Hardwood, Laminate, Tile, or Carpet? What do you use?


Hardwood, Laminate, Tile, or Carpet? What do you use in your low end rentals?

I was thinking about using some 49cent SF laminate. vs almost $1 sf carpet.

I have quite a few low income rentals.

What I recommend:

  • Peel & stick, 12" square, vinyl tiles. They are cheap, quick & easy to install and you can replace them piece by piece as needed when a tenant moves out. Use the wood looking (parquet style) ones from home depot…they range from $0.28 on up to $0.79 usually. The low income tenants rave about those. I use this option in nearly ALL of my low income rentals

What I don’t recommend — please note this does not apply to middle and upper income rentals, ONLY low income rentals:

  • Carpet. Low income tenants will destroy it. No thanks.
  • Carpet squares. Too expensive for low income rentals.
  • Wood floors (fake or real). Low income tenants will destroy them, even the water & scratch resistant fake floors. Note that they are water resistant - not water proof. LOL.
  • Commercial vinyl tiles - they look too wal-mart like

What might work, but I’ve never tried or don’t use much:

  • Painting the floors. Mike Rossi (Propertymanager on here) used to love doing this to his wood floors in his low income rentals. I have never done it, but he raved about it when he used to use the message board.
  • Staining cement floors
  • Ceramic/porcelain tile - this works very well in all types of rentals, but it costs too much to justify it in low income rentals in my opinion unless you install it yourself. I don’t have time to cut & install tile! But if you do, go for it.

Many of our houses have hardwood floors. Some have been carpeted over. If there’s HW underneath, I’ll pull the carpet and have the HW sanded and refinished. I only install carpet if it’s over a slab or the HW is damaged beyond repair. I tend to use commercial grade carpet because it’s very affordable. I use vinyl flooring in kitchens/baths. I used that glueless vinyl flooring for my last rehab. Went down easily and looks good.
If you decide to use laminate flooring, I’d stay away from the very cheapest you can find. Some of it doesn’t fit together well and the corners peel up. You can get much better stuff for around $1.00-1.30/sq ft.
I tried painting the wood floors in a house like Propertymanager did. It didn’t really turn out as well as I’d hoped and given the same situation now, I’d refinish the floors instead.

^ Good man.

I only use the black commercial grade carpet too on slab or if the hardwood is beyond repair.

I’ve started using vinyl strip floor in the living room and kitchen, it looks like hardwood, but isn’t damaged by water,it looks great, a little more expensive than carpet, but great looking


I install alot of flooring and if hardwood is there it is in my opinion best to refinish and poly. Some of the units we pull the carpet and just clean.

Laminate, and carpet are going to be destroyed some if I have to I put it in but know it will need replaced in a year or two.

12" x 12" vinyl squares, use a good adhesive underneath. I like the stuff that goes on white and clears up when set. I lay the tile right over the adhesive and it is very long wearing. Buy extra and it will be there when you need a piece.

The answer really depends on the value of the property and rent-levels too…

For the most part, I’ve had alot of success with Hardwoods -even with Low-Income properties…
For my low to moderate income properties, I use VCT (usually in a checker-board style) for kitchens/baths
For my medium to high end properties, I’ll use a porcelain tile for the kitchen/baths…

I have been replacing existing carpet with large size ceramic tile. You can get the tile for about 1.00 / sq ft. I have installed ceramic tile right over composition or stick on tile. The large sizes pay off in reduced installation time.
As someone mentioned, if you install yourself, the cost is in line with other options. In my opinion, tile is the best way to go. It is easy to clean and the large sizes make a place look great. You will get years and years of use.
In my low end experience, carpet rarely can be used for more than one tenant. I can only imagine how bad wood floors or laminate would look like after one of my tenants crashed and burned.
Only downside besides the work of initial installation is that for multi story buildings, it is a bit noisy for the people below.

I use carpet simply because I own a multi unit and the carpet helps with the noise between units. I would use tile because of how durable it is in a single family unit.

Please don’t do that anymore. I’ve been in the rehabbing and rental business for over 16 years and I’ve had to rip out so many bad floor tiling jobs that I feel like I want to show up at the previous owners’ places and shoot them.

Most do-it-yourselfers don’t get that you need an inch and a half of sheet subflooring with an insane amount of screws to use floor tiles on woodframe construction. The 3"x20" planks or hardwood in old buildings don’t count as subflooring. Unless the floors were concrete, those tiles on top of composition tiles or stick on tiles will come loose and break in a year because rarely does it have enough subflooring or screws to support it and the larger the tile, the thicker the subfloor you need.

I’ve gotten 5-10 years out of black commercial carpet in apartments with over a half a dozen tenants. It’s quick, easy, can be done in a day, and it lasts.

The best flooring is hardwood. If you stain hardwood floors with a dark stain after you sand them, they are easy to touch up with a stain pen, lightly scratch the surface with high grit sandpaper, and put a new poly coat over for the next tenant and they look better and you can charge a premium for shiny floors.

The only thing I agree with is that laminate is garbage. I’ve had tenants live in such an apartment for a few months and scratch them and there’s no way to fix them as there’s just particle board under a simulated wood design–they can’t be restained to blend in or conceal the damage.

It has said that the carpeted rooms present a harmful consequences specially for asthmatic patients.
Is there any factual proof in support of this statement?
But I like a beautiful carpet in my living room.

Laminate wood flooring combines natural looking designs with a tough, durable finish and can be used in almost any area of the home.So I use Laminate wood flooring.

Does anybody paint basement concrete floors?
I’ve seen it done and it seems to be a good change: quick and cheap.

I have considered that (painting cement floors) in some of my lower end properties, but I decided that’s a bad choice. Painted cement looks bad for a residence of any type, I determined after running some tests. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you have trouble renting out your property because it looks bad…know what I mean?

Painting wood floors, though, work well on low income properties.

Also staining cement floors works too. That is different than painting, in that it produces a marbleized effect / look on the floor. Honestly, I think it looks better in higher end properties than lower end properties, as it might look really cheap in an old house to some tenants or prospective buyers. But in a nicer house it could look really cool. However I can buy peel & stick vinyl tiles a lot cheaper per square foot than even staining it, so that’s what I use on my low income properties … and those low income tenants love it. =)

I’ve been using that grey generic concrete floor paint they sell at Walmart for my basement hallways and have no regrets. Floors are easily washed. If I’m moving something heavy like a fridge and scratch up the floor it easily blends in with the concrete underneath (though it’s hard to scatch off in any case). Imo it’s a great product. Cheap and easy to do.

From these options, hardwood would be best to use. Hardwoods are easy to clean and maintain. In terms of color, it is no problem whether its dark or light because wood colors stays for a long period. Its durability is of no question because hardwoods are tough and strong and are not easy to get scraped or scratched. It is only expensive, so if your budget is tight, carpet would be the best alternative.

[size=10pt]Chris Evans[/size]

I have not heard of anyone using painted cement floors for anywhere
except their own home. However, I will explore that option in the future.

-Carpet [No]
-Wood enginnered, solid, acrylic, [No]
-Ceramic tile- [Yes]
-Linoleum- [Yes]

I use ceramic tile in all my long term units with a PEI of 3. This holds up
pretty well and I haven’t had any problems…yet! :biggrin

Excellent statement. I have seen so many properties where people just flip poorly and hope to rent it to low-income renters and remain vacant for more than 90 days.

As for concrete floors in the basement, it is easy to do, just a mess with the dust so be sure to vacuum one more time JUST BEFORE you begin painting and seal off the area for 24 hours so you don’t ruin the paint job and it cures properly. You do have the option of waterproofing if you want to prevent minimal water damage but it is more costly to fix.

What I use depends totally on the market I’m in. I look at the neighborhood and other properties in the same price range. I typically try to be slightly nicer than the competition with my finished materials. Your renters/ buyers see the finished product. This is not a place to skimp, but it’s also not a place to be way nicer than the competition - this results is lower returns on your investment.

So check out the competition and be slightly better than they are!

I used carpet, vinyl, and tile in 1 side and tile, carpet, and laminate in the other (side I live in). I used a local carpet company and got a good deal. I think I paid .87 per sq. ft for the carpet and installation I could be wrong on this though has been awhile. I used the Allure vinyl flooring you can get from home depot. It looks pretty good, incredibly easy to lay. I purchased it through their Bid Room so only paid .75 per sq. ft also.

I am a big fan of ceramic tile. You can find decent tile at salvage stores for real cheap (paid .40 - .67 sq. ft) and it doesn’t cost too much to install. It really makes bathrooms and kitchens pop and people will pay a small premium for it. I also put a tile backsplash in the kitchen. I am getting anywhere from $50-$100 more per month in my area because of small amenities like these, paying for my extra costs in about a year. The durability of tile is also better, so it will continue to pay for itself year after year.

I agree with others about laminate flooring. I purchased mine at a salvage store. The quality wasn’t the best, but surprisingly good considering it only cost around .70-.80 cents per ft. It looks great, easy to lay, and is durable.