Flipping houses has become increasingly popular in today’s day and age because people realize that it can be a way for them to make a good amount of money in a relatively short period of time. When flipping a house, I know that a majority of my costs are going into remodeling it so that it fits today’s buyer. I want to be sure that it takes their breath away the second they walk into the door.
A great way to add a lot of visual appeal to a house without breaking the bank is to update the flooring in a house. Shag carpeting will never be appealing to buyers again and replacing it with amazing hardwood floors can instantly make the home look better and allow the asking price to increase immensely. There are steps that I take when choosing the flooring that I use in a home though. I want to be sure that it fits my budget, the style I’m trying to create, and will stand the test of time. The following guide walks you through the steps I take when deciding what flooring I want to use in a home that I’m flipping.
I Determine the Current Condition of the Floors
Many first-time flippers make the mistake of planning to replace the flooring in a home before they take the time to assess with they already have at their disposal. Many of the homes that I’ve purchased have great flooring in them that’s being hidden under carpeting or laminate flooring. Once the carpeting or laminate is pulled up, I’ve found treasures that simply has to be sanded down and stained to give a home an entirely new look.
When you go to examine the flooring in a home, it’s a good idea to wear a breathing mask in case there is any mold or mildew that kicks up when you pull the carpeting or laminate back. Don’t jerk too hard because you don’t want to damage the flooring that’s located under whatever you are pulling back.
Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch
A huge mistake that I’ve made before is assuming that wood flooring found under carpeting or laminate is in good condition. There are many times when the area of flooring that I look at is in great condition, but many of the other areas of the floor are simply destroyed and can’t be salvaged. If you notice that there are hardwood floors in the home you are flipping, have a professional come in an assess the condition of the flooring.
He or she may be able to remove the damaged areas and feather in new wood to reduce the overall cost that you have to pay for the flooring. Flooring is one of the first things that needs to be removed in a home so you need to make sure that you know if the flooring needs to be removed or not before you go on to any other remodeling in the home.
Determine What Flooring You Want to Use in Each Room
While wood flooring looks great throughout a house, it can often be very expensive to use everywhere. Instead, I like to place wood flooring in the main areas of the home and save tile for the bathrooms and carpeting for the bedrooms. Carpeting is often much cheaper than flooring and can be installed very quickly. Be sure to invest in high-quality carpeting though so that it has a luxurious feeling when people walk on it.
Know How Much Flooring You Really Need
When you go to buy flooring, it’s sold by the square foot. You need to be sure that you purchase enough flooring when you go to the store because the wood will need to acclimate before it can be installed. If you are measuring the flooring yourself, be sure to consider if flooring will go under the cabinets and take the closet floors and stairs into account too. It’s best to have a little more flooring than you actually need at your disposal just in case anything goes wrong during the installation process.
Choose What Type of Flooring You Want to Use
There are many different types of wood flooring available to use in a home. You want to be sure that the flooring not only looks great but will also stand the test of time and fit into your budget. The most common types of wood flooring I use are:
- Oak – Oak flooring is often chosen for homes before it is very affordably priced, easy to refinish and customize, doesn’t expand and contract as much as other wood which minimizes gaping, and is durable enough for use in homes with a lot of traffic from pets or kids.
- Maple – Maple flooring is a bit harder than oak. It is commonly available stained so that you can rest assured you will know what color the floor will be when it’s installed. This type of wood typically resists dents and scratches making it great for family dwellings, as well.
- Black Walnut – Black walnut flooring is one of the most beautiful types of wood floors available. It has an amazing hue to it but is very soft and very expensive. It’s not ideal for use in homes that you are flipping because it will greatly eat into your profits when you sell the home. You can stain other types of flooring to have a similar finish to black walnut flooring.
- Pine – I like to use pine flooring in smaller homes where I know there won’t be a lot of people walking in and out of them all day long. One or two bedrooms houses that won’t’ have a lot of tenants are ideal for pine flooring because the flooring is very inexpensive, but also very soft. It will dent and scratch easily, so shouldn’t be used in homes with kids or pets.
- Bamboo – Bamboo is by far my favorite looking hardwood flooring, but the one that I use the least. Bamboo flooring can be very difficult to stain and thus I typically buy it stained. The price for bamboo can vary greatly based on its hardness, color, and the amount that you buy. While I love the look of bamboo, I’ve found that investing in the highest-quality bamboo flooring can be quite expensive and really isn’t worth the investment.
Consider How You Want the Flooring to be Installed
When having the flooring installed, the most commonly used methods are gluing down the boards and nailing them. Most professional flooring installers can use either method that you want, but the flooring that you choose will dictate how it is installed. Flooring that is designed to be glued down will not be strong enough to be nailed into place. There are pros and cons to both though.
- Glued Down Flooring – Flooring that is glued into place is often far less expensive than nail down flooring. This is because it takes far less time to install, is often thinner, and is often made from wood that isn’t overly durable. If you are flipping a house that you are only worried about your bottom line, glued down flooring may be right for you. I typically use glued down flooring in areas that aren’t high traffic areas.
- Nailed Down Flooring – Flooring that is nailed down is often more expensive but is also more durable. It requires a floor nailer, a mallet, and knowledge for the flooring to be installed properly. Nailing down flooring takes some time so you need to take that into account when choosing which option you feel is right for the home that you are flipping.
Most Expensive Flooring Doesn’t Equal the Best Option
Many people assume that paying a lot for the flooring in a house that they are flipping will automatically increase the value of the home. That isn’t the case. The value of the wood flooring is based on how much more desirable it makes the home. If you chose a flooring that is very expensive but looks horrible, it won’t be adding any real value to the home. It’s best to take a few people with you when choosing the wood flooring for the first home that you are flipping so that you can get their advice and opinions. They may be able to help you see things from a different point of view.
Wait for a Sale
If you know that you are going to be in the market for new flooring in the near future, keep an eye on the local flooring stores to see when they are having a sale. There are many times when stores will have great sales on flooring if you buy a certain quantity of it. If you know that you are going to be buying a lot of flooring, this can help you to really save money.
Don’t be Afraid of the Clearance Rack
When you need to only floor one or two rooms in a home, don’t be afraid to check the clearance rack when you go shopping for flooring. There are many times when there is great quality flooring available for discounted prices. There is often nothing wrong with the flooring it’s just discounted because they are the leftovers from flooring that the business isn’t ordering again in the future, flooring someone decided that they didn’t want and returned, or they could simply be a discontinued product. Be sure to look over any of the flooring that you plan to buy thoroughly to make sure that it’s not damaged.
Don’t Decide on the Flooring You Want to Buy Right Away
Another huge mistake I have seen new flippers make in the past is to see a flooring option they like in the store and order a ton of it right away. This is a huge mistake because you don’t know how the flooring will look with other elements of the home. It’s best to buy a few pieces of every flooring that you like. Bring the samples back to the house and lay them down throughout the home. Place one near cabinets, one near a window, and one in the center of a huge room. Leave the wood in place for at least one full day so that you can see how it looks in different lighting and against different elements in the house. You can do this with a few different types of wood flooring so that you can choose the one that is right for you.
Determine If a Contractor Is Going to Install the Flooring for You
If you know that you aren’t going to be handling the installation of the wood flooring on your own, talk to your contractor before buying the wood. There are many times when contractors can get a great deal on wood, which can knock down your costs even more. The contractor will need to know the exact wood you want to buy, where it’s sold, and how much of it that you need. The contractor may be able to save you money on other items too such as the flooring nails or glue needed to install the flooring. Every little bit helps when it comes to making money on a house flip.
Once you have made all of the decisions about the flooring that you want to use, the wood needs to be purchased right away and put into the room where it’s going to be installed. It will have to be left alone so that it can acclimate to the environment before it can be installed. Doing this stops the wood from buckling, gaping, or warping after it’s installed. After the wood has acclimated, it’s best to keep everyone out of the room so that the wood flooring can be installed as quickly as possible. The pieces need to be laid out so that they create a uniform look when they are all installed. The contractor will need plenty of room to lay them out and the fewer people in the way the better.
To avoid all that hassle and time taken from the other aspects of your project, contact Express Flooring to have a Design Consultant come out with samples. We can have the flooring installed the very next day. Schedule your appointment today and you may even qualify for a Vacation Voucher.