Experts Agree This Interior Upgrade Will Pay You Back—and Then Some

Looking to improve your home’s wow factor without a major overhaul? Make your next project refinishing your hardwood floors.

By Kristen Mosier | Published Aug 19, 2022 2:57 PM

Experts Agree This Interior Upgrade Will Pay You Back

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether you’re hoping to put your home on the market or are simply looking to invest your renovation budget wisely, you should consider upgrading your floors. New or refurbished hardwoods throughout your home will not only make a beautiful first impression, but they’ll also get you a substantial return on your investment, according to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). The study found that refinishing wood floors was the top project for cost recovery on interior remodeling projects, with installing new wood flooring coming in at a close second.

RELATED: Hardwood vs. Softwood: How to Choose the Right Material for Your Project

Experts Weigh In

The joint study by these two top industry trade associations, NAR and NARI, includes feedback from nearly 2,500 of their members—210 from NARI and 2,287 from NAR, the larger of the two organizations. Professional remodelers identified typical project fees, while Realtors reported on the cost recovery upon resale. The estimates were given for an average-size home with no significant issues and using “standard or typical quality” materials.

Experts Agree This Interior Upgrade Will Pay You Back

Photo: istockphoto.com

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Years of use will often leave wood floors scratched up, dull, and generally worn out, giving the whole interior space a dated look. Refurbishing aged floors is a modestly priced, high-impact home renovation project that won’t take months to complete, making it a smart option for updating your space and raising the value of your home. NARI estimates an average cost to refinish hardwoods of $3,400. As for a return on that investment (ROI), NAR calculates a recovered cost of $5,000, or 147 percent.

New Wood Flooring

Hardwood floors are always a good investment, thanks to their longevity and appeal to buyers. Installing new wood flooring will add to your home’s wow factor and overall value, but it will cost you a bit more at the outset. According to NARI, the average cost of new wood floors is $5,500. The value estimate on this remodeling project is priced by NAR members at $6,500, giving remodelers an average ROI of 118 percent.

RELATED: 19 Affordable Options for Beautiful Hardwood Flooring

Saving on Materials

If you opt for putting down new wood floors, the cost of your project will vary depending on the wood you choose as well as the grain and grade. For instance, hickory, pine, or oak will cost less than mahogany or Brazilian walnut. A horizontal grain in a wavelike pattern will be more affordable than a grain that runs the length of the board. The grade reflects the physical characteristics and ranges from higher-end “select” wood with a more uniform color and fewer imperfections to the more affordable “common” board, which will exhibit more variation. Shoppers on a tight budget might also want to look into engineered wood floors, which feature a plywood base topped with wood veneer.

Experts Agree This Interior Upgrade Will Pay You Back

Photo: istockphoto.com

Saving on Labor

DIYing the job will certainly make refinishing or replacing hardwood flooring more affordable, but neither is an easy job. Both require careful attention to detail to avoid visible mistakes. Tackling a refinishing project will cost around $700 and take about 4 days to complete. If you’re feeling brave, check out our 10 tips for refinishing hardwood floors.

The scope of a hardwood flooring project will vary greatly depending on the demolition required and the layout of each room, and it may be too ambitious for a less experienced DIYer. However, if you are willing to remove the old floors on your own, you can save on that part of the project.

RELATED: Is Prefinished Hardwood Flooring Right for Your Home?