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JLeslie's avatar

Northern US Jellies: do houses commonly have 5+ different types of flooring?

Asked by JLeslie (59842points) December 6th, 2015 from iPhone

I’m house hunting in OH and so many houses have 2–3 different types of carpet, then some wood and some tile. One house we liked had two different types of wood all in the entry. One in the foyer and dining (the dining is immediately to your right when entering) and that wood ran front to back of the house, and then a different wood in the living room, which is directly in front of the front door, just beyond the foyer, with the wood set on a 45 degree angle. Three different types of carpet in the house. Each bathroom a different tile. It looks like it all should be torn out to me. The house is only ten years old, one owner, and not cheap.

Is my taste just very different? Most houses have a few different types of flooring. It looks choppy to me. I can see a kids room being unique, let them pick their colors, but otherwise I don’t get it.

I ask, because I keep feeling like I need to calculate some renovation into my offer price. I’m frustrated when supposedly OH should be less expensive than where I live now.

I’m sure if everything looked fabulous to me I wouldn’t be so negative. Upgrading tile or even marble in a master bath makes sense, but still some sort of consistency is what I’m accustomed to.

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35 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The house you describe sounds like a DIY by owner or flooring supplies were bought at close outs. Each at a different time.
Expensive houses are usually due to the location but not 5 or 6 different areas of flooring, it sounds like asking for flooring consideration before contract should be part of the plan.

JLeslie's avatar

To clarify, it’s what I would call an average middle class home in a middle class neighborhood. They want $500k, which I find ridiculous, but I think it comps out at about $440k. We wouldn’t go above $400k so that deal didn’t come together.

Seek's avatar

It happens a lot, because a lot of people decorate a room rather than a house, and because lots of people decorate as their budget allows, which means the flooring they loved for their dining room is no longer available when time to replace the adjacent kitchen’s flooring comes.

Seek's avatar

Also, ten years ago, my husband was making $30/hour installing and finishing hardwood floors. A whole house could have cost upwards of $20,000 to have high-quality flooring installed, before Home Depot and Youtube convinced everyone they could DIY it just as well.

Then he spent a couple of years making $1000 minimum per callout to fix DIY problems…

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek It makes sense if there are money constraints, but I found it especially odd since the house was one owner. Many houses up there have several different floor coverings. Even houses that are $600k+. I don’t think we can chalk that up to money constraints.

When I lived in NC it was typical northern type of housing as I remember it, and still it was odd to find lots of different flooring.

chyna's avatar

The different flooring seems to be the norm here also.
But why are you looking at houses so far above your budget? Most home owners won’t come down 60 to 100K.

JLeslie's avatar

My budget is up to $700k.

chyna's avatar

Oh, you said you wouldn’t go above 400K up there, on the second post.

JLeslie's avatar

Because I don’t think the house is worth more than that in the state it is in. I think it’s worth about $440k-$450k if it was new. They bought it in 2005 for $420k. They say they put $80k in, and I believe them, no reason not to. Too bad.

I bought a house the beginning of 2006 for $655k and when we sold in 2013 I got $495k for it! Sucks. I probably should have held out for $20k more, I regret not doing it. Even so, the loss is huge. 2005–2006 was when the market was at it’s apex in most markets, I can’t help they bought at the high and made bad decor choices.

I hope for them a buyer comes along and likes their choices, but I will be shocked if they get more than $450. I could be wrong, I’m new to that market, who knows.

A slew of new transplants are going to be coming, about 200 jobs will be opening up in the area with Smucker’s, and that will tighten supply significantly. I feel the pressure of getting ahead of that.

chyna's avatar

I see. Even at around the 400 – 500k market, you would think you could get a brand new house, move in ready.

elbanditoroso's avatar

That number of different floorings seems odd, but maybe that’s what goes on up north.

I grew in Northern Ohio, and we had linoleum in the kitchen. Bathrooms were ceramic tile floor. The rest of the house as carpeted (although different carpets upstairs versus downstairs).

And the basement was not sheet linoleum, but rather those 1’x1’ tiles.

SO five isn’t totally out of the question, depending on the house, how many levels, full basement or not…

jerv's avatar

In Vermont, it was common to have at least two different floors; linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom where there is plumbing, and hardwood elsewhere. Wall-to-wall carpeting was uncommon, and it wasn’t uncommon for carpets to be mismatched.

And then there are places that got added on to. For instance, my parent’s place was built long ago (I’m tempted to saw late-1700s) but when my stepfather bought it, he dug out the cellar and built a whole room. Aside from the bathroom, it’s all hardwood flooring, but it should go without saying that the floorboards don’t all match.

zenvelo's avatar

A lot of houses have different color schemes and therefore different tiles in each bathroom.

And many houses may have been built with one part with a hardwood floor exposed, but the formal dining room, or maybe the family room, carpeted.

I don’t find it unusual at all.

I haven’t seen a livable house in a decent neighborhood for under $800,000 since 2010.

Seek's avatar

Damn, @zenvelo, I wish I had the luxury of that opinion.

JLeslie's avatar

I think what really throws me is different types of wood floors butting up against each other. Changing from wood to carpet and then tile makes sense to me.

The house I grew up in (where my parents still live) now has wood in the front of the house, dining, and kitchen; carpet in the living room; and the same carpet goes up the stairs. Upstairs the wood is the original and different than the main floor. The two bathrooms are different tile, but on different floors. It’s a small house. I think it’s 1600 sq ft without the basement.

jerv's avatar

“It’s a small house. I think it’s 1600 sq ft without the basement.”

Even though we’ve been through this before, it still cracks me up to hear you say that.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv Why? Isn’t the average house size around 2,200? It’s smaller than the average.

I looked it up, it’s 1320 sq ft above ground. I knew it felt smaller. It’s probably 1600ish finished including the part of the basement that’s finished.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie Spend a lifetime living in where houses like that are split into multi-family dwellings, places where apartments much over 1200 sq ft have rents that rise geometrically with area, a decade in a cabin in the woods (20’x20’ with a 10’x20’ loft), and a few years stacked three high sharing a bedroom that size with literally over four hundred people. Do that and you might get it; imagine it and you won’t fully appreciate the absurdity.

Then again, some people think that the ‘72 Continental is a small car and a million dollars isn’t much money. It really is a matter of perspective. Hell, I know some people that think that $27k is enough to buy a starter home outright anywhere in the US even though that isn’t even a 10% down payment on half the places I see on the market.

In short, that is SO far from my own experience that (to me) it’s actually ludicrous, and therefore funny.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv My sister lives in 800 sq ft and so does my aunt and so did my grandmother for many years. My sister lived in 450 sq ft for over 10 years. My apartment in Miami was just about 800 sq ft too. It’s not like I’m oblivious to smaller dwellings.

I’m trying to buy a smaller house (but not small, in OH) than what I have now, but it’s proving difficult with the other requirements we need/want. It’s frustrating, but nothing I feel good complaining about.

I don’t need so much space and I don’t want to pay the energy bills and taxes, let alone I feel badly about the energy use. My average utility bill in my 4,000 sq ft house in FL is about $170 a month. I dread going back to $400 winter bills to heat a house in the winter. Not to mention many of the houses two story family rooms. I want to be warm! All the heat will be 15 feet above my head.

dxs's avatar

I live in New England. Is this really just a northern-US thing? I wouldn’t think so, but anyways here’s what the floors looked like in a few places I’ve lived:

In the first apartment I lived in, the bedrooms and hall had hardwood, the kitchen had tiles, the bathroom had linoleum, and the family room had carpet.

In another place I lived in, the family room and two of the bedrooms had carpet, the kitchen had blue-and-white-diamond linoleum and one bathroom had black and white linoleum, one hallway was linoleum (same as the kitchen linoleum) and the other was hardwood, one bathroom had tile, and the other bedroom had that three-strip pattern wood.

I just walked around the apartment I live in now, and my room and the hallway have hardwood floors, the landing outside of my room and the kitchen have one type of linoleum, and the bathroom has two other types. My closet has black tiles.

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs I’ve always wanted a closet with tile or wood instead of carpet.

In FL almost every house I’ve ever been in had either tile in all common living areas and carpet in the bedrooms and tile again in the bathrooms. Often the same tile as in the main living areas, but not always. Or, wood in the main living areas, carpet in the bedrooms and tile in the bathrooms. Usually all of the carpets match. I think since FL tends to have more open floorplans we tend to have more consistent flooring. The house I was complaining about had a plan commonly found in FL, but the owners still chose to chop it all up. It made the rooms feel much smaller.

In TN and NC when I lived there, also the flooring was less choppy. Most common was wood throughout the main floor, sometimes tile was in the kitchen, sometimes not. Carpet in the bedrooms, tile in the bathrooms.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie I was unaware; if you told me before, I forgot. The way I read your “1600 square feet is small!” came across to me as something that only someone who either never lived in a small place or forgot what it’s like would say. I assumed that houses near you would be like they are in New England, Orlando, San Diego, Seattle, Wichita, or other places I have been. Mea culpa.

Those utility bills are about average for what I remember in New England regardless of house size. Despite my rent here in Seattle being ~25% higher and the winter temperatures barely any warmer, the lower heat/utility costs make my total housing costs lower than they were back East.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv I’m not sure what OH utilities will be like. In NC I paid around $350 a MJ the in the winter months and it bothered me. So expensive, and I was freezing too often. I told my husband I’m keeping it warmer in the house this time so I don’t want a house that is huge. It’s going to be kind of huge though, because I care a lot about the size of the family room. In FL you can get a decent sized great room and the other rooms aren’t so huge, but in OH every room grows together. If that makes any sense.

Cruiser's avatar

You say the loss in equity in the house you sold was huge, but so is the opportunity to buy a home now that has similarly lost a huge amount of equity. Housing today is at rock bottom prices and even better so it interest rates on mortgages so count your blessings and not your losses.

When remodeling a home, flooring is a major expense and the choice between low end and high end options is easily double and why it is really not unusual to see many different flooring types in moderately priced remodeled homes. The worst when house hunting is to see brand new flooring installed right before they put it on the market that is on the cheap and you know if you buy the house you will need to rip it out and put better quality.

As far heating a larger home here up north, if you keep the fan of your heating system on all the time it will keep the air moving in the home to help make it more uniformly comfortable. Attic insulation and a quality high efficiency furnace make a world of difference in your heating bill. As for a two story family room, more than likely there will be a ceiling fan in that room and reverse the fan and put it on low and that will blow the warmer air up and down the walls helping the room to feel warmer and not having to jack the temp of the thermostat past 70.

jerv's avatar

@JLeslie When I was on a payment plan for propane, I paid ~$135/mth year-round. We locked it in at $1.65/gallon; considerably lower than it’s current price. That was with the thermostats at 65F. My inlaws had natural gas heat and, because “parrots are tropical birds”, my mother-in-law kept it at 80–85. Their gas bills during the winter were $400–750. The one apartment I had that cost less than $750/mth was as cheap as it was since heat was not included. (In New England, it usually is included as most apartments are houses split into multiple apartments all sharing the same furnace.); $425/mth for rent and $350-ish/mth for heat.

If you’re bothered by high heating costs yet like it that warm, then even Florida may be a little too far North for you.

@Cruiser In that little cabin we had in the woods, the heater mostly heated just one corner of the house; the one furthest from our computer desk. Strategic places of fans to circulate the heat to the rest of the house made a HUGE difference and allowed up to keep the place at 65 with the thermostat (which was in the middle of the cabin) actually at 65 instead of having to crank it to 80 to get 60–65. So yeah, fans.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser To your point is rather buy a house with old floor coverings and change them to what I want. It is much worse when someone recently put in something new and I hate it, because they want their money back on the upgrade, or they really like their choices and have a money and strong emotional attachment too.

We don’t like fans, and in FL it’s extremely common for every single room in a house to have a fan, but I might have to give in if I’m cold. If it’s high enough maybe I won’t feel the movement of the air. I do have fans in my great room and on my back patio as more of a decor thing than actual function. I never use them.

I didn’t move within the same market so I got screwed. Lost $150 in TN and moved to Tampa area where the market was already gearing back up much faster than TN.

I didn’t mention that I made a lot of money when I sold in FL and moved to TN. Over $200k. At this point I’m sort of even, or probably slightly behind.

One other big loss I had was when I moved to NC I had made a profit on a FL home. I bought that house for $225 and sold for $280. Then I bought in NC for $380, and when I sold in NC I broke even. NC was going through the .com bust while I lived there, and I sold as houses were coming back down again. We moved back to FL after that and the .com didn’t affect the market much, and my $280 house was now $400. Basically, I lost $120 by having left that market.

I doubt I will retire in OH, I likely will wind up in FL, which is a hotter market typically, so being out of that market is detrimental to me financially. My biggest mistake was when real estate went through the huge bust I should have bought up one or two properties in FL. I looked a couple of times, but never did it. Big miss. I was looking at places for $180ish, and now they are up near $300 and I would have been renting them out.

JLeslie's avatar

OH is tricky for me. I really don’t want to spend $700k+ there. The average median price is something like $150k. The $700k houses don’t even impress me much. It’s not worth it, and more to lose if the market turns down. The difference between a $500k house and $700k house is the neighborhood, and maybe another acre of land, but I don’t care about another acre if I already have an acre.

What does neighborhood mean? In with the executives, and some houses are $1million or more. I feel like OH has more division of social class without some of the benefits. Like in SE FL if you buy into an expensive neighborhood you get a fabulous resort style community pool, tennis, gym, and the common areas are gorgeous. I do miss that. They don’t have it in the Tampa area either, too much OH and MI here and they just recreated what they are used to I guess.

I’m feeling like I just want to be in a nice middle class neighborhood, laid back, and not spend a fortune. My husband loves big impressive houses, but thank goodness he doesn’t like when people are full of themselves and pretentious. He might have Porsches, but you would never think it when meeting him. He’s in $40 Gap jeans and a free T-Shirt most of the time, suggesting Five Guys for lunch. Lol. My dad is pushing me a little to go in the “better” neighborhood, lots of Jews there too I’m sure. I saw a synagogue practically at the entrance of one of the nicer neighborhoods.

Cruiser's avatar

@JLeslie Again, don’t be afraid to turn on the ceiling fan as if you put it in reverse and on low you should not feel the air moving but you should notice and be more comfortable with less hot and cold spots in the room especially when you light a fire in the fireplace.

You are also prudent to be sensitive to the pricing of your new potential home as AFAICT the market has bounced back at least here outside Chicago and steal deals are disappearing because of this change.

jerv's avatar

Okay, I’m out. Once we start talking country club amenities and anything over ten year’s gross income like it’s the price of a gallon of milk, we’re someplace I don’t even consider part of reality.

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv That’s the thing, in FL it isn’t part of a country club. We looked at one community in OH that was a country club/golf community and we went into the club to check it out and my husband could not leave fast enough. He hated it. A certain air in there that turned him off in 2 seconds.

dxs's avatar

@JLeslie Maybe it’s because there’s a lot more colonial houses here, too. In colonial houses, there are many small rooms and it’s not open at all.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Two of my (middle class) siblings have houses, each with a basement and two floors. I think 5 types of flooring is a rather conservative estimate for such a house. To keep it lower than 5, you’d have to use the same floor in all bathrooms, combine the living and dining room, then have the same flooring in almost every other room. If you like carpet (personally, I don’t), I think having so many rooms match would be unusual.

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs I agree the house style does lend itself to flooring changes. The particular house that really bothered me had an open floor plan where when you walked through the front door you could see the living room in front of you the dining to the side, and the office to the other side, and all three were different. I really didn’t like it. It made all the rooms look small when with an open plan you can kind of trick the eye into feeling like there is more space if you have flooring run together.

There is something to be said for a more closed plan up north though. If you can close doors on the room you can make it toasty warm without heating the entire house to that temperature. I like that. Unfortunately, a lot of the houses we have seen have only one zone heating, I’m disappointed about that. At least that’s what my realtor has told me. Everywhere I have ever lived there is usually at least two zones if the house is over 3,000 sq ft and almost all of these are. The open floorplan house was right at about 3,000. Some are 4,000. How can a 4,000 sq ft house not have two units? My realtor has to be wrong I think.

dxs's avatar

I feel like the “open style” in houses makes them feel smaller. One of my family members renovated their colonial house. They opened up the kitchen and the dining room to make one big room, and now the place just looks like it has one less room.
Luckily I’ve never had to worry about a heat bill in my name. But it does sound useful. I close my bedroom door so that the heat stays in and doesn’t sneak into our kitchen with poorly sealed windows.

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs Interesting. I can see how in some cases it might make the house seem smaller to knock down walls. I think for me I just don’t like very small rooms, except a very small functional office is fine for me, as long as there is a window. So, I’d rather it seem like one less room, but never feel confined or squeezed.

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