Last Updated: September 2023
Flooring is one of those basic pillars of renovating a rental property. Whenever a tenant moves out, Landlords usually first consider swapping out flooring. Cost and longevity strategy can vary depending on Landlord preference. Some apartment owners choose to continually change out carpet after every tenant turnover, while others choose to pay the premium in advance and install tile throughout the unit to avoid floor changes for many years to come.
Best Rental Property Flooring
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Below we explore the top 5 flooring types for rental properties based on 5 different factors that landlords and property managers should consider when determining which flooring type is best for their rental property investment.
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Rental Property Flooring FAQ
What is the Best Flooring for a Rental Property?
Choosing the best type of flooring for your rental property is going to ultimately depend on the type of rental property it is and the needs of the space. Different types of flooring offer different benefits when it comes to durability, cost, and more. For example, carpet may be more suitable for residential apartment bedrooms as it offers noise insulation and warmth in colder climates; whereas polished cement may be more suitable for public areas in a commercial property due to its ease of maintenance and durability. Here are some of our recommendations for the best types of flooring for each type of rental property:
Best for Residential (Single Family)
For a single family rental home, the best choice of flooring is a combination of various different flooring materials. An example would be carpet in the bedrooms, and a more durable material such as vinyl, laminate, or tile in the bathrooms and common areas for durability and ease of maintenance.
Best for Residential (Multifamily)
For multifamily rental apartments, carpet is the most popular option for interior units due to its soundproofing capabilities, ability to absorb spills, and low cost. Adding vinyl or laminate flooring in kitchens and bedrooms can also help prolong the life of these higher traffic areas.
Best for Commercial
Commercial rental properties usually have different types of flooring depending on the building’s use. Some of the most common types of flooring found in commercial properties include commercial grade carpet, vinyl composite tiles (VCT), polished concrete, stained concrete, and epoxy flooring.
Best for Retail
Commercial retail properties usually have commercial grade carpet, vinyl composite tiles (VCT), or a mix of both. Commercial carpet tends to add a sense of softness and warmth to shoppers, while vinyl composite tiles (VCT) is commonly used at most major large retailers for its ease of maintenance and clean-style look.
Best for Industrial
Industrial properties mostly choose concrete flooring as their preferred choice of flooring for it’s extreme durability, easy to clean, and slip-resistant finish. Depending on the business’s use, they may opt for a polished or unpolished finish.
Best for Office
Office properties are predominantly suited with carpet throughout the interior of the suites for their many designs, great acoustic qualities, and insulation qualities. Office carpet is usually roll-carpet or carpet tiles. Some offices may also opt to install vinyl, laminate, or even polished concrete for a more modern look.
Best for Hospitality
In the case of a hospitality hotel property, carpet is the most popular option for interior suites due to its soundproofing capabilities, ability to absorb spills, and comfort. Hallways and common areas will usually have vinyl or laminate flooring for ease of maintenance on these high traffic areas.
Best for Self Storage
Self storage properties typically have cement flooring inside of the actual storage units, while newer or indoor climate-controlled facilities may opt for an epoxy coated flooring. Cement or epoxy flooring is the best economical choice for both cost, maintenance, and longevity at these types of properties.
Best for Senior Housing
Wheelchairs, walkers and canes are common traffic for senior living facilities. As such, vinyl flooring is often the preferred choice of flooring for this type of rental property due to its cushiony surface and slip-resistant finish, making it ideal for those with mobility issues.
Best for Student Housing
In student housing properties, laminate or vinyl flooring is a great choice because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to clean, as well as resistant to wear and tear. Some properties may have carpet in the bedrooms, while others with higher turnover rates usually do full laminate or vinyl flooring.
Best for Vacation Rentals
Vacation rental properties need a mix of quality and durability when it comes to flooring. This usually leads many hosts to tile. Tile flooring works perfectly in vacation rentals due to its ability to withstand moisture while still being aesthetically pleasing.
What is the Cheapest Flooring for a Rental Property?
For any landlord considering flooring options for rental properties, cost is likely going to be a major factor in their decision. Carpet flooring is typically the cheapest option when compared to other types of rental property flooring, but can often require more regular maintenance such as cleaning and replacing especially in areas with high foot traffic.
What is the Most Durable Flooring for a Rental Property?
Landlords often want a flooring solution that is both cost effective and durable. Tile and Cement (polished or unpolished) are two of the most popular and durable flooring options to consider. Tile is an excellent choice as it can last for decades with proper maintenance, while still being relatively easy to maintain. For a more polished look, polished cement also provides exceptional durability and can be installed relatively quickly at a low cost—a great choice for any landlord looking to add value to their rental property. Ultimately, both tile or cement are excellent flooring choices for rental properties, offering exceptional durability and long term value for both landlord and tenant alike.
Is the Landlord Responsible for Changing Out Old Flooring?
In the real estate world, replacing old flooring can be a contentious issue; especially for long-term tenants. From carpets to floorboards and tiles, the age and condition of flooring can have a huge impact on both landlord and tenant. Although there is no clear law which requires landlords to change flooring based on aesthetics, it is becoming increasingly common for landlords to have this responsibility. Tenants may not feel safe and healthy if flooring is old or in disrepair, and in this case the landlord may be responsible for replacement costs. Other factors such as normal aging over several years or wear-and-tear from tenants should also be taken into account. Ultimately, whether the landlord is responsible for changing out flooring comes down to the terms of their agreement with the tenant and whether there are any relevant laws where the rental property is located.
Flooring Repair and Installation
How to Hire a Rental Property Flooring Installer
Flooring can transform the appeal and functionality of a rental property. Understanding the process of how to hire a rental property flooring installer can make the job a smooth experience.
Can a Tenant Change the Flooring in a Rental Property?
Making changes to flooring in a rental property can be a tricky question. Tenants should always check with their landlord before making any modifications, as flooring is usually one of the more expensive home improvements. In some cases, a landlord or property manager may allow the tenant to upgrade the flooring at their own expense. In other cases, the landlord may actually be responsible for changing flooring that is old or worn; however, these cases are determined on an individual basis. Ultimately, it is the tenant’s responsibility to communicate with the landlord or property management company about their plans to change the flooring, and ensure they have legally accepted all private policies stated by the landlord prior to signing a lease agreement and making any flooring changes along the way.
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