Convert Carpet to Laminate while Tenant is in place

14 Replies

I own a 2 bedroom condo and I want to change the carpet in the living room to laminate. Can we do this while the tenant is still in place? Does that create any hazardous conditions while the work is going on?

-Dinesh,

I did this same thing just this year.  A 13-yr tenant deserved to have her old (but functional) carpet in her living room replaced with laminate.  My guy and I took care of it.

We moved her furniture to the patio and other available spaces in the townhome.  We prepped the plywood sub-floor (filled knot holes and such) where needed and even painted her walls and baseboards while we were there.  It was a 2 full day process for a 15X14 living room and she is really happy with the results!  

By hazardous do you mean material, like asbestos or something @Dinesh Thoniparambil ?  The only thing hazardous I can think of is hiring a shady installer who steals or worse.  If you need to treat for pets or pests, do it in as environmentally-friendly application as possible.  Good luck!

Check your lease. Did you put in an agreement that allows you to make upgrades?

In general, I think tenants would like new floors especially an upgrade from carpet to laminate.

If it's just the living room you could probably have that done in 1 day depending on the size so it shouldn't inconvenience them that much.

Just speak to your tenants and come to an agreement would be my best bet.

Here's how it turned out!

@Dinesh Thoniparambil Yes, you can do it and no it does not create any issues. Just ask tell the Tenant what you want to do, and ask them if that is okay and work out a time table with them. Only think I always do on top of that is tell them extra 25-50% more time so you are always done quickly then planned. so if a day project I would say day and half or day and quarter. 

Thanks for the responses, I was just worried about the tenants staying there when the carpets would be ripped out to prep for laminate install. Just health concerns, it's a 1976 building, so not too old

I had a tenant who really needed a new floor. She did not ask but we wanted to change it out as there were broken vinyl tiles. I asked her to let me know when she was going away so we could do it.  It took a while but she was very happy when she came home!  I find it best in these things to work with the tenants schedule.  The biggest issue is we had a bathroom and kitchen to do and we had to pull the toilet which was really going to be  inconvenient for her.

Moving furniture can be a strenuous thing for whoever gets that job. If they have a (pull out) sleeper sofa, those are heavy. The huge flat screens can be heavy, and you don't want to drop one of those. And then you have to make space somewhere to sit the furniture while installation is ongoing. 

Tenants who have been there a long time usually love these upgrades. 

Thanks for all the responses. I called a contractor & he mentioned that putting laminate over a concrete (moisture issues, ground floor)) would not be cost effective for a rental property. Any thoughts on that?

-Dinesh.

What more expensive option did the contractor have? In Arkansas a most homes are on slab and we put it in all the time install trough home depot is normally less than $1/sq ft if you get a cheap laminate it will be about the same a chap carpet.

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I believe that he mentioned about putting an insulation first before laminate is installed. Per his advice, this kind of cost would be normally done on owner properties instead of rental properties. He would come on Monday to check it out and let me know the next steps. I would know more then.

-Dinesh.

If at all possible, I would wait till a turnover as Steve mentioned the work may not be in the flooring (which is strenuous enough) so much as moving every item to another room or area, then moving it back (and tenants like it "back the same way").... 

Then don't forget the issues working in an occupied unit (noise, communication, tripping, etc)..... I have done a room in an occupied unit and it was more cozy than I'd like, spending a day with the family there and all their ups and downs, dodging dogs, etc... 

But all situations vary. I have used laminate for rentals starting about 8 years back and it has held up surprisingly well. Also ,no carpet cleaning at turn over--just damp mop.

My best tip, though, is that I buy a few hundred bucks of nice area rugs. I have seen these take the wear and tear and spills. Plus, roll em up and throw out or give to departing tenant and rinse and repeat. One caution--laminate on second floor, look into some acoustical underlayment, rugs, and your soundproofing to see if it is a good fit. On concrete, I used an insulated underlayment (pricey but no problems a decade out). You also test your slab first to see if it is wicking moisture.

@Dinesh Thoniparambil I would recommend you read the rules and regs about noise. If your tenant is clicking their heels around and bother the owners/tenants underneath, you'll have a headache to deal with. As far as changing the floor while they're living there, that's not cool. Perhaps do it when they're going out of town. 

Thanks all.

@Christopher Leon This is a ground floor, so sound pollution would not be a problem.

@Michael Boyer Thanks for the great advice on area rugs.

-Dinesh.