Tile vs Carpet on rentals.

21 Replies

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.      

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.

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.

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!

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

Updated over 6 years ago

correct spelling for peel.

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.

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.

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

If you can use tile, it's a good way to go, easy to maintain and much more durable. It does not hold smells and stains. You can decorate with drop/throw rugs for when you have showings.

Originally posted by Greg B.:
Never thought about the northern climates. It's a cool 105 here. Learned something new. Thanks George.

yes, the carpet feels warmer on the feet in the winter, when it's 10-15 below zero. :lol:

i dont like carpet at all because it breaks down and collects dust like magnet. on the other hand tile can look outdated in just a few yrs depending on the color/style.

I have only hardwood in my house, but would not put that in a rental. would get torn up in no time.

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