Choosing the best flooring for your rental property is extremely important for mitigating damages and maintaining its conditions. It’s also a huge part of the property’s aesthetics and contributes to the property’s allure to potential tenants.
How to Choose the Best Flooring
When choosing the best flooring for your rental property, you need to consider the following factors:
- Durability. Rentals are more liable to damage and wear and tear so you need to choose flooring that is durable. If you don’t choose materials that are high quality and long-lasting, then you will end up wasting more money maintaining and replacing flooring. Replacing flooring can also be a huge inconvenience for tenants if they are still residing in the unit.
- Price. At the end of the day, your goal is to make money. You need to choose materials that will benefit your investment property in the long run. Even though it may be tempting to opt for mosaic tiles or ornate marble, it’s a better idea to choose materials that appeal to larger audiences. Sticking to a neutral color palette and classic finishes will definitely aid you in marketing your rental property and attracting desirable tenants.
- The room. While you generally should opt for one kind of flooring for the majority of the house, certain rooms may require different flooring needs. Putting carpet in a bathroom, for instance, definitely wouldn’t be ideal. In areas that are typically damp or humid, you shouldn’t choose carpet or hardwood, since they can accumulate mold and mildew, as well as warp over time. Tile is usually best for places like these. If you don’t like the look of, say, hardwood throughout the whole house, carpet is usually a good choice for bedrooms.
- Your kind of property. In addition to all of the above, you should also take into consideration the kind of rental property you have. Where your property is located and what kind of tenants you attract is essential to understanding what features are most sensible. Think about kids, pets, and tenants’ typical activities. These details may also impact the styles and finishes that you select. For example, if you own a vacation rental (like an Airbnb) that’s a beach home, you’ll probably want to go for some light-colored wood flooring, whereas in a cabin or lodge, you should probably lean towards a darker color palette. All of this information should be taken into consideration when looking for the best flooring to put in your investment property.
Types of Flooring
Carpet is soft, cozy, and inviting. It’s usually the choice for bedrooms since no one likes getting up and stepping on a cold, hard floor. It’s fairly easy to maintain, but there are a lot of choices out there.
- Warm and welcoming
- Provides good insulation
- Absorbs noise
- Easy to have installed
- Generally affordable
- Traps odors and allergens
- Stains easily
- Difficult to clean; you may need to hire a professional cleaning service to maintain it
- You can’t patch up tears or rips
- Some colors can be difficult to match furniture with
There are so many kinds of carpet widely ranging in price, so you need to be careful when looking for your options. You should try to find a carpet that uses a durable material like nylon. You should also look at the “yarn twist metric” to see how many twists there are per square inch. The higher the metric, the more durable the carpet. Go into your local carpet store and consult a sales associate to find out the details for each option.
Tiles come in all shapes and sizes, so sometimes it can be difficult to choose. In general, tile tends to be great for bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. It’s very easy to clean and maintain, so using it in humid rooms or common areas is a great idea, especially in a rental home.
- Very easy to clean
- Won’t stain
- Offers a wide range of prices and finishes
- Not a good insulator; can become very cold in the winter months
- Tiles can crack or come up
- The grout requires a bit more effort to clean
- May need to be sealed or polished from time to time
- Requires knowledge and skill to install; make sure you talk to a professional
Tile is great in bathrooms and other areas that become more damp and humid or generate more foot traffic. Just keep in mind that even though tile is water-resistant, it does become slippery when wet, which can be a hazard when cleaning. It’s not exactly the most comfortable surface to walk on, but it is generally easy to maintain and it is very durable. Although, if a tile does break, it’s pretty difficult to fix it. If you’re located somewhere with a colder climate and harsher winters, tile isn’t the best option for the entirety of your property. On the other hand, if you’re located in a warmer, more humid climate, then tile all throughout the house wouldn’t be a bad idea. No matter what, certain rooms in your property will definitely benefit from tile flooring, just make sure you look for a kind that fits your budget and your property’s needs.
Hardwood tends to be the most popular kind of flooring that renters or homebuyers look for. It can last a lifetime and it will never go out of style. There are so many different finishes to choose from, so you’ll be sure to find one that fits your property’s unique vibe. You can place hardwood in just about any kind of room — it’s just not ideal for bathrooms and potentially kitchens or basements. Make sure you know what areas of the home are more susceptible to humidity than others.
- Extremely reliable and durable; hardwood lasts forever
- You can refinish solid hardwood
- Engineered hardwood is not affected by changes in moisture
- Fairly easy to clean
- Requires an adept professional to effectively install it
- Can only be refinished a certain number of times, depending on the thickness of the wood
- Can’t refinish engineered hardwood
- Susceptible to scratches and dents
- Easily damaged by water
- Color can be affected by sunlight over time
Hardwood is loved and revered by all, though it’s not always the perfect choice. It requires special products to clean and it’s on the pricier end. Keep in mind that hardwood also doesn’t absorb noise at all. However, hardwood does last a lifetime and it’s a great choice for properties located in moderate climates.
Vinyl flooring is highly popular and generally very affordable. It’s water-resistant and highly versatile, making it a great choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas. It’s also a bit softer than other hard flooring like tile and hardwood, making it a bit nicer to walk on. Vinyl also comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, from faux tile to imitation stone and wood. Variations of vinyl include sheet vinyl, solid vinyl tile and luxury vinyl tile, which all offer different price points.
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Simple to install
- Offers a wide variety of styles
- Softer flooring that absorbs noise
- Not very durable; the flooring can rip, tear, and gouge
- Susceptible to mold and mildew
- Might be difficult to remove and replace in the future
- Can discolor over time with UV rays and contact with certain materials like rubber
Vinyl is an affordable option for certain parts of your room that may be more prone to moisture. It’s very easy to maintain, but it’s not very durable. So, when it comes to a rental, you may want to think twice about choosing vinyl since it does not really add value to your property and isn’t the most reliable.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is one of the best choices for your rental’s kitchen and/or bathroom. This type of flooring tends to be one of the most favored for investment properties. LVT is hard-wearing and it’s very easy to install. It’s super durable, so you’ll be sure that the design won’t wear off with foot traffic over time.
- Super easy to install
- Made up of multiple layers that protect the floor from scratches, stains, and fading; LVT is extremely durable
- Has a variety of styles and offers high-fashion design
- Doesn’t absorb noise; sounds will echo
- Can be costly depending on the finish you choose
Even though LVT is highly popular, there are also many misconceptions surrounding this type of flooring. A lot of people think it’s the same as laminate, which it is not. Laminate is a product of recycled hardwood, which means it’s not waterproof. Luxury vinyl tile, on the other hand, is a synthetic product that is both waterproof and scratch-resistant. People also think LVT lacks visual depth because of how it is made, but there are actually myriad styles and designs that look great.
Cork flooring has been around for decades, but it’s recently become more popular as it is a renewable resource and eco-friendly alternative for your home. Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber) and is periodically harvested from the living trees. Hardwood, on the other hand, usually comes from trees in in old-growth forests and tropical rainforests.
- Provides a soft, cushioned surface that’s nicer to walk on
- Offers great insulation
- Can be refinished
- Easy to install and maintain
- Hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, and eco-friendly
- Susceptible to damage, like knicks, dents, and gouges; not that durable
- Subject to water damage
- Must be sealed
- Fades over time due to UV rays
Cork is transformed into flooring products by being ground up, compressed, and formed into sheets bonded with resins. It has quite a few advantages, but many people make the mistake of using it for the entire home. This is not ideal at all, since cork can easily be damaged by moisture. In general, cork flooring should be used in rooms that you will be standing a long time, like kitchens. It should not be used in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic since it isn’t the most durable.
Even though linoleum seems like it’s from a bygone era, it’s making a comeback because it’s a “green” flooring alternative. It’s also quite durable and comes in a variety of colors and styles, making it an attractive option for any investment property owner. Linoleum is also comfortable to walk on, considering its resilient, slight cushion effect, also found in vinyl and cork.
- Simple to clean
- Easy to install
- Prone to tears and dents
Linoleum is a great inexpensive, eco-friendly choice for your rental property. If you’re looking for a DIY project, sheet-type linoleum is very easy to snap into place and install on your own. Linoleum is best used for kitchens and dining rooms, but it’s not really found in any other common areas of the home.
Our Top Picks by Room
Carpet (in a neutral color)
Luxury Vinyl Tile or Linoleum
Luxury Vinyl Tile
Vinyl or Laminate
DIY Flooring Options
For certain rooms in your rental property, you may be willing to do a DIY project and place down your own flooring tiles, Amazon has a variety of great options.
Our Rating: 8/10
- Genuine solid teak wood (Tectona Grandis) in oil finish
- Great for indoor or outdoor application
- No tools required for installation
- 10-piece set – enough to cover 10 square feet
- Easy DIY installation even over slighly uneven surfaces
- Can be used for indoor or outdoor settings; perfect for an entryway, mudroom, deck, terrace, showers, bathrooms, pools or anywhere in between.
- You can purchase and install on your own, or purchase the installation for a fee of $247.49.
- Long-lasting and weatherproof.
- There’s a risk of one or more of the tiles you order being defective or missing
- You need to be extra careful when ordering the materials for installation if you’re going to do it on your own
Our Rating: 7.5/10
- 2 inch x 12 inch self adhesive vinyl floor tile, easy do-it-yourself installation – just peel ‘n’ stick
- 12 inch x 12 inch tile – 1.2mm thick, 01mm wear-layer
- No wax vinyl finish
- Tiles are for indoor use
- 20 square feet per box (20 tiles per box)
- Super easy to install — anyone can do it
- Doesn’t require a finish
- Has a neutral, cohesive look
- Corners lift up so you may need an extra adhesive spray
- Hard to maintain clean
Our Rating: 7/10
- 3/8 inch thick wood grain floor mats
- Each tile measures approximately 24 inches x 24 inches
- Printed Film material is OPP 100% Plastic, Mat is 100% PE
- Lightweight and portable
- Super soft and comfortable under your feet
- Installation is a breeze
- Can be a little slippery, especially with socks on
- The wood graphics don’t perfectly match up
Our Rating: 6/10
- Easy peel and stick installation
- Each plank is 2.5MM thick and has a waterproof commercial wear layer
- Offers commercial grade durability
- Very easy to install
- Solid and durable
- The patterns aren’t exactly as pictured
- Planks may start to curve up over time
Our Rating: 9/10
- Each tile measures 24” x 24” x ½”- thick from the highest point of the texture; Includes 6 tiles and 12 end borders for a polished look
- Durable, non-skid textured tiles that protect your flooring
- Lightweight puzzle pieces connect quickly and easily
- Water-resistant and noise-reducing
- Soft, comfortable foam material
- Absorbs noise
- Super easy to install on your own
- Sometimes they can fit a bit loosely
- A bit slippery, so be careful
- Not very resistant to damage
Our Rating: 7/10
- Non-porous, 100% recycled vulcanized rubber mats
- Industry leading 5-year warranty
- Easy to install
- Typically ships in 1-2 business days
- Size – 4′ x 6′
- Thickness – 3/8″
- Weight – 60 lbs
- Easy to install
- Comfortable to walk on
- Available in 5 different colors
- Emits a strong rubber odor, but it does go away after being cleaned and aired out
- Not all mats are the same size
A Final Word
No matter what kind of flooring you choose for your rental property, make sure that it is installed with careful attention. You want to make sure it will be long-lasting and a valuable asset to your investment.