Bedroom Flooring: Carpet vs. Vinyl vs. Laminate Wood?

11 Replies

Hello fellow Landlords,

Which flooring type makes the most sense for bedrooms in 3 & 4 bedroom rental houses?  The market that I am in commands $1100 - $1400/mo for these properties.  

I believe that more renters prefer to have carpet in the bedrooms, but as you know some stains are permanent, and add to a make ready cost by requiring its replacement.

Seth Eaton  

Hi Seth, 

Laminate is very popular in our area too right now, and will fly in bedrooms and living areas alike. That said, in a larger home, I'm inclined to opt for carpet in less-traveled bedrooms and laminate in entry areas and living rooms. Carpet is cheaper to buy/install/replace than laminate. I'm sure it matters very little that I include a "no shoes on carpet" policy in my lease, but it makes me feel better. It tends to naturally last longer in bedrooms, than it would in an entry area. 

Since investing is a numbers game, perhaps you should do some calculations based on how long you plan to keep the home. There's likely some point at which laminate makes more financial sense, but on a 5 year plan, carpet would probably win from a numbers perspective. If there was a unit beneath, carpet would carry one more plus. 

Good luck - enjoy this one as one of the "fun" decisions. Let me know if you put this one to the numbers test and come up with any cost vs. life span data :). 

Stacy

NO CARPET in a rental listing is a plus.  However, bedrooms get less traffic and carpet doesn't wear out like in other higher traffic areas.  If you go with carpet, avoid the temptation to go cheap on the padding.  Cheap padding crushes and makes the carpet look worn faster.  I have a unit I just filled that I had the BRs steam cleaned (like I did 5 yrs ago) and there are only minor blemishes that practically disappear when the room is filled with furniture.  Its a Berber and holding up really well after 10 years and the 3rd family.

I removed two rooms of laminate and I'll never use it again in a rental.  My new preference is vinyl plank in wet or high traffic areas.  A little A/C leak caused a major failure of the laminate.  Anything that has zero tolerance for ever getting wet, is no good for a rental IMO.

One more point.  No matter how many times you see it written, there is no such thing as "laminate wood."  There's solid wood, engineered wood and then there's laminate.

http://lumberliquidators.com/ll/c/Rustic-Reclaimed-Oak-Click-Resilient-Vinyl-Tranquility-3RO/10037446

I just finished putting ~900 sq. ft. of this and I am very happy. Installation was a breeze with a table saw, metal square, and sharp carpet knife. It was my first time with a vinyl plank and I managed to average 150-200 sq. ft. an hour with complex cuts/reliefs as well. I put down a $.50/sq. ft. underlayment with vapor barrier as well and I'm really impressed, as was everyone that has came to look. I had previously installed Allen+Roth click lock laminate from Lowes and that was a disaster--their click lock system is terrrible. This however, was very simple.

Here's my take on it.  I put laminate in the living room and hallway.  Carpet in the bedrooms.  If a bedroom gets a stain, I replace just the one room.  Since it is separated by the laminate, no one will notice any difference.

Something else I started putting in my lease a couple of years back is the tenant has to have the carpets professionally cleaned and provide me a receipt.   (no rug doctors).   It occurred to me a couple of years back to do this when I was signing a check to the carpet cleaner - why am I paying for this?

Laminate or hardwood where I live. No one that has seen any of my rentals has said anything negative about the lack of carpets in my houses, wherein I have had lots of positive feedback about no carpet ( I don't do carpeting). I prefer hardwood but if it is not there in a rental I buy, I put in laminate.

I would consider LVT (luxury vinyl tile) in the wood-look planks.  I bought the stuff that I installed myself (with my lifemate) at age 60 from floorstoyourhome.com.  It's waterproof and requires no underlayment (or even moisture barrier in dry climates like ours).  While the cost of material is higher than carpet, the installation is fairly easy and if a piece gets ruined, you can just pull up that one piece and replace it.  It still looks like new.  Previously to this I had replaced carpet with ceramic tile (already a couple of chips through the surface layer), Pergo (still looks like brand new after 3 years but is not waterproof like LVT is) and when I bought my first rental, carpet, which was ruined after 3 years.  I will NEVER use carpet again!!!  Even in my own house, I prefer the LVT due to the fact that carpet collects dirt that no matter how often you vacuum or clean it, stills collects allergens and dirt that will not come out, not to mention the stains etc.  Just google "waterproof flooring" or "vinyl floor planks" and lots of brands will come up now.  And all the tenants just say "we'll get an area rug" when it comes to the bedrooms.  Plus you can have continuity by using this throughout the house, even in kitchens and bathrooms.

Originally posted by @Paula Rich:

I would consider LVT (luxury vinyl tile) in the wood-look planks.  I bought the stuff that I installed myself (with my lifemate) at age 60 from floorstoyourhome.com.  It's waterproof and requires no underlayment (or even moisture barrier in dry climates like ours).  While the cost of material is higher than carpet, the installation is fairly easy and if a piece gets ruined, you can just pull up that one piece and replace it.  It still looks like new.  Previously to this I had replaced carpet with ceramic tile (already a couple of chips through the surface layer), Pergo (still looks like brand new after 3 years but is not waterproof like LVT is) and when I bought my first rental, carpet, which was ruined after 3 years.  I will NEVER use carpet again!!!  Even in my own house, I prefer the LVT due to the fact that carpet collects dirt that no matter how often you vacuum or clean it, stills collects allergens and dirt that will not come out, not to mention the stains etc.  Just google "waterproof flooring" or "vinyl floor planks" and lots of brands will come up now.  And all the tenants just say "we'll get an area rug" when it comes to the bedrooms.  Plus you can have continuity by using this throughout the house, even in kitchens and bathrooms.

I wanted to make clear that I purchased and installed what is called "loose-lay", not "click together". This can be cut with a box cutter and I did all the cuts around the fireplace myself.  I've included a couple of photos of the living room (we also did the hallway and 2 bedrooms).   It's important to glue around the perimeter and across the floor about every 10', especially when you have a long stretch like you see running from the front door all the way down the living room.  (And yes, we could have chosen to lay it the other direction. : )

I used to use wood looking vinyl planks installed as a floating floor. It looks nice but scratches easily, and i always have problems replacing it, because the replacement piece has to be glued to fit. Now i use ceramic tile that looks like wood, it comes in 6"X24" planks and installs like regular tile and i pay $1.51 sq/ft for the material. I put it everywhere but the bathrooms, and i put 12"X12" tile in the bathrooms. I have gotten very positive feedback on it from all my tenants. No carpet, ever, anywhere! It just gets nasty.

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