It’s time we talk about a flooring alternative that looks great and will save money. What’s not to love?
Landlords often use time between renters to spruce up the space. Apartment walls get painted, bathrooms get new fixtures and nearly everything else gets cleaned up. Flooring is often overlooked in these refreshes because of the idea that it’s a project that will take far too much time and money. Many landlords also only consider two options when thinking flooring. Hardwood floors are memorable and popular if you have them in the unit, otherwise carpeting is considered the only cheap alternative. Well, there are more options available to property owners that are cheaper, easier to maintain and can revitalize a unit better than a new roll of carpet.
Popular Floor Options Beyond Hardwood and Carpets
Landlords who want the look of hardwood without the cost (and the noise) should consider laminate floors for their units. Well-done laminates can be indistinguishable from hardwood floors to the naked eye. They are more scratch-resistant than hardwoods and friendlier to pets than carpets. Cleanup is easy, though laminates can be vulnerable to standing water. Laminate floors are difficult to refinish. It’s usually just easier to replace them completely if they get damaged.
Tile floors are often a popular choice for bathrooms, but they can also lend a timeless elegance to other rooms of an apartment or condo. Tile comes in many different styles, like marble, porcelain, granite, or slate. Glazed ceramic tile resists scratches very well. It’s also very easy to clean and resists stains. However, tile can also be very loud to walk on and it stays cold longer than other flooring. Residents with cold feet will turn up the heat, which might eat up cash in the winter if they don’t pay for utilities.
Vinyl plank flooring has been around for decades, but it’s recently seen a resurgence because of some modern innovations. It’s the most inexpensive option out of the ones mentioned and can be easily installed over existing flooring. Installing vinyl floors won’t take much longer than a fresh coat of paint. Vinyl plank offers several advantages as a choice for improving the look of a rental unit.
Benefits of Vinyl Plank Floors
The softness of vinyl gives it an element of comfort. Standing on a vinyl floor might not be as comfortable as carpeting but it can make it a good choice for kitchens where a lot of cooking happens. The softness comes from a thin layer of felt or foam from the flooring. This also offers a quieting element for heavy footsteps, which will keep noise complaints down during onsite visits.
Maintenance is a breeze when it comes to vinyl plank flooring. It can be installed over other flooring without the need for costly, time consuming demolition of the previous floor. Vinyl covers cracks very well, making it a good choice for high-traffic areas of a unit. Cleaning vinyl takes little time. Just a quick sweep or mop and the floor looks just like new. And vinyl’s moisture resistance is unbeatable – aside from the seams between planks it’s pretty much impervious to liquid, making it a great choice for bathrooms and kitchens. It also wears well—manufacturer’s warranties can last for as long as 15 to 20 years.
Vinyl offers a lot of decorative options. It comes in multiple colors, styles and ways to match an already existing style. It can also mimic other types of flooring like wood and stone. It won’t stand up to close scrutiny, but if a room is going for a theme or feeling, it can be a much more inexpensive option to complete a concept that might change in a few years.
Where to Get Vinyl Plank Flooring
Online vendors offer excellent discounts for bulk orders of vinyl tiles. They also provide the biggest selection of colors and styles because they have multiple warehouses to draw their wares. Renovation projects can be difficult to get a proper estimate on needed materials. Running out can slow down the project and ordering too much can clutter up storage space with extras. Returns can be a challenge because they require shipping and sending unused portions back. Before choosing a specific vendor, review shipping policy to make sure returns and exchanges are easy to handle.
Many property owners turn to big box stores, like Lowe’s and Home Depot, for materials for these types of projects. These massive stores have a similar selection to online vendors but with easier return and exchange policies onsite. Sending materials back for store credit becomes easy, and those gift cards will certainly find their uses in future property projects. Most stores expect you to know what you want and get out. Wandering around a big box store can take longer than expected and finding out the subtle differences between flooring choices can take even longer if a knowledgeable employee can’t be found.
Shopping local offers a chance to build relationships with other local businesses. Stores like Carpet City and Kerns Carpets offer a personal touch to renovation projects. They are also more likely to cut deals and offer business-to-business discounts with big orders because they want to have happy, loyal customers that keep coming back for more materials. Small businesses working together builds a sense of community and also gives you someplace to refer renters to if they want to take renovations into their own hands.
Renovating the flooring in your units doesn’t have to be a massive investment of time and money. While hardwood floors and carpeting are the most common options, they aren’t the only ones. Laminate floors offer a hardwood look without the hardwood cost. Tile floors are easy to clean and maintain. Vinyl floors offer a versatile look at an inexpensive cost. Its softness reduces noise and offers comfort. It doesn’t require much for maintenance. It matches several decors. Online vendors offer a large selection but can be difficult to deal with for returns. Big box retailers can provide easier returns but may be difficult when looking for an expert opinion. Local businesses offer expertise and value for long term customers. It doesn’t take much to renovate using vinyl planks, but those who do can give new life to their rental property.
Featured image “New Floors Installed” courtesy of Flickr user Charles and Clint licensed under CC by 2.0.
Images “Great Room’s New Floor” and “The Floor is in” courtesy of Flickr user BluebearsLair licensed under CC by 2.0.