As a landlord, a common question comes up, “When is it time to replace the flooring in my rental property?” If you’re an experienced landlord, you know that “cost-effective” isn’t quite the same as “lowest price.” The real question is, which flooring will match your specific approach to making money from the rental property?
For example, is it better to raise the rent as often as the real estate market fluctuates, or is it better to raise the rent based on the quality and payment consistency of your tenant? Alternatively, you can balance both factors to determine rent increases. Whichever strategy you choose, this article will go over some of the flooring options and considerations you can consider for your rental home or investment property.
Property Management Questions Only You Can Answer
- What is a reasonable time frame for ROI (Return On Investment)? If you’re looking for a quick return, you may want to choose lower-priced flooring. If you’re thinking more long-term, choose from one of the more durable flooring options.
- How much wear and tear do you expect from your tenants? Ceramic tile flooring is durable, and many of the choices are surprisingly inexpensive.
- Do you consider the flooring in your rental property as purely functional, or are you expecting to create a more upscale look and feel for prospective tenants? Some types of flooring will deliver a luxury look and feel while being quite reasonably priced.
- Will you have the flooring professionally installed, or are you hoping to install it yourself?
- What sort of user profile does your property have? Is it a single-purpose open space, or is it a home in which different flooring is necessary for different rooms? Bathrooms and kitchens require water-resistant flooring, while carpet tiles in open spaces will enable you to switch out damaged pieces without having to replace the entire floor.
Pros And Cons Of Different Flooring Types
- Warmth And Comfort – Carpet provides thermal insulation and R-value.
- Improved Air Quality – Of all the flooring materials available, carpeting emits one of the lowest levels of volatile organic compound (VOC).
- Reduces Noise – No renter likes noise. In fact, it can become a common complaint. Carpet, especially tall pile carpeting, helps absorb and reduce sounds.
- Harder To Keep Clean – If your renters have pets that shed fur or children who like to track in mud, you may need to pay for an occasional professional carpet cleaning.
- Wear And Tear – The height of the carpet pile can become noticeably different in high-traffic areas.
- 100% Wool And Other Natural Fibers – At the upper end of the scale, carpets can be pricey.
Waterproof Flooring/Luxury Vinyl Flooring
This includes LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile), LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank), and sheet vinyl.
Upscale retail locations are using luxury vinyl flooring to create an exclusive impression while benefitting from the low cost per square foot. If it’s good enough for high-end retail, it’s probably good enough for your rental property.
- Terrific Value – If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, start looking at what’s available in vinyl plank flooring.
- Great Variety – These floors are now printed to simulate natural stone and even popular hardwood varieties.
- Easy To Keep Clean – It’s virtually impervious to stains. Cleaning up after a tenant is as easy as it can get with this type of flooring.
- Resurfacing Is Not Possible – If scratched or damaged, the area needs to be replaced.
Solid plank hardwood and engineered hardwood are the two main types of hardwood flooring. Both types offer an array of hardwood species you can choose from.
- Durability – Both solid hardwood and engineered hardwood are long-lasting and have excellent durability. Along with scratch-resistant coatings, these floors come in a variety of hardness levels on the Janka Scale.
- Can Be Resurfaced – Solid hardwood can be resurfaced several times. Even some types of engineered hardwood can also be resurfaced once or twice.
- Cost – Hardwood is near the upper end of the scale. The initial investment can be intimidating, although this is offset by their durability and resale value.
- Unmatched Durability – With normal wear and tear, a tile floor can last a lifetime. Some tiles are even designed to improve with age. Terra Cotta tiles increase in charm as they wear down in high-traffic areas. Tile flooring is also exceedingly difficult to scratch and impossible to dent.
- Easy To Keep Clean – A quick vacuum or sweep and a damp mop are all you need to keep these floors clean. Tiles rated for outdoor use are the easiest flooring choice to keep clean outside.
- Upfront Expense – The cost of materials is at the higher end of the scale, and professional installation is required.
- Highly Durable And Stable – Because of the construction methods and materials used, laminate floors are resistant to scratches and moisture. Some of the high-end laminate floors can last a very long time.
- Cannot Be Resurfaced – This is a one-and-done proposition. No matter how carefully you try, resurfacing or refinishing a laminate floor is not an option.
- Not Waterproof – Small spills are not a problem but using it in an area with steady exposure to moisture is not recommended.
Yes, area rugs. Although not a traditional choice for many rental properties, they can upgrade the look of a room.
- Unlimited Shape And Size – You can have just about any size and shape you can imagine.
- Your renter might be overjoyed or annoyed with your choice of area rugs.
- Fringes Can Be A Fuss – Many area rugs have fringes, and these aren’t much fun when it comes to vacuuming.
How To Avoid a Patchwork Quilt Of Different Flooring
Is it better to replace the flooring in a single room? It depends. Often it doesn’t take a whole day to install a floor in a single room. And from an installer’s point of view, spending a whole day in one location is more convenient than having to pack up his tools, clean up and drive to another job.
Discuss this ahead of time with your flooring expert, and chances are you’ll find some attractive savings if you give the installer enough work for a full day.
Why Professional Installation Can Be Cost-Effective
We’ve all been there. We’ve all tried our hand at doing our own repairs and upgrades. Almost every first-time rental property owner tries to save a buck here and there by doing the work themselves.
Sooner or later, most of us learn that finding a trustworthy professional installer is significantly better than doing the work ourselves to replace a floor. Many types of flooring can be completed in a day or two. The quicker the floor is finished, the quicker you can get back to collecting rent.
Plan Ahead To Save Money
It doesn’t cost you a penny to plan ahead. In fact, rushing around trying to replace a floor unexpectedly can cost you more money, and it can impact your rental downtime. Instead, discuss possible future work with a local flooring expert you can trust. Someone familiar with the Dallas/Fort Worth area will help you select the best flooring for your specific needs according to the type of rental property and where its located.
Save Time With Shop-At-Home Service
Why not? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of shop-at-home service when it comes to selecting flooring for your rental property. In fact, you can arrange to have the appointment at your rental property or even within the comfort of your own home. This can save you a lot of time running around.