Laminate flooring in San Carlos, CA from A Saberi Interiors

Landlord?s Guide to Flooring in a Rental Property

All rental properties cost money to run. Successfully operating a rental demands constant vigilance to maintain the balance between a property?s earnings and its costs. There are no guarantees that a rental will generate more income than expenses. Landlords must be careful to make their properties profitable because it will not happen automatically.

On the surface, it might sound like the best way to ensure a rental?s success is to cut costs. But it is usually more complicated than that. It often means considering both the short and long-term impacts of every decision made on the property. Sometimes a property owner may undertake big and expensive projects today to cut costs tomorrow.

That is the case with changing a rental property?s flooring. Although it is a cost that landlords would want to avoid, its long-term impact makes it worth undertaking. But when changing the flooring in a rental, landlords must be careful that the material meets the following criteria:

Durability: Rental properties are subject to more wear than owner-occupied homes because the home?s occupants are always changing. Tenants are also less careful about a landlord?s property.

Affordable: Flooring costs go beyond buying and installing the materials. It includes the cost of maintaining it. Maintenance may be the most important cost landlords need to consider.

Low maintenance: Rental property flooring presents contradictory maintenance challenges. Even though tenants are more likely to damage the flooring, it still needs to be easy to maintain.

Attractive: Aesthetically pleasing flooring is essential for attracting tenants to a rental. The most durable and low-maintenance flooring means nothing if the material is ugly and off-putting to prospective tenants.

Vinyl flooring in San Carlos, CA from A Saberi Interiors

Ease of installation: Minimal time and effort are critical when installing rental property flooring. The more time an installation takes, the more it costs landlords in potential rental income.

Safety: The floor must be slip-resistant and not constitute itself into a tripping hazard. Also, it should minimize its tendency to trap dust, pollen, pests, and bacteria.

What are the flooring options that meet these conditions the most? What are their pros and cons? And which areas of the rental suits them the most?


The two primary advantages of carpet are that it is a good insulator (it can help reduce the heating bill) and has excellent sound absorption qualities. However, carpet stains easily trap odors/allergens and can be hard to clean. If one section is damaged, you have to replace the entire carpet. Despite these shortcomings, carpet is an excellent choice for bedrooms.

Ceramic, porcelain, and stone tiles

Tile is durable and water resistant. It comes in a variety of materials, designs, and price ranges. However, it is not a good insulator, and you should not use them throughout the home in a colder climate. It tends to crack or pop out and needs to be sealed, polished, or re-grouted. It also has a complicated installation process. Tile is best for bathrooms, kitchen, common areas, and basements.

Solid and engineered hardwood

Engineered wood flooring in San Carlos, CA from A Saberi Interiors

Hardwood flooring can either be solid or engineered hardwood. Both options, though similar in appearance, have significant differences. Hardwood floors last a lifetime and are the flooring option with the most aesthetic appeal. You can also refinish solid hardwood flooring. All hardwood floorings are easy to clean, but they are expensive and highly susceptible to scratches and dents. You can not refinish engineered hardwood, but you can refinish solid hardwood a limited number of times. Solid hardwood flooring is sensitive to moisture. They are best for the bedroom, dining area, and living room.


Laminate is the next best thing to hardwood flooring; it mimics its appearance but is scratch-resistant and effortless to install than hardwood. It is also cheaper than hardwood. The problem with laminate is it tends to chip, and you cannot refinish it. It does not last as long as hardwood and therefore does not add as much value. It is best in the same areas of the home as hardwood.


Vinyl is one of the most inexpensive flooring options available. It is highly versatile and can be glued over an existing floor or installed as a floating floor. It is easy to clean and install. Vinyl is water-resistant. The problem with vinyl is it tears easily, and since water can get under it, it is subject to mold and mildew. It is best in areas with high moisture exposure like bathrooms and kitchens.


Cork is a natural flooring material that serves as an affordable alternative to hardwood. Like vinyl, it can be glued to a subfloor and is easy to install. It is a green product and has excellent noise absorption. But is not very durable and is susceptible to water damage. Additionally, it requires sealing. Cork is best for the kitchen.


Linoleum is another affordable natural flooring material that you can glue to the subfloor. It is easy to clean and moderately easy to install but prone to dent and tear. The best areas to use linoleum are the kitchen and dining room.