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Tile vs Carpet on rentals.

22 posts by 12 users

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Joel Owens Moderator

Commercial Real Estate Broker from Canton, Georgia

Aug 09 '11, 09:06 AM


Have some vacants I am reconditioning to rent out.

Looked at carpet.Found a happy medium at .80 sq ft.and 8 pound plush scotch guard pad at .85 sq ft.

This is at Home Depot with a very low installation fee of around 35 bucks.

Conversely found 12 by 12 ceramic tile for .56 sq ft.

My thought process is too install the tile all the way through on the main floor and use carpet just on the stairs and the 2 bedrooms upstairs.

Has vinyl down stairs now but actually cost more than tile and get ripped and messed up.Tile would seem to take more abuse and last longer.

I can get cheap berber type carpet for .48 sq ft and cheap 6 pound pad for about.49 sq ft. but I am trying to make it look nicer and not cheap.This is why I wanted to spend a little more on a nicer pound foam pad versus rubber composite.

I asked about the Home Depot bid room and the sale person said he could submit but the bids are getting rejected as the carpet is already priced so low.Says HD is getting away from the contractor bidding wars to try and get the price down etc.

I checked with prices versus Dalton Ga (carpet capital of the world and the prices were just as good or better.HD is measuring the units for free for me tomorrow.

On the tile how much is the grout and the bonding agent for the tiles to the floor??Trying to get an all in cost per sq ft.



Medium_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: http://www.AWcommercial.com
www.AWcommercial.com 678-779-2798 [email protected]


Jeffrey K.

Real Estate Investor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Aug 09 '11, 09:17 AM


Tile costs most people about $7/ft to lay with materials. Add your tile price to this and you should have a good idea.



Joel Owens Moderator

Commercial Real Estate Broker from Canton, Georgia

Aug 09 '11, 09:20 AM


What about if the labor is free??

Contractor that lives in one of my units does excellent work.Late on the rent waiting to get paid from his other jobs.Mentioned he could provide free labor on conditioning my five vacant and clean them up,repaint,and lay the tile etc.



Medium_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: http://www.AWcommercial.com
www.AWcommercial.com 678-779-2798 [email protected]


Joel Owens Moderator

Commercial Real Estate Broker from Canton, Georgia

Aug 09 '11, 09:25 AM


I know isn't free as I am compensating rent (cash flow) but right now I stand to make more turning the vacant units cheap and getting them rented out.



Medium_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: http://www.AWcommercial.com
www.AWcommercial.com 678-779-2798 [email protected]


Jeffrey C.

SFR Investor from

Aug 09 '11, 09:32 AM
1 vote


It depends on the quality of the materials you use, the size of your tile and spacing between tiles. I use the thin set and mortar with flex additive for a longer tile life as well. (it helps prevent cracking) Go to your local tile supply and read the back of the bags of mix you want to use then calculate the sf, it's not a lot even for the best products. I always get an extra box or two of tile for breakage later on and save the extra grout in a zip lock bag for perfect tile repairs. Tile should last a very long time and pay for itself over carpet in the first few years.



Rusty Thompson

Real Estate Investor from Salem, Oregon

Aug 09 '11, 09:40 AM


Have you considered the resilient vinyl flooring. I recently put down ~ 600 sq. ft. of it in a rental. Great stuff. Very durable and most importantly easy to install. Cost was .66sq. ft. Spent another 300 on self leveling for the floor. It installs ridiculously easy. Only need some tin snips to cut it. Looks like hard wood & tile, or laminate when finished. Everyone who walked through said how much the loved the floors. best of all its perfectly level between the tile ones I used in the bathrooms & the wood floor ones I used in the main area. Looks very high end. Best of all, if a couple do get damaged just pull up those ones & put down new. No more reason to redo the whole floor. I will be putting it in all of my rentals as the flooring comes up for replacement.



James Martin

Residential Real Estate Agent from Memphis, Tennessee

Aug 09 '11, 09:41 AM


To add to what everyone else said Tile is going to be very expensive even if you get tile for free. You also will need cement backer board for your upstair units. For a clean look your free labor will need a jam saw to cut your door jams. I recommend that you look into buying VCT for you units.



Jeff Price

Residential Real Estate Agent from Memphis, Tennessee

Aug 09 '11, 09:53 AM
1 vote


The bad thing about cheap carpet is that it stains easier because there is no stain blocker. How stain blocker works is it helps eliminate static electricity. 8 lb carpet would not last a year in a Memphis rental.



Jon Holdman Moderator

SFR Investor from Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Aug 09 '11, 09:54 AM


Last tile I had installed was $3.50 a foot for labor, about $1.80 (IIRC) for the tile, plus the backer, mortar, spacers, grout and sealer. I much prefer tile. Don't do carpet, it just doesn't hold up. Its not the carpet that's the problem, it just doesn't get treated well by tenants.

I'm trying some laminate in one unit now, but I'm not sure how it will hold up long term. I did get some samples and subject them to some abuse and was impressed by what it could take. It goes in pretty fast and easy.



Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC


Hilary Tuttle

Homeowner from Clarksville, Tennessee

Aug 09 '11, 10:09 AM


We dont have any carpet in any of our houses (only have five so not to much experience, but enough) except our own and I hate it. I would do tile any day over carpet.



Joel Owens Moderator

Commercial Real Estate Broker from Canton, Georgia

Aug 09 '11, 10:22 AM


The scotch guard pad is a plush feel with the foam so feels more luxurious.

Used to you would get a vapor barrier in between the carpet and the pad to protect the pad.This way if the carpet was ruined you could keep the pad.

The problem was the vapor barrier made the carpet have noise etc. and was not as desirable.This is what the carpet installer told me.

Now the vapor barrier is built into the pad.So even if carpet gets ruined in the future I still have the pad so save money there.



Medium_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: http://www.AWcommercial.com
www.AWcommercial.com 678-779-2798 [email protected]


Jeffrey C.

SFR Investor from

Aug 09 '11, 11:10 AM
1 vote


The vapor barrier sounds like a good idea to put under the pad on any wood subfloor home for just in case. I am working on a home now that the tenant snuck a dog in and it urinated on every floor in the house. This would have saved me from having to clean and seal all the floors before putting in new flooring.

I use a ceramic vinyl tile product from HD that is peel and stick and uses grout for laundry rooms. It looks just like real ceramic tile, even to the touch you can't tell once the grout is in because it has ceramic dust in the tile. I used the sanded caulking grout for one small laundry closet and an epoxy grout for this last room so it's completely waterproof. Some tips, set the boxes in the sun a few hours before use to soften the glue so it sticks better. You have to work really fast with the epoxy or it will harden on you before you can finish. Do not empty the water buckets you use to clean the tile with after grouting in the sinks or tub because it will harden in them even diluted 1000% 

I may use this in the future for kitchens with a regular grout with flex agent if it holds up to these wet areas.      



Jon Holdman Moderator

SFR Investor from Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Aug 09 '11, 11:28 AM


Joel, are these high-end rentals? If so, and carpet is expected, perhaps it makes sense. But it takes a beating. I've ripped out carpet that was less than three years old and it was totally trashed. It was pretty cheap carpet, but the problems was stains and burns. Unless your market demands this, I think carpet is the worst possible flooring for a rental.

I'll have to have to look at this peel and stick ceramic vinyl tile. I am very skeptical of these peel and stick products. If you're going with vinyl tile, consider CVT (commercial vinyl tile). That's the thick stuff used in commercial buildings. It holds up much better.



Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC


Joel Owens Moderator

Commercial Real Estate Broker from Canton, Georgia

Aug 09 '11, 11:52 AM


These buildings are 30 years old.

Old buildings in an A location. It is one of the best locations in the state for demographics and schools.

This area is prime from redevelopment in a few years for a commercial project. My hold time is estimated at 2 to 5 years before I trade up to another property.Either sell to another apartment owner or a developer who will tear down for their new build project.

An assisted living facility would be perfect because of the median income and demographics of the area.

I could just tile the whole thing.In the front where the dining room is on the vacants the fake vinyl wood floor has been eaten up by the previous tenants.

This is why I feel tile would work best.The contractor said to have an extra box stored and then if one tile brakes etc. it's easy to replace one by one.

Just didn't know if upstairs in the bedroom tile would work or if the tenant wouldn't tolerate it.I know many tenants have small kids and even with an area rug prefer carpet in the bedrooms.

I want durability but at the same time don't want to deter renters so it has to be a balance of durability and tenants needs to get them to rent from me.

Thanks for the discussion as I think this topic is great info and food for thought.



Medium_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: http://www.AWcommercial.com
www.AWcommercial.com 678-779-2798 [email protected]


James Martin

Residential Real Estate Agent from Memphis, Tennessee

Aug 09 '11, 01:26 PM
2 votes


I would stay away from laminate and peel n stick floors. Laminate is great for abuse and looks, but its' enemy is water. It will buckle with just a small amount of sitting water. The peel and stick never sticks or hold up to traffic and creates a trip hazard. The VCT is a commercial grade product about an 1/8 inch thick and glues down with a commercial glue. It looks cleans and I buy very cheap rugs from differ places in town found in their over stock products. I will put a rug in the living room of each unit just to warm it up a bit. I pay about $20 a rug for a 10x12. I tile every room with VCT. This saves me alot of money when I have turn around, I just mop and go!



Joe Delia

Residential Real Estate Agent from Rochester Hills, Michigan

Aug 09 '11, 03:17 PM


Picking up two section 8 properties. Carpet is trashed as expected. Thinking of going the peal and stick route. Any suggestions?


Updated: 08:23PM, 08/09/2011

correct spelling for peel.

Edited Aug 9 2011, 20:23


Joel Owens Moderator

Commercial Real Estate Broker from Canton, Georgia

Aug 09 '11, 07:14 PM


Just thought about this as well.What about staining the concrete slab floor on the main level and then buying 2 area rugs one for the dining room and one for the living room??



Medium_allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 678-779-2798
Website: http://www.AWcommercial.com
www.AWcommercial.com 678-779-2798 [email protected]


Greg B. Donor

Real Estate Investor from Texas

Aug 09 '11, 07:40 PM


Absolutely no carpet in any of my rentals. Most have vinyl, some have stained cement. When carpet is present I can see the prospective tenants radar go up. They are looking for stains, smells, insects, etc. Most have requested new carpet and walk when I say no. I don't have the same problem without carpet.

Good luck Joel. Sounds like you are moving right on with your new project.



George P.

Real Estate Investor from ..., Michigan

Aug 10 '11, 08:07 PM
1 vote


greg, because of your warm location,i can see why you would not want carpet.

but carpet up here is almost expected.

rusty, post a link for the resilient vinyl flooring. i am curious to see it.



Greg B. Donor

Real Estate Investor from Texas

Aug 10 '11, 08:47 PM


Never thought about the northern climates. It's a cool 105 here. Learned something new. Thanks George.



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