improvements you make + sell at a higher value.  It also helps you balance out your expenses over a longer time period.


Of course everything needs to be evaluated in the context of the condition of the home and it’s neighborhood.  The “standards” are different based on what you are comparing against, but here are some general guidelines.


1. Sanding and refinishing existing hardwood floors is almost always your best investment.  If you have hardwood floors, you are in good shape – hardwood sells and it helps define the value of your home.  If you have hardwood floors, and they are beaten up, your first consideration should be to refinish the floors.  Most real estate agents anecdotally tell me that you will get your investment back three fold on this…and, it makes sense.


Westchester NY hardwood flooring - red oak floorsFirst, refinishing your hardwood floor is not that expensive…and usually costs less than people think.  It is amazing how much better your home will look if you refinish the floors.  You have the option of changing the color or leaving the same color.  Lighter colors make the space look larger and more airy and informal; darker colors are more dramatic and give the home a more formal and sophisticated look.  Satin finish is usually the preferred sheen (90-95% of my customers choose this) and it tends to show the scratches less than a semi gloss finish.


Second, if you have pet stains in the hardwood, they can usually be fixed by replacing these sections and weaving the hardwood in, and after they are refinished, you will never even notice the new pieces (assuming you hire a professional).


Third, if you have hardwood underneath your carpet, by all means, rip up those carpets and refinish the hardwood…you have just found a gold mine.  Hardwood sells; very few customers want carpet…not to mention that your carpets are probably dirty and may include your smell…and the buyer will want to rip those out anyway.  And, believe it or not, it is almost always less expensive to refinish your hardwood than to recarpet. 


A potential buyer who sees Westchester NY Brazilian Cherry Hardwood floorscarpet is wondering “how much will it cost to rip out the carpet and add hardwood.”  This factors into whether or not they even make an offer not to mention how much that offer is for.  So, if you have hardwood under the carpets, show it off…and you will automatically improve the value of your home and how many people are willing to make an offer. It is usually a no brainer.


Fourth, if your floors are beaten up and you don’t refinish them, many will assume that you don’t take good care of your home, and that they are likely to find other hidden issues during the inspection.


2. Add hardwood flooring to key rooms, if you can afford it.  Most homeowners in Westchester NY strongly prefer hardwood for the main living space or common areas such as living room, dining room and family room.  Many prefer hardwood for the master bedroom, too.  If you have hardwood in those areas, you are set, if you don’t, you may want to consider investing in hardwood for those areas – provided you have the budget to do so.  You will definitely get back that return on investment – probably at least two fold.  I understand that many selling their home do not have this luxury, but if you can afford it, by all means invest in the hardwood flooring (rather than carpeting) for those areas.


According to an unscientific poll on my website, over 90% of people prefer hardwood floors for their main living space (i.e. living room/dining room).  Feel free to cast your vote.

[yop_poll id=”3″ tr_id=”[yop_poll id=”3″]


Westchester carpeting3.  If your carpets are dirty and/or smelly, it’s usually best to replace them.  Please note that trading up to hardwood, will usually get you a great return on your investment (unless of course you live in an area where hardwood is not the norm), but replacing the carpeting will not improve your selling value.  Rather, it will allow you to capture the potential selling price of your home in good condition.  It will probably also enable you to sell your house sooner as it will appeal to more buyers…or said another way, prevent buyers from being turned off by your home. 


My guess is that you will get back this investment and just break even.  (But, if you don’t do it, you will likely need to lower the price of your home and it may stay on the market longer resulting in another price reduction).


Always select a neutral color for carpets as that will appeal to the largest set of potential buyers, and generally lighter is better as it will make the space look larger and cheerier, and it gives you a sense that the home is clean.


4. Kitchens are tricky and it’s best to consult your agent and/or a stager for opinions.    We have all heard that kitchens and bathrooms sell…and this seems to be very true.  What types of flooring give the best ROI - hardwood floors in kitchensBut, usually kitchens are the most expensive area of the home and a full kitchen remodel will not give you a full return on investment.  I’ve read many reports on this, and most claim that you get 70% return on your investment.  And, this is why it’s usually better to invest in your kitchen if you are just moving in or planning to stay put for a while.


However, if your kitchen is rather out of date, and the agent is seeing this as a hindrance to the sale, you should consider your options.  Sometimes, the agent will recommend that it is not worth it to do anything because they believe the next homeowner will completely gut and redo the whole kitchen (so why invest more money if it’s like putting lipstick on a pig?).  Other times, it is worth it to make some minor enhancements to either eliminate an eye sore or bring it up to an acceptable level.  For example:


– If the there is vinyl flooring and it’s coming up, consider adding laminate on top…or potentially hardwood (tile flooring can work too, but it is more expensive and hence usually a lower return on investment).

Subway tile - Westchester NY– Add a simple subway tile backsplash – if there is no backsplash…or if your backsplash is very taste specific

– Add granite countertops, if you have laminate countertops and they are falling apart.

– Add new up-to-date energy efficient appliances

Most likely, you will break even on these minor upgrades…but more importantly, you will have a much more sellable asset, as you’ve been able to eliminate major eye sores that scream money money money to the buyer.  You want the buyer to feel that they can live with the kitchen as it is for a few years.


But, as I mentioned, kitchens are tricky business, and there is no one size fits all since there is a whole array of how the kitchen can look and this all needs to be in the context of the neighborhood.  Your real estate agent is the best judge of what is needed and what will sell.


What types of flooring give you the best ROI?If you do make changes, make sure that they a neutral and not taste specific…remember, you are trying to appeal to the widest audience. 


Here is  helpful article on the types of flooring buyers prefer in their kitchens.

And, you can get a realtor’s perspective in this article from Ryan Fitzgerald:  Selling your home?  6 Home Improvements that will net you more money.


These are my top recommendations on flooring improvements if you are selling your home soon…or in 2-3 years.  Every situation is different, but these tend to be the items that usually tend to provide the best return on investment



Buy me a coffeeDid you find my tips helpful? If so, feel free to buy me a coffee and support my blog




Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors, whether they are light or dark


What types of flooring give the best ROI, if you are planning to sell your home soon?







46 Response Comments

  • North Kingstown Realtor  December 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Debbie, this is invaluable advice for anyone to know about flooring. Personally you offer all the options to your customers in the Westchester area and customers looking for a great Angies list honoree should call the flooring girl. Best of luck.

    • TheFlooringGirl  January 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you Ginny. Yes, we are lucky that we have won Angie’s List award 2 years in a row.

  • Longleaf doors Austin  January 17, 2012 at 9:39 am

    The cost and return on hardwood flooring greatly depends upon the total amount of rooms and the surface area being remodeled. It is also important to properly maintain your hardwood floors to prevent the depreciation of your home’s real estate value.

  • Jason Valasek  February 11, 2012 at 4:09 am

    This is a great post. Gonna share this post to our Twitter account and FB. This is definitely true! When you want to give more value to your home, one consideration is the type of flooring. Best ROI when selling your home in the future.

  • flooring Honolulu  May 4, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Another benefit of refinishing or polishing your set of flooring is that it is more practical and easier than finding a new want and have it installed. If you’re thinking about the design, there are some professional floor painting services that can give you the exact look and feel without destroying your old set.

  • epoxy flooring Louisiana  September 26, 2012 at 5:52 am

    These samples you have in your post are just wonderful. It just goes to show that wooden floors are always in trend. It does give the house a homier and more expensive look. I also believe that the kitchen is one area that really attracts the attention of potential buyers. I for one want a very organized and well-maintained kitchen. Anyway, thank you for all these advices you have given.

    • TheFlooringGirl  September 29, 2012 at 1:29 am

      Thanks so much. Yes, the kitchen is often the heart of the home. And, wood gives the home a sense of balance and history.

  • Carlo  September 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Hi, Just stumbled on to your site. I am in the flooring game too in Canada.

    Just wanted to complement you on your site. Really nice!!!


    • TheFlooringGirl  September 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      Carlo – Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

  • Cathy  October 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    My hardwood floors are currently hidden under carpet. They need refinishing. What do you know about the N-Hance Wood Renewal process? Our local Home Depot offers this and I have found a local N-Hance franchise in our area.

    • TheFlooringGirl  October 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Hi Cathy. That is great that you have hardwood underneath the carpets. By all means sand and refinish. I’m not specifically familiar with N-Hance, but in general, it’s usually best to do a traditional sanding, especially if there were tack strips there. Some of the “alternatives out there do not do a thorough sanding job and hence lead to inferior results both long and short term.

  • Tery Tennant  December 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    We are getting ready to take out carpet and old ceramic tile and replace with travertine & wood for around $15k (small house). My question is how much can we plan to recoup of this $15k if we sell in the next 1-2 years? Thanks!

    • TheFlooringGirl  December 21, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Tery – Great question, but one that is very difficult to answer…and better answered by a real estate agent in your area. This can vary greatly based on area of country, as well as your specific neighborhood, as well as condition of floor before. Generally, in our area, you will get your return on the wood, but not necessarily on the tile. That may be different or even the opposite in your area.

      All that aside, sometimes, it’s more than just ROI, but whether or not the house sells and how quickly (and it’s hard to put a dollar figure on that even though this can be a real benefit. If your house doesn’t sell or languishes, that will not only cost you money on paying mortgage, etc, but may also result in lower offers and/or the need to lower your price. Conversely, having a home in great shape and a great price may result in multiple offers that can drive the price up.

      I hope that helps.

  • Carpets for Less  May 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    In the short-term, adding hardwood floors will cost more than carpet, but in the long term will cost less. And, if you already have hardwood flooring, it is clearly less expensive to refinish it rather than to replace the carpet.

    • TheFlooringGirl  May 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Carpets for Less – I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • Jenny  July 1, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Hi Debbie,
    Great post! We are buying a house that has engineered wood flooring, but different styles throughout the first floor for a total of five floors. We are considering either matching the living room flooring, which we like the best, or adding new solid hw flooring to every room except the kitchen. Does solid hw add more value than engineered? We prefer the look of solid but wonder if doing engineered will save us money since labor is cheaper and we could leave the living room as is. Thanks for your advice!

    • TheFlooringGirl  July 1, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      Jenny – In general, when you can do it, I always recommend solid hardwood. It’s just better and lasts way longer (and looks better). It can be sanded & refinished many times, and many colors, so this is good for you while you live in the house and good for resale value as the new owners can refinish it to their tastes.

      Assuming you have plywood, there is not usually a huge difference in cost between solid and engineered wood, at least not in my area. The cheap ones may show more of a difference, but they won’t last long and will need to be replaced as they can’t be sanded (and may not last for the next buyer).

      Now, that aside, from a strict appraisal standpoint, it may not make a difference. But, when someone comes to look at your house and buy it, the solid will look better and hence you’ll capture the value here. It also depends where you live/neighborhood. In most nicer places in my area, solid is expected and engineered looks cheap. (and, often feels cheap when you walk on it).

      Hope that helps.

  • Jenny  July 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks so much, this is very helpful! I know solid hw comes in tons of woods, widths and finishes, but do you have a “go to” hw that is durable, attractive in a classic way, preferably domestic and not too pricey? I would like the floors to make the house feel cohesive and warm without making any sort of statement or being dramatic. Thanks so much for all your great advice!

  • philippinefanpageshoutouts.com  July 18, 2013 at 6:13 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger, too.

  • Rachael Ray Products  July 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I
    am waiting for your next post. Thanks once again.

  • Latham  July 30, 2013 at 3:50 am

    Hi there! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Great info on which types of flooring optimize your ROI. Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the superb work!

  • Sarah  August 11, 2013 at 2:20 am

    This is an excellent post! Just one small question. My husband and I are getting new flooring for our kitchen and we’ve seen some distressed wood floating floorboards which we love. For a good ROI would it be ok to go with the distressed wood look? Or would a flat shiny surface be better? We were told if we go with distressed wood, there is way less up keep and any scratches you make will ‘add character’ to the floor. I’m just concerned distressed wood could date very quickly…

    • TheFlooringGirl  August 11, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Great question, Sarah. Part of this depends on area where you live and style of home. It looks like you are in the UK. If you were here in NY, I would advise you against this in terms of resale value as it is very niche and most in my area do not like this. And, I would also advise against shiny as that is both out of style and shows everything which is the opposite of what you want to do, esp in the kitchen.

      Yes, you the advice you’ve gotten about the distressed wood hiding things is spot on. And, it that’s what’s most important to you and you plan to live there for a while, I say go for it. The ideal, though, is that you find a solid distressed hardwood…one that you love for now, and one that can be refinished for a smooth traditional look later for when you sell. That way, you have the best of both worlds.

  • Aaron Hutcheson  July 23, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I just did a really nice distressed chain beaten pine floor for a lady who had bad sun damage. The 2 factors of the chains and the darker much browner stain. Never had such a beautiful floor

    • TheFlooringGirl  July 25, 2014 at 6:33 am

      Aaron – That sounds awesome. Yes, I’ve heard they do that sometimes in Texas and other places in the south where handscraped is more popular. So glad to hear these amazing results.

  • David Ryan  October 6, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Undoubtedly, the overall flow of the post is so amazing that I love to read it with great pleasure. One thing I want to ask, Debbie Gartner. Is there any benefit of installing epoxy flooring? Is this too help to increase ROI if I sell my home? Please assist me..

    • TheFlooringGirl  October 12, 2014 at 4:55 am

      David – Good question. Usually epoxy is used for garage and/or basements and generally there is very low ROI for these areas. I supposed it would be better than not having it and will make the home more appealing and help it sell a bit faster. But, most likely a low ROI and it would not be the first place I would invest my money if selling my house.

  • Jen  May 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Great info. I would love to sell in the next few years. My carpet is ok just a bit worn but I really would like to do the hardwood in the entire floor (raised ranch) and widen doorway to dining room from living room. Do you think in today’s market I will recoup the cost? Some realtors say just to offer a flooring credit. But I see that the homes that are updated are getting more money now.

    • TheFlooringGirl  May 11, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      Jen – Your local realtor can give you the best perspective on that. The market varies by part of country and even by town and within towns. In some areas, hardwood is expected; in others you may not be. Generally, you do get your money back in hardwood assuming that you haven’t over improved vs. your neighborhood.

      BTW, I don’t think a flooring credit does much at all. It’s just a discount or price reduction. If you put hardwood in, you will retain that value and sell your house faster. Most buyers can’t even envision what the house will look like. Plus, now, they have to deal with the inconvenience and delay in moving in.

      BTW, if you are looking to sell in the next few years, now is the perfect time. You’ll enjoy it + improve your value.

  • Parkland And Coral Springs Real Estate  August 25, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Great Article..I have seen and shown homes with both high quality and low quality floors…I will say that the quality of flooring is really important in terms of appearance…

    • TheFlooringGirl  August 26, 2015 at 5:55 am

      Roman – Yes, it really does make a big difference, especially when it comes time to sell.

  • Mariel in Chicago  April 5, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Thanks so much for your blog posts. Was curious to hear your thoughts on some of the newer, “premium” engineered wood floorings ( from fancier places such as Carlisle, Arrigoni, to name a few). Just came back from one of their showrooms and the difference ( visually) between their solid and engineered hardwoods is practically indistinguishable. Thank you so much for all your postings.

    • TheFlooringGirl  April 10, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Engineered hardwoods can vary greatly in terms of quality. Most are low, but there certainly are some very high quality ones. The ones that are high quality tend to often be more expensive than solid hardwood. Carlisle is a high quality brand, so they probably have some top notch ones. Make sure it has a thick wear layer.

  • Jane Gilmour  October 11, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Hello, I am interested in feedback on installing ceramic tile in a kitchen/dining area . What can I expect for ROI?

    • TheFlooringGirl  October 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Jane – that question is nearly impossble to answer. The cost will vary greatly based on what you have now, what prep needs to done, what tile used, and area to be done. This will also vary widely based on what area of the country you live. On the value, you would need to speak to a local realtor (or appraiser). There is no standard answer, especially with so much variability.


Leave A Comment

Please enter your name. Please enter an valid email address. Please enter a message.