What Type of Flooring Is Best for a Rental?

7 Options to Consider

Picture of What Type of Flooring Is Best for a Rental
••• Zero Creatives/Image Source/Getty Images

Replacing flooring in a rental property is a large expense. Therefore you want to make sure you choose the best option for your property in terms of both cost and durability. Here are seven flooring options to consider.

4 Important Factors When Choosing Rental Flooring

  1. Durability:
    1. You do not want to constantly be replacing the flooring in your rental. When choosing a flooring material, you want to select something that is attractive to tenants, but will also withstand a lot of wear and tear. Durable materials are essential because you do not want to waste time and money constantly replacing the flooring.
  2. Cost:
    1. Your goal as a rental property owner is to make money. Unless you are renting out a two million dollar condo, putting the most exotic marble in the rental is not going to be cost effective. You want to put in an attractive floor that will get your property rented quickly, but keep in mind, every dollar you save is an extra dollar in your pocket.
  1. Keep It Neutral
    1. You are not living in the rental property, so do not design it to your specific taste. Pick neutral materials and colors that will appeal to the most people possible.
  2. Function of the Room
    1. Different types of flooring work best in different areas of the rental property. Carpet should be avoided in areas of the property that get moisture and humidity, such as bathrooms and basements. Tile can be a great choice in these areas, as well as in entries which also require durable flooring.

7 Flooring Choices to Consider in Rentals

Carpet:

Carpet is a type of floor covering made of thick fibers. It is cut to fit the size of the space. A carpet pad is usually placed under the carpet and the carpet is then stapled into place.

  • Carpet Pros:
    • Good Insulator- Can Help Cut Down on Energy Bills.
    • Reduces Noise- Can Help Cut Down on Noise Complaints Between Apartments
  • Carpet Cons:
    • Traps Odors and Allergens
    • Stains
    • Difficult to Clean
    • Can't Patch In- Will Have to Replace Entire Section for Bad Rips or Stains.
  • Best For:
    • Bedrooms
    • Seconds Floors
  • Avoid:
    • Basements
    • Bathrooms
    • Common Areas
    • Entryways
    • Hallways
    • Kitchen

Tile (Ceramic, Porcelain, Stone)

Tile is a hard material such as porcelain, ceramic or stone. It is cut into pieces and installed over cement board using mastic or thin set. The spaces between the tiles are filled using grout.

  • Tile Pros:
    • Tile Surface Easy To Clean
    • Durable
    • Water Resistant
    • Available in All Price Ranges
  • Tile Cons:
    • Not a Good Insulator
    • Tiles Can Crack or Come Up
    • Need to Clean Grout
    • May Need to Be Sealed or Polished
    • Takes Some Skill to Install
  • Best For:
    • Basements
    • Bathrooms
    • Common Areas
    • Humid Climates
    • Kitchens
  • Avoid;
    • Using Throughout the Home in Colder Climates.
    • Not Usually Seen in Bedrooms.

Hardwood (Solid and Engineered):

Hardwood is a type of flooring made from different species of wood. The wood is cut into planks and nailed over a sub-floor.

  • Hardwood Pros:
    • Can Last a Lifetime
    • Able to Refinish Solid Hardwood.
    • Engineered Hardwood Does Not React to Changes in Moisture
    • Easy to Clean
  • Hardwood Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Takes Some Skill to Install
    • Can Only Be Refinished a Certain Number of Times Based on Thickness of Wood.
    • Cannot Refinish Engineered Hardwood
    • Scratches and Dents More Easily- You Can Consult the Janka Hardness Test to Determine How Dense a Certain Type of Wood Is.
    • Susceptible to Water Damage
    • Sunlight Can Cause Color to Lighten
  • Best For:
    • Bedrooms
    • Dining Room
    • Living Room
    • Moderate Climates
    • Office
  • Avoid:
    • Bathrooms
    • Potentially Kitchens and Basements.
    • Not Ideal for Humid Climates.

Laminate:

Laminate is a synthetic flooring material that is typically manufactured in planks or squares. It is typically installed over a sub-floor by clicking or gluing the planks together.

  • Laminate Pros:
    • Can Be a More Affordable Option Than Real Hardwood
    • Easier to Install Than Real Hardwood
    • Resistant to Scratches
  • Laminate Cons:
    • Cannot Be Refinished
    • Can Chip
    • Much Shorter Lifespan Than Real Hardwood
    • Does Not Add As Much Value as Real Hardwood
  • Best For:
    • Bedrooms
    • Dining Room
    • Living Room
    • Office
  • Avoid:
    • Bathrooms
    • Potentially Kitchens and Basements.

Vinyl:

Vinyl is another synthetic flooring option. It can be seen in large sheet, tile size pieces or planks. It can be glued down to the existing floor or installed as a floating floor by clicking the planks together.

  • Vinyl Pros:
    • Inexpensive
    • Easy to Clean
    • Easy to Install
    • Water Resistant
  • Vinyl Cons:
    • Not Very Durable- Can Rip and Tear.
    • Subject to Mold and Mildew- If Moisture Gets Underneath.
  • Best For:
    • Bathrooms
    • Kitchens
  • Avoid:
    • Not Usually Seen in Bedrooms, Living Rooms or Dining Rooms.

Cork:

Cork is a type of flooring made from the bark of cork oak tree.Cork tiles are either glued to the sub-floor or glued to each other.

  • Cork Pros:
    • It Is a Green Product
    • Easy to Install
    • Affordable Alternative to Real Hardwood
    • Reduces Noise
  • Cork Cons:
    • Durability Issues
    • Susceptible to Water Damage
    • Must Be Sealed
  • Best For:
    • Kitchens
  • Avoid:
    • High Trafficked Areas
    • Rooms With Heavy Furniture Such as Living Rooms, Dining Rooms and Bedrooms.

Linoleum:

Linoleum is made of a mixture of natural materials such as linseed oil and calcium carbonate. Linoleum typically comes in sheets and must be glued down to the sub-floor.

  • Linoleum Pros:
    • It Is a Green Product
    • Affordable
    • Easily cleaned
    • Easier to Install
  • Linoleum Cons:
    • Prone to Tears and Dents
  • Best For:
    • Dining Rooms
    • Kitchens
  • Avoid:
    • Not Usually Seen in Living Rooms or Bedrooms.