If you own rental property or apartments, cheap flooring is a must. Tenants moving in and out tend to put a lot of wear and tear on the floors. With this frequent turnover, updated décor such as flooring is crucial to keeping units rented out. The trick is to know the options that you have and decide which is best for you, your needs and your budget. There are 5 very good options for cheap flooring for rental properties and each has it’s pros and cons.
Carpet – Carpet is probably the most common cheap floor installed in apartments and rental units. If you know how to look for the right deals it can had be had very inexpensively and installed fairly quickly. You should be able to find entry level, plush carpeting in neutral colors for under $4.50 per yard (maybe even under $4 yard if you look really hard). Cheap carpet padding will usually run you an additional $2.30 to $2.75 per yard for a basic 6 pound density, 7/16″ thick. You can scrimp on the pad by going to a thinner or lower weight pad, but in the long run you will end out replacing pad more frequently than if you went with the basic 6 pound style. If you want to stay a little more current and install frieze carpet or a textured plush you will almost have to double your budget to around the $7.00 per yard and up range. Carpet can be inexpensive as an option for rental property, probably one the cheapest actually but it will also not last as long as many of the other options.
Carpet tile – Carpet tile is a version of carpet but modular. It is manufactured with a built in backing and comes in square pieces designed to fit next to each other. Installation can be very quick and inexpensive and they can be easier to handle than rolls of carpet. An advantage of carpet tiles is that they can be individually replaced if one becomes too soiled or stained to get clean. Using carpet tiles can possibly save you some money over time by not having to replace the entire carpeting in a unit. The commercial rated carpet tiles also handle heavy traffic much better than traditional, cheap plush carpets. Carpet tile can be found for as little as $4.50/yard to $7.00 a square yard range.
Laminate – Laminate floors can be both cheap and very functional in rental properties and apartments. Laminate is virtually stain proof, holds up well against most scratches and handles foot traffic extremely well. Laminate will last much longer than carpet options and can be fairly inexpensive when looking at lower end styles in the 6 mil to 7 mil thickness range. You should be able to buy a entry level laminate floor for under $8 per yard ($.89 a foot). The major drawback with laminate is it’s susceptibility to water. Laminate flooring hates water and moisture. Kitchens and bathrooms are usually not good areas to install laminate flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Plank and Tile – Along with Laminate, a very good choice for economical and longer lasting than other options. Luxury vinyl planks that simulate the look of wood and vinyl tiles that have the appearance of ceramic, slate or marble, can handle spills and constant traffic very well. Furthermore, luxury vinyl planks and tile do well in rental properties due to their ability to resist most scratches. These are not the same as peel and stick vinyl planks and tiles which can be a bad idea for rental units (peel and stick vinyl flooring tends to come back up and can be a maintenance headache). Quality luxury vinyl tile and planks can be found for as little as $1.25 per square foot. This tends to be a touch on the high side compared to some of the other options but will last much longer than most choices.
Traditional sheet vinyl – Sheet vinyl goods actually are fairly rugged and handle abuse pretty well. The knock against traditional vinyl is that it looks cheap. Vinyl roll goods have come a long way and some of the newer patterns look much better than those of the past. The upside to vinyl goods is they do extremely well in wet areas such as bathroom, laundry areas and kitchens. A good way to save money on vinyl for rental property or apartments is to find a source that you can get discounted product that is considered overruns or seconds. If you can find these types of vinyl you should be able to purchase them for under $6 a square yard for a pretty good quality product. You can also find first quality builder grade vinyl for around $6 a yard as well.