Isn’t it hard to choose flooring for houses, let alone rental houses?  All you can imagine is how they are going to take a key to it, let their dog pee on it, or burn a cigarette into it (no, they aren’t supposed to smoke). Sometimes, after seeing a house upon tenant move out, I like to try to reconstruct how certain things happened like in a crime scene. How on Earth does something like this happen is all I can think sometimes?

Though most tenants are good – you tend to keep the worst-case scenarios at the forefront of your mind when updating a unit. And it makes you wish they made everything out of stainless steel or concrete though nothing is truly indestructible for some people.

On one hand, you don’t want to spend too much because you will not get it back for years to come.  On the other hand, you don’t want to have to keep replacing the flooring every couple of years or even every year.  What to do?!

We’ve been experimenting with different flooring for some time and we’ve had some luck with vinyl plank flooring, wood laminate flooring, and even carpeting (on stairs).  Our favorite pick: Allure Ultra. We got the tip to try Allure Ultra from Bryon’s dad.  Although, he says the generic Home Depot click-lock vinyl plank flooring is easier to install – haven’t tried it yet.

Stairs:
Stairs are tricky b/c it’s expensive to put laminate on stairs and even Allure on stairs is expensive so we feel like carpet is the best bet b/c it’s cheap and if you need to you can replace it pretty easily and inexpensively. We’ve also had luck with sheet vinyl plus rubber treads for stairs – it’s a nice look and easy to clean.

Allure peel and stick (the planks stick to each other not the floor so it’s still a floating floor):
We are not great fans of this though it’s less expensive. We used this in a living room and in a basement area. The cracks between the planks can tend to separate and get dirt stuck in there in places and it’s not truly waterproof due to this (they don’t advertise that it’s waterproof though). Maybe it was just because it was my husband’s first time installing it or maybe that’s just the way it is. I’m not sure – but I’m not a fan. It held up through one tenant with no scratches or anything, but I just get annoyed about the cracks between the planks in some places are more visible than they should be in my opinion.

Vinyl plank click-lock flooring – Allure Ultra brand (winner):
The interlocking Allure Ultra is truly waterproof and we haven’t seen any separating after years of use in a high traffic hallway. The only downside to it is that it’s tricky to install and quite the learning curve b/c it’s flexible vinyl planks that interlock which as you can imagine can be tricky vs rigid planks that interlock. The plus side is that you can cut it easily with a box cutter so you don’t have to have any special equipment or make a whole lot of extra noise. We are planning to use this next in a kitchen and see how it goes.

Wood laminate (comes in second and looks nicer):
Another thing we tried in bedrooms is wood laminate floating floor. We used some relatively cheap laminate we got off the shelves at Home Depot for some bedrooms and that held up really well through one tenant’s use – no scratches, stains, or separating between the planks or anything wrong. Next, we are going to try a more upgraded laminate for a different unit – Pergo XP – and see how that goes.

As you can see, carpet isn’t listed – well, except for stairs.  We haven’t had the best luck with carpet – it always seems to need to be replaced and even if we keep it, we have to spend so much time cleaning it that I’m not sure it’s worth it.  Anybody else want to share their experiences on what has worked for them?  I’m always looking out for cheaper alternatives that are still durable.

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