Flooring can play a major role in the look and feel of your rental property. It’s more than just selecting a beautiful material. Choosing a type of flooring can also impact the functionality of the room which is why it’s important to take several factors into consideration: style, lifestyle, and budget. What can you afford to put into the rental property and what kind of people are you trying to attract? Do you want something that will stand up to a high volume of traffic or do you have kids that are going to drag mud into the home? Before making a decision on flooring for your rental property, take a look at these different floor types and some factors that are often overlooked.
Modern tile flooring comes in an endless variety of colors, patterns, and styles. Production techniques are advanced enough to create tiles that closely mimic stone, wood, and other natural materials, along with different sizes and mosaic styles to truly achieve a customized look.
Tile is very easy to clean and extremely difficult to stain. Maintenance is simple as dirt sits on the surface and only needs to be wiped away. Because tile is so easy to clean, it’s perfect in allergy-sensitive situations.
Tile flooring stands up exceptionally well in damp or humid conditions, and you can expect it to last for decades. Repairs are relatively easy and will extend the life of your floor. Choose from ceramic or stone; both are sturdy, and stone is virtually indestructible.
Tile flooring is best in warmer climates such as those found in the southern U.S., and along the West Coast. In cooler temperatures, tile flooring may be a bit too chilly for a whole-home application, but it’s still great for kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways.
Tile flooring can also be more expensive than options such as carpeting or some types of vinyl. It is much heavier than many flooring types, so a sturdy structure is necessary. Ceramic and stone tiles are also extremely hard and unforgiving, so it may not be the most welcoming option in every home.
Hardwood flooring is a popular option with renters as it creates an aesthetically pleasing, modern look to any home. You can choose from strips, plank, and parquet, and an endless variety of species, finishes, and custom touches to get the look that’s just right for your property.
The classic look of genuine wood is unmistakable to discerning eyes. Hardwood is easy to clean and maintain–usually, a quick sweep and a mop are all that’s necessary. Visually, hardwood can really make a room pop while also being neutral enough to go with any decor scheme.
Wood is a natural insulator and can feel cozy in the winter and cool in the summer making it a versatile choice in many climates. Hardwood floors can last a lifetime, and once worn, they can be sanded and re-stained rather than removed.
Hardwood flooring is expensive to purchase and install and does not stand up well to water and humidity. Pets and hardwood flooring aren’t always a good combination and pet accidents can permanently stain a floor.
Installing hardwood flooring in an uneven or unstable substructure can lead to major problems in the future, and some finishes are particularly susceptible to scratches from pets and shoes. Major repairs require boards to be removed and replaced which is a difficult process and getting new boards to match perfectly can be quite tricky.
It can be extremely difficult to tell the difference between laminate and genuine hardwood flooring from appearances only. Modern laminate is high quality and engineered to be durable while using state-of-the-art graphic design techniques to print a top layer that looks as close to the real thing as possible.
Laminate is less expensive than many other flooring types. It’s easy to install, typically with a click-lock feature rather than being adhered to the subfloor. Laminate is easy to clean and can stand up to small amounts of moisture and humidity.
Replacing damaged sections with a new board is not very difficult, especially near the edges. There are endless visual options including everything from an aged and distressed appearance to the most pristine and exotic mahogany or walnut boards.
Laminate stands up to water and humidity better than natural wood but is still not immune to its effects. Continually damp conditions will lead to warping and bowing. Up close, most people can tell that it’s not real wood, and some types can have a hollow sound or feel while walking upon it that’s distinct from real wood.
Because there are only a handful of different patterns in a box of laminate boards, care must be taken to not put two of the same patterns too close together. Some types of laminate flooring can be dangerously slippery; look for options with engineered textures and grooves for better traction.
4. Vinyl Plank (Tongue and Groove)
Vinyl plank is a popular choice for busy areas, and current production techniques are producing planks that are more rigid and sturdy as the flexible nature of older vinyl products was unappealing to many people. Vinyl planks come in every variety of color, style, and wood species, and state-of-the-art printing techniques make vinyl difficult to distinguish from wood by looks alone.
Most Vinyl flooring types are completely resistant to water making it perfect for entryways, kitchens, bathrooms, and homes where pets are present. Vinyl is also a bit warmer to the touch than tile–a definite bonus in colder climates, especially in the bathroom where bare feet hit the floor on chilly mornings.
Vinyl planks can be made to mimic wood, tile, and stone and are considerably less expensive than hardwood or tile and much simpler to install. Fitting into tight spaces or cutting around different shapes requires nothing more than a sharp blade. Vinyl is very sturdy and resistant to stains making upkeep a breeze. Repairs are also typically easy to complete.
Vinyl flooring is softer and therefore more susceptible to scratches than laminate or hardwood and can be punctured or marred by sharp objects (i.e., dropping a kitchen knife), or by dragging furniture across the floor.
It can also fade when exposed to continual sunlight. Windows that receive strong sun during the day should be covered with curtains to prolong the life of the floor. Some types of vinyl flooring can also be permanently dented by heavy furniture. Vinyl flooring that’s glued down to the surface can be tough to remove.
Carpeting spent a long time as the standard flooring installation in homes. It’s soft and comes in a variety of colors, depths, and patterns to fit virtually any home. Advancements in other flooring types have knocked carpet down from its previously dominant position, but there are still plenty of property owners who are choosing it.
Of all the options listed here, carpeting is the least expensive to purchase and install. Replacement is easier than other options, and very little maintenance is needed. Carpeting gives rooms a cozy vibe and feels soft on your feet–a welcome perk in bedrooms or colder climates.
Carpeting provides a bit of traction making it a little safer for homes with small children who tend to slip and fall. It also absorbs sound and acts as a sound barrier–a definite bonus in a multi-unit building. You can choose from an endless variety of colors and textures so even neutrals are never boring.
One of the biggest drawbacks of carpeting is stains. Using a protectant such as Scotch Guard will help, but it’s virtually impossible to keep carpets impeccable forever. The fibers also wear down rather quickly so well-traveled areas will quickly show the carpet’s age. Regular deep-cleaning may be necessary to keep the carpet looking good.
With an average lifespan of three to five years, you’ll be replacing the carpeting in your property fairly often. Carpeting is also a bad match for moisture and can be ruined by continual exposure; once moisture seeps into the subfloor, it might need to be replaced along with the carpeting itself. Carpeting is also an allergen magnet and people with allergies are often advised to avoid it altogether.
The Best Flooring for Rental Properties
When deciding which type of flooring to use in your rental properties, start by considering the typical climate in your area and what kind of foot traffic different areas will receive. In common areas, for example, a vinyl product may be perfect as rain, snow, and other harsh conditions won’t ruin it. Kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways are prime candidates for tile, and if your property is in a warm area, tile would be great throughout the home.
If you’re thinking about a wood or wood-mimicking product, first consider your budget, the aesthetics, and the foot traffic of your tenants. Natural hardwood may be right in some places where renters have a discerning eye; in others, you may want something more durable that will stand up to pets, water, and other conditions.
Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of the different types of flooring, it should be easy to find the right fit for your building and your budget. And if you still need some extra help, hire a property management company like Bay Property Management Group today to help you get started.