As a house flipper, I learned early on the value of installing an attractive floor for my investment. From setting the mood, to more practical considerations like maintenance, there are many ways in which flooring can positively impact a property investment, particularly when you get creative with renovations. If you’re renovating a multifamily home or property that you’ll lease out, it’s especially important to include durable, beautiful flooring that will both attract potential renters and last for years without wearing down.
Beauty and Aesthetics
The current color trend is moving away from dark stained floors toward lighter walnut finishes. Creating a pattern with hardwood can also dramatically enhance the renter’s perception of a property.
Herringbone-patterned floors are attention-grabbers, but installation is costly due to the labor intensiveness. If you love the look of Herringbone but want a more affordable option, lay flooring at an angle to create an appealing visual effect. Even traditional vertical or horizontal flooring is considered a win over carpet in the current market.
Solid and engineered wood floors are both durable options. White oak, red oak and maple score high on the Janka hardness test, making them good choices for high-traffic areas. Solid wood can also be refinished as color trends change or as nicks and dents from renters require refreshing.
Engineered wood has the added benefits of easy installation and a low price point, and it’s faster to install than solid hardwood. This makes it particularly attractive for fast-track projects and quality control. Additionally, engineered wood floors are not as susceptible to warping, swelling, or contracting.
Both solid hardwood and engineered wood are easy to maintain, which is a great selling point for residents. Sweep them as needed, then mop them with a little bit of water. (Be careful not to soak the boards.) If that doesn’t do the trick, use a cleaner specifically designed for hardwood floors. Polish and shine your floors if they begin to look dull.
Additionally, solid hardwood can be refinished up to 10 times before it needs to be replaced, giving property owners the flexibility to adapt to changes in color trends and refresh the floors in between rental periods. While engineered floors cannot be refinished as often—only twice before they require replacement—they hold their color and finish longer, so the need for refinishing is far less frequent.
Wood Slat Ceilings and Walls
Hardwood can also be used to enhance other elements of home interiors. Wood slat ceilings are wonderful design accents that can be used to obscure ductwork and improve acoustics in large communal gathering areas. They create visual interest and soften industrial spaces, bringing warmth to a room.
Use hardwood to create a wood slat screen in lieu of a traditional wall. You’ll save money with the elimination of studs, drywall, and doors, and create a decorative delineation of space. Wood slat walls also add a degree of privacy in smaller studio units, helping break up the space.
Providing elements that wow and distinguish my properties from others on the market can mean the difference between a nominal profit and a windfall. You can apply the same concept to renovating a multifamily home.
Hardwood floors are a hit with home buyers and renters alike. Their timelessness, durability and ease of maintenance ensure that your investment will pay dividends.
With 20 years’ experience working with architects, builders, and designers to flip houses, Jacqueline Falla knows what renters and homeowners look for when buying a home. She writes about her lessons learned and hardwood floor installation and design tips for The Home Depot. To see more hardwood flooring ideas and info, click here.