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Flooring for Rental Homes
Old 05-13-2014, 08:18 AM   #1
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Flooring for Rental Homes

My long-term 5+ year tenants in my smallest oldest rental just moved out. I had not been in the house since they moved in so was a bit worried to see it. I do have a property management company manages my properties and they do a yearly inspection but it is still not the same. Anyway, overall the house looked good, they had even done several improvements over the years.

However, the flooring in the living room and kitchen needs replacing I think. It is probably 350-400 sf. I put in a very high quality vinyl sheet flooring years ago and while the vinyl itself seems to be OK it seems loose and not to be laying flat on the floor any longer. I assume after 15 years, the adhesive is not good anymore. I guess I will pull it up and put something else down. Carpet is cheapest of course. I just put 4 rooms, 900 SF more or less, of reasonably good carpet in another rental home 2 months ago and it was about $1500 plus $37 whole house installation from Lowes. However, you obviously can't put carpet in a kitchen. I had considered laminate like Pergo but am told you have to be really careful or it can get ruined. And tenants are often NOT careful! So, I went to Lowes yesterday and they were trying to steer me towards vinyl plank for a rental. Said it is easy to put down, that even I could probably do it and save on labor also stated it was very sturdy. I have never heard of this before and am wondering if it is a viable option? Or should I do carpet in the living room and ____ in the kitchen?

Advice?
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:53 AM   #2
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I have been considering Vinyl Plank for my rentals in the future - lots of good recommendations on that.

I do highly recommend going to visit your rental properties every 6-12 months to do a maintenance check. It gives you a good opportunity to catch things before they get ruined. I'm especially worried about water leaks but I want to check furnace filters, light bulbs, smoke detectors and whether they are keeping water softener filled. It gives me a chance to tell tenants that they need to do things like clean oven or other regular cleaning items as well.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:57 AM   #3
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I don't live in the USA anymore but my property managers do a yearly inspection. I am here for the next few weeks which just happened to coincide with these tenants moving out. I would like to save money by doing any work I can do myself. The property managements painters will charge around a grand to paint the interior, I can do it for a hundred... the flooring I wasn't even planning on attempting but the salesperson at Lowes said he had many self installs and they turned out great. Of course about half the cost of new flooring is (usually) installation so if I can do it myself with vinyl plank I may try to do it.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:05 AM   #4
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I've never used vinyl plank flooring but the stuff does claim to be water proof and it is a floating floor, click together so no gluing/nailing required, so should be an easy DIY job as long as the existing floor is level. At ~$2/sq-ft the price is right and not a major loss if it doesn't work, I'd probably give it a try. Tile is a popular choice for kitchens but I can tell you from experience that it can turn into a lot of work depending on the type of subfloor your old vinyl is attached to.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:25 AM   #5
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We had Allure from either Home Depot or Lowes installed in an apartment last year. Installer managed to get one tile to not be matched up, and the black line bugs me. I agree, it should be easy to DIY, as it's a floating floor and sticks to itself. Edges and the baseboard molding will be the main concerns - have you applied 4" sanitary base around corners before?

I really like the thickness and the absolute non-absorbancy of the black substrate on the Allure - have had too many sheet vinyl floors get water under the edges and then have mold show in the absorbent white substrate under the wear layer. Allure sounds pretty good underfoot. More recently, a flooring company was pushing a click-together vinyl plank - given that the only installer we could get in a timely manner was the same guy that did the other Allure floor we just went with sheet vinyl with a new very flexible backing. Ongoing experiments in optimal rental materials.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:21 AM   #6
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I go higher end on my properties. Ceramic/porcelain in kitchens, then solid hardwood or bamboo for other areas. Holds up well, gets the ooh's and ahh's from potential tenants, and you can potentially raise rents.

Plus it's not a huge area, costs won't be terribly high.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:35 AM   #7
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I go higher end on my properties. Ceramic/porcelain in kitchens, then solid hardwood or bamboo for other areas. Holds up well, gets the ooh's and ahh's from potential tenants, and you can potentially raise rents.

Plus it's not a huge area, costs won't be terribly high.
It is rural and goes for $650/month. It doesn't attract high end renters so don't want to go too high end in it. What it needs is durable and cheap!
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:12 AM   #8
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I like the vinyl plank idea for a rental. I haven't installed any myself, but I've talked to DIYers who've done it ad the reports were positive. A lot less drama than installing sheet vinyl flooring. As a bonus, a small damaged area could be replaced with a new plank if needed, repairs on sheet vinyl flooring never look quite right.
But, if the substrate is right (concrete slab?) don't rule out ceramic. It's durable, the materials can be less than $1 per sq foot, and puting it down isn't THAT hard (but it does take much longer than vinyl).
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:22 PM   #9
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If you want durable, the vinyl plank/allure would be a good option. Hard to hurt that.
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:30 PM   #10
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Not a choice for most people, but our Florida mobile home has had dark color, tight pile commercial carpeting in the sunroom, carport, kitchen and bathrooms, for 27 years, with no appreciable sign of wear and surprisingly, still clean and attractive. We don't take any special care of this, except to do a twice a year wetvac. It's basically the same kind of high quality carpet used in commercial stores, theaters and businesses. It's sold in standard widths, 18 inch squares and 12 inch squares, for easy DIY installation.
I spilled a full 8 quart pan of hot pea soup on the floor about 10 years ago, and it cleaned up with no sign of a stain. The other part... Can't remember ever breaking a dropped dish or glass.
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