Rental Property Flooring

26 Replies

Hi, I bought an old house to use for rental. I found I have hard wood floors under the carpet. The carpet is very old and I will remove it. My question is what can I put on top of the wood floor again?

I don't want to put the carpet again and I don't want to leave the hard wood floor open. I am thinking about having vinyl plank on top of the hard wood floor. What do you guys think? Do I have any better options?


Thanks a lot.

Laminate flooring (maybe what you call "vinyl plank" or do you mean the stuff that is more tile-sized? I haven't used that before), Vinyl (depending on the dimensions - use loose lay not the kind you have to glue), or refinish the hardwood but it sounds like you don't want to do that right now. At least that's what I'd use.

Originally posted by Luke M.:
Laminate flooring (maybe what you call "vinyl plank" or do you mean the stuff that is more tile-sized? I haven't used that before), Vinyl (depending on the dimensions - use loose lay not the kind you have to glue), or refinish the hardwood but it sounds like you don't want to do that right now. At least that's what I'd use.

@Luke M,

Look at Allure Vinyl plank. Those are wonderful from what I've been told. I did just pick up a bamboo floor from Home Depot for 1.91 sq foot if it is a slightly higher end rental.

Yes. I mean Allure Vinyl plank. Can we install bamboo floor on hard wood floor?

I've used allure vinyl plank before and so far so good. (I've only had it in for about a year.) We did have some issues with the glue in some parts but we called the company and they sent us a tube. (That was only at one property.) Just remember you need to acclimate it at the property for a few days and use a roller.

Also, I would not use it in a higher end rental. It's okay, but is not great.

I have the exact same situation right now in a rental. I would recommend exterior rated deck paint and a good primer. It is cheaper and probably easier & cheaper than carpet.

Why not just refinish it? Typically pay $1 to $1.50 sqft to get it refinished depending on condition. Why put vinyl over it?

We refinish all the wood floors in our units. They stand up to the wear of renters, pets, moving, children, and lots of other activities. We do it so much we own a sander and our maintenance crew can finish the floors very cheaply in a unit.

@George Paiva

100% agree, If you already have solid hardwood floors and they have been protectively covered by wall to wall carpet, in almost all cases the best avenue is to re-finish the hardwood. It will last longer, look nicer, and be cheaper than either laminate flooring or vinyl planks.

On the other hand if you don't have hardwood and have maybe 9x9 old tiles then covering with laminate may be the best choice. Lumber Liquidators always has stuff on sale some lower than $1 a foot. Installation about $2 a foot.

@John Schmiesing

I've used the exterior porch paint on floors, but that only works on low end properties. "Carpet in a Can" is the cheapest alternative to floor covering, but won't fly in medium to upper end properties.

I bought 6 properties in York County two week ago. Very active market and the third highest number of foreclosures in the state after Philly & Pittsburgh.

We just refinish wood floors and they hold up well. In one apartment they are oak and they look brand new. In a house we have fir and not as good but carpet to me is a pain. No matter what you spend it seems like carpet looks good for maybe 3 years. If feel you have to cover the floors and you never intend to show the wood floors again then put allure or something with glue on them. If you think someday you want to re-expose them I recommend to use laminate or something without adhesive backing. (I am biased against adhesive due to dealing with the black cutback-maybe the newer versions come off easier and would be just fine).

We also refinish existing hardwood floors when we can - there are lots of Second Empire and Victorian properties in our area. When we do refinish, we use a commercial grade urethane {think gymnasium floor} as it stands-up to tenant wear much better.

@roy n Where do you buy commercial grade urethane? And is it more costly than the regular urethane?

Another vote for refinish. Why would you want to glue down a lower end product (vinyl plank) that is made to resemble the higher end product that you would cover? Not an exact analogy, but it would be like covering a granite countertop with a laminate that looks like granite.

Originally posted by @Jerry Kisasonak :
@roy n Where do you buy commercial grade urethane? And is it more costly than the regular urethane?

@Jerry Kisasonak

We source it through one of our suppliers - any flooring outfit who does commercial buildings will have it. Usually it is a little more expensive, but you can often get "ends" from a commercial job. Earlier this summer we picked-up 2x5gal pails left over from refinishing a school gymnasium at about 50 cents on the dollar.

@Mark Graffagnino I recently had a contractor suggest to install vinyl planks over hardwoods instead of refinishing the hardwoods. I thought the same thing: Why the heck cover the real thing over with a product that imitates the real thing? And your laminate granite look-alike installed over real granite is a funny thought. Heck, it may be the new rage: Graminate Countertops! (You should patent this process and reserve graminatecountertops.com now!)

@Roy N. I'll have to make a connection with a local commercial refinisher. Thanks.

The reason for not choosing the refinish is the price. We were quote the price for refinish hardwood floor is $3.5 sq. We might need to ask more around. Thanks for sharing the ideas.

@George Paiva

does the price $1 to $1.5 sgft include the sanding? or just the coating?

I go out and rent a sander , if the floors are in bad shape I get a drum sander , if they are in fair shape I get the large vibrating sander ,I do take the time to do 3 coats . I dont go for perfect , just ok to nice , why ? The 3 coats lasts long , Once you put down a couple of rugs and bring in furniture , you DONT see much floor .When you change tenants a quick light sanding and 1 coat makes the floors look great . Way cheaper and more durable than carpet

@Bob Jones if you decide to use any type of flooring that will use an adhesive that needs to be spread on the floor, plan on the hardwood in question to be completely ruined. Hardwood is pourous and will slowly soak up the adhesive over time. This will not be so easily remedied by sanding.

Check out some local flooring dealers. IMO, they will always do better than Lowes or HD. There are some vinyl planks that have an adhesive strip attached to the end of the plank. There is also vinyl planks that use an underlayment so the vinyl can "float" over the subfloor. Last time I used that type of install, I used DuraCeramic from Congoleum. This would most likely cost more, but you will have saved the hardwood for another day.

Whichever way you go, hope you figure a way to preserve the hardwood. If you decide to sell down the road, the hardwood would be a great selling feature.

Good luck!

For $3.50 per sqft, it's better to just put vinyl plank over it.

Vinyl plank is an easy DIY job.

Just do the math. Whatever is cheaper. How often do you have to refinish the floors, and at $3.50 per sqft !!!!!

The other part of the math equation is, if you spent 3.50 to refinish, can you bring in higher rent as a result?

If not, go with the vinyl plank.

Originally posted by Bob Jones:
The reason for not choosing the refinish is the price. We were quote the price for refinish hardwood floor is $3.5 sq. We might need to ask more around. Thanks for sharing the ideas.

Bob,

You need another quote. Even up here in the land with the high cost of living, we pay between 1.75 and 2.50 per square foot (maybe 2.75 if there is a lot of small spaces that need to be done by hand).

I always prefer to sand/refinish flooring rather than carpet or vinyl tile. It's a little more expensive, but I prefer the look of hard wood and I can usually get a little more rent for hardwood floors. I have my flooring refinisher use a water based polyurethane that is also used on basketball floors...maybe a little glossy for some, but it stands up to significant wear and tear.

@Liam Goble

As mentioned earlier in the thread, we also use a water-based gymnasium urethane for the durability. They are available in a mat finish as well.

I pay about $1.75/sf for refinish. You'll also have to install new shoe mold afterwards, so budget for that too.

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