Our Tile Expert Says This Is The Worst Flooring Material To Use In Your Rental Home

As you prepare the home you own to become a rental, there are many factors to consider. You want the home to be safe, comfortable, and easy to maintain, both from your perspective and that of the renter. As you consider updates and modernizations to the property, one question you want to consider is about the flooring.

It's important to balance your flooring choice for a rental based on what is going to be easy to maintain for the property owner, but also what is going to handle the rough-and-tough use of children and pets and be easy to clean later when your tenant moves out. To find out what mistakes property owners make when choosing a flooring material, House Digest reached out and spoke directly to Schannon from Tile Installation and Design, also known as @thattilechick.

She said the worst option is hardwood, and with good reason. "Hardwood floors are susceptible to scratches, dents and water damage due to its softer and more porous nature." Even if you're renting to an older couple without pets, hardwoods aren't ideal. "Having to refinish the hardwood flooring between tenants can become costly and time consuming, which can impact the property's availability and your return on your investment. It is also on the more expensive side to purchase and install," she said.

There are better alternatives to consider for your home update

While hardwood floors certainly offer some fabulous looks and a natural feel that can be appealing to an upscale renter, they don't make sense for most properties. However, some alternatives can work very well for rental properties.

In her conversation with House Digest, Schannon shared, "Our top picks for an alternative flooring for rental properties include ceramic or porcelain tile, laminate and luxury vinyl tile or engineered hardwood." The benefits of these flooring options are numerous. "All of these flooring options have excellent durability, low maintenance and are an affordable option when it comes to the floor for a rental property," revealed Schannon.

The good news is that the use of any of these products can still offer the aesthetics the property owner desires. You can purchase ceramic and luxury vinyl products that look like and even offer a similar appeal to hardwood floors. Alternatively, choose engineered hardwood that's more durable and able to handle more of the intense use that renters can demand.

Schannon shared, "Opting for durable alternatives like laminate, engineered hardwood, or porcelain tile strikes a better balance between aesthetics and low maintenance cost. Informed flooring choices are an investment in the property's sustained value and attractiveness to potential tenants." Consider the short-term goals but also how the use of any flooring product may impact future tenants, the frequency of replacement, and overall liability risks in the home.

As a renter, check out the flooring condition, too

For those looking for a home to rent, it's just as important to pay close attention to the flooring as it is to the number of bedrooms and storage space. Though it may not seem like an obvious deciding factor, there are a few specific concerns Schannon shared during her interview with House Digest. "When searching for a rental home, there are some key things to look out for when it comes to the quality of flooring. You should be inspecting the flooring for visible damage, worn out or stained carpets, noisy flooring, mismatched flooring, or flooring that will demand high maintenance, such as natural stone tile."

Stained carpeting may mean there's more of a problem under the floorboards than you can deal with as a renter. If the flooring is worn out, that could create a tripping hazard or require the property owner to switch out flooring during your rental period, which can certainly be a hassle. Ideally, ask the property owner to change out the flooring before signing the lease.

Schannon recognizes that not all property owners are willing or able to do that. "If completely changing the flooring in the rental unit is out of the question, there are some actions you can take to help alleviate your concerns. To cope with inadequate or mismatched flooring you can consider using strategically placed rugs or area carpets that go with the overall aesthetic or design of your space."