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Best Flooring Investments for Your Tax Return

March 9, 2017 at midnight

Your home may be your castle, but this isn't the Middle Ages. In other words, your castle will need some flooring. Hardwood, tile, carpet, laminate or vinyl, the bevy of choices can be daunting. Where do you start?

Whether you're looking to make some low-cost home improvements or increase your home's value, installing a new floor is a big-ticket item. As such, it's important to weigh all the considerations. This not only includes your budget but also traffic, sunlight exposure, and what purpose it will ultimately serve.

For a dining room, many people prefer a smooth surface that is easy to maneuver chairs on and clean up afterwards. Likewise, most homeowners select vinyl, laminate or tile in bathrooms since those types of flooring are more moisture-resistant than many engineered and solid woods. Here's a quick look at the options you have.

Laminate

Thanks to its versatility and cost, laminate flooring is often the first consideration for homeowners on a budget. It costs an average of 50 percent less to buy and install than solid wood, and it can go where other flooring types can't. It is also scratch-resistant -- a huge plus for anyone with four-legged creatures in the home -- and notably easier to clean. It's also one of the few flooring styles that a novice DIYer can figure out with minimal research.

On the downside, laminate doesn't tend to increase a home's value nor does it spruce up nicely with sanding or refinishing in the same way that hardwoods do. It also needs to be replaced more frequently.

Hardwoods

As far as its return on investment goes, it matters little whether you choose engineered wood flooring or solid wood flooring. More important is that you choose the option appropriate for the climate where you live. Engineered wood fares better in humid conditions, whereas both styles of wood do well in dry climates. Wood has an appealing warmth, stellar wear resistance, and can be sanded or refinished for an all-new appearance. Flooring pros often estimate that hardwoods bring in 1 1/2 to 2 times its cost when you sell.

There are drawbacks, however. Engineered wood tends to dent easily and it isn't as wear-resistant as solid wood. Often, the veneer is so thin that even one refinish can be the end. Solid wood can also dent easily, and it tends to contract and expand with changes in humidity. Areas exposed to direct sunlight may fade quickly.

Carpeting

If you're looking for an inexpensive way to spruce up your home before reselling it, carpet can do the trick. It's helpful as a quick replacement. You'll probably have a better response if you choose neutral colors.

Ceramic Tile

Tile tends to resist most damage, including moisture, dents, stains, and scratches. It looks classy and is often regarded well in hot climates since it can provide a cool contrast to the air.

Of course, dishes and other items tend to break easier when dropped on tile. It also can crack and grout can stain. Installing and replacing tile can be a time-consuming, rather expensive affair.

Other flooring options include vinyl and linoleum, both popular choices for homeowners that anticipate a lot of wear and tear. Your budget and family needs will likely determine the best option for you.

Naturally, this guide outlines styles for the interior of your home. Don't forget to consider the return on investment of outdoor flooring options as well. Since home is your castle, it's perfectly okay to live like a king or queen!


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