When investing in flooring for a rental property, you want to ensure that it can stand up to heavy traffic and general wear and tear.
Now, every flooring option has its pro’s and con’s.
In this article I am going to compare the four most popular floor choices, namely; carpet, hardwood flooring, laminate and tiles.
Before we examine each one of those, it is important to take into account when choosing a floor for your rental property what is important to you?
Are you looking to rent out the property short term with a view to sell or move in yourself?
In this case you can be a bit more personal with your choice.
Is it a high end rental or middle of the road?
For more luxurious rentals it will be worth investing in a hardwood floor to attract top end renters.
Or if opting for a carpet, going for a well produced wool or tencel carpet.
What do neighbouring properties have?
Seeing what flooring others have gone for will help you get an idea of the type of renters that you are appealing too.
Regardless of the amount you have to spend, you want to ensure you get a product that performs and give you bang for your buck.
Carpet can be a difficult flooring product to get right, because there is such a wide variety available in terms of price and composition.
It’s worth reading my article on Choosing the Best Wall to Wall Carpet as I dive into the benefits of different carpet compositions.
Wool is always a good investment as it will last a long time, durable and copes well with stains. Personally I prefer wool carpets that are looped or have a mix of loops and cut loops.
Having a wool carpet as a cut velvet design (so all looped are cut to create a flat pile) can result in the carpet looking a bit flat.
This is because wool doesn’t have a natural sheen to it.
If you would like a cut velvet design, try looking for wool mixes that have 20% viscose in them to add a level of sheen to the carpet, but still making it durable.
Average cost to supply and install a wool carpet £95 per m2 inc VAT
Natural fibre carpet such as sisal and jute are hardwearing but don’t do well with water, so having them in an entrance, where you have wet shoes and umbrellas is not the best space for these types of carpets.
Softer fibres such as viscose are not good with traffic or water, so either use them as suggested above in a wool mix or reserve them for the bedrooms.
Tencel is a relatively new product on the market. It’s made from solvents used to convert wood pulp, making it recyclable and eco-friendly.
This creates a reflective material with s silky feel.
It is also very durable when it comes to traffic and water and can be easily cleaned.
However, it is not the most cost effective option.
Synthetic fibres such as polypropylene as cost effect and durable.
These types of carpets are often used in commercial areas such as big office buildings.
The drawback with synthetic carpets in a residential environment is that they don’t feel great underfoot, but more importantly is that the carpet will start to look flat and worn in short space of time.
Synthetic fibres just don’t have the longevity in them the same as natural material, such as wool does.
A decent hardwood floor is always going to be an investment, there is simply no way around that. However, if you shop around and negotiate, usually a flooring supplier will not only work with you to find the best product to suit your budget but should be open to cutting you a deal too.
Don’t go for anything too trendy or too dark.
Trends, like doing a white plank and then a blank plank next to each other will date...quickly.
Dark floors tend to show up scratches and dents more than a lighter floor.
Consider going for a brushed surface over a smooth one as this will mask surface scratches, but remember once you sand the floor you will loose the brushed surface.
Average cost to supply and install a plank hardwood floor £140 per m2 inc VAT
I would recommend a lacquered finish over a hard wax oiled finish as lacquered requires less ongoing maintenance and it usually takes several years before you need to sand and re-finish.
Hard wax oils can look ‘flat’ quite quickly and need an annual maintenance oil buff to keep them looking pristine.
The good thing about hardwood is that you could put it down and not bother with maintaining it for years, once you sand it you give the floor a new lease of life.
This is ideal for when you want to put the property on the market as a simply sand and finish will freshen up the interior.
Installing a hardwood floor will also add value to your property when you come to sell - look at this option as a long term but worth while investment.
For further reading on hardwood floors try my article on Selecting Hardwood Flooring for a Luxurious Kitchen.
There was a time when I wouldn’t even consider laminate as an option for flooring.
I mean yuck! Why would you want to put a product that is a repetitive photo of a wood grain and that is constructed of harmful components in your home? However, things have changed.
Over the last few years, especially with the scandal of Lumber Liquidators where it was found that the laminate flooring they were selling had illegally high levels of formaldehyde, it forced the industry to wake up!
There are now laminate products available that are made from recycled materials and have a natural grain to them.
Some even have a textured surface making them feel more real.
They are never going to replace hardwood flooring but I do think this is a perfect option if you are on a tight budget and want to create a modern and clean interior.
Laminates are not great with water, so I would not recommend them for kitchens and bathrooms, but they are extremely scratch resistant so ideal for entrances, stairs and living rooms.
Boards are available in wide widths of 200mm and above, making them feel contemporary.
Average cost to supply and install a plank laminate floor £45 per m2 inc VAT
Tiles are the best flooring solution for kitchens and bathrooms.
As with carpets, you tend to have a wide price selection, you can pick up a bargain at B&Q or go to Fired Earth for higher end options.
Be sure to select the correct tile for the space.
Slip resistant tiles are best for wet areas such as the shower and bathroom.
For high traffic areas such as the kitchen, look for tiles that are easy to clean.
Polished tiles tend to show up dirt more than matte or textured surfaces.
When it comes to choosing a colour, look for a tile that you can use throughout different areas to keep the look cohesive.
Average cost to supply and install floor tiles £80 per m2 inc VAT
Should you be doing a full refurbishment on your rental property before renting it out and have builders on site doing other work, it will be worth discussing with them if they can install flooring for you.
Most builders will have experience in laying carpet, laminate and tiles, however when it comes to hardwood flooring ensure that you see images of past floors that they have installed and get previous customers reviews.
There is a lot of technical know how that goes into laying a hardwood floor that is not required with other floor covering, feel free to sign up for my FREE Hardwood Flooring Technical Guide to understand how your hardwood floor should be installed.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org should you need any further information on selecting a floor for your interior.