I’m always trying to find the most durable flooring for the best price … something I won’t have to replace two years down the road.
For kitchens and baths in my rentals, I’ve used commercial tile, ceramic, sheet vinyl and vinyl peel and stick tiles. People swear by ceramic tile but if your floor settles or gets wet underneath from a leak and becomes uneven, the tiles will crack. Sheet vinyl will discolor and peel if it gets wet underneath, I recently found a wonderful product called Flexi-Tile (www.flexitile.com) that is very cool. It’s actually made of 5mm rubber and it is 20″x20″ interlocking pieces that can be pounded together with a mallet. You don’t glue it down at all and it’s extremely sturdy — 25-year warranty — and comes in a wide variety of colors. I just put it in a kitchen at one of my rentals and I intend to use it again.
As for the rest of the house, I know other landlords who love hardwood floors but I’m definitely not a fan. They get scratched up easily and they’re loud. If the house is a duplex, hardwoods are way too noisy. Now, the laminates are a little better, but most of my tenants prefer a nicely carpeted rental to one that has bare wood floors.
I prefer dark colors, of course, particularly in areas that get a lot of use. Something the color of dirt is good. (LOL) I’ve used two-tone berbers that I love, mainly because they don’t show a traffic pattern like some of the plush carpets do. Use a good 6-lb. pad (7/16″ is sufficient) that will give the carpet some nice cushion. Lately though, I found a terrific deal on a two-tone plush so I jumped on it. It was $3 less/yd than the berber I’ve been using so I couldn’t pass it up … it’s contractor grade and is a nice piece of goods, so we’ll see how it holds up.
Aside from the paint on your walls, your flooring is what makes the biggest impact on your applicants, so make sure it looks good and will last!