There still doesn't seem to be a good flooring for rentals

29 Replies

... except ceramic or porcelain tile.

I've been researching what to replace the remaining bedroom carpet with, and I've been looking for an alternative to labor-intensive ceramic tile.

This property has a concrete slab.

The most common complaints I have seen for luxury vinyl plank are splitting seams. Split seams trap dirt. 

So you have 2 problems with vinyl plank... lighter colors hide scratches, but if you have a split seam, the gap and dirt are very noticeable.

If you have vinyl plank, especially the solid core vinyl planks, in your rentals.... how have they held up over the years ??

You're buying the junk vinyl plank. If it's less than $3/sqft it will be junk. Lifeproof, ridged core, waterproof. Do not buy anything with any type of wood in them. 

Lifeproof is the only vinyl plank I use, have it in several places, and has held up well. Make sure to take your time and seat the planks properly. Vinyl plank is one of those products where you get what you pay for.

I had bad luck with lifeproof LVP. Installer started installing and said you can see the lines in between them. I didn't think it was a big deal at the time but he said it will be more noticeable over time. In any case i returned it and went with costco golden arowana LVP which was actually lower price than lifeproof and had 20 mil wear layer and the installer said it was the best lvp he ever installed and called it commercial grade.  In terms of lvp the wear layer matters most and lifeproof highest i see is 12 mil for wear layer.  If you got costo membership they go on sale regulary and it superior to lifeproof.

Ceramic tile, LVP or LVT, have not had the issues you have brought up maybe you are using the thin cheap stuff?  Get the thicker mil and that stuff is rock solid.  

Originally posted by @Ronald Starusnak :

You're buying the junk vinyl plank. If it's less than $3/sqft it will be junk. Lifeproof, ridged core, waterproof. Do not buy anything with any type of wood in them. 

 funny, lifeproof is exactly the stuff that I've seen complaints about splitting seams

Originally posted by @David Pai :

I had bad luck with lifeproof LVP. Installer started installing and said you can see the lines in between them. I didn't think it was a big deal at the time but he said it will be more noticeable over time. In any case i returned it and went with costco golden arowana LVP which was actually lower price than lifeproof and had 20 mil wear layer and the installer said it was the best lvp he ever installed and called it commercial grade.  In terms of lvp the wear layer matters most and lifeproof highest i see is 12 mil for wear layer.  If you got costo membership they go on sale regulary and it superior to lifeproof.

wear layer doesn't matter if the planks separate at the seams. 

I want something 99% maintenance free.  

separating seams sound like a huge headache.

https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/84/topics/704056-vinyl-plank-flooring-is-separating

@Mike Franco I have been wondering the same thing lately. I used LVP in a rental about 4 years ago. It was from a flooring store and seemed like great quality. I just turned the property after 4 years and the flooring has a couple pieces where the top layer has started to peel up. The floor has not separated any just the peeling. I tried glueing it back down but not sure how well that worked. Eventually it will need to be replaced. What is a tenant proof flooring option? I’m always afraid someone will drop something on tile and break one.

I installed ceramic time in almost 100 units in California and I has some serious problems with cracks. I used different contractors for the installations and in some apartments all the tiles got loose. Ceramic tile is no good for 2nd floor units because when tenants move a chair during the night the noise bothers the tenants below.

Strangely, every home I owned in Las Vegas had ceramic tile in kitchens and when I cleaned the tile almost every house has zero chips and zero cracks. I don't understand why the tile in Las Vegas is so much better than in my properties in California.

I went into a new medical building a few weeks ago and the entire building has some sort of vinyl with a wood design and the stuff looks beautiful and really tuff. I think that is what I will look for for my next rental unit.

I just remodeled an apartment that had all laminate floors. The tenant had a dog and the dog must have had urinated in on every floors consistently. The urine went through the seams in the laminate and even after we removed all the laminate floors we had to seal the sub floor with an alcohol base paint to eliminate the horrible odor. I was in a rush, could not make up my mind and installed carpets.

Originally posted by @Mike Franco :

... except ceramic or porcelain tile.

I've been researching what to replace the remaining bedroom carpet with, and I've been looking for an alternative to labor-intensive ceramic tile.

This property has a concrete slab.

The most common complaints I have seen for luxury vinyl plank are splitting seams. Split seams trap dirt. 

So you have 2 problems with vinyl plank... lighter colors hide scratches, but if you have a split seam, the gap and dirt are very noticeable.

If you have vinyl plank, especially the solid core vinyl planks, in your rentals.... how have they held up over the years ??

 Mine have held up spectacularly. I use the Smartcore flooring, but not the one made for Lowe's - the thicker plank with the better wear layer and underlayment attached.

If your seams separate, there's only 3 reasons: defective product, improper installation, or too much floor deflection. #1 should be obvious to the installer, as the edges should lock securely and without major persuasion. #2 means the installer probably didn't lock the edges properly or left too much gap on the sides where the planks can slide (should be 1/4" each side). #3 is most likely, from a floor that is too uneven or doesn't have enough subfloor support. If the floor deflects too much, the seams are going to unlock or break. Again, should have been obvious to the installer.

@Mike Franco

Have you considered doing an epoxy finish for more of a modern feel? Since you have a concrete slab that is an option.

I installed life proof flooring that is a lighter looking wood and haven’t had any issues with it.

You get what you pay for. I have vinyl plank in my personal house that looks brand new despite three teens (dozens of their friends), two dogs, etc.

Another option is tile. I'm not a fan of tile in a bedroom, but it will last a long time if installed correctly.

I've used Lifeproof and it was fine. Though my favorite is Armstrong Luxury Vinyl Vivero Better. 

I watched my handyman drag a gas range across that stuff and there was zero damage.

There was also no gaps in either product - and it looks great and more importantly tenants love it!

@Mike Franco

I have bought quite a bit of vinyl flooring. Originally, I bought less expensive planks and an upgraded underlayment. Sadly, thia caused the planks seams to split apart. Ended up replacing 2 year old flooring with much more expensive vinyl planks which seem to be doing better.

Originally posted by @David Pai :

I had bad luck with lifeproof LVP. Installer started installing and said you can see the lines in between them. I didn't think it was a big deal at the time but he said it will be more noticeable over time. In any case i returned it and went with costco golden arowana LVP which was actually lower price than lifeproof and had 20 mil wear layer and the installer said it was the best lvp he ever installed and called it commercial grade.  In terms of lvp the wear layer matters most and lifeproof highest i see is 12 mil for wear layer.  If you got costo membership they go on sale regulary and it superior to lifeproof.

 I have used both and the costco flooring is not commercial quality and it is not better than the regular life proof. You will see the seams in the LVP flooring, that is normal. It is not intended to appear seamless.