Exposing and refinishing hardwood floors is one of the best things you can do to get the biggest bang for your buck when selling your home. If you have hardwood floors underneath wall to wall carpeting, I will always recommend you expose the hardwood, especially in main living areas. (To find out if you have hardwood, peel back a corner of the carpeting in a hidden corner, preferably a closet or behind furniture. You need to pull it back away from the furring strips that the carpet may be stapled to.) It’s always a good idea to refinish the floors if they are in less-than-perfect condition and to apply several coats of a satin polyurethane or other sealer recommended by your flooring refinisher. Shiny floors reflect light and look great in MLS or flyer photos!
If you aren’t lucky enough to have hardwood floors, laminate flooring is often a good substitute and generally preferable to wall to wall carpeting in main living areas. Many people and children suffer from allergies and wood or laminate floors are far easier to keep dust- and pet-hair free than carpets that attract and hold allergens. A client in Ridgewood, NJ asked me about replacing wall to wall carpet in his living room which sat on a concrete slab floor (no basement), and he loved the results (see photos). Writer and editor Sam Marquit also reports that he has installed laminate flooring in several NYC apartments that he owns and he is happy with the results.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Installing Laminate Flooring
Many property owners will not install laminate flooring because it is not real wood, brick or stone. Laminate flooring also does not last as long as hardwood, and if a scratch appears, the affected tile or plank will need to be replaced. In my experience though, the advantages of laminate flooring outweigh the disadvantages.
One of the main advantages is that laminate looks very much like hardwood, but costs less and is easier to install than real wood, brick or stone. Sam reports that he installed flooring in a weekend and found the process to be fairly easy. What he ended up with was a floor that was durable, water resistant, and easy to maintain.
Another advantage of laminate flooring is that it can be installed over old flooring such as vinyl or wood because it is a floating floor. Laminate flooring can also be installed over sub-floors such as wood, MDF or cement that cannot handle real wood, ceramic tile or stone.
A Few Tips For Installing Laminate Flooring
Installing laminate flooring is a fairly easy process. You can make cutting mistakes without ruining the entire floor since this type of flooring comes in tiles or four-foot planks. What is trimmed from one area can often be used on another section of the floor. Despite this fact, I highly recommend buying a little extra flooring to allow for mistakes and waste.
Laminate tiles and planks come in click together or glued together forms. Click together laminate floors are easier to install, but can be easily damaged by water. Glued laminate floors are highly suitable for floors in kitchens and bathrooms where water damage can be more common. Before choosing the kind of laminate flooring to use, consider the possibility of water damage in the area to be worked in.
So whether you have hardwood or laminate floors, be sure to show them off to buyers to get more dollars out of your home!