Anna Hart Property ConsultancyAnna Hart Property Consultancy

Can I afford wood floors if I’m selling?

21 October 2013

Now if you’ve read my blog or seen any of my before and after photos, you’re probably aware that swirly patterned carpets and damaged flooring are big no-nos when it comes to selling your house.

But what to replace it with, when you’re trying to keep the costs down? Wood flooring is a popular option these days but the choices can be confusing and most of us assume real wood is too expensive, so I’ve asked a supplier to explain the details to us.

Wood is widely considered as one of the most sought-after flooring materials, but many owners shy away from wood because they are unaware how to buy and fit wood flooring within a low budget. In this blog post, we’ll explain how to budget your wood flooring project for the same amount as carpet and laminate floors would have cost you. 

Choosing Type:

There are two types that fall under the category of real wood flooring. One called ‘solid’ wood, while a close alternative is called ‘engineered’ wood. The two look similar, but cost significantly different.

  • Solid Wood – These floorboards are made from 100% real wood and on a tight budget you’d struggle to find a suitable option. Save this for the house you move to!
  • Engineered Wood – These floorboards are made from a top layer of real wood and three to four layers of manmade materials such as MDF or Plywood. It makes the floorboards significantly more affordable, but at the same time the end result looks identical to the much more expensive solid wood option.


On a tight budget, avoid solid wood and look for engineered boards. It is possible to source engineered boards from £9.95/m², which is certainly competitive with carpets and laminate flooring.

Oak flooringChoosing Grade:

The appearance of wood in terms of sapwood, knots and colour variations is based on ‘grade’. Higher grades are more expensive because the wood lacks sapwood and knots, while lower grades offer precisely the same quality but include sapwood, knots and other characters of wood. Lower grades are not necessarily lower quality, they just have these inclusions whereas higher grades do now.

  • Prime and Select – These are the expensive premium grade in which sapwood and knots will hardly feature.
  • Natural and Rustic – These are the basic grades in which sapwood, knots and colour variation is present. It makes the floorboard significantly more affordable and gives the floor plenty of personality.


On a tight budget, look for engineered boards with a natural or rustic grade.

Choosing Fitting Method:

There are three common fitting methods that are used across the industry. Fitting represents a significant cost, so property owners will do well to reduce this cost by choosing the correct manner to fit the floor. Cost is determined by the amount of hours it takes to physically fit the floor (Labour Costs) and use of any additional materials such as adhesives. The three common methods are:

  • Nail-Down and Glue-Down – These methods are time consuming and expensive. If you decided to fit solid wood, you’d have to chose this option due to the weight of the floorboards. Engineered wooden flooring can also be laid in these manners, though it would increase costs.
  • Floating – This method uses the weight of each floorboard to support the other. It can only be used for lighter weight engineered floorboards. It is not only quicker, but also suitable for property owners with basic DIY skills thereby potentially eliminating the fitting cost altogether.


On a tight budget, look for engineered boards featuring natural or rustic grade that are designed for floating installation.

And what about laminate flooring then?

Laminate flooringLaminate flooring is made from layer upon layer of artificial materials made to look like real wood. The use of synthetics makes laminate flooring cheaper than wood, though service life is much shorter. Low grade and budget laminate flooring would often look closer to plastic than anything else.

On the other hand, engineered boards are made from a combination of real wood and artificial materials. The top layer is made from 3mm to 6mm layer of real wood, supported by several layers of artificial materials such as MDF and Plywood. The use of real wood gives the floorboards greater service life and allows property owners to change the look of the floor by sanding and re-finishing the boards.

Thanks to Jonathan Sapir, the MD at Wood and Beyond for this helpful information. I hope you’ve found it useful!

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