Deciding whether to use carpet in a rental property is something many landlords and property managers struggle with. Each week veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals so this week takes on the issue of carpet in rental properties.

Dear Landlord Hank:

I have had it with carpet in my rentals. Just too much damage and cleaning over the years. What do you think works best instead nice-looking vinyl or tile? Do you still have carpet in your rentals?

-Landlord James

Dear Landlord James,

I know exactly what you mean and have felt the same way for many years.

I’ve tried vinyl but found it could be ripped by someone moving furniture or appliances on it and that’s not an easy fix.

I use tile, ceramic or porcelain, whenever I can. I want something that is going to look great for a long time and be practically indestructible and that water won’t normally hurt. Tile has to be installed on a solid surface so ground floor units, over concrete, is perfect.

I have some properties where the 2nd and 3rd floors are wood construction, so there is some flex in the subsurface, and the tile can crack.

I’ve tried installing new 3/4 ” subfloor and 1/4 inch backer board, over sub floor, and still had some cracked tiles, so I use more carpeting in this situation.

My flooring costs go up with carpeting but I haven’t solved this issue yet.

I worry about water damage to wood flooring, so I stay away from wood.

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Dear Landlord Hank: How Do I Motivate My Tenants To Conserve Water?

Is An Old Drug Conviction A Big Deal?

Dear Landlord Hank: Should I Give A Tenant More Time To Pay?

Dear Landlord Hank: Where Do You Draw The Line On Normal Wear And Tear?

Dear Landlord Hank: Do You Give Other Landlords References On Former Tenants?

Landlord Hank at work on one of his properties