Advise...Replace old carpet with new carpet, or something else?

28 Replies

I will be closing on my first rental property in a couple weeks.  It is a single family home.  About half of the house has carpet, in the living room, hallways and bedrooms, which is trashed and needs to be replaced. 

Would you recommend replacing the carpet with new carpet, or going with a hard surface, such as laminate or wood of  some type?  

Concrete would be my first choice, but it doesn't fly with most tenants.  But that is what my sister has in her very modern style apartment.

Keep in mind the IRS says flooring in general lasts only five years.  You may get more life than that, but you need to plan and budget to replace this periodcally.  Judges around here tend to disallow any charges against security deposits for carpets more than three years old.

To some extent, though, it depends on your market.   If most units have carpet, tenant may expect that.

I prefer hard floors.  Tile in kitchens and baths, laminate or wood in other rooms.

I agree. Hard surfaces if you can. Tenants can always put area rugs over them if they wish.

We put wood in high traffic areas and carpet in bedrooms.

Never put laminate in wet areas. Vinyl is a good low-cost solution for certain markets.

If there are hardwood floors underneath the carpet that's good. Hardwood (professionally finished) is worth it if the market wants that. It lasts and lasts. We had oak floors professionally finished in 1994 and they still look great. The cost to professionally finish was less than carpet.

I would get rid of carpet - I have been using interlocking Home Depot Allure Ultra ~$3 SF that looks like wood in main part of house, glue strip Allure regular ~$2 SF that looks like tile in kitchen and porcelain tile in bathrooms. So far this has been a great investment.

I just had a unit go empty after 2+ years, mopped the floor and re-rented.

Even good tenants do not take care of carpet and after a year or two it will start looking worn.

If you are on slab you may consider Porcelain tile throughout the house.

As Jon indicated, it will depend largely on your market and target client base, but your preference will also be a factor.

We remove carpet from our properties the first opportunity we get - they're filthy things ... like having a giant lint brush attached to your floor - and replace it with a hard finish surface.   Cement and tile do not play well in our northern climate (unless they are heated or restricted to areas like washrooms and laundry rooms), but we use linoleum, bamboo, hardwood, laminate and even vinyl (plank, tile, or sheet) depending upon the unit and the market segment at which it is targeted.

You may have hardwood under the carpet. Get it refinished for about the same cost as carpet. You will need to refinish it every handful of years but you can lengthen that by requiring tenants to put area rugs down over high traffic areas. Original hardwood looks way better IMO than laminate/vinyl/ect. New hardwood ranks 2nd. 

Originally posted by @Kevin Smith :

I would get rid of carpet - I have been using interlocking Home Depot Allure Ultra ~$3 SF that looks like wood in main part of house, glue strip Allure regular ~$2 SF that looks like tile in kitchen and porcelain tile in bathrooms. So far this has been a great investment.

I just had a unit go empty after 2+ years, mopped the floor and re-rented.

Even good tenants do not take care of carpet and after a year or two it will start looking worn.

If you are on slab you may consider Porcelain tile throughout the house.

 Also, I am having some luck with the same product. Cheap. Easy to install. Withstands wear. Faster turn arounds, too (no carpet cleaning or smells. I add new areas rugs in high traffic areas (leave tags so tenants no its new)... and mats at the entries.

Originally posted by @Kevin Smith :

I would get rid of carpet - I have been using interlocking Home Depot Allure Ultra ~$3 SF that looks like wood in main part of house, glue strip Allure regular ~$2 SF that looks like tile in kitchen and porcelain tile in bathrooms. So far this has been a great investment.

I just had a unit go empty after 2+ years, mopped the floor and re-rented.

Even good tenants do not take care of carpet and after a year or two it will start looking worn.

If you are on slab you may consider Porcelain tile throughout the house.

 Do you carpet the bedrooms? Or stay with the Allure

Have you guys ever had issues with tenants damaging the hard flooring with water or spills? Is it easier to notice and charge the repair to them since that obviously isn't normal wear/tear?

On the short term carpet appears the most cost effective solution, but in CO having wood floors will attract a lot more renters.  I had success with tile flooring and tile planks that look like wood. Here are a few examples...

http://www.thebuilderdepot.com/redwmahog6x36.html?ref=lexity&_vs=shopzilla&_vm=productsearch

http://www.lowes.com/Wood-Look-Tile/_/N-1z0y8zw/pl#!

I'm not associated with the builders depot or Lowes at the time of this post. 

Hard surface is always going to give you more time in place for your investment dollar. Ceramic or LVT groutable for the bathroom floor would give you a long lifetime of service.

If you're speaking about rentals, I 'd go LVT just based on a maintenance aspect. Flips are a different matter. Hardwood will definitely raise the resale value. Newer housing might go better with a thicker grade of engineered wood, no 5/16" junk. These houses are still settling and the engineered works better.

LVT for the basement areas due to the moisture issues that can occur.

Carpeting the steps from first floor to second does help with noise reduction. Bedrooms it's a tossup. Lightly used spaces would benefit from a more plush carpet . Children's room might be better with a LVT because of staining.

I have been debating what to do with the stairs.  I never thought about the noise reduction from carpet.  Something I will consider.  Good advice Keith Lewis , thank you

Originally posted by @Andrew Meyer :

Have you guys ever had issues with tenants damaging the hard flooring with water or spills? Is it easier to notice and charge the repair to them since that obviously isn't normal wear/tear?

The Allure Ultra vinyl flooring is water proof the only thing I would be worried about is if they had a big spill that could get between the floating floor and the sub floor. If you use shoe molding it would be possible to pull floating floor up and dry out under a worst case situation.

A big advantage to the Allure Ultra is if you end up getting a big wear area you could pull up floor and reuse good sections in a smaller footprint area.

Well we did carpet  in our last rehab because of the cost savings/  The carpet was much lower in price and that was all we could afford as we we were way over budget.

We just had a tenant move out of one of our duplexes and the carpet was over 5 years old.  All we had to do there was clean the carpet and it was good to go.

We prefer hard wood floors  but you have to do what you have to do

@Kevin K. Kevin, why do you use the two different types of Allure vinyl plank in the same house? How long have you had these floors in your rentals? We just did Allure vinyl glue strip type in an entire house.

Originally posted by @Kevin Smith :
Originally posted by @Andrew Meyer:

Have you guys ever had issues with tenants damaging the hard flooring with water or spills? Is it easier to notice and charge the repair to them since that obviously isn't normal wear/tear?

The Allure Ultra vinyl flooring is water proof the only thing I would be worried about is if they had a big spill that could get between the floating floor and the sub floor. If you use shoe molding it would be possible to pull floating floor up and dry out under a worst case situation.

A big advantage to the Allure Ultra is if you end up getting a big wear area you could pull up floor and reuse good sections in a smaller footprint area.

 Ah ok that's pretty nice stuff. It sounds like it doesn't take a lot of special tool or a ton of skill to use it.

On stairs: hardwood steps with off the roll runner from Lowes overtop. Gives some plushness like carpet, is super cheap and can be pulled out and cleaned and reinstalled or replaced easy, and if the risers are painted they won't get scuffed. Second choice would be individual carpet treads carpet taped into place. Wall to wall carpet on stairs looks disgusting in no time, especially if you plan to hold this rental. If you are going to flip and time is an issue, then you might go again with wall to wall.

Originally posted by @JD Martin :

On stairs: hardwood steps with off the roll runner from Lowes overtop. Gives some plushness like carpet, is super cheap and can be pulled out and cleaned and reinstalled or replaced easy, and if the risers are painted they won't get scuffed. Second choice would be individual carpet treads carpet taped into place. Wall to wall carpet on stairs looks disgusting in no time, especially if you plan to hold this rental. If you are going to flip and time is an issue, then you might go again with wall to wall.

 How much does the runner cost you to do an average staircase? Do you bother to pad this or, say if sound control isn't an issue, just put straight carpet?

For noise reduction to people under a unit I have been using 32oz felt pad and inexpensive berber. Carpet has lasted on average 6-7 years. (pad lasts longer). Installed it is costing me $12-$14 per yard.  The allure looks great in kitchens and hallway.  Porcelain tile in the bath. This has worked for me. 

I installed 3/8" bamboo flooring in a townhouse I renovated from HD for $2/ft.  It is VERY hard and scratch resistant which is great when tenants move furniture around.  I took off the baseboard, installed it and replaced the same baseboard.  Looks great, fairly cheap and long lasting!

Originally posted by @Clayton P. :
Originally posted by @Jd Martin:

On stairs: hardwood steps with off the roll runner from Lowes overtop. Gives some plushness like carpet, is super cheap and can be pulled out and cleaned and reinstalled or replaced easy, and if the risers are painted they won't get scuffed. Second choice would be individual carpet treads carpet taped into place. Wall to wall carpet on stairs looks disgusting in no time, especially if you plan to hold this rental. If you are going to flip and time is an issue, then you might go again with wall to wall.

 How much does the runner cost you to do an average staircase? Do you bother to pad this or, say if sound control isn't an issue, just put straight carpet?

 It's been a little while since I last bought it but it runs a buck or two per foot. You need enough length to cover your riser & tread when you measure, and I'd add at least a foot or two on to that to be safe. As for padding, you can skip it, since the staples (or riser bars, if you use them) hold it in place, but I like having the rubber steps carpet-taped down to keep from abrading the treads. It's not so much padding as it is kind of like area-rug grip pads. If you put down the carpet without the rubber pads, if you decide to go carpetless later you'll have scratches on the treads.