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Investment Strategy

What’s The Best Flooring For A Rental Property?

Over time, your rental property will naturally be subject to some wear and tear. This everyday use can be especially obvious in flooring, so it pays to do your research when deciding what is the best flooring for your rental property.

Whether you’re ready to renovate now or you want to know what your best options are for the future, here’s a deep dive into the most renter-friendly flooring options.

Important Factors When Choosing The Best Flooring For Your Rental Property

As with any property renovation, there are many factors to take into consideration when selecting new flooring for your rental. The three main ones can be summarised as follows:

  • Cost: is it good value for money or is it unnecessarily expensive?
  • Durability: is it low maintenance and will it stand the test of time?
  • Appearance: will potential tenants find it attractive and will it appeal to the residents who are using it every day?

5 Of The Best Flooring Choices For Your Rental

Pros and Cons of Carpet in Rentals

Carpet is the most commonly used flooring in rental properties and for good reason. In terms of cost, it can be relatively inexpensive and there is a vast range of options to choose from. For this reason, you will easily be able to find one that suits your style and budget. It also acts well as a heat and noise insulator, making it a good choice for colder climates, not to mention the cozy feel it gives to a room.

Carpet is often expected by renters, especially in bedrooms and living rooms, but this doesn’t mean it’s without fault. Carpet is not waterproof, it stains easily, can hold odors, and is tricky to clean. So unless you are using carpet tiles, if there is a particularly stubborn stain or burn, the whole floor will need to be replaced.

In short, carpet can be a fairly reliable option for bedrooms and living areas but it doesn’t come without risk.

Pros and Cons of Tile in Your Rentals

Another classic flooring choice is tiling. There is a huge variety of colors and sizes so you can choose the right one for your property and budget. It is also resistant to spills, stains, and odors and is extremely easy to clean so will stand the test of time. For these reasons, it’s a great, durable option for kitchens and bathrooms, which will be cleaned often.

Although tile is cold and hard, this can be good for warmer climates, where cozy carpets can feel stuffy. Just be aware that tiles are not immune to cracks or chips, especially if things are dropped on them.

One of the biggest drawbacks of laying tiling in your rental property is that it is hard to install and heavy. It’s a job you’ll want to leave to a professional, especially if your flooring needs to be completely waterproof. Due to its weight, you also might not want to install wall-to-wall tiling in upstairs rooms or units to avoid compromising the structural integrity of the building.

With that being said, if you’re looking for durable flooring for a kitchen or bathroom, tile could be the way forward. Make sure it is installed properly and in the right rooms.

Pros and Cons of Hardwood your Rentals

In terms of physical appearance, it’s hard to ignore the attractiveness of hardwood floors. They have a timeless appeal to them and are a great way to add value to your property. They can also be restored fairly easily without having to replace the whole area. Scratches and marks can be sanded away and sealant applied to make it stain and water-resistant.

Although on the expensive side of the scale, hardwood floors are undeniably luxe and make a big impact in living rooms and bedrooms.

As well as hardwood flooring being an expensive choice, more significant dents can be difficult to disguise in the same way that scratches can. For this reason, a little more care is needed when maintaining hardwood floors.

Varnish can make hardwood floors water-resistant for the most part, but this doesn’t mean they are completely waterproof. Moisture damage can still occur which can lead to issues such as swelling, mold, and buckling.

With new hardwood flooring being a great way to add value and having an estimated recovery rate of 106%, it is a reliable way to improve your rental property, as long as your budget allows for it.

the best flooring for your rental

Pros and Cons of Laminate in your Rentals

If you like the look of hardwood but are sticking to a tighter budget, laminate flooring is a great option that comes in an endless variety of finishes. It’s easy to install, even for beginners, and is also stain-resistant and easy to clean. Not only is it wallet-friendly, but it can also be laid on top of the existing floor, reducing your overall renovation costs.

Should your laminate flooring be significantly damaged though, it can’t be sanded or refinished like hardwood flooring can be. Damaged planks require replacement and can be susceptible to water damage. For this reason, laminate flooring is a viable option for living rooms and bedrooms but should be avoided in kitchens and bathrooms.

Laminate flooring will only add so much value to your property but it’s still a great budget option to consider.

Pros and Cons of LVT – Luxury Vinyl Tile

Luxury vinyl tile, also known as luxury vinyl plank, mimics the look of natural materials but is made of vinyl (rather than wood or stone, for example), making it much more durable and easy to clean.

Like laminate flooring, it’s easy to install, clean, and maintain. It’s also waterproof, unlike many of the other flooring options, meaning it can be used in bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms. In this respect, it’s extremely versatile.

Although LVT can pass as hardwood from a distance, it still has a slightly different appearance and feel to the real deal. If tiles are glued down, the adhesive used can be difficult to remove, which can be a problem if you need to replace the floor in the future. As it is so long-wearing, however, it remains a renter-friendly flooring option.

Is replacing flooring in your rental a capital expense or a repair?

Updating the flooring in your rental property is considered an improvement by the IRS that should be categorized as a capital expense. A capital expense is for an improvement if it results in a betterment to your property, restores your property, or adapts your property to a new or different use.

A repair would consist of any activity that restores the asset to the original condition, like sealing the hardwood floor once every 5 years to maintain its durability. This falls under the category of operating expenses.

Landlord Studio allows you to easily categorize both types of expenses, to help you make the most of your end of year deductible expenses

The Best Flooring For Your Rental: Final words

There is a wide range of options out there when it comes to choosing the best flooring for your rental property. Consider budget, longevity, and aesthetics to ensure you are adding value to your property while creating a comfortable and easy-to-maintain environment for your tenants to live in.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to record any property-related expenses, from roof to floor. Landlord Studio makes this easy, by giving you all the tools you need to track income and expenses.

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Ben Luxon

Ben is the editor and lead writer for Landlord Studio. He has worked with real estate professionals all over the world and written educational articles on tech, real estate, and financial growth for sites such as Forbes, TechBullion, and Business Magazine.

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