Why Tile Flooring Is A Major Turn-Off For Many Home Buyers

Although tile flooring can be a strong design option due to its toughness and moisture-proof qualities, many home buyers turn away from properties heavily featuring this type of flooring. According to San Diego-based realtor Amy Cook, one reason this might be the case is that tile is so tricky to extract and replace (via Realtor.com). "Tile is very difficult and expensive to change, and often what owners choose just isn't very attractive," Cook explains. "Basic white, dated tile is usually a big turn-off for buyers."

Of course, this is merely one reason potential homeowners pass on homes with tile floors. For those in colder climates, this type of flooring especially does not make sense in many instances. Tile has a quick rate of heat conductivity, meaning our body heat transfers to the tile almost immediately. This is why we instantly get that icy blast when we make contact with a tile floor in a chilly room. This explains why terracotta floors, for example, are very popular in desert regions such as Albuquerque. However, this material offers no such utility for those in chillier parts of the country. Buyers realize they may be forced to wear socks frequently around the house or increase their heating bill. But socks drag dirt, and the HVAC budget could be spent elsewhere, so they often find a different property instead.

Cosmetics and cleaning

Tile has a (somewhat unfounded) reputation for being lower maintenance than other materials. Although soap and water can help with basic cleaning for porcelain and ceramic tile, there is also the possibility of dealing with grout. Frequently found in Mediterranean and Spanish-style homes, grout is the substance that creates the grooves critical for giving pieces their shape. However, they can also require extensive cleaning. Moreover, if grout lines are not cleaned regularly and thoroughly, they can collect moisture and mold, giving off an unkempt and unsanitary appearance. While it's possible to seal white grout when installed to help minimize cleaning, this is an added cost many home buyers would rather not take on.

Other prospective home buyers take issue with the visual limitations of tile flooring. The black and white ceramic look, pictured above, works great for those seeking a retro-eclectic or traditional aesthetic. However, home buyers looking for something more contemporary or rustic are unlikely to see the appeal. Many tile varieties, beyond black and white ceramic, come with specific palettes and design embellishments that only work with particular furniture styles and colors — hardwood flooring is far more flexible in this regard. Given how costly and difficult tile is to replace, this means it can be a stylistic dealbreaker for budget-conscious buyers.

There are safer (and quieter) flooring options

Believe it or not, there are over 900,000 trips to the emergency room every year related to people losing their balance in their homes. Unsurprisingly tile flooring is a primary culprit for such injuries and can pose a real safety threat. In lighter colors, especially white, spotting spills can be a challenge. The potential for minor spills combined with the material's lack of traction creates fears of broken bones and head injuries that can be enough to deter parents with small children from buying a property.

Lastly, this type of flooring can create unnatural and disruptive sound acoustics that are equally unattractive to potential buyers. Disruptions like heavy steps, dropped goods, and moving furniture are many noisy possibilities that can annoy occupants with large families. Additionally, other noises like speakers, a barking dog, and daily conversation can amplify in these kinds of spaces, creating an unnecessarily loud home. But the other main problem with kitchens and bathrooms featuring this material, where these kinds of problems most regularly come up, is that the only solution to minimizing these inconveniences is to cover the flooring in one way or another. If you are a prospective seller and do not plan on replacing your tile floors before listing, a realtor may advise staging rooms with carpets to help absorb excess noise.