Carpet, Tile, or Hardwood: The Best Flooring Upgrades for Resale Value

Immaculate floors – who doesn’t love ’em? Flooring upgrades are massive selling points. Gleaming floors increase homes’ values, no matter where you live or how big your property is. Every buyer will evaluate flooring materials and condition when they shop for houses. It’s a big factor in the decision to make an offer (and for how much).

Refurbishing or replacing flooring will enhance your home and its listing price. The most important areas to upgrade are the ones bare feet are likely to touch: the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and living areas. But what type of floor should you choose, and how much will it cost?

Without a doubt, hardwood floors are preferred over carpet and vinyl. Tile is popular, too. If hardwood is in your home – even if it’s under the carpet or in bad shape – restoring it, rather than installing carpet or vinyl, will be the most profitable course of action.

Installing brand-new hardwood is costly, and many situations warrant less expensive options. Even with less desirable flooring materials, a replacement is a worthy endeavor and will boost the likelihood of a successful and profitable home sale.

Before you hit the ground running, let’s brush up on your flooring options, including the projected costs and resale values of hardwood, engineered hardwood, tile, and carpet.

The ground rules of pre-listing floor upgrades

home sellers increase value with hard wood floor upgrades


Buyers in every region of the country prefer hardwood floors; homebuyers say that this home feature even improves happiness, according to the National Association of REALTORS® 2022 Remodeling Impact Report. And it’s not hard to see why: hardwood floors are beautiful, easy to clean, and durable.

The same report states a return on investment of 106% on new hardwood floors. The installation cost is around $5,000 for a 200-square-foot room. The price may increase significantly if you choose luxury wood. The returns are more significant for refurbished hardwood flooring, and the costs are thousands of dollars lower. While it isn’t the cheapest option, hardwood is the most strategic flooring upgrade for homeowners looking for the greatest returns.

Engineered hardwood

home sellers increase value with engineered hardwood floor upgrades

Engineered wood differs from standard hardwood primarily in its fabrication and is made by layering hardwood over plywood. Compared to standard hardwood flooring, this option is about half as expensive while offering traditional hardwood’s look and feel. It’s also moisture-resistant and durable. It’s more resilient than conventional wood in high-moisture areas. Engineered hardwood costs half as much as standard hardwood to install with similar profit margins.


Tile floors are appealing and practical in various applications, especially in kitchens and bathrooms with moisture. Ceramic tiles are the most common, but there is a vast selection of materials, including slate, marble, porcelain, and cement.

You can expect to pay around $3,000 to install tile flooring in a 200-square-foot space – slightly cheaper than brand-new wood floors. That said, costs vary greatly based on where you live and the tiles you select.


home sellers increase value with carpet floor upgrades

Besides being budget-friendly, freshly installed can be attractive, soft, and cozy in bedrooms, especially if the other rooms in your home have high-quality, wipeable flooring. Carpet is not the most popular option for home buyers, but most don’t mind it in bedrooms. However, it’s the least desired flooring material virtually everywhere else in homes. Old, stained carpet detracts from home sellers’ earning potential, and new carpeting is more appealing than used, so it makes sense to replace it in bedrooms or install new flooring in other areas of your home. New carpet costs around $1200 per 200 square feet to install. It’s more affordable than any options discussed thus far, so it has advantages.

Luxury vinyl planks

While it doesn’t have quite the same command as wood or tile, luxury vinyl planks are fantastic when you need to stay within a budget while improving the quality of your home’s flooring. 

Two hundred square feet of luxury vinyl flooring costs around $800, making it the most affordable flooring upgrade that adds value to homes. The returns on a vinyl flooring investment range from 10% to 50%. The percentage isn’t as high as other options. Still, vinyl enhances the overall livability of your home and the quality of your listing, especially if your current floors are run down, torn, or otherwise worn from use.

The options are impressive; you can find affordable vinyl that mimics the look of hardwood and designs in various patterns and palettes. It has an average lifespan of 15 years, tolerates moisture well, and is very easy to clean.

Flooring upgrades

The more expensive flooring upgrades yield the highest returns and appeal most to homebuyers. And hardwood is the clear winner, followed by engineered hardwood and tile. Carpet and luxury vinyl tiles add comparable value, though vinyl is the cheapest option. The specific products and quality of work will inform how much new floors increase home values on a case-by-case basis.

Keep in mind that the costs in this blog post are national estimates, so use them as guides. For a more precise understanding of what new floors in your home will cost, contact Curbio for a same-day estimate and fixed-fee, upfront financing on all of your home improvement projects. Learn more.

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