I'm updating a kitchen in a B- type rental ($1300 3/2 condo in orlando FL area). I'm painting the older wood cabinets white , adding stainless handles/hinges, replacing all the old appliances with stainless. I'm going with laminate countertops and trying to decide between a light white/gray type granite look laminate and a black with some gray. Does anyone have experience with one being more broadly desirable to renters than the other or one being less prone to show wear? My handyman swears I should go with the black because it will not show stuff nearly as easy but I"m not sure how true this is with the newer laminates or if black turns off some people due to it being more cold. Here are a couple of pictures of the countertops I'm trying to pick between. The second picture needs to be thought about with stainless appliances, not white. Again, the question is twofold. Attracting the widest pool of tenants and what will hold up best over time with B/C class tenants as far as wear.
I have found that making sure that all of your choices work together is far more important that any one particular choice. Are you doing any type of backsplash? What type/color flooring will you have?
One other thing, that makes a BIG difference when you update an older kitchen is to use invisible cabinet hinges rather than the old style visible hinges. You can purchase a non-morticed soft-close hinges off amazon for just over $3/hinge. However in the (likely) case where your older cabinets are face-frame cabinets, you'll have to glue/screw in blocks behind the face frame to mount the hinges. (Or you can get regular European style invisible hinges and drill press the holes for the mortice hinges.)
I think the light color laminate will last you longer because it will help to hide minor damages. However, I like the look of the first image better.
Here you go for a different look. Similar idea that you have been using. I like both of yours also quite a bit . The last 2 I remodeled looked like this. Raised rent $250. 91 Hits on my advertisements the first day. Only showed it to Pre-Screened and qualified individuals. Rented to the first person who looked at it. Had another one a few months later and did the same thing. Raised rent another $100 over the one before and rented to my second showing. 51 hits on my advertisements the first day. Rents were about middle of expected market. Considerations: New Stainless Rental Grade appliances have gone up about 10-20% in just the last 6 months and are very hard to get without ordering at least 30 days in advance. I am trying to turn these over as quick as possible. White appliances are lower priced and scratches can be repaired. Might go back to White actually. Can repair scratches more easily, Package prices are $300-$400 lower price for similar quality over stainless. Plus I have been seeing quite a few pretty nice used white appliances come up as people are upgrading to Stainless. Nice Used Stainless appliances are basically non existent.
@Ned Cavasian I suggest going with a light laminate that is flecked or softly veined, since these would really go well with your white cabinets and will also help your kitchen look big and light.
The tile/grout I have is almost identical to the picture with the light countertop that I posted at the start of this thread. I think either of the two granite looks that I posted would work since one is mostly black and one is white with some gray and beige in it (although the beige doesn't show much in the photo of the lighter one). I've been leaning toward the lighter for the reasons @Sharlene Mulchandani mentioned and because of my tile color but my handyman who works on a lot of rentals has me freaked out that I'll be sorry in a couple years for not going with the darker laminate. The lighter laminate is Typhoon Ice from Home Depot. Here is a cut/paste of the color. I think that the beige will pick up beige in the tile (maybe) and the gray will go well with the stainless appliances while keeping the kitchen bright/cheerful.
My handyman says black is much easier to fix scratches and stuff in because it is dark and because it is more uniform even considering that they make a color matched fixer touch up thing for this above lighter color. The black is from Lowes and is called Midnight Stone Etchings. This is what it looks like:
The black will look good to and will go fine with the tile as well, maybe even better. Is just a different look, more sleek, less cheerful in my opinion. Don't know if there are a substantial number of women who won't want such a dark countertop in their kitchen or if the lighter one truly will start looking discolored from whatever tenants do to things (put hot plates on them, stain them somehow or whatever). Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? (i.e. lighter granite looking laminate getting discolored or potential tenants being turned off by black countertops)?
I agree with the other person who said it is a complete package. Look at your floors and backsplash/wall colour. I would avoid black as it can make the room seem darker.
Your tenants should not be putting hot pots directly on the counters. If they do and damage them...then the cost of a new countertop comes out of their deposit.
@Roy Nash We are finding the same thing with appliance prices and even appliance availability here in the midwest. It's crazy. Your apartments look very nice. We renovate to a similar standard and have been having the same experience with renters. I put one on the market two weeks before Christmas and had six solid applicants fill out applications in 4 days and I don't know how many queries and ad views. We took the ad down on day 4 and rented both the completed apartment and another that was unfinished to applicants 1 & 2.
Just spoke to my handyman again and he is just adamant that the lighter laminates even with all these granite like markings just get discolored from tenants or whatever and the dark is much better for rentals and still looks good with white cabinets. He has sort of worn me down. On the other subject, off the main topic of this thread, regarding the stainless appliances availability mentioned by a couple people above, I did have a little difficulty finding some new ones and I did not want to mess used ones given a very limited supply and me being an out of state landlord. I agree though that you should be able to get great deals on white appliances that are used since so many people trade those in. I did not think the stainless used was worth doing given the prices and limited options. With used if I was local I would look at date codes and I know a lot of this used stuff, especially in stainless is 8 years old or more a lot of times. So , I don't think it is a good deal unless you are flipping personally. I'll be you can get some white ones that are much newer for great prices used though since there are so many being traded in. Personally, I don't get the huge attraction they say tenants have to stainless. If I was a tenant a nice kitchen with nice white appliances would be fine with me and way easier to care for. I was too scared to buck the stainless trend though so didn't do it this time. Again, though that was off topic and really still wondering if anyone agrees with my handyman about darker laminate being the way to go for long term maintenance if both fit the colors scheme in the kitchen and assuming either will work nicely from that perspective.
Dropping a knowledge bomb about cabinetry hinge-ery! I have some old style visible hinges. I might have to switch those out. Thanks!