Rental - Which flooring would you pick?

9 Replies

Plan is to rent and hold for maybe 5 years or so, then fix up and sell.

- So right now, it's a 50's house, it has hardwood floors that had carpet over them, I'd like to have the hardwood floors refinished and looking nice when I go to sell one day. 

- I am trying to get a better tenant so I'm going a bit more high-end on some finishes (without going over the top, I'm still broke lol)

- I removed the old carpet, so in all the rooms except 2 bedrooms, the carpet tacks are still in place and in excellent condition

That said, would you:

1. Sand, stain and poly the existing wood floors (and obviously have something written into lease regarding protecting them within reason - keeping temperature and moisture regulated.)

2. Wood laminate to protect the existing wood floors and not have to be changed out between each tenant

3. Carpet 

And I'd prefer your reasons for the choice, to help me sort through this on my own -- and I'm sure as always, everyone will have things I haven't even considered before! I'm leaning toward 1 or 2 because I personally hate carpet and it seems like it would be more expensive in the end to have to replaced between every tenant, but maybe I'm wrong since most landlords seem to go this way?

Also, bathrooms and kitchen are done so this will just be the living spaces.

I always prefer refinishing the hardwood, however your idea of something over the top of the hardwood (people rave about luxury vinyl Plank) would probably protect it well, and allow easier repair if a tenant damages it, and then you can refinish the HW down the road when it is time to sell.

Ok I’m in both the flooring business and the property rental business. So if you put in a decent Carpet say a Berber with a good pad for around 3.00 a sqft i honestly think it would be reasonable to expect to get 8-10 years of use out of the Carpet.

I’m not to far from Ottawa and think you could get hardwood floors refinished for 2.00-2.50 a sqft. If that’s the end goal before selling I would do that now, and maybe get a few inexpensive area rugs to help protect.

Not a huge fan of cheap laminate. I do like the click together lvt in rentals but mostly if I can glue down some lvt I’m much happier with that. Obviously you don’t want to think about using glue or putting down a subfloor to glue on.
That’s my two cents

Love the hardwood.  It is the most expensive and hardest to maintain / repair.  Refinish costs exceed placing another floor over it.  Should you want to sell you can always pull up the existing floor to get back to the wood. 

I use a lot of the depot wood synthetic boards.  They are under $1 a square foot and can be installed quickly.  The boards can be swapped out , it is a bit of a pain, but better than replacing a whole floor.  They can be used in Kitchens and bathrooms, but it is not an ideal use.  I prefer tile in the wet areas.

Fuzzy side up carpet is the cheapest and shortest lived.  Obviously not fit for kitchen and bathrooms.  

Rolled linoleum is another popular choice.  Do not buy the lowest cost product.  The really cheap ones are soft and rip easily and there is no repair only replacement.    

For a rental I would do minimal refinish at this time since they will require refinish at time of sale regardless. You risk not having usable hardwood if you are looking at two complete refinish jobs in addition to wasting money for a renter.

I would remove all carpet, do a light sand and re poly. When it comes time to sell you either refinish the wood floors completely or install new hardwood. It will depend on whether the existing hardwood has previously been refinished and has any life left in it when you are ready to sell.

@Brian Pulaski - Thank you, and yes, if I did vinyl I would probably do plank (haven't used it before so hard to really compare but lots of people say good things and where I've seen it in houses it looks really good and seems to have come very far!)


@Rich Nordstrom - Thank you, it's good to know what it would be locally too. Seems like similar price to refinish versus good carpet so that helps point me in a right direction. And yes, no glue but I've been looking at the thin underlayment and the click laminate planks.

@David K. - Thank you


@Lesley Resnick - Thank you, good to know with the synth wood boards you can switch out damaged pieces, I wasn't sure if that would work.

In west coast, the refinish is $1.25/sf, modern laminated 1/2" thick with acoustic and thermal barrier(new design) is about $3 per sf. Contractor  apartment grade carpet is a $2 ish including installation. Keep in mind import materials come to west coast first so the material cost here is lower but wages are higher. Min wage is $15 per hour. If you rent out 5 years later you need to redo the flooring. Tiles make more sense in bath and kitchen and hopefully they still look durable when sell if you protect the caulk gap with water sealant. I have started using new carpet each time tenants move out. No shampoo. I can not expect all tenants to wear no shoes inside the house. Porcelain tiles work for me.  

Originally posted by @Melissa Kirchhoff :

Plan is to rent and hold for maybe 5 years or so, then fix up and sell.

- So right now, it's a 50's house, it has hardwood floors that had carpet over them, I'd like to have the hardwood floors refinished and looking nice when I go to sell one day. 

- I am trying to get a better tenant so I'm going a bit more high-end on some finishes (without going over the top, I'm still broke lol)

- I removed the old carpet, so in all the rooms except 2 bedrooms, the carpet tacks are still in place and in excellent condition

That said, would you:

1. Sand, stain and poly the existing wood floors (and obviously have something written into lease regarding protecting them within reason - keeping temperature and moisture regulated.)

2. Wood laminate to protect the existing wood floors and not have to be changed out between each tenant

3. Carpet 

And I'd prefer your reasons for the choice, to help me sort through this on my own -- and I'm sure as always, everyone will have things I haven't even considered before! I'm leaning toward 1 or 2 because I personally hate carpet and it seems like it would be more expensive in the end to have to replaced between every tenant, but maybe I'm wrong since most landlords seem to go this way?

Also, bathrooms and kitchen are done so this will just be the living spaces.

 I always refinish if possible, hardwood floors are the top tier product. If you cannot restore always a laminate or luxury vinyl tile (LVT) - absolutely no carpet anymore

I've used LVP and I love it. I always use the click together style. I haven't gotten to see long term results yet (only had it in my units for 6+ months), but I've been thoroughly impressed so far. With LVP you could easily lay it over the hardwood without causing any damage and then remove it and refinish the hardwood at a later date if you so desired. My advice, should you choose LVP, is to simply buy from a place where you can read reviews online. I recently tried a different brand from Menards where they don't have reviews online. It's decent stuff but didn't click together as seamlessly as some other brands I've used from Home Depot or Lowes. 

Good luck.