Best flooring for rental properties
What you choose will depend on your budget, type of tenant you’re aiming for and your estimated rental. Here are some of your options, with prices quoted per square metre, without underlay. Fitting will cost extra.
Carpets are one of the cheapest type of flooring, but they are the hardest to maintain. They stain easily and, on the whole, tenants don’t tend to like them. However, they can make bedrooms look cosy and they provide good sound insulation. In fact, if your property is a flat with another flat below, you might find that your lease stipulates you must carpet the floors.
If you are laying carpet in a rental property, choose a darkish colour to avoid showing every stain, but not too dark or it will show every bit of fluff and, more importantly, it will make rooms feel smaller. Mushroom, taupe or dark cream are all good, neutral colours. Whilst you should avoid swirly, multi-coloured 70s style carpets that might be off-putting to tenants, something with a light pattern is good because it will mask the stains. There’s a reason why hotels and cruise ships always choose garish designs!
Wool carpets are more expensive than carpets made with synthetic fibres, but they will last longer and they’re easier to clean. Go for the best quality you can afford, preferably with a high percentage of wool.
Whichever you choose, make sure they are treated with a stain repellent before laying.
Remember when comparing quotes for carpets to factor in the cost of underlay and fitting. Go for the best underlay you can afford – it will make even a cheap carpet feel much more luxurious and it will last longer. Also, don’t scrimp on the fitting – poor carpet fitters can ruin a good quality carpet.
You should include a clause in the tenancy agreement to state that tenants must have carpets steam cleaned at the end of the tenancy, and you should insist on being sent a receipt to prove this has been done.
Giving the tenants a written explanation of how to care for the carpet, including how to deal with stains, should also help keep it in good condition.
Never carpet kitchens and bathrooms, they’ll get soaked, stained and stink.
You can sometimes avoid using carpet by laying down large rugs instead, but if you go for this option, you need to put anti-slip mats or grips underneath so they don’t slip or curl up at the edges and trip someone up.
The advantages of laminate are that it’s cheap, easy to lay and easy to keep clean, making it a good option for budget-style rentals including student accommodation.
Tenants seem to like it as it’s more hygienic than carpet, they don’t have to pay to have it steam cleaned at the end of the tenancy.
If you buy a good quality laminate, it does actually look like wood but at a fraction of the cost!
On the downside, it’s not waterproof so it’s not suitable for bathrooms and it’s not the best flooring for kitchens – although it’s okay in kitchens if tenants take care not to splash around. If you use it in the hallway, you’ll have to use a mat by the front door to prevent it getting wet and warping.
Again, remember to factor in the cost of underlay and fitting.
This can work really well in budget rentals as they’re cheap, easy to lay, and come in lots of different colours and finishes with wood, slate and marble-effect being the most popular. They are warmer to the touch than laminate and not so noisy so better for flats or upstairs rooms. Vinyl is also waterproof so it’s suitable for kitchens and bathrooms. However, vinyl tiles aren’t as durable as ceramic or porcelain and can start to peel or look scruffy after a few years.
Classy than vinyl but more expensive, this is a natural material that is warm to the touch so good for use in bathrooms and bedrooms.
These are good in areas where noise is an issue, for example upstairs or in flats. They’re more expensive than the cheapest ceramic or porcelain tiles, but they’re easier to lay and they are warmer to the touch. However, they tend to scuff and aren’t as durable, but they are waterproof, making them a good option for kitchens and bathrooms.
Ceramic or porcelain tiles
Ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and hallways, they’re durable, waterproof, hygienic and look classy. Go for dark tiles with dark grout and they’ll last for years and stay looking good. However, they are cold to the touch, they’re not ideal for flats due to the noise made when walking on them, and they are more expensive to lay than vinyl or lino tiles.
Warm and classy, wood floors are very on trend and desirable. If you have original wooden floorboards (which might be lurking under old carpet or laminate) then happy days, you can strip them back and polish them and they’ll look amazing. You can do it yourself or get in a pro, who should also be able to fill in any large gaps.
The downside of stripped wooden floorboards is that they can be draughty and they are noisier than carpet or laminate, although you could always put down rugs using anti-slip mats.
If you don’t already have wooden floorboards, or the originals aren’t worth restoring, you can lay new wood or engineered wood floors, but these can be expensive. Also, wood isn’t ideal for kitchens and bathrooms as it will warp if it gets soaked and stains easily.