Should you choose carpets or hard flooring for your rental property?

A rental property’s main purpose is to become profitable as soon as possible. One of the ways to achieve that is to be smart when selecting the type of flooring for each room. Your choices need to be practical, within a reasonable budget and in line with other factors, such as:

  1. The base value of the actual property
  2. The area in which it is situated
  3. The climate in the respective region

In the UK specifically, carpets still remain the top choice for most landlords and property owners in general. The not-so-close follow ups are hardwood, laminate and tiles. What are the advantages and disadvantages of all these options? That’s what we are to discuss today, and help you make the best possible choice for your rental property’s flooring.

Why choose carpets for your rental property?

  • Ability to retain heath
Carpets

Carpets are a good insulator, and as such are preferred in countries with a colder and more humid climate. A carpeted room will always be easier to warm up compared to a room with hard flooring (hardwood, laminate, tiles). Said room will also retain its temperature for much longer.

  • Noise reduction

Having tenants complain about noisy roommates in a shared housing is not an uncommon issue for landlords. Placing carpets throughout the property, however, can definitely minimize the issue. In fact, carpets absorb up to 35% more sound compared to hard flooring.

  • A budget-friendly option

While carpets do vastly vary in style and composition, selecting a suitable and affordable option for your rental is not hard. Synthetic carpets, and more specifically nylon and polyester, are cheap, easy to install and relatively simple to maintain (compared to wool).

Why not to choose carpets for your rental property?

  • Can easily get stained

Having carpets installed for your home is one thing – having them installed in a rental is a different story. Tenants are far less likely to be as careful as you are during their stay. And even if they are, accidents are bound to happen. Unfortunately, removing stains and smells from carpets isn’t always possible, even with professional help. Due to this, your property may be overlooked by potential tenants with high demands.

  • Potentially high maintenance costs

By UK standards, carpets should be professionally cleaned after each end-of-tenancy. For tenants who look to extend their stays, some landlords offer a free of charge carpet cleaning for disinfection and stain removal purposes.

Professional carpet cleaning costs, however, can build-up over time, and even then – it’s not always possible to bring back the carpet to its prime condition.

In terms of repairing damaged parts, it’s as easy as calling a carpet repair company and having the damaged part replaced with an original piece of the carpet (this is why you should also buy a bit more than needed). As a side note, high piled carpets such as frieze can help hide seams quite well.

  • Can provoke allergies

Even when cared for accordingly, carpets still harbour many harmful allergens such as dust, pet dander and even mould spores. A major disadvantage to families with allergy sufferers or simply individuals who prefer a dust-free environment.

Why choose hardwood for your rental property?

  • Can increase the value of the property

A house with quality hardwood flooring can easily up the value (or in this case the rental fee) of the respective property. Why? Because it’s widely known to be not as affordable as laminate or even most carpets, due to it being made out of real wood. Plus, it looks beautiful in any décor, no matter modern or retro.

  • Easy to maintain

Unlike carpets, spills on hardwood can be removed easily in 99.9% of all cases. It doesn’t require extensive cleaning knowledge, and it’s something which all tenants can and (most likely) will do. And unlike carpets, hardwood requires re-sanding once every 5-7 years or so – not after each tenancy.

  • Can last for a looong time

Quality hardwood flooring, such as ash or oak, can last up to 100 years with proper maintenance. In reality, you likely wouldn’t opt out for the most expensive options, but the more affordable ones can still endure about 25 years of usage – more than enough to make your investment worthwhile.

Why not to choose hardwood for your rental property?

  • Can take a while to make a profit

Hardwood flooring does increase the rental fee of a property. It also does last a very long time if cared for accordingly. Still, it may take a few years for your investment to be profitable or in other words worth it.

  • Prone to scratches and discolouration

Scratches from pets, vacuum brush rollers or even high heeled shoes can easily leave scratch marks even onto a quality hardwood flooring. Prolonged sun exposure can also leave imperfections onto the flooring in the form of colour lightening.

  • Vulnerable to prolonged moisture exposure

The UK is famous for its flood problem, which very often leads to leaks within properties. If said leak problem is within a room with hardwood, and the problem is not fixed in a timely manner, it can easily ruin the flooring. Poor installation or high humidity in general can also slowly but surely reduce the hardwood’s lifespan.

Why choose laminate for your rental property?

  • More affordable than hardwood

In most cases, laminate will be significantly less expensive than real hardwood flooring. It’s also available in a variety of patterns, designs and colours to complement the feel of any property.

Laminate 1
  • Can withstand heavy use

Laminate flooring is significantly more durable when it comes to scratches, general wear and tear, and moisture exposure (compared to hardwood). Even cheap laminate options can last you at least a decade, with more expensive alternatives up to 25 years. It’s also very simple to maintain as it does not require re-sanding – only hoovering and mopping.

  • Easy to install

Laminate can be installed onto most existing flooring types, which can save lots of time, money and labour. The installation process also requires less time and less skill, especially when compared to hardwood.

Why not to choose laminate for your rental property?

  • Does not add value to the property

Although technically the cheaper hard flooring alternative to hardwood, laminate does not provide with the same luxurious feel real hardwood does.

  • Can be very slippery

Many modern laminate options are waterproof, which means spilled liquids will remain on the surface until wiped over. This can be a safety hazard, especially for families with children or elderly members.

  • Cannot be re-sanded if damaged

Dropping something heavy onto a laminate flooring can easily leave permanent dents. And as laminate cannot be re-sanded, your only option is to replace the specific plank, which is not a cheap service. Careless tenants combined with low-quality laminate flooring can result in hefty maintenance costs, making you lose money in the long run.

Why choose tiles for your rental property?

  • Simple to clean
Tiles 2

Cleaning up a mess on tiled flooring is as easy as sweeping it and/or mopping it. Most tile floorings are also coated with liquid glass, making them stain-resistant and in generally easier to care for.

  • Numerous styles and budget options

Tiles come in a variety of sizes and styles to fit any décor and budget. Of course, we recommend sticking to neutral colours for your rental property in order to please as many potential tenants as possible.

  • Resistant to water and extreme temperatures

Tiles are a form of hard flooring with resistance to extremely high and low temperatures. They also withstand prolonged exposure to moisture unlike any other flooring type.

Why not to choose tiles for your rental property?

  • Prone to damage

Dropping fragile items onto tiles can not only break said items – it can also damage the flooring. As a result (especially when not cared for accordingly), tiles will appear worn after just a few years of usage due to cracks and chipping.

  • Not ideal for cold climates

Due to tiles being a bad insulator, your tenants will likely suffer from cold feet when going about their everyday life. Moreover, this can lead to a rise in the electricity bill – something covered by the landlord by UK standards.

  • Not comfortable to walk on

Compared to carpets and even hardwood and laminate, tiles are not as comfortable to walk on, especially with bare feet.

Note: Placing rugs or runners onto tiles, laminate or hardwood can mitigate their heat retaining issues, and can also make them more comfortable to walk on.

Which flooring is best for each room?

Having carpets laid throughout the whole property (including kitchen and bathrooms) may be something homeowners did in the past, but due to obvious reasons trends have changed.

Carpet vs hard flooring for your rental property 1

We will now go over which flooring type is best for each room, and why that is the case.

Entrance hall

Tiles would be our recommendation for entrance areas, due to how easy they are to clean and how durable they are against high humidity. And in order to keep things tidy, consider placing a welcome mat on top. We suggest avoiding carpet for your entrance hall, as it will be worn out faster than any other flooring type.

Living area

What flooring you choose for the lounge of your rental property depends on your budget, the actual value of the property and the potential tenants you’re looking to lure. Based on said factors we urge you to consider carpets, due to the comfort they provide and their heath retaining quality. Plus, they’re still the standard flooring for most UK properties, which (if maintained well) will make most tenants feel at home right away.

Just ensure you opt for synthetic fibre carpets, since they’re easy to clean, and more specifically neutral gray ones, as they tend to hide stains well.

If, however, you are to decorate a property of high value, and your goal is to attract tenants without any financial issues, it might be worth considering hardwood flooring. As mentioned before, hardwood does not retain allergens like carpets do, and they generally maintain their beauty for longer, with minimal maintenance.

Dining area

Not all properties have a separate dining area, but many do. What flooring you select for it can be very important, especially if your tenants are to… dine in it. You want to ensure that food and drink spills from one tenancy will not affect negatively the stay of your next guests. You want a floor type, which is easy to clean, but also provides with a stylish and warm feel.

Laminate flooring is an excellent option as it’s stain resistant, requires little maintenance, and can immensely compliment a quality set of wooden table and chairs. Plus, it’s scratch resistant, in most cases waterproof, and cheaper than hardwood!

Kitchen

In many new UK builds, the living room is combined with the kitchen, with the living room being carpeted and the kitchen tiled. There’s a good reason for that. Tiles are 100% resistant to water and moisture, and are much less prone to germs and mould development. They can withstand strong chemicals and are impossible to stain.

Bedrooms

In most places in the world, the UK included, bedrooms are usually situated above ground level. Why? Because it allows for a larger lounge and kitchen, but most importantly – hot air rises, which makes the task of keeping bedrooms warm easier during winter.

Another way of ensuring the bedrooms remain warm is by putting carpets in them. They have exceptionally good heat insulating qualities, they’re comfortable to walk on, and they’re excellent sound absorbers.

Stairs

Having your stairs and hallways carpeted will significantly reduce noise, as well as chances to slip and fall. Through usage, however, the stairs will become dull and dirt will be ingrained within the edges. The carpet will lose its initial appeal and may need replacing after 5-7 years.

Due to this, we’re also happy to recommend having hardwood on the stairs and hallways, and simply placing runners on top to minimize noise and slip risk.

Bathrooms

Placing anything else than tiles in the bathroom, regardless if the property is a rental or not, is without doubt an odd choice. It’s also a choice, which more than likely will not lead to any obvious benefits. In fact, carpets, hardwood and even laminate will not last more than a few years in a bathroom. Why? Due to their inability to cope with water and moisture, of course.

Tiles in the bathroom will feel natural to most Brits and the rest of the world as well. Simply put, tile floors deal with moisture best, and are effortlessly maintained. Unlike any other type of flooring, you don’t need to wipe it dry with a towel after you’re done showering.

Please note: These are our thoughts and recommendations based on our experience as a professional cleaning company and extensive research on the topic. Below is a table representing a summary of our last talking point:



CarpetsHardwoodLaminateTiles
Entrance hall
Living area
Dining area
Kitchen
Bedrooms
Stairs
Bathrooms