Flooring Recomendations for Rental

23 Replies

What do you guys normally do for flooring in your rentals? I know carpet seems to be the cheaper option, but I was hoping to put something in that is water proof and durable so I won’t have to change it after each messy tenant. Any recomendations are appreciated!

Luxury vinyl plank....looks like hardwood/laminate but is made of vinyl. Easy to install and nearly indestructible, water proof etc

Can get variable qualities from <$1/sq ft to $4+/sq ft....Ive done the HD Lifeproof stuff in two house....easy to install

Tile is great too but more $$ for the labor install

Laminated flooring can be as low as $1-3/sf. Most one can do it himself. Vinyl Plank is popular and often seen in modern million dollar homes. No need to shampoo or repair just replace it.


Another vote for luxury vinyl plank here. Sometimes I'll put tile in bathrooms...but I'd really stay away from carpet anywhere, it gets nasty and you'll be replacing it over and over.

Both of these are LVP, they've held up nicely to kids and pets:

We have used VPL quite a bit in apartments and a duplex. Wears well and looks good, installed it in the laundry area of our primary and plan to use it elsewhere too. Tile is cold on bare feet, VPL is almost as warm as wood.

I've never done the vinyl so can't speak or compare to that. 

I've done a lot of tile work though. And porcelain (not ceramic) tile is damn-near indestructible. If I'm planning to keep the property for some time and it can work from a design perspective, I'll go with porcelain tile. 

Note - I have condos and the HOA CC&Rs disallow the installation of anything other than carpet (other than bath & kitchen) for non-1st floor units due to noise.

Laminate or vinyl. Tile in certain areas. Yes, the carpet is cheap but it doesn't hold up against stains and tenant abuse. You may spend just as much money cleaning it and replacing it after turnover. If they have pets carpet makes the situation even worse. They're several bigger pockets podcasts on this topic. 

Here's a useful link: 
https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/tenant-proof-your-rental/

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) is a great-looking product that can hold up to most tenants. I would still use carpet in bedrooms.

Here is a summary that I have experience with:

1.  Carpet.  I never put carpet in rentals.  A tenant/pet can destroy it in only a few months.  I have heard the objection to hard surface flooring in the bedrooms, to which I tell the tenant to buy an area rug.

2.  Laminate. Regular laminate is durable but can get damaged by moisture.  Animals can cause damage by peeing on it.  Or a small water leak, such as from the AC.

3.  Ceramic tile.  At one time, I put ceramic 100% of the time.  However, due to tenant damage by dropping things on it and grout lines that get so dirty that it has to be professionally (very expensive) cleaned, I now only use it sparingly, usually in bathrooms and kitchens.

4.  Porcelain tile.  Much harder than regular ceramic so it won't chip as easily.  I like the wood tile and have used this. 

5.  Moisture resistant laminate.  Pergo Outlast Plus is supposedly water resistant but not water proof.  I used this when I need something thicker than LVP (Luxury Vinyl Plank). It is somewhat scratch resistant.

6. Luxury Vinyl Plank.  I have used LifeProof at Home Depot.  This is very scratch resistant and extremely durable. I believe that this is the best product for rentals.  It is also water proof. The only caveat is if you have imperfections in subfloor, it is extremely thin, so you may have level issues. 

7.  Wood/engineered wood floors.  I had some properties with this type flooring.  It is absolutely the worst after carpeting.  It scratches easily and is prone to water damage.  The only exception that I have found in this group is some of the very hard wood types like bamboo or Brazilian Ebony.  These would be great for resisting scratches but could still be damaged by water.  However, these are usually extremely expensive, more than $5 a square foot.

SUMMARY   Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) is best for most rentals.

Depends on the Grade of the property and also where location is.... basement apartment etc. Basement also gets ceramic tile C D neighborhoods are tile or laminated wood Some elderly apartments have carpet and linoleum We still have bedrooms with carpet but try to make the kitchen and living rooms tile or laminate wood. Right now we are so behind in construction because of flooring
@Zach Barber tile in bathrooms and vinyl plank everywhere else. Laminate can chip. If it’s a pier and beam house you need to put a hardibacker or cement board of sorts down before you use vinyl. With an unstructured floor like that it will show imperfections and look really cheap without it. Also it will help the vinyl planks not get gaps between them as the house shifts. If it’s a slab subfloor you can get away with just the vinyl. Just my two cents!

@Zach Barber ....no I've only done the click together. I have seen quite a few posts on BP where people like the self sticking...... just feels real cheap to me, like I'm applying a bunch of decals..... other people seem to like it and it is cheaper...just doesn't appeal to me. I also spend more and get the thicker Lifeproof....thicker wear layer, has the underlayment on it already etc...kind of overkill and a bit more $$ but I do tend to over engineer stuff. On my last one (1300 sq ft) it cost me about $700 more to do the much thicker version, but in my mind it was worth it....time will tell.

Originally posted by @Dawn P. :

Another vote for luxury vinyl plank here. Sometimes I'll put tile in bathrooms...but I'd really stay away from carpet anywhere, it gets nasty and you'll be replacing it over and over.

Both of these are LVP, they've held up nicely to kids and pets:

 In your first picture, this looks similar to a coloring I have been looking for. What is the name and where did you purchase it?

I looked into Floor N Decor (Gaithersburg MD) because I had great success with the Jacksonville FL location, which is where I  live near. They have some very nice selections well under $2.00 sq ft good quality. Unfortunately, after speaking with someone in their command center about delivery to the MD rental, I found out all the LVP waterproof selections I looked at was not carried in their location and would be too much to ship from another location. They said in a month “or so” they would have switched out their clearance for newer items. The person I spoke with said their location is still new and not up to dat as other locations.

I also looked at Lowe’s and HD and didn’t find anything under $2.00 sq ft as my price point over that will not work. I have seen Lifeproof as a product that I have not looked into yet.

Sams Club also carries flooring but it’s water or moisture resistant and not waterproof.

Thank you and your rooms look great.

Originally posted by @Dawn P. :

Another vote for luxury vinyl plank here. Sometimes I'll put tile in bathrooms...but I'd really stay away from carpet anywhere, it gets nasty and you'll be replacing it over and over.

Both of these are LVP, they've held up nicely to kids and pets:

 In your first picture, this looks similar to a coloring I have been looking for. What is the name and where did you purchase it?

I looked into Floor N Decor (Gaithersburg MD) because I had great success with the Jacksonville FL location, which is where I  live near. They have some very nice selections well under $2.00 sq ft good quality. Unfortunately, after speaking with someone in their command center about delivery to the MD rental, I found out all the LVP waterproof selections I looked at was not carried in their location and would be too much to ship from another location. They said in a month “or so” they would have switched out their clearance for newer items. The person I spoke with said their location is still new and not up to dat as other locations.

I also looked at Lowe’s and HD and didn’t find anything under $2.00 sq ft as my price point over that will not work. I have seen Lifeproof as a product that I have not looked into yet.

Sams Club also carries flooring but it’s water or moisture resistant and not waterproof.

Thank you and your rooms look great.

It depends on the floor, if its crawl space, and an old home without hardwoods, carpet is fine. I replace carpet every 5 years, I get good life out of it. I buy good stuff too. 

If its slab, I'd use tile from Floor & Decor. Planks can leak, and then you have liquids trapped, not a fan of that for a rental. I have it at our business and its been here 4 years, looks great, but I shudder to think what is down below. 

Thanks @Dawn P.

I am leaning toward the Asheville with light to very light grey walls. I think with will work. Coordination of color and types are not my strong  suit. I have a friend who eats this stuff up and has no problem picking out and doing coordination.