Type of floors to put in for renovation?

11 Replies

Hello friends,

I need some help on flooring. I purchased a SFR in a gated community in Los Angeles County (Gardena, for those who know the area), earlier this year. This home is a 3 bedroom, just over 1900 square feet, and was built in 2004. This is a buy and hold property, and the area has been transitioning from lower middle class for decades, to more affluent in recent years, with another gated community opening up next door to where we purchased, although there isn't really more room to develop in the area.

Everything about the property is quite modern and competitive with other properties in our area, if not better. The one thing that I think is an issue is it's carpeted throughout, whereas many of the comps I've seen have some sort of hardwood floor, so I figured it would be good to make that change out of carpet. The current tenant (we took over an existing lease). has chosen to move to a different city, so they vacate the property on May 31.

The issue is, I seem to be getting a variety of opinions on what to put in next for flooring. My realtor, who also happens to own a number of rental houses in the LA area himself, suggests that we put in high-quality hardwood flooring (especially since we'll be holding this for at least the next 4 or 5 years, given that the area is appreciating well). I've had another landlord friend tell me to go with vinyl, since hardwood can get water and other damage, and we may have tenants with young children (just based on the demographics of the area). I've heard other folks who like laminate (cheaper obviously).

Does anyone have feedback on what they'e liked in their houses? For some idea of the rental values, comps in the area tend to go for between $2950 to $3050, and we bought the property for $535 K. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. 

I am personally putting in vinyl glue down flooring in my own residence which is a new build. I have kids so I don’t want carpet to be destroyed within 5 years.

The nice part about glue down vs T&G is that if a section ever gets damaged you can use a hair dryer to warm it up, peel it off and replace it.

We will probably just buy large rugs every 5 years from the Home Depot for the living room.

Bedrooms will be carpeted.

I've done luxury vinyl plank, both click lock and glue strip, in my last couple rental renovations..  Amazing look and great product..  Very water resilient, durable, and relatively inexpensive..


Years ago (2004)  I used Shaw vinyl plank flooring on my house in Redding, CA. It's had a lot of hard living, with over 14 people living in the house, large gatherings, motorcycle boots, cowboy boots, etc. That vinyl looks as good today as the day it was installed. 

In our higher end spec houses in southern CA where humidity was a concern we used engineered wood, which holds shape better than hardwood. The engineered wood had a really good warranty. I think you can see both if you go on to my website. 

The new vinyl looks just like wood, with texture, etc. which wasn't available back when I installed mine. It's beautiful. 

Thank you all for the replies! Seems like vinyl may be the way to go on this one (or at least going to explore if it is), going to research vinyl plank and other options, and go take a look at the floor store. Much appreciated. 

I'll be contrarian. I've put in plenty of laminate and LVP but at that rent I'd put in real oak or at least engineered wood. It will last many years and add value on sale. Tile in the kitchen of course.

A couple things to consider;

Installation costs & maintenance for upkeep and repair
Noise ( certain types of flooring are extremely loud)

Real hardwood
-one of the more expensive options
-installation is time consuming as it has to be nailed down and then sanded/finished
-biggest benefit in my opinion is that if your floors get trashed at some point you can always sand them down and re finish them

Vinyl Flooring
-cheaper than real hardwood
-easier to install ( you can either glue it down or float it)
- takes abuse fairly well especially moisture
-while you can’t refinish vinyl if you float the flooring it’s very easy to pull it up and replace

I have put tile on all my recent renovations. Zero issues later. Vinyl plank works but sub-floor has be level. Get a good installer. One of my mistakes earlier in the business was using a handyman to do floors.

Originally posted by @Krishna Chava :

I have put tile on all my recent renovations. Zero issues later. Vinyl plank works but sub-floor has be level. Get a good installer. One of my mistakes earlier in the business was using a handyman to do floors.

 Just remember the best solution for your area and home style is not universal. I'll bet all the homes there are single story on a slab, perfect for tile. Here, century old wooden joists and floors can make tile tricky. I have friends whose 24x12 kitchen tiles are a disaster. I've only laid larger tiles like 12x12 on completely new subfloors.