Wall-to-Wall Carpet or Hardwood Flooring: Which Attracts Buyers?

March 7, 2016

Posted in macstaff

The spring housing market is the busiest time of the year for home sales.  With a flood of houses predicted to enter the market, how do you make your home stand out and snag the best price?  Let’s start at the bottom: should you choose wall-to-wall carpet or hardwood flooring?

Wall-to-Wall Carpeting Holds Allergens, Mold, and Mildew

Allergens in carpet
Wall-to-Wall Carpeting Holds Allergens,
Mold, and Mildew

Carpeting is a traditional decorating style, considered a soft choice underfoot for tumbling toddlers and children playing on the floor.  But what lurks underneath the soft surface is not as pretty.  It is important to remember that wall-to-wall carpeting is an entire carpeting system, including a backing, underlay padding, and various glues.  Often, these synthetic materials and petroleum-based adhesives emit “volatile organic chemicals”, or VOCs, which are heavier than air.  Therefore, according to John Bower, author of “The Healthy House Book” (2001), the VOCs settle onto the floor, and into the carpets, where children are playing.  If there is anything troublesome in the carpet, they get the brunt of it.

Consistent, deep cleaning of wall-to-wall carpeting does not solve the problem. “Wall-to-wall carpets are a sink for dirt, dust mites, molds and pesticide residues,” says Philip Landrigan, M.D., director of the Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.  Deep shampooing the carpets only results in a room of wet carpet, which allows mildew and dust mites to proliferate until all of the carpet, backing, and underlay dry.  Lingering odors and musty smells are a sign that mildew and mold have settled into the subflooring of the wall-to-wall carpeting system.  “I much prefer smaller washable carpets of natural fiber,” added Dr. Landrigan.  Area rugs can be easily picked up, and the surface underneath the carpets can be swept and kept clean of dust, germs, and irritants.

Old carpeting on the curbside
Ideally, carpeting should be replaced
every 10 years

Carpeting Must Be Replaced Every Ten Years

Wall-to-wall carpeting is also an expensive, shorter-term approach.  Even with proper care, manufacturers estimate that carpeting only lasts eight to ten years.  After a decade, there will be noticeable signs of wear in high traffic areas, and the carpet fibers will start losing their texture and tuft.  Signs of old carpet include color fading, wrinkling, matting, and uneven padding support.  

Hardwood Floors Last A Lifetime

Hardwood floors are designed to last as long as the house.  If maintained well, hardwood floors last 100 years, or more.  If the floors are loved, they will reflect that love for a lifetime.

Maintenance starts with keeping the floors clean.  Use a quality bristle broom to sweep the floor regularly and keep it clean of dirt and dust.  A vacuum without a beater bar, like the MacDonald Hardwoods Mac Vac, can then get in between the boards and into hard-to-reach areas.  For the occasional deep clean, use professional cleaning products recommended by your flooring retailer.  MacDonald Hardwoods offers affordable Easy Hardwood Floor Cleaner.  This step will help remove scuffs and heel marks and return floors to their longstanding luster.

Hardwood Floors Inspire Home Buyers To Offer Higher Prices

Hardwood floors are not only more attractive than musty old carpet, they are a sound investment to attract buyers.  According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Remodeling Impact Report, new or refinished hardwoods are one of the top features that buyers want in a home, and “very important” in their decision making on which houses merit an offer.  In fact, 54% of surveyed buyers are willing to spend thousands more on a house with hardwood flooring, adding an average of $2,080 to their offering price.  This data matches another study, conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association, where 82% of realtors said their experience confirms that houses with hardwood floors sell faster and for more money.  Eighty-eight percent of realtors indicated that houses with hardwood floors sell for up to 10% more, while some realtors have found buyers offering even more than 10%.

Let’s turn those percentages into dollars.  An average American home is valued at $242,300, according to the US Census data.  If the home owner were to invest $10,000 in hardwood flooring, at an increased home sales value of 10%, that home could sell for $266,530, more than doubling the initial wood flooring investment.  That is a significant increase in value.  

100 dollar bill bar chart

Whether a homeowner is thinking of upgrading their floors for the upcoming spring market, or as a way f refreshing and decluttering their home for their own long-term enjoyment, the choice is clear: hardwood floors are a beautiful, durable, sound decision.