The flooring industry has long known that hardwood flooring is an aspirational product. Now RSAs have another talking point: a National Association of Realtors (NAR) study found that refinishing hardwood floors generated the highest returns on investment—higher than any other project.
In its study, NAR provided an estimate of the likely dollar value each project would add to a home at resale. In comparing that dollar value to the estimated cost of each project provided by NAR members, a Recovered Project Cost percentage was calculated.
For interior projects, the highest percentage cost recovered was from refinishing wood floors (147%), followed by new wood floors (118%). The study calculated a $3,400 homeowner investment in a wood flooring refinish with a $5,000 estimated cost recovery. For new wood floors, homeowners would spend $5,500 and recoup $6,500. By comparison, a kitchen upgrade garnered a 67% cost recovery.
In consumer reviews upon completion of their new wood flooring project, 90% said they have a greater desire to be home since completing the project while 77% said they have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home. Meanwhile, 61% felt a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project.
Naturally, flooring professionals welcomed the survey as confirmation that flooring is a great investment for homeowners. “This information is extremely valuable,” said Ted Kozikowski, CEO of Galleher, a top 5 distributor whose portfolio is heavily skewed toward hardwood flooring. “It is a plus anytime we can quantify a large investment for a customer and demonstrate a strong return on investment.”
Flooring retailers agreed that any positive information about their industry from a trusted source is more fodder for an RSA. “We can definitely use those statistics in our sales presentations to homeowners to show that hardwood flooring is an actual investment in their home that they should be able to more than recover should they ever sell their home,” said Ted Gregerson, president of Ted’s Abbey Carpet & Floor, Anniston, Ala.
Adam Joss, owner of the Vertical Connection Carpet One Floor & Home in Columbia, Md., said the study provides interesting information to share and helps justify the expense when someone is interested in purchasing wood. “It can be reassuring to someone who’s already in the market,” he said. “I don’t think you can present that to someone and have them trade up from carpet. Most people today come in already knowing what they want or have a pretty good idea.”
The NAR consumer survey will certainly have merit when it comes to higher-end homes, where real wood floors are more prevalent, according to Steve Weisberg, president of Crest Flooring, Allentown, Pa.
Other dealers like Bryan Park, CEO of Footprints Floors, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based installation company, agreed, adding that a new hardwood floor can completely revitalize a home, which is why it has such lasting value. “Kitchens and bathrooms are often the first rooms to get a remodel, but investing in flooring can pay dividends for years to come,” he said.