Short-Term & Vacation Rental Discussions

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Diana Froster
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  • Austin
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5 year old unwashed carpet, keep and clean or remove?

Diana Froster
  • New to Real Estate
  • Austin
Posted Aug 1 2022, 01:59

Hi all. My current rental property has a tenant moving out end of this month after staying there for 5 years and the 2F carpet(living area space, 3 bedrooms, and entire staircase) is really dirty and patchy leaving me three options that make sense: either replace all the carpet, replace the living area and stair carpet space but keep bedrooms as is, or deep clean it all at ~$450. I have read that vinyl/laminate plank flooring is very durable and modern and was wondering if anyone else has insights on which option would be the most worthwhile for medium term rental purposes? My gut instinct is to remove all the carpet at its absolute worst condition and replace with new vinyl/laminate. This would not only look better in the pictures but also be easier for the cleaners to do their job right. I've also attached some photos to show the carpet condition. Appreciate the help!!

Austin, Texas

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Nathan Grabau
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  • Longmont, CO
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Nathan Grabau
  • Realtor
  • Longmont, CO
Replied Aug 1 2022, 03:27

I think this depends on what you are trying to do. A proper deep clean should be able to deal with most of the problems you see and as a medium term rental, you have a little more longevity in tenants that would limit the how badly it gets treated. If you have issues on turns with cleaning it or it being too dirty you can always replace it then. $450 seems like a pretty cheap dollar amount to me to make it kick the can down the road a little longer. 

Some other things to consider, if you put laminate down, you will probably need to add rugs back, which will get dirty like carpet would. Also, unless you plan to do the work yourself, labor on laminate can get expensive pretty fast. You have to remove the old carpet, the old mat, get the floor completely clear and flat, remove the trim in the house, lay a new mat down(in most cases), put the laminate in, then reinstall the trim. When I redid the flooring in my primary a few years ago I thought I had found this amazing deal with 6 or 8mm laminate that was 99c per foot, but with everything else, the cost ended up being well over $8 a foot, this was all on one level too without stairs. Fast forward to today, and I wish I would have got a $2-3 per foot laminate now because this thin stuff is squeaking in different areas throughout the floor too and is not waterproof(whoops). I just share that so you know what you are getting yourself into and do not make the same mistake as me with picking the cheapest option in the color I liked! 

The carpet really does not look bad either. I would scope out your competition and see what they are doing and see if you can stage it to minimize the impact. I also feel like carpet feels "homey" which I would imagine people like in a medium term rental! 

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Chris Seveney#2 House Hacking Contributor
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Chris Seveney#2 House Hacking Contributor
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 03:35

@Diana Froster

Replace it and go with LVP flooring. You will be so much happier you did and it will look a lot better

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Nathan G.
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  • Cody, WY
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Nathan G.
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cody, WY
ModeratorReplied Aug 1 2022, 04:41

If you have the money, replace with LVP. I think that carpet could be cleaned and survive another tenant, but it depends on the quality of the home and what your market demands.

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Glenna Wood
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Glenna Wood
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 04:42

Solid core LVP. 

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Jaron Walling
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Jaron Walling
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  • Indianapolis, IN
Replied Aug 1 2022, 05:07

Carpet sucks for the living room and staircases. Like others stated cleaning will just kick the can down the road another year or two but eventually it's going to get ripped or starting separating around edges, transitions, and doorways. 

Smartcore Vinyl flooring for the win. It's $2.96 per sqft. but really durable. We buy the stuff with the pad already attached. Saves a little on labor. 

https://www.lowes.com/pd/SMART...

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John Underwood#4 All Forums Contributor
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John Underwood#4 All Forums Contributor
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 05:31

I have paid closer to $100 to have someone come in and steam clean. If you can get closer to this price I would try it. Other wise I'd rip all the carpet out and replace with LVP. I don't have carpet in any of my LTR houses. 

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Colleen F.
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Colleen F.
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 05:48

@Diana Froster  LVP and if there is a budget issue just do LVP in the common area and clean the bedroom carpet.  

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Eliott Elias
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Eliott Elias
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 06:58

Replace it. This is your opportunity to transition to vinyl flooring and never have to replace flooring again. 

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Bruce Woodruff#3 All Forums Contributor
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Bruce Woodruff#3 All Forums Contributor
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 08:02

Yes, flooring is the way to go. It'll last forever and as you said, make life easier on your cleaners. And it just feels cleaner than carpeting.....

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Steven Wilson#5 Starting Out Contributor
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Steven Wilson#5 Starting Out Contributor
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Columbus, OH
Replied Aug 1 2022, 08:07
Quote from @Diana Froster:

Hi all. My current rental property has a tenant moving out end of this month after staying there for 5 years and the 2F carpet(living area space, 3 bedrooms, and entire staircase) is really dirty and patchy leaving me three options that make sense: either replace all the carpet, replace the living area and stair carpet space but keep bedrooms as is, or deep clean it all at ~$450. I have read that vinyl/laminate plank flooring is very durable and modern and was wondering if anyone else has insights on which option would be the most worthwhile for medium term rental purposes? My gut instinct is to remove all the carpet at its absolute worst condition and replace with new vinyl/laminate. This would not only look better in the pictures but also be easier for the cleaners to do their job right. I've also attached some photos to show the carpet condition. Appreciate the help!!


 I am always so happy when I go with LVP flooring especially if the tenant has pets or if you want to get that extra pet rent. 

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Paul Sandhu
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Paul Sandhu
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 10:13

I've got carpet in all 23 of my STRs.  Refinery contractors with dirty boots rent them out.  I shampoo the carpets on a regular basis.  Bissell carpet shampoer from WalMart.  Don't bother buying carpet shampoo.  It's $15 a bottle.  Buy Fabuloso general purpose cleaner and use it in the shampoer.  You won't get it clean in the first pass.  It takes 2 or 3 passes and give the cleaner some time to penetrate the stains.  Fabuloso is about $3.00 a bottle.  It's also a good workout shampooing carpets.  I like to workout.

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Curtis Mears
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Curtis Mears
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 15:35

@Diana Froste

I would replace with lvt. Carpets are always going to be dirty and gross.

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Colleen F.
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Colleen F.
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 16:17

@Paul Sandhu  I am going to try that on the second pass on my sons apartment. Tell me are your dining areas carpeted?  I don't know who thought that was a good idea.

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Villy Ellinger
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Villy Ellinger
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 17:19

@Diana Froster I would say definitely remove the carpet. I do both rentals and rehabs, and can tell you 100% that carpet, no matter how clean you get it, will lower the appeal and the income potential of your property. In addition, most people nowadays do not like carpet. For tenants that do, you can always add some area rugs.

Yes, LVP is a great choice. I see based on your pictures you have some stairs there. That's the only part of LVP (product and installation) that can get pricey. I like to do LVP on the stairs too, with white wood risers and the LVP "bull-nose" tips. Those are expensive (like over $40 a piece). They glue on. Technically you can install LVP yourself. It's a floating floor. Easy to cut, clicks in together. Except for stairs and tricky corners. Unless you are really good, I would let an experienced person do it. A lot of the brands come with the rubbery pad underneath already attached. Goes directly on the subfloor and is very forgiving if the sub-floor is not exactly level. It is water-proof (if installed tightly and correctly) so it can also go in bathrooms. Keep in mind though, that the gab to the wall that installers usually cover with shoemold is NOT waterproof. So if you have it in a bathroom the parts near the wall or tub still need water seal underneath.

If the stairs end up being to expensive to do, I have seem some rehabs that did LVP everywhere and very neutral and short to the ground carpet on the stairs. Definitely a cheaper look, but not as bad as it sounds. 

Also, while you're at it, I would go ahead and sand that side rail and paint it white :-).

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Replied Aug 1 2022, 17:42

If Im building a new rental prop I use the Vinyl/Lam plank - but for our STR we replace the carpet about every 4-5 years. Once carpet gets years of traffic its just so hard to keep clean you can clean it and it just doesnt seem to look right and gets dirty quickly - especially if there is some under staining on the pad that seems to keep coming back. I'd bite the bullet and replace all carpet and possibly - hopefully you can raise the rent a bit to cover it over the long term?

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Thomas Meyer
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Thomas Meyer
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Replied Aug 1 2022, 20:42

That carpet is toast. You might be able to resurrect it if it's nylon, but if it's polyester, it won't improve much. It also looks like pet urine stains based on the dark round spots. Either replace it with a super cheap carpet or LVP like most have suggested.

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Diana Froster
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Diana Froster
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Replied Aug 3 2022, 00:38

Thank you all so much for the help!! I will be going for the full LVP replacement.

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Robert Tinker
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Robert Tinker
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Replied Aug 4 2022, 01:31

Get rid of the carpet is my vote. Replace with LVP

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Eliott Elias
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Eliott Elias
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Replied Aug 4 2022, 05:41

Take this opportunity to remove all carpeting from your property. I always use vinyl plank flooring and keep exterior in the garage 

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Colleen F.
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Colleen F.
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Replied Aug 4 2022, 11:46

@Britt Galland Why carpet in the STR, just curious.

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Justin Moy
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Justin Moy
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Replied Aug 4 2022, 12:47

If you can I'd replace it. The turn cost in the long run will be lower and it also opens you up more to allow pets if you'd like to do that.