Hardwood under carpet... Refinish or re carpet over? Stairs too!

11 Replies

OK... so I have found hardwood under my carpet in my current flip.  It is in the bedrooms upstairs, hall, landing and stairs.  the downstairs is a mishmosh of surfaces and we plan to laminate over them..

My first issue is obviously cost... the cost to refinish them vs the carpet...  any experience here?

2ndly what about having oak flooring on stairs leading off a downstairs in another color of laminate?  I think this is kinda fugly and mismatch... but i dont want to pass an opportunity to have the hardwood if I can make it work...

@Carson Wilcox I don't know what kind of market you are flipping in, but the Chicago market loves hard woods. You should definitely re-finish them. They run me around $1.30-1.40 per square foot to re-finish, which is cheaper than most carpet. 

When you re-finish the stairs, just have your guy stain it the same as the down stairs flooring. Or you could match up your down stairs flooring to the stain. Either way, this should be a non issue. In my area of the world, everyone is staining wood pretty dark (walnut? espresso?). 

Refinish and add a runner - a cheap one if it's a low dollar house, maybe a little nicer if it's nicer.  Having the hardwood exposed on either side will make a big difference to buyers. It screams quality. 

@Carson Wilcox the harder the wood the more durability so oak is a good candudate compared to fir for refinishing. MIdgrade carpet would probably be cheaper but if it’s a better class rental, then it may be worth refinishing at 2-3 dollars a square foot. Make sure you use 3 coats of good, oil based, polyurethane to protect it
Originally posted by @JD Martin :

Refinish and add a runner - a cheap one if it's a low dollar house, maybe a little nicer if it's nicer.  Having the hardwood exposed on either side will make a big difference to buyers. It screams quality. 

 I always like that. Thats a great idea. 

we are gonna carpet over it.  My contractor said with the pee stains etc... and the labor to fill tack strip holes.... it will be a lot more than $1.5 a sq. foot.  If I had some room to play with $ on this, I would do it...  I like the idea of the realtors telling them hey, hardwood upstairs!

@Steve B. not every hard wood company has quote me those prices, but that is what I can get with some of the contractors I have found through referrals. Honestly, the best contractors have all come from referrals. I joined a local organization in Berwyn called West Suburban Land Lord Association early on, and the men and women their have given me some amazing contractors to work with! I would encourage all new investors to join local meetup groups and networking groups so you can start to build these kinds of teams up over time. 

@Carson Wilcox

I wouldn't do stairs for $1.50 a square foot. I'd do regular oak strip flooring for that, sure. In general, I will always tend to do stairs myself because it's the kind of detail-oriented rehab work that's a no-win for contractors. Anyone working by the square foot can't economically spend enough time on it to make it look good, and anyone working by the hour just isn't capable enough to make it look good. Staircases eat money and time, and then they tend to get scratched up in moves and during the winter.

You might want to look into vinyl cap-a-treads as an alternative to carpet.