Favorite flooring/carpet for apartments?

12 Replies

Hey BP - 

I am soon to close on my first deal! It is a 2800 sf 2-family in the city of Poughkeepsie, NY.

There are certain parts of Poughkeepsie I never would have considered, but this is an improving street near the business section, and I feel really good about it. 

It is a 1910 Colonial with (2) 3-bedroom 1-bath units (and it came with 2 gorgeous clawfoot tubs!!!) 

Once I close, I will be taking my team of engineer, inspector, electrician, and designer to the property to help measure out rooms and develop a new floor plan. Most of the space is fine as-is, except one of the bedrooms is incredibly small and you have to walk through it to get to the other bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen. NOT a great layout idea! We are going to be redoing the entire electrical, plumbing, and heating systems, so we aren't afraid to move some walls.

The hardwood in the living room and bedrooms looks good (isn't cupping or bowing) but I am not sure if I should spend the time sanding and sealing or if another solution is recommended. The kitchens currently have a cheap linoleum that may be usable but will probably be replaced, and the bathrooms have tile which can be patched in the necessary spots.

Has anyone found a durable and affordable carpet at Home Depot, Lowe's, or another home improvement store that you swear by for all your rentals?

Any feedback (on rehabbing, rentals, tenants, building materials, anything) is appreciated!!

So glad to finally be posting this. 

Thank you!

Yes - at Home Depot check out the Armstrong Allure flooring.  It is a floating thick vinyl plank flooring that looks like wood or ceramic tile depending on the design you choose.  Easy to care for, very durable, easy to install, and very cost effective.  If you have any foundation movement or settling it is floating so the movement does not affect it.  I have started using this in all my SF homes with wonderful results.

Hi Devin,

We have a triplex and the upstairs has hardwood floors that are beyond salvageable- at least within my budget.  They have at least 14 layers of paint on them, are cracked and worn in places, large gaps between boards, etc.  We put down vinyl plank flooring made by Congoleum and have been happy so far.  We put this in a high traffic area- a landing at our other triplex- and it is doing well there too.  It is easy to install- comes in 6" wide planks and tapes together, here is a picture of the finished result:

And a link to the specific product:


We found this at a non local flooring place but haven't seen it around here!  $3.50 per square foot but you have to buy it by the box which covers 22 square feet-

@Devin Berrian

Are you sure the kitchens have linoleum?  I'm betting it is vinyl - though the house is old enough there could be a linoleum layer under there somewhere.  Linoleum is quite different than vinyl:  first it is not a petroleum product, but is made from entirely renewable components (linseed oil, pine rosin, wood flour, cork, gypsum); it is naturally antimicrobial {one reason it is used extensively in places such as hospitals, day cares, nursing homes, etc.} and it is quite durable. 

That aside:  Who is your target clientele for these apartments?  You mentioned you are near the business district, is it viable to finish them either upscale and target executives or modern and target young professionals?   Three bedrooms are often challenging to rent - unless one room is very small and you turn it into an office and rent a spacious 2-bedroom executive apartment w/ office.  Is there any viability to dividing one of the units into 2 (i-bdrm) units?

I would stay away from carpet and stick to hardwood (natural or engineered) or high-end laminate throughout {pending your clientele}.  If you can patch and refinish the existing hardwood all the better.   If someone really wants a carpet in their bedroom, they can use an area rug. 

If you are not aiming at an upscale clientele, then vinyl plank is a durable alternative: it is available as glue down {not recommended}, self-adhesive floating floor {only sticks to itself} or as a click floor {the pricier end of things}.

Thanks, Roy. Some things to consider!!

I like the idea of marketing as a 2BR with office, though I'll still probably give that little bedroom (once redone) a closet just in case. There are many families in the area needing housing and I don't want to lose the opportunity to market to them. 

It is not quite nice enough of a street to modernize and market to upscale people. According to my agent, because of the location and size, with utilities I can get between $1,200 and $1,500/month in rent. I don't want the renovations to be so expensive that I don't recoup if I can't successfully attract upscale professionals. 

I will have to take a look at the flooring when I get in there again. We did two fairly quick walkthroughs. There is also a large walk up attic coming off the second story landing and not connected to the second story apartment, and full basement. Do you or anyone else recommend utilizing this space for personal storage, or leaving the building only for tenant use and perhaps closing off the attic and providing coin-operated washer/dryer in basement?

Thanks again.

Thanks everyone, I just scrolled up and really appreciate all the input!!

Hi Devin,

I think your idea on keeping the bedroom is right on.  We have one unit I market as a 3 or 4 bedroom- the 4th bedroom is barely big enough to be a legal bedroom and is usually used as a spare room or storage, but we do get more interest in the unit because of it.

As for the extra space- I would rent the attic as extra storage if the 2nd floor unit wanted to rent it, and assuming the basement is accessible to both (outside entrance?) I would put laundry in there and increase the rent to cover it.  I am on the fence about coin operated- we have a triplex with laundry in the basement that is free to use and it has worked well for the past 2 years.  Just bought a quad with coin operated machines and I do like collecting the quarters- and it seems less likely that someone would be doing someone else's laundry  there since they have to pay.  I hear they are more expensive to maintain and break more often but no clue if that is true or not.


@Devin Berrian

If the attic is assessable outside of the existing units, is it big enough for a loft-style efficiency / bachelor apartment?   Another option is to add it as a 4th bedroom (master suite) to the upper unit.

Around here with all the old Second Empire and Victorian buildings converted into apartments, is common to turn the attic into living space.  [Note: If you choose to do this, there are things you must consider to ensure both adequate insulation and ventilation of the roof.   If you eventually go this route, PM me and I can provide you with reference materials and notes from our experience.

Updated about 3 years ago

Clarification: the intent of my post here was to encourage looking for a "higher and better" use for the attic space than storage. Storage could be a cheap interim use, but a longterm consolation.

first off congrats.  Lumber liquator has similar to allure vinyl that clicks together like laminate. The quality is great for the price and you get a discount with commercial sales.  They also have a commercial version for a reasonable price. The commercial version is glue down luxury vinyl . I got quoted like .99 a ft for commercial.  I used the click for a flip as well as my basement.    

Thanks for the input, everyone. These are such helpful suggestions. 

On renting out the attic, it would present a fire hazard and is against the fire code. There are only 2 small windows from what I remember and no fire escape. We would need to either offer it as storage with a lease clause prohibiting occupancy or just keep it inaccessible to the tenants. 

I am going to see what kind of flooring I have now and compare the suggestions you have all provided. By the way, I'm not allowing pets. Anyone feel better about a medium grade carpet, or still no?

Originally posted by @Devin Berrian :

Thanks for the input, everyone. These are such helpful suggestions. 

On renting out the attic, it would present a fire hazard and is against the fire code. There are only 2 small windows from what I remember and no fire escape. We would need to either offer it as storage with a lease clause prohibiting occupancy or just keep it inaccessible to the tenants. 

We have encountered similar issues and they are far from insurmountable.

You would have to add egress windows and supply either emergency ladders or a fire escape, pending on what local code requires.    If it is a separate unit you will likely require a fire escape (platform and stairs or ladder).  If it is a living space which is part of the second floor unit, you may just be required to have egress windows and an emergency ladder.  Check with the fire marshall of fire department.

We like Engage Essentials luxury vinyl plank flooring. My maintenance man tells me it's MUCH MUCH easier to install than Allure, AND has an 11 mil wear layer vs. Allure's 4. I cannot remember the price, but it's definitely not .99 SF (either 2.99 or 3.99 I believe). 

awesome! Thank you! I'm very appreciative of everyone's continued support! 

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