@Mike Franco We used casa moderna vinyl planks first time. floor n decor. Still looks great after 7 years. It is the "cheap" stuff, maybe 2.5-3 mm, but click lock, floating. Over a cement slab. Difficult to install vs laminate.
Last time used lifeproof. Easier install as rigid like laminate but really had to pound it in. Yes, wear layer is important but also the quality of the wear layer. 22mil vinyl vs something much thinner but with aluminum oxide or whatever makes it super hard. Don't know but lifeproof seems harder than the neucore? from floor n decor with a 22mil wear layer.
Installing 79 cent laminate in a sunken living room this week. The rest of the house is 10 year old home legends hd laminate that I spent under a dollar a foot for. Held up great except some slight peaking in kitchen and dented under refrigerator. We siliconed the quarter round around the cabinets and that may have helped.
@Mike Franco vinyl planks.
That was a bad install. I had some relatively inexpensive traffic master ultra (vinyl click lock plank) from home depot installed in a retail store on a slab for two years. The store flooded once. When we lost our lease, I took up that floor and had it reinstalled over a slab in a rental and it still looks great today at six years old.
Rules say that floating floors of all types need a gap at and around edges to allow for expansion.
There is a snap and lock system out there, but I have not used it. Still, they want that gap.
Problem with that gap, is that the floor will move. It just will! I don't install my floors per manufacturer reccomendations, but that because I don't like seeing those gaps, and blaming it on manufacturer reccomendations.
I am waiting for floors to buckle vs split at the seams. So far, so good.
Vinyl products are of the glue-down, peel and stick, and floating systems.
Vinyl shrinks and grows with temperatures as they fluctuate. It's the nature of the animal.
So, your cost savings might be better realized in a luxury wood or composite floor. Hard to grasp for a "rental", I know.
Bedrooms? Vinyl roll flooring as a single piece, if carpet is not for you. Best thing about Vinyl, is that in 5 or 8 years when you change things, you can place flooring over it.
There is no magic product, other than the floors nailed and glued to last forever!
Pay for a great and lasting job once, or try to get that warranty to work for you when that supplier is out of business.
Good luck, I like Red Oak in living areas, Maple in higher class homes, and carpet in the bedrooms.
vinyl !!! $2 floor and $1.50 install ( water proof, and very durable )