Updated: Jan 28
You have just purchased your very first home. All of the home inspections are complete. You probably never realized all of the paperwork you needed, just to get to the closing. Now, it's time to move in.
But, before the moving trucks get unloaded, you need to replace some of the flooring,. Where do you start? What sort of products should you look at? How do you get good pricing?
Well, this is your lucky day! You have found the right internet article. This article is all about our favorite flooring options for starter homes. It is our hope we can give you some great options to consider for your new home.
Please note this website contains affiliate links which means we may earn a commission if you choose to buy one of the products we recommend. You can read our full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
What Store Can Give You The Best Price?
If you have been working with a realtor, make sure you discuss flooring with them. Most realtors have a relationship with at least one floor covering store.
We have a great article, "How To Buy Flooring For Your Home," that does a great job of walking you through the buying process. You want to make sure you position yourself to get the absolute best possible pricing.
First, you need to recognize that not all sales people are equal. Retail sales people work on a commission structure of around 35%. Outside commercial sales associates work on a commission structure of much less, usually somewhere around 20%.
So, it certainly makes sense that, for starter homes, when buying new flooring, you need to align yourself with that outside sales person. How do you do that?
Once again, if you are working with a realtor, ask them if they have a relationship with a flooring store sales person. It's really that simple. Call the store and find out if this person works on the retail floor or in their commercial department.
If you don't have a connection with a realtor, it gets a little bit more difficult. In this case, you call a store, and ask to speak with the commercial department, or with an outside sales person. The store will usually have a person that works with customers purchasing starter homes, new homes, etc...
In either case, here is the important point: always call to make an appointment with that outside sales person, BEFORE you walk in the store. Why? Because retail sales people work on what they call "ups." If you just walk in a store, you will be treated as a retail customer, assigned to that retail sales person that greets you. But, if you walk in a store, and say you have an appointment with "so and so," you now become a commercial customer, eligible to receive the commercial rates.
Starter Homes - The Process To Get The Best Price
Assuming you followed our advice, and now have an appointment with a commercial sales person, what steps do you need to take to get the best price? Let's take a look at our recommended strategy:
Step 1: Sit down and determine your budget. How much money are you willing to spend? Will you be paying cash, or do you want to finance the project? Start with the financial end in mind. It's like the old saying, "never go grocery shopping when you're hungry." You don't want to start shopping for flooring, pick products that are crazy expensive, and then get talked into spending more money than you can afford.
Step 2: Set-up a home measurement. These are free. If a store is going to charge you for coming out to your home to measure, go to a different store. In the flooring world, home measurements are free.
Step 3: After the measurement, talk to your sales person and review your budget, and have them start putting together some options for you. Tell your sales person you want three different options: First, you want to see samples that will be within your budget. The second group of samples should be products that are below your budget. And finally, the third group of samples should be the next step-up that will cost you a little more money. Do you want carpet? Do you want a hard surface flooring? Likewise, depending on your budget, your sales person might have some recommendations for you.
Step 4: Set-up an appointment at the flooring store to look at the flooring samples/colors your sales person has recommended. Start going through the samples and create a "maybe pile." This pile will be the samples that you like, and that might end up being your selection. The samples you don't like should go back on the displays.
Step 5: Review your "maybe pile" selections. Compare the products and the cost. Make your selection. If you don't like any of the options, start the process over again.
Tip#1 - Who is going to do the installation? Keep in mind if you find an installer on your own, it will be cheaper. A store will mark-up the labor and use the installation as a profit center. However, if you ever have an installation problem, what happens if that individual installer you hired (to save money) has now moved out of town? You are out of luck. Your warranty with a store is with the store, not the installer. Unless you have a very good connection with an individual installer, we recommend letting the store do the installation.
Tip#2: Take advantage of "room visualizers" on product websites. Did you know you can visit most product websites and shop online? The "room visualizer" is a great new free tool that most manufacturer's have added to their websites. Here is how it works:
Credit: Best Rug Prices
Products We Love For Starter Homes
Shaw Floors Floorte Endura 512 C Plus Vinyl Plank Series
If you're looking for a durable, good-looking vinyl plank floor (that won't break the bank account), the Shaw Floorte line would certainly be a great product to examine.
Shaw Endura is one of the most popular vinyl plank floors in the Floorte Collection. Endura is available in 20 colors, and is a waterproof and pet-friendly floor. Endura is a great product for any room of the house.
Endura comes with an attached pad, is a 12 mil product and has a 30 year residential warranty. While most customers purchase the product with the click together installation, it can also be purchased as a glue down product.
The price point of Endura is one of its best selling features. While replacing flooring in a house can be an expensive project, with Shaw Endura, you can get a great looking floor at a very reasonable price.
Dream Weaver Carpet
You might be looking to replace some carpeting in your new home. Trying to find a quality carpet, that is not too expensive, yet not too cheap-looking can be difficult. Dream Weaver is a great product line that is very competitively priced, and gives you a wonderful selection of products.
One of the nice features of Dream Weaver is the thickness of many of the styles. When you feel the samples, the first thing you think about is how different the carpet is from other competitive product lines.
Dream Weaver is one of those products that will give you the ability to purchase an upper-end carpet (that will last for many years), at an very affordable, competitive price. This makes it a great option for starter homes.
Credit: Dream Weaver
Armstrong Rigid Core Elements Luxury Vinyl Plank
Similar to Shaw Endura, the Armstrong Rigid Core Elements LVP would be a great option for most homes. Rigid Core is a 12 mil product, that is 100% waterproof. It has a great color line, and would work for any room of the house.
Rigid Core has 15 different colors and has a very impressive 20 year warranty. Another great feature of this line is the price. You can purchase this product without destroying your bank account.
Rigid Core is an easy click together installation. The products come in 6" and 7" wide boards, that each color a fresh modern look.
"We've layered the best attributes of vinyl flooring and other floor types to create a hybrid structure exclusive to Armstrong Flooring. From top to bottom, Rigid Core Elements is built to resist dents, surface wear and moisture — so your floors stay beautiful year after year." - Armstrong Flooring
Credit: Armstrong Flooring
Mohawk SmartStrand Carpet
What is SmartStrand Carpet? Without boring you with technical terms, SmartStrand is a line of broadloom carpet that is sold by Mohawk Industries. Mohawk is one of the leading carpet manufacturers in the U.S., and SmartStrand carpet can be found in most floor covering stores across the country.
Mohawk puts their SmartStrand technology on many different styles of carpet. You can purchase a SmartStrand carpet that is very expensive, or you can purchase a SmartStrand carpet that is very affordable (and perfect for those folks on a budget).
SmartStrand addresses the needs of the busy family. The technology strives to obtain durability, stain resistance, softness and style.
What makes this a perfect carpet for starter homes is both the price and durability. Customers can find a stylish carpet, at a great price point, that will last in their home for a very long time.
When SmartStrand was first introduced in the marketplace, Mohawk came out with a marketing video that is quite entertaining. In an effort to show just how durable SmartStrand really is, they installed the carpet in a busy zoo:
Credit: SmartStrand Zoo Challenge
Tip: When purchasing this carpet, you do need to pay close attention to the warranty and cleaning guidelines. Mohawk requires you to use certain types of vacuum cleaners to product the carpet.
We have a wonderful blog article, "SmartStrand Carpet Cleaning Guide," that does a great job of explaining more about this broadloom carpet.
Bonus Time - Find Hidden Gems In Deck Boards
A floor covering stores most valuable space is their showroom. That's where they make their money. Stores are going to fill their space up with the most profitable, best selling flooring displays.
For example, luxury vinyl tile & plank is one of the fastest growing, best selling products in the marketplace. Go in any floor covering store, and you will notice a large percentage of their showroom is filled with vinyl tile & plank displays. Why? Because they sell, and they sell at good profit margins.
Here is one of the best kept secrets in the floor covering world: sample deck boards. There are a huge number of flooring products that are not in showroom displays. These are products that have a small color line, maybe they are promotional products, or they could be price point products the manufacturer does not want to spend money on to sample in large displays. No matter what the reason, these deck board products are wonderful hidden gems for customers.
Earlier in this article, we talked about how to get the best price on flooring. One of the best methods is to ask your sales person about promotional deck boards. If you have aligned yourself with a commercial sales person, they will have access to many different products that are not being shown in the retail showroom. Make sure you ask your sales person to explore these opportunities.
Best Rug Prices
At BestRugPrices.com we strive to provide our customers with all kinds of floor covering advice. We offer all kinds of blog articles on various floor covering topics. Here is a small taste of some of our related articles:
We also scan the internet to offer our opinion on the best place to purchase area rugs. The selling of area rugs has become an online activity. Most of your local stores have gotten away from allocating floor space to area rugs. We provide our customers with the best online sites to visit to get the best deals. We invite you to visit our site and check us out!
Disclaimer Disclosure: Please note that some of this site’s links are affiliate links. At NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.. Please note that these are products we know/use and recommend to customers. We also offer valuable blog articles on many flooring tips and products.
We would love to hear your comments on this article. Please take a second and give us your feedback. Thank you very much for reading our article, Starter Homes (our favorite flooring options).