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What’s the best flooring for a rental home? We explore affordability, durability, and renter preferences

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What’s the Best Flooring for a Rental Home? We Explore Affordability, Durability, and Renter Preferences.
Are you a homeowner or existing landlord who’s wondering which type of floors to install in your rental home? The flooring decision for rentals can be more complex than when you’re choosing specific types of floors for a home where you plan to reside. This is because renters tend to be harder on the floors of rental properties due to the fact that they do not own it, and this is true even if the lease stipulates that charges will occur if any abnormal wear and tear of the surfaces is discovered during the exit inspection. For that reason, it’s important to look at all the costs, pros and cons of each type of floor material before installing it in a home you plan to rent.

For landlords on a budget who need their floors installed quickly, carpet may be the answer. In fact, many apartment complexes choose textile floors due to their low cost, usually about $2 to $7, depending on the type, style, fiber choice and pile. This is because apartment complexes tend to replace the floors after the tenant leaves and before the new tenant arrives. However, this isn’t always a good option for property owners who are just starting to consider leasing to renters or who own very few properties and may not have the expendable cash to continuously install new floors.

When it comes to types of textile floors and cost to install, twist tends to be the least expensive while patterned tends to be the

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most expensive. Berber tends to fall somewhere in the middle, but that tends to depend on the type of fiber used with olefin being the least expensive type of fiber and polypropylene being the most expensive. Nylon fiber tends to fall in the middle of the pricing ranges.

Installing carpets in rental homes offer property owners who plan to lease the property many benefits. For landlords, along with the price, it’s is easy to install, remove and replace with the average installation time taking less than a day. For the individual or individuals renting the property, it offers warmth and energy efficiency.

Textile floors are not the ideal choice for heavily trafficked areas and individuals and families with pets, young children and individuals with allergies or lung conditions. This is because these type of floors tend to trap dirt, dust, pet dander and even food particles. If the material gets and stays wet, it could develop mold, which is another allergen. For this reason, these types of floors have to be professionally steam cleaned every few months and vacuumed regularly. Not to mention, carpets tend to stain faster than any other floor type, even if they boast stain-resistant properties.

Hardwood tends to be one of the most expensive types of floors to install with prices ranging between $3 and $14 per square foot with pine wood floors typically being the least expensive and cypress and mahogany being two of the most expensive. The reason homeowners and landlords choose hardwood is due to its timeless beauty and extreme durability. Hardwood can also be refinished and restained if it gets chipped, scratched or scuffed, which is much less expensive than replacing all the floors.


Hardwood is durable and timeless, which means it never goes out of style. If the stain color becomes faded or outdated, it can be sanded off, and the floors can be restained to a more modern color choice. Hardwood floors can also be refinished when they become scuffed, scratched or chipped. Hardwood also does not trap dirt and allergens, and it is stain resistant, which means it’s a healthier alternative for tenants. For these reasons, many homeowners choose hardwood floors in their public spaces, including living rooms, family rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms.

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The biggest drawback to hardwood is that it isn’t impervious to water or moisture, which means it shouldn’t be installed in kitchens, bathrooms or basements. This means that if someone drops a glass of water on the hardwood floor and leaves it there, the floor could warp or buckle, resulting in the need to replace those planks. Hardwood also expands and contracts due to the humidity in the air, which means it must be installed correctly with a certain amount of gap between the floor and the wall in order to allow for expansion and contraction due to changing environmental conditions within the home or apartment.

Laminate floors are an affordable option for landlords, property managers and homeowners with prices per square foot ranging between .70 cents to $2. It is available in a variety of colors, styles and patterns. It can even be purchased in styles that mimic hardwood and tile. Since it is a hard surface floor, it doesn’t trap dirt, dust, debris or allergens, and it’s resistant to staining. The more expensive options come with thicker surface coatings, which means they are resistant to scratching, staining and scuffing. Of course, if a plank does become scuffed or scratched, it can be easily replaced in many instances.


This type of hard surface flooring is typically glue-down, but it can also come with its own adhesive on the backside of the planks, which makes it fast and easy to install in all types of rental properties. Homeowners and landlords love it for its versatility and wide range of color options and styles. It also lasts between 10 and 30 years. If a plank or tile becomes damaged, it can be removed and replaced.

Extremely cheap planks and tiles may scuff, scratch, chip and fade within a relatively short period of time. These planks and tiles can be susceptible to water damage, so homeowners and landlords should be careful when considering whether or not to install it in kitchens, bathrooms and basements. Most installers would recommend not installing it in rooms that contain water-using appliances and fixtures.

Tile comes in a variety of materials, including cement, natural stone and composite. Since it’s water-resistant, it can be installed in bathrooms, kitchens and basements. For renters with allergies or lung conditions, tile is a healthier option because it does not trap debris, it does not typically contain harmful VOCs. The downside is that it’s one of the most expensive options with prices ranging from $13 to $63 per square foot for indoor floors. If the tile is to be installed in outdoor areas, such as on patios, prices can run as high as $83 per square foot.

Tiles comes in a range of materials, styles and colors. If the rental property or home has a radiant floor heating system, tile can be installed over that system and help the transfer of heat. It’s stain, chip, crack and scuff resistant, which means it’s great for homes with pets and kids. Tile is also considered a healthy option since it’s typically made from natural materials, like stone and sand or aggregate. Of course, non-toxic, natural grout needs to be used in order to maintain the tile’s low VOC threshold. Not to mention, if a tile does become damaged, chipped or cracked, the single damaged tile can be removed and replaced, which extends the useful life of the entire floor.

840 Uprock Dr Cary NC 27519Tile can be extremely cold, especially during the colder months of the year. It also doesn’t tend to be aesthetically pleasing in bedrooms, living rooms or dining rooms, unless the rental house or apartment is located in a beach or lakeside community. Tile must also be cleaned regularly to prevent staining of the grout. If the grout does start to deteriorate, stain or develop mold that cannot be removed, the grout will need to be replaced.
Vinyl Plank

Vinyl plank is a relatively new type of floor material that’s available in standard plank widths and as a wide plank, which means the landlord will need fewer planks in order to refloor a room and/or can mix and match planks for a completely custom design in order to attract tenants looking for luxury rentals. It has an expected useful life of between 10 and 20 years, depending on the quality of the vinyl purchased and whether or not proper maintenance was performed, including regular cleaning and immediate wiping up of spills. Homeowners and landlords choose vinyl planks due to their ease of install, extreme versatility, water-resistance and range of colors and styles. It’s also great for owners who are on a budget as it can be purchased for as little as $2 per square foot or as much as $7 per square foot.

Vinyl wide plank and standard plank can be installed in every room of your home or unit that needs to be leased because it is water and moisture resistant. It also does not trap dirt, dust or allergens and is durable enough to be installed in rental units where the leaser has kids or pets. It’s also easy to clean with dust mops, brooms, regular mops and even vacuum cleaners that are designed to suck dirt from hard surface floors. Vinyl floors are also available in a range of colors and styles, which means it can be purchased to look like hardwood or tile. This type of floor choice also tends to be warmer than tile and wood because it absorbs heat more readily, which means your rental unit will be more comfortable during the colder months.

Vinyl planks have a tendency to fade or discolor when placed in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. Certain materials, like rubber-backed rugs can also cause some degree of discoloration of the planks. Therefore, it’s important for individuals to be careful when choosing rugs and floor mats in homes, apartments and other types of rental properties that have vinyl floors. It’s also recommended that occupants be careful when moving furniture across the floors and consider getting non-marring floor glides for all tables, chairs and couches.
Our Floor Pick for Landlords at Victory Property Management

Here at Victory Property Management, we typically recommend vinyl floors for all the properties we manage because these floors are easy to clean and wear and water-resistant, which means they can be installed in every room of the property. Not to mention, the wide availability of styles means that the planks can be purchased to look like wood, tile or another type of hard surface floor material. The extreme durability means that the floors don’t need to be replaced between tenants, which can reduce the costs associated with owning a property that is to be leased regularly.

When it comes to choosing the right vinyl floor for your year-round or vacation rental, our property managers can help you choose the right style and even the right contractor for your needs and your budget.

Would you like to discuss options for having a professional manage your rental property? We can quickly provide a cost quote, or virtual rental evaluation to nail down potential income

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