Project: Flooring

With the new goal of moving out, there’s a renewed urgency in updating the house, now not so much for my own enjoyment, but for a potential new owner’s.  One of the mid-term projects I had planned was to replace the carpeting with a hard surface, in this case, laminate.  It’s tempting to say hardwood, but they are not the same thing, and it’s best to be accurate.

The house is a mix of tile and carpet.  Tile in all the open areas and carpet in the living areas.  That is three bedrooms and a living room of carpeted space, plus the master closet and linen closet.  A lot of time passed between the decision that this would need to be done before the house was listed and actually moving on the project.  And the result of that procrastination is that I didn’t really get any competitive bids.  I chose one place and went with their installer program.  I was set up with an appointment for the contractor to come out and measure the rooms and provide an installation quote.

In the meantime, I roughly measured the rooms myself and whipped up a spreadsheet to get a rough idea of whether the project was even financially feasible.  I budgeted $2/sft for the flooring and $.30/sft for pad.  My room measurements came to 675sft, around $1500 for materials.  Even if installation was $2/sft, that still puts me under $3k.  That is reasonable.

I went to the store to see if there was any product within my budget.  There were a couple of options between $1.49 and $1.99, so I was satisfied.  While there, I priced out pad.  The store had a very persuasive display demonstrating the different types of pad and the sound effects of each.  When you knocked on the foam pad, it was a very loud, hollow sound.  When you knocked on the next levels up, the sound was very muted.  Now, I was a little skeptical at how accurate that sound was on the foam pad, but I was still sold on getting mid-grade padding.  Foam pad is $.25/sft, while mid-grade pad is $.65/sft.  Now my material cost is almost $1800.  Ok.  Still doable.

The contractor comes out and measures the rooms.  He arrives at 800sft. Additionally, he adds in mouldings and transitions, which I knew would be part of the install, but had no idea how to calculate.  Then there’s the cost of moving furniture, which is actually pretty reasonable at $20/room.  Then there’s the overage.  You should have 10% overage to handle things like angles and partial boards and you know, the unexpected.  Bottom line, the install is going to be $2500 and the materials will be around $2500 as well.

From an initial budget of under $3k to an actual budget of $5k.  Well, I guess that’s always how things go.  Is it going to add $5k of value to the price of the house?  That’s not the actual question that should be asked.  The question is, will the current state of the carpet result in a $5k reduction in price?  Or will it cause potential buyers to walk away?  If I was a buyer, the answer would be yes, so this is a project that has to be done.

The contractor asked what the timeline for the project would be.  Based on all my previous projects, I know if I don’t say “right now”, I simply won’t do it.  So, installation is going to happen in a week.  It will take 4 days – one room a day.