Want a shockingly inexpensive way to update your home and earn a 66% return on the investment? Swap out dated living room decor. New light switches, outlet covers, floor registers, drapes and accessories—at an average cost of less than $1,500, according to HGTV—really helps in a remodel. Remember: Details add dollars when it comes to upgrades.
Nothing says dated more than a home without hardwood. But is it worth it to upgrade your floors? According to data collected by USA Today, 54% of home buyers would pay more for a home if it had hardwood. It’s easy to clean and maintain, adds warmth to any room and can be refinished multiple times, which increases the overall life and value of the flooring. But not all hardwood is created equal. High-end planks offer hand-scraped or rare-wood species, but this can really push your budget up. Consider, instead, more common selections, such as red oak. Unfinished starts at $1.40/sq. ft. at lumber or flooring stores, while finished starts at $3.20/sq. ft. and goes up (add another $2 to $5/sq. ft. for installation).
To maximize the value of your new floor stay away from engineered hardwood. This product has been marketed as an easy DIY alternative, but because they are constructed from thin, glued-together layers of wood products, topped with a veneer of real wood, your newly installed engineered hardwood floor may not stand up to sanding and re-staining, which shortens the lifespan—and value—of the floor. Instead, those on a tight budget should consider repainting or refinishing old hardwood. Opt for a rich brown shade or a trendy gray stain for a more updated look or paint over really old hardwood with enamel paint.
Pro tip: Unfinished hardwood is cheaper and allows you to pick a stain that matches other facets in the house—just make sure the labour costs include this part of the job. Also, plan to stay out of the home for a few days to allow the stain to off-gas
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