5 Remodeling Materials I Swear By (Perfect for Flips, Rentals—You Name It!)

5 Remodeling Materials I Swear By (Perfect for Flips, Rentals—You Name It!)

4 min read
Erin Helle

Erin Helle is an Army veteran turned entrepreneur specializing in flipping houses, turnkey renovation products, and real estate investor coaching and education.

Erin served in the United States Army for a total of 14 years, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. While serving, she learned the value of hard work, networking, and commitment.

Since leaving active duty, Erin has pursued a life of financial freedom and enjoys challenging the status quo to create a life she never thought was even an option as a real estate investor and entrepreneur. She combines her passion of real estate with her desire to help everyone around her.

Erin pursued real estate with fury, purchasing 19 doors in her first year as an investor, with a deployed husband, a toddler, and a newborn. She owns single family homes, a duplex, a triplex, and a ten-plex. She also regularly flips houses in the Nashville and Clarksville markets in Tennessee.

Erin loves to spend time with her two young girls and her husband, who is still serving active duty. She enjoys traveling, eating great food, drinking good wine, and working out.

Erin is a licensed Realtor in Tennessee, a certified Project Management Professional, has completed a Master’s degree in Management, and is months away from completing her dissertation for her Doctor of Business Administration degree.

Instagram @theerinhelle

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Remodeling a house can be a huge undertaking! Especially for an inexperienced investor or homeowner who has no clue how to choose materials and selections. There are so many things to consider in terms of remodeling materials. From the budget, to the tastes of the buyer, finishes, color schemes, textures—it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin!

Most of the best and frequent flippers have systems, and repeat them over and over again. This applies to the offers they write, the contractors they hire, and even the materials they use. Becoming familiar with materials not only gives the investor greater control over their budget, it also allows them to make quick and easy decisions on their renovations.

Many of my flips, regardless of the shape, size, or location, follow a very similar system. And I use versatile materials over and over again. Here are five of my favorite materials for any renovation.

Top 5 Materials I Choose When Remodeling Homes

1. Vinyl Plank Flooring

The best thing about vinyl plank flooring is that you can use it in every inch of a house. If you buy one that is waterproof, you can install it in every room in a house. This stuff is incredibly versatile! It is easy to install and great looking, too!

You can buy it for less than $2 per square foot or upwards of $5 per square foot, depending on the quality you are looking for. I’ve had it installed for as little as $1 per square foot, but a good estimate is $2 to $2.50 per square foot for installation. It comes in dozens of finishes and can match any existing color palette or finish.

Photo: StyleByEmilyHenderson.com

The other great thing about vinyl plank flooring—especially for landlords and homeowners with dogs and young kids—is that you can replace it piece by piece. If you simply need to replace one or two pieces, you would have to uninstall the floor to that point but could reinstall the pieces that are still in good shape.

Related: 4 Rehabbing Materials That Are Always Worth Spending a Little More On

2. Flat Weave Carpet

This type of carpet is stylish, looks nice, and can be used in indoor and outdoor spaces. This is an easy upgrade for sunrooms, patios, lanais, and even garages. It adds texture and dimension to any space and can fit a variety of décor. This type of carpet comes in various styles, colors, and fibers, as well.

Photo: DF Designer Favorites

Flat weave carpet selections are typically less expensive than other rugs and can also accommodate a low door clearance.

3. Butcher Block Counter Tops

Just like the vinyl plank, the color and texture finishes for butcher block counter tops are plentiful! This material can add dimension, round out selections, or even be considered an “upgrade,” depending on the market. Check out how incredibly different these two kitchens can look using the same materials!

Photo: HomeDepot.com 
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Phoenix, AZ

Butcher block counter tops are inexpensive (at least when compared to quartz or granite) and relatively easy to install. Not to mention, they are trendy and appeal to a wide range of buyers or renters. As an added bonus: they are naturally anti-bacterial, which makes them ideal for kitchens or bathrooms. Extra care must be taken to protect the wood, though, and these counter tops cannot be cut on.

Related: Rental Property Deal Analysis & Property Tour (Before & After Rehab!)

4. “Agreeable Gray” Paint

Gray paint—everywhere! A light gray paint throughout the house with white trim allows for a pristine finish to any renovation. It is bright, sharp, and feels luxurious.

If you want to add an accent wall, just go a shade or two darker, or pick a blue, pink, brown, or even green in the same color family (any paint store or paint department at a hardware store can help you ensure your accent blends with your primary wall color). This ties everything together and can pair well with most counters, cabinets, and tiles.

The photo below was from my first flip. One (perhaps the only!) thing I did right was chose the paint colors. The light gray paint spanned the entire house, and I added one darker accent wall as an upgrade. The gray ties together the flooring, door, and the trim and looks clean, complete, and new.

This was from my first flip. One (perhaps the only!) thing I did right was chose the paint colors. The light gray paint spanned the entire house, and I added one darker accent wall just as an upgrade. The gray ties together the flooring, door, and the trim and looks clean, complete, and new.

5. Drop Light Fixtures

Again, just like any materials, these range greatly in price but can add a lot of dimension to a renovation. They also feel luxurious and—if placed right and chosen appropriately—can make a basic renovation go from “blah” to “glam”!

Photo: LNC Home

You can add an element of luxury like the above picture or something traditional and rustic like the below picture—or anything in between!

Photo: FeastHome.com

The best part about drop light fixtures: you can totally DIY these and make a one-of-a-kind space!

This is an inexpensive and easy DIY project that can add so much to your renovation!
Photo: Etsy.com

There can be a lot of uncertainty when undergoing a remodel, whether it is your own residence or a house you are planning to flip and sell or add to your rental portfolio. It helps immensely to have a handful of go-to materials and selections when planning your budget, quality of finish, and renovation timeline.

Getting comfortable with the materials and processes can add great peace of mind!

Do you have any favorite finishes or materials? 

Share in a comment below!