Aside from painting, flooring is probably the next biggest expense in managing a rental property. Wear and tear from tenant to tenant can be very hard on flooring so it’s important to choose the best option to get the most bang for your buck upfront. Spending a little more on a good floor may save you money down the road on cleaning and replacement costs not to mention give you the ability to attract desirable tenants.
Below are some flooring options to consider for your rental space and the pros and cons of each:
This is an attractive choice because it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to replace, but it also wears down quickly. Carpet attracts dust and dirt and can be a hassle to clean. And if you are allowing pets in your rental property, the carpet is going to take double wear and damage. The upside to carpet is it can be replaced often with minimal expense and if you want to protect an expensive floor underneath, it’s perfect. If you do go with carpet, consider a darker color and a tight weave instead of a plush. This will help you keep the carpet through a few tenants before having to replace.
Tile is expensive but it looks great and it’s moisture resistant. Tile is also very simple to clean. Tile can last for years through several tenants and still look great. It’s also good if you are allowing pets since it does not absorb odors and dirt. Tenants can put down their own area rugs if they want a warmer feel. Area rugs have an added benefit of protecting you floors. And if a tile cracks, you can replace just the damaged tile instead of replacing an entire floor.
Hardwood is among the priciest of flooring options but they can also raise your property/rental value. Hardwood flooring is very durable but it does take substantial care. Moving furniture on floors can create scratches that will need to be polished or refinished when needed. Pets can also be tough on hardwood floors but again that can be reversed. Hardwood is not moisture resistant so you will have to install tile or linoleum in wet areas such as the kitchen and baths.
Laminate flooring is a great low cost alternative that can look very attractive. Many new laminates mimic the look of wood or very effectively. It easy to install and it can tolerate a lot of abuse. But with heavy traffic or pets it can still scratch and appear worn so it may have to be replaced during the life of your rental.