Which Is the Right Rental Property Flooring Choice For You: Carpet, or Laminate?

Most landlords have to endure the painstaking process of renovating an/or decorating their rental property at one point or another. Unfortunately, it’s often after a bad tenant moves out. Once the aftermath of the tenants occupancy is assessed, carpets are often in horrible shape. So, then the question emerges, carpet or laminate flooring, and which is the most practical choice for rental properties? 

Laminate flooring has become the cornerstone of modern style for many residents; they’re an extremely demanded commodity. It’s not surprising- they’re cost-effective, they’re easy to maintain, and they have the potential to make an ordinary room standout with a bit of contemporary style. But a carpet looks cleaner, feels much more homely and is so much kinder to bear feet.

Hardwood vs. Laminate

It is important to distinguish the difference between hard wood flooring and laminate flooring. A lot of people don’t seem to appreciate the difference. In fact, many people think they’re the same thing. These days laminate flooring often gets confused with hard wood flooring, which says a lot about how far the the laminate has come. Of course, in both cases, once you switch the spot lights on, get down on your knees and examine the product, it’s clear what you’ve settled for. 

Solid hardwood floors are made of planks milled from a single piece of timber. Simply, they’re panels of real wood, designed to be used as flooring. Pretty straight forward and self-explanatory.

Laminate flooring is made to look just like traditional hard wood flooring but is, in fact, a thin layer of decor paper placed under a tough-as-nails protective film. Decor paper is actually a photographic image of a certain type of wood. This picture is then glued and pressed to a high-density backing board. Despite appearances there is no real wood in a laminate board at all.

For the average landlord, which is providing a tenancy in a low-to-mid range property, the debate should always be, “carpet or laminate?” Hard wood flooring should not be spared on anything short of top-tier properties. But more importantly, hard wood flooring is an investment you’ll NEVER get a return on.  

However, before even putting yourself through the debate and splashing out on new carpets or laminate flooring, it might be worth checking underneath the existing rags. You might be surprised, there could already be quality flooring sleeping, untouched. Hard wood flooring only recently became trendy. Prior to the trend, homeowners were racking up debt so they could cover them up. It’s amusing how fashion trends swing around. Laminate flooring is the better option over carpet in rental properties. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • Laminate flooring is much more durable, which means it can withstand a lot more abuse than carpets. After a while, carpet will start to fray and show obvious signs of wear. It’s important to note, landlords cannot get compensation for fair wear and tear, and distressed carpets usually fall into that category.
  • By nature, carpets are much more prone to attracting and clinging onto dirt, which means they get dirty quickly and need to be cleaned regularly. They require much more attention and maintenance.
  • Laminate flooring is easy to clean, the process only requires a very moderately damp cloth and a sweep. For a thorough carpet clean, a specialist vacuum and shampoo is required, and they can often be expensive. Or at least more expensive than a bit of cloth and a sweeper.
  • When you start rearranging furniture in a room fitted with carpet, you start surfacing clean patches of carpet that was once protected by furniture. That’s when you’re left feeling sickened by how you’ve been living like a filthy animal, and didn’t even know it. It’s truly an awful moment, and brings you back to reality. That’s going to happen every time a tenant vacates with all his furniture. Try explaining that mess during a viewing to your new prospective tenants. Tenants have used that as a bargaining tool. However, with laminate flooring, that doesn’t happen.
  • It’s a lot cheaper to repair laminate flooring. Typically, when carpet has been damaged, the entire room needs re-carpeting to resolve the problem, or at least a large portion of the area, unless you’re happy with the patchy-quilt look. But rest assured, even if you are content, your tenants won’t be. However, the beauty of laminate flooring is that it’s laid down in panels that clip together like a jigsaw, which means you only have to replace the panels that are damaged, and not the entire lot.
  • In reality, the argument can be had that laminate flooring can be compared to premium carpets that are designed to withstand heavy treading and toxic carpet shampoos. While that is true (arguably), carpet of that quality is much more expensive per square foot than laminate flooring. But also, you’re still left with the problem mentioned in the above point.


  1. I have a quick answer to this post..LAMINATE. Do not ever put carpet in a rental property. Every time, a prospective tenant is going to use the condition of the carpet as a bargaining chip. If the carpet is brand new, they probably won’t want to move in because carpet always gets damaged no matter how careful you are, which they know, and they realize they probably won’t get all of their deposit back because of it. On the other hand, if the carpet is dirty (more likely), they’re going to try to get you to charge a lower rent.

  2. Very true. I have carpet in one of my rentals. I can’t afford to replace it every time a tenant moves. I have definitely had to sit on a vacant property for a while because of the carpet. Many people won’t move in if the carpet is even slightly damaged. Am thinking of changing the floors out in the whole place in the next two years when I can get the finances together.

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