There are 3 things I have learned about floor coverings in rentals over the last 25 years: 1. Floor coverings are expensive 2. Tenants are typically very hard on floors 3. Some of the strangest things happen I don’t even want to know about.
So I decided to do an experiment over the last 6 years to find the perfect floor covering that is durable, will withstand pets & people and a leaky washing machine. It has to be easy to clean, low maintenance, and of course low cost. There has to be something out there that will give landlords a solid solution. If a family member of mine can have carpet in their home for 40 years and it is still holding strong (of course it is 1960′s green, but still) then why can’t we find a 15 year solution?
I do know that with care, any floor will do just fine however, it seems as if we are constantly keeping the carpet mills in business. And although we do allow pets, often the problem is not the pets, but carelessness. We all know that if one vacuums the carpet often it will prolong the life not to mention immediately clean up and spills. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen like that. My dad once told me that he gave his tenants vacuum cleaners thinking that would help, and it would have had not most of the tenants sold the units at garage sales.
I tried Berber carpet for a while since it was touted “wears like iron,” and I suppose it does until the tenant actually uses the vacuum and snags it making a run and losing all the fiber. Won’t do that again. Vinyl rips and tears since it is not made as durable as it use to be, laminate flooring will not hold up to moisture so putting it in kitchen, laundry, or bath is a no-no. Stick down tile doesn’t really stick, VCT works good but reminds me of my 3rd grade classroom, and commercial carpet is, well, commercial. So what does that leave us? Hardwood and Ceramic tile. Both are good options but can be pricey.
Over the last 2 years we have been mainly using laminate flooring in high traffic areas like hallways and living rooms, carpet in bedrooms, and ceramic tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. So far this configuration appears to be doing quite nicely.
So what is the perfect floor? From a landlords point of view I think it has to be our old standby, the concrete floor. Yes it is a little cold in the winter but at least you can paint it all kinds of fun colors.