Best flooring for a rental?

102 Replies

I have seen some that say carpet is the way to go in bedrooms, but others that say it is too expensive to replace and there are on-going costs of cleaning between tenants. Personally I have the tenants pay for cleaning, so this is a non-issue for me other than a few minutes to schedule the cleaning. 

I have heard others say tile flooring because it lasts forever, but I hardly ever hear anyone talk about cleaning and sealing grout as a routine expense. I also hear people saying tile is too expensive and it breaks. I would go with a good quality tile and charge any breakage to the tenants. Cleaning is another matter, because in my area it is not customary to charge the tenant for tile cleaning as it is for carpet. 

I have heard to only use linoleum in kitchens and baths because it does not crack/break and is cheap to replace. 

Seems I have almost always heard NOT to use wood floors, but I have heard a lot of discussion recently on using Allure or similar wood-looking vinyl flooring. I have heard both good and bad things about Allure, but it is fairly cheap, lasts longer than carpet, and is water proof. I have heard of some people that use this in the entire house (bedrooms and basements included) because of the cost to durability, no cleaning, does not crack/break, and doesn't require cleaning like carpet does. 

I went and looked at the Allure at Home Depot. It seems very thin. It is also a floating floor. This makes it easy to install, but doesn't seem as good for durability. Overall I think it might work well though and I am really considering making a switch to Allure or equivalent vinyl type flooring. Has anyone else done this? Are you doing the entire house? Are you happy with the results? How do you do stairs and vertical surfaces, or what do you use there? Carpet always seems to wear quickly on stairs because a lot more force is put right on the edge of the stair a lot more often, so I am looking for something other than carpet on stairs. What do you use? 

So again, what is the consensus on the best flooring to use (where and why)?

I love the Allure vinyl flooring, it's not thick but it's very durable.  You can get it wet unlike wood or laminate and nothing will happen to it.  It's also much more forgiving for uneven floors in older houses than  any other flooring besides carpet. The glue that locks each piece together is very strong and the finish surface is very tough.  My rentals are all single story so I can't comment on stairs.  If the house is on a concrete slab I will generally tile the whole thing with whatever HD/Lowes have on the end cap for ~60 cents a foot and it will pretty much last forever.  I'll keep an extra box in my storage just in case but I rarely have broken tiles. 

I don't use carpet anywhere anymore, it typically only lasts for one tenant.  

Allure vinyl

Another vote for Allure.  In one house it's been in the dining room now for 4 years; this is a house with two children, one grandchild that visits often and a the family dog.  Still looks great.   Stuff has a 25 year warranty.  Easy to put down.   I've never tried it on stairs.


Lower to mid income homes VPF (vinyl plank flooring) cost $2.5-3/ft installed.  Installed throughout home.  Higher end homes I would go with handscraped solid oak wood $8-10/ft installed with carpet in bedrooms  $12/yard and tile $2-3/ft installed in wet areas.  Whatever you do, do not go with 8mm or less laminate on rentals.  Make sure to keep extra flooring in attic/garage.  If using tile go with dark grout.  Next time your in McDonalds or any other fast food chain just look at the flooring they use.

Pic is one of my higher end homes.

It depends on your area. Colder climates sometimes like and expect carpet in bedrooms. In the desert you can do tile through out. The new vinyl products are great too. In higher end stuff polished cement is the craze. You will match flooring to areas expectations with in reason. I like the polish cement idea the best for all if you can get away with it.



TrafficMaster Allure Ultra Vinyl Plank Flooring is our current product of choice.   We prefer the interlocking ultra instead of the overlapping self-stick type of Allure.  Pick the imitation wood pattern and tenants will think they have hardwood floors.  This holds up much better than real wood floors.   

In our area, hardwood floors and carpeting are preferred by most tenants.  Tile for kitchen and bath is widely desired too.  With the new types of grout, tile care is easy.   If you go with rolled vinyl, it should be a good grade or it will tear easily.  Linoleum is not as commonly used.  Our tenants who want carpet will buy a carpet and lay it on top of the hardwood floors or imitation wood vinyl plank flooring.

If the unit has real wood floors, refinish them and make them as durable as you can. If the unit has wall to wall carpet and that is what your market likes (think colder climates) then replace carpet, but make sure you have a good pad so it will wear longer.  If you want to make a change, consider using TrafficMaster Allure Ultra Vinyl Plank for the high traffic areas or throughout the unit.  Or keep carpet in the bedrooms only.  Take into consideration the floor plan of your unit and the preference of the tenants in your market.

Two thumbs up for Allure!

I have the allure that sticks together.  I was at home depot and they had the interlocking on sale for the same price as stick together.  Also I've seen other places sell other brands that interlock.  It is easy to get off when installing the stick together which will make big gaps that really stick out.  I don't think I'll do the stick together anymore unless I have a really good contractor.  

One disadvantage i have heard of the interlocking though is that is harder to do a repair to the floor on a piece that is in the middle of the floor.

I'm a big fan of tile if you can swing the up front cost - almost maintenance free and lasts forever! Plus people here in south florida like it - just my two cents!

if you allow pets then Allure has proven to be the best option but you do want to know what you're doing. Nigher end renters want to see wood and a quality carpet in the bedrooms is what I've experienced.

I think carpet is gross -- it stains, it's had who-knows-what walked across it, and it's hard to clean.  If your area thinks it's a must, how about hard flooring with almost-wall-to-wall rugs or big bound carpet pieces?

Tile scares me.  It's really really hard, and can be slippery if it gets wet.  Yes, I did actually spend one Christmas with a black eye, and yes, I actually did slip on tile and whack my head on a bathroom toilet.  I know tile is long-lasting, but on floors I feel like it's a lawsuit disaster waiting to happen -- plus it's cold, and really hard on the feet and back in the kitchen, where a cook does lots of standing.

I have used the regular TrafficMaster Allure grip-strip vinyl planking in 2 kitchens so far.  A year ago I laid it myself in my own home kitchen (so far so good), and this fall my handyguy laid it in a rental kitchen.  A year isn't quite enough to say it's fantastic, but I love it in the kitchen and there are no flaws popping up yet.   I'm trying to decide whether to try it in my home bathroom, which is why I'm revisiting all the BP threads on Allure tonight.

@Marcia Maynard   -- have you tried the grip-strip Allure with poor results?  Or just like the click-lock stuff and see no reason to switch?

I love the interlocking Allure in the living areas. It does indeed wear very well, and the fact that it's waterproof gives a bit of peace of mind.

In addition, I used the Trafficmaster groutable tiles in the bathrooms of one of the houses we did, and I'll definitely use it again. Our handyman came in the day after I installed it and asked how I put down tile so quickly; it really looks like real time once grouted.

Originally posted by @Anna Watkins :

@Marcia Maynard  -- have you tried the grip-strip Allure with poor results?  Or just like the click-lock stuff and see no reason to switch?

We tried the grip-strip type of TrafficMaster Allure in a bathroom and our installer hated it and struggled with it, a few spots not so straight.  Later the manufacturer came out with the click type TrafficMaster Allure Ultra and we like that better because it seems to be better quality and the click type design is considered 100% waterproof. However, the design that looks like tile is not yet available in the click type Ultra. We buy the TrafficMaster flooring products at Home Depot. I want to take a look at the Shaw vinyl plank flooring products that Lowes offers too, as some folks have tried that and like it as well.  With any of these products it is key to let them warm up to room temperature before installation. Also, the different brands and styles may differ in thickness and durability.

Thanks @Marcia Maynard ! I'm a little concerned about the thickness of the click-lock, since I'm replacing sheet vinyl.  I'll look again when next at the Big Orange Box.

Big Thumbs Up for Allure!

I used it in my basement to rental conversion. (FYI-- I also laid down two complete coats of Dry-Lok masonry waterproofer before laying the flooring.)

@Mark J. Thanks for posting, I have a unit that is a candidate for Allure and it is helpful to see this as well as read the review comments. That job looks really good.

Thank you BP! I need to replace the carpet in one of my rentals and I'm definitely going to look into Allure. Any suggestions for stairs? Should I just recarpet the stairs and upstairs?

I had one property that had carpet on he stairs and underneath that was asbestos tile on the stairs. I removed the entire tread and installed new treads. I painted he sides and risers white and stained and polyurethaned the stair treads and installed. Looks great and have had no issues in 6 months. 

Hey everyone - this is a GREAT thread, so thx for your thoughts!  I'm starting my next rehab this month, and will be holding it as a rental.  This thread caused me to go shopping to learn more about, and price out, the different flooring options, so thanks for the motivation!

My questions for the group:

1)  The allure that you stick together vs snap together seems like there's more margin for error when installing.  Any thoughts here?  Any poor outcomes with it?  Have also heard that the vinyl holds up well, but not the adhesive.  

2)  Below I've tried to paste my pictures of from some of the shopping and cost comparison from yesterday.  I'm curious to know if anyone has used Lowe's product (Shaw - Resilient / Nature Floors).  Lowe's product is certainly more cost effective from what I am seeing here, but everyone seems to love Allure.  (...and both company's install for $1.50/sq ft)  What makes Allure > Lowe's Products which are cheaper?  

3)  Any other vendors that you know of that can do better on pricing if I am willing to install myself?

Thanks everyone!

Home Depot - Allure:

Home Depot - Allure Ultra

Home Depot - Allure

Synonymous Lowe's Options:

Synonymous Lowe's Options

Synonymous Lowe's Options:

Synonymous Lowe's Options

@Drew Wiard  

LVP (luxury vinyl plank) and LVT (luxury vinyl tile) brands you may come across: Achim, Aquarius, Armstrong, BeaulieuBliss, Burke, Congoleum, DecoratorsChoice, DesignersImage, Devine, Elite Click, CrownLake, Forbo, FreeFit, HomeLegend, Karndean, IVC, Mannington, Metroflor, Moduleo, Mohawk, QualityCraft, Shaw, StainMaster, Style Selections, Tarkett, TrafficMaster and others.

With vinyl plank flooring or vinyl tile flooring there are many variations in design and thickness which will account for the variation in prices. It can be overwhelming. Overtime, the product availability and quality has been improving. The professional installers are good judges of the differences... they look for ease of installation, how well the edges fit together, how well the edges hold up, quality of product, final look, and number of "call backs" they get from the customer.

Some products are 100% water proof, some are water resistant. The interlocking ones being the waterproof ones.  The "grip strip" adhesive ones work well for those who have a good eye, but can be a challenge to lay if you get one crooked. The click-together interlocking ones tend to stay straight and can be locked and unlocked. You can actually take up the interlocking type flooring and move it elsewhere if need be. In a flood situation the flooring could be reclaimed and used again. There are glue down types and non-glue down types. There are installed types and free-floating types. Some can be put together and taken apart, some can't. Some require padding underneath and some don't.

The TrafficMaster Allure Ultra can be purchased as stock or as special order. HD stocks about 4 styles and offers maybe 12 others that can be special ordered, depending on what type of wood you are trying to replicate. The in-store stock ones will be less expensive than the ones you need to special order. Allure Ultra is thicker than Allure and has the longest warranty - lifetime for residential use and 10 years for commercial use. As far as I know, the brand is exclusive to HD. Here is HD's link for LVP: Here is HD's link for LVT:

Lowe's carries vinyl plank in Shaw, IVC, and Congoleum. They too have a many variations. As with all products, compare not only the price, but also the specifications. You can read the specifications of most products on line. Some BPers have posted success with Shaw.  Here's a good link for Lowe's:

For the midwesterners, don't forget Menard's. They too have much to offer. Here is a Menard's link:

We shop at specialty flooring shops and design stores too. We have installed the TrafficMaster Allure Ultra and like it, but are open to considering others as well now that the choices keep getting better! Shopping around for the best product for your need is certainly worth doing!

Originally posted by @Kyle Hipp :

I had one property that had carpet on he stairs and underneath that was asbestos tile on the stairs. I removed the entire tread and installed new treads. I painted he sides and risers white and stained and polyurethaned the stair treads and installed. Looks great and have had no issues in 6 months. 

What type of flooring was around the stairs? Do you have any pictures you could share?

Sounds like everyone likes the vinyl options. 

Bedrooms sound split with some liking vinyl some liking carpet? 

And what else is everyone doing on stairs when you go vinyl elsewhere?

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