Hardwood floors vs carpet

14 Replies

Hello BP,

I'm getting a lot of closer to owning my first investment property. If the deal goes through there will be some rehabbing done to the house. It would be a buy and hold for the long run. I am seeking wisdom and some advice from those that have experiences with turnover costs. My main question is, what is cheaper in the long run in regards to turnover costs, hardwood floors or carpet?

The home I at looking at is in Kansas City, which unlike Southern Ca, gets rain and snow. My line of thinking is that hardwood floors may be cheaper over the long run since it's easier to clean. The carpet may have to be replaced every time tenants leave. I'm leaning with hardwood floors in the common areas, but carpet in the bedrooms. Is my line of thinking correct? Are there other things I should consider with flooring? What about laminate?

congrats on your journey. 

in my experience i have refinished hw floors and installed thousands and thousands of square feet of laminate floors. 

the issue i have found with laminate floors is if they ever require a repair down the road it is unlikely you will be able to get an exact match for the floor you installed  X years ago. 

hardwood floors can be refinished several times and look great when done right. 

you assumption on carpet is pretty accurate. we tend to install a mid-grade carpet (not the cheapest carpet available)  and as long as tenant did not totally trash it we have been able to get it cleaned and in some cases even dyed it a different color if we could not get the stains out but yes we replace a lot of carpet after tenants leave. 

I'm definitely in the hardwood camp for a myiad of reasons.  I believe in the long run, hardwood floors are less expensive to maintain.  Also, most prospective tenants are going to find real hardwood floors to be more desirable (for the look, and if they suffer from allergies).  If you allow pets (like a cat), hardwoods are also an advantage.  Beyond that, when you go to sell the property, hardwood floors are always more desirable to a buyer.

If you are looking to laminate.  Look at Trafficmaster Allure Ultra sold at Home Depot.  Can't say enough about this product.  I have laid over 1000 sq. ft. in the last few months and it is awesome.  Just an alternative.  It was recommended by other BPers.


I would like to suggest a consideration in tile.  Much like yourself, I found myself with the same question as you.  It was also suggested I consider vinyl plank flooring, as well.  My GC was the one who suggested tile given my concerns about upkeep, maintenance, and etc.

At first, I was skeptical and not a fan of the tile idea (personal preference).  However, when emotion was put aside, coupled with some shopping for tile, I realized it was the best option (for me) for the long haul.  We were able to local a discount tile place that had 20"x20" tile on sale for $0.89 a square foot (down from $1.69 a square foot.  It is installed and the place looks great.

Given you are in a snow area, the tile may not be a good choice as tile doesn't self heat.  In any case, I wanted to kindly offer the option that was given to me that I would never have considered otherwise.  Good luck with whichever option you choose.

Dave C

We have been rehabbing a Fix and Flip and found Lowes answer to Allure is CoreTec.  It is water proof and works great on mildly uneven sub-flooring. And yes we put carpet, middle of grade, in bedrooms 

I echo what @Dan Perrott said. For a rental check out allure traffic master.

Thanks everyone, I will be sure to check out the traffic master and compare the costs/pros/cons vs the other types.

How does that Core-Tec compare cost wise to Alllure @Tom Keith ?

@Tom Keith - I always thought the Lowe's equivalent to Allure Ultra was SmartCore.  Is that the same thing that you are referring to?  Here's a link:  http://www.lowes.com/pd_534153-28573-50SLV501_4294...  

It comes out to about 2.79/sq foot, so a little cheaper than Allure Ultra.  So far all that we have tried is the regular Allure, which has been good so far, but I would not be surprised if there is some peeling with water at some point- especially in bathrooms or basements.

@Carlos O.  

Ceramic tile kitchen and baths.  Carpet beds and stairs.  Living rooms etc... Compare the allure to the HD .68 Sq ft laminate.  It's really cheap, but it's also really cheap to replace.   I keep a spare box of laminate in the attic of each property for a repair.  Even if it's gone... It's really cheap to replace.  Ceramic tile is forever. 

I love hardwood .  I go for the distressed look .  When the floors need to be done I lightly sand and hit it with gloss polyurethane. I dont go for perfect , by the tine a rug , furniture are installed it looks great . Best part is I am in and out in a day for less than $ 150.00


As you can tell, there are a number of possibilities to this question.  You have to ask yourself what you are trying to achieve.  My rentals have products that LOOK like good quality, but for a fraction of the cost.  I agree with @Bryan N.  , I always go with tile in the kitchen and bath for longevity and the ability to seal the floor from water damage. 

I use laminate flooring in the living area and hallways.  I would prefer to not have carpet at all; however, I always lay carpet in the bedrooms so people's feet are comfortable when they kick their shoes off.  If you have a basement, I use vinyl planks.  This is not your typical vinyl flooring!  It has the look and texture of hardwood floors, but it is vinyl and has a waterproof backing.  This stuff is amazing!  I have attached a link to some of it below.  You can buy it at Home Depot and/or Lowes:


By using these products, my flooring maintenance costs have dramatically declined.

@Angie B. , @Jeff S. Sorry to be away so long and not replied.  Yes Angie You are correct, it is SmartCore.  Jeff, it is reasonably priced with 3 Different qualities which include the thickness of total product. The low end I did not like for the home being rehabbed, it was $1.97.  We chose the middle selection mainly because of color we desired and it was $2.75 I Think.  And did I memntion, "It is Waterproof"!  

Thanks everyone for contributing your thoughts and experiences. If come across any flooring needs, I'll likely get the Allure Ultra or Smartcore since they seems to offer the best long run solution to flooring.

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