A customer recently asked, "Which type of carpeting is better for a rental in Westchester NY - nylon or PET (polyester)?"
I think my response surprised him. My answer was "Neither; you are probably better off with laminate flooring for a rental."
Background and disclaimers
- Laminate flooring looks like hardwood. It is fake and actually uses recycled hardwood shavings (so it's kind of green product). It is hard (like hardwood) rather than flexible like vinyl. (Many customers get vinyl and linoleum and laminate confused. More more of an explanation on these surfaces click the links).
- Now, of course, there is no one size fits all answer for this question. It does depend on how high end or low end a rental is and types of renters you typically attract (or are looking to attract), and it does depend on the state and condition of the floors (e.g. are the floors level?) and what type of tlooring/subfloors are there now (e..g if there is already hardwood floors there, I would tend to keep those (and refinish them, if needed...this is less expensive than recarpeting and improves the value and rent you can charge). And, of course, there are some apartments which require carpet, so a hard surfaces are out of the question.
- People often get terms mixed up, so here's a bit of background:
- Pergo is a brand of laminate (there are many other brands too).
- Laminate is a floating floor (there are other types of floating floors, too)
Why laminate flooring is often a better solution vs. carpet for a rental in Westchester NY.
1. While laminate flooring will usually cost you more initially, it will save you more in the long run (and medium run).
Laminate may cost you 50-80% more than carpet. BUT, it will last MUCH longer. Usually, carpet will only last through 1 tenant...it is changed well before the warranty runs out due to stains and/or odor and hygiene. As soon as you replace the carpet, you've already spent more than you did fot the laminate...and that doesn't even factor in the fact that carpet has been rising in price faster than any other surface (it's petroleum based, so as the price of oil increases, so does the cost of carpet.
- So, if your renters turn over every 2 yrs, you've already saved money in those 2 yrs.
- Most laminates will last at least 20 yrs...so think about how many tenants you will have over those 20 yrs. If it's more than 1, then laminate is clearly a better investment. And, if you do in fact have 1 tenant for 20 yrs, you probably need to change that carpet for them 1-2 times over that span.
2. Laminate flooring will appeal to more potential renters...so it will allow you to rent the place sooner
(and in some instances, it may allow you to charge a bit more for the rent even if that is just because you have more potential renters). Nowadays, more and more people prefer hard surfaces over carpet. Not only is it a preference for many, but it's a necessity for many. if there is just one member of the family who has asthma or an allergy, they will avoid homes with carpet.
3. Laminate flooring is easier to maintain and keep clean vs carpet.
It's rather easy - same as hardwood. You don't need to worry about the cost of cleaning your carpets or stains. It tends to work well with pets. Unlike hardwood (which I love), it's pretty scratch resistant
4. Laminate flooring usually looks better and shows better than most carpets.
If you go with a light color, ti will help make the space look larger and you can use the same surface everywhere - even the kitchen - and because you'll have one surface everywhere (ecept the bathrooms where you close the doors anyway), it will make the space more continuous and hence look larger.
5. You will not need to replace laminate flooring between tenants...so, this means that you can rerent it faster.
When you need to replace the flooring, it may take you time to get estimates and choose a flooring contractor, not to mention the time to order the materials and arrange schedules for installation, so you may lose a month of rent because of this.
If carpeting is your only option:
In the event that you need to install carpet in a rental (e.g. the floor is uneven or carpet is a requirement or the apartment requires carpet, then I think you need to think about the type of tenant you are trying to attract. In general, nylon carpets are better quality, softer, last longer and cost more; polyester carpets don't last as long. If you have high tenant turnover, my logic would tell me to get a less expensive polyester carpet since you will need to replace it soon anyway.
Possible objections to laminate flooring vs. carpet and potential solutions:
1. Some people prefer carpet for the bedrooms (prob. slightly less than half - maybe 30-40%, but it is a preference for some). Solution: get area rugs...or have tenant bring in theirs...and they can keep this when they move out.
2. Sound issues from below. Solution - use a cork underlayment to muffle the sound.
3. Warmth - again, cork underlayment can help as can area rugs...but maybe this is a source of another underlying issue (e.g. insulation) that may need to be addressed.
So, my recommendation is that you will ultimately save & make more money by using laminate flooring in a Westchester NY rental rather than carpet. I understand that renting is a business and as such think about your investment costs vs. your return.
If you live in Westchester NY or Fairfield CT counties, and if you are in the market for laminate flooring or carpet, or would like estimates to compare both options, give us at call at Floor Coverings International 914-937-2950 and let us bring the "store to your door."