9 Signs You Should Invest in New Floors for Your Rental Property
As a landlord, you may be wondering when to replace your flooring. The following nine signs indicate it’s time to invest in new flooring for your rental property:
#1 Your Floors are Ancient
Flooring should ideally be ten years or younger, unless you have hardwoods, stone, or concrete. From an aesthetic standpoint, older floors don’t look as good. Aesthetics are important in a rental property because you want to easily attract tenants, so you never have a vacant unit.
As floors get older, they are more likely to crack and creak. The subfloor may also start to rot.
The lifespan of floors range, depending on the type of flooring and quality of the material, but overall, the age of your flooring can strongly indicate when you should replace.
#2 There are Cracks in Your Flooring
Cracks are not easily fixed without completely replacing the floors. One crack usually causes more cracks. Flooring with cracks doesn’t look good and can also be a tripping hazard. As a landlord, you don’t want to be liable for any harm caused to tenants on your property.
Cracks are also a breeding ground for insects and mites, which are difficult to get rid of and troublesome for tenants.
#3 The Floor is Creaking
Creaky floors are an indication that your subfloor may need to be replaced. Unfortunately, the only way to see your subfloor is to remove the flooring.
Keep in mind that rotting subfloor will spread, so it’s better to fix it sooner. This is another reason why we recommend routinely updating your flooring- it gives you the opportunity to examine your subfloor before anything goes wrong.
Sometimes creaky floors are a result of age. Hardwood floors creak as they get older because the wood expands and contracts with your property’s foundation and based on your property’s moisture levels.
It’s also possible that the binding method for your flooring (glue, nails, or staples) are loose. Creaking indicates it’s time to update your flooring.
#4 There’s a Ceiling Leak in the Unit Below Yours
If you hear about a ceiling leak in the unit below yours, it could be a sign that your subfloor needs replacing, which will require new flooring. Another sign of this is if your floors are visibly uneven when you examine the surface.
#5 You Need to Replace Part of the Floor But Can’t Find a Perfect Flooring Match
Certain flooring options, like tile, are great because you can replace a few tiles instead of the entire floor. This is helpful with cracks and stains. However, if you don’t have a perfect match, you should replace the whole flooring. Mismatched flooring detracts from the quality and appearance of your rental property.
In the future, if you purchase tile, we recommend buying extra tiles for quick replacements.
#6 Your Flooring is Warped, Discolored, or Has Dark Spots
These are are all signs of water damage. Water damage leads to mold in all floor types. Wood flooring is the most susceptible to water damage.
If your flooring is showing signs of water damage, it’s important to replace it sooner rather than later, as water damage leads to mold. Mold begins to grow about 24–48 hours from the time your flooring is damaged from water. After mold appears, it will spread rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you’ll likely need professional mold services to help you remove it.
Water damage also rots the support beams underneath your floors, which is dangerous.
If you notice the floors in your rental property are warped, discolored, or have dark spots, then be sure to invest in new flooring.
#7 The Grout isn’t Cleanable
In a rental property, tenants don’t often clean as thoroughly as they should. Grout is only maintainable if the floors stay clean. Even with routine cleaning, dirt still sticks to grout more easily than it does to other parts of the floor. If dirt piles onto the grout, it will become permanently discolored.
Tile is the most common flooring to have grout. Laminate and linoleum flooring sometimes have grout, as well.
There are some grout cleaners that are helpful, but as the flooring ages, it’s likely you’ll need to replace the flooring.
#8 You Want to Add Value to Your Rental Property
If you want to increase the value of your rental property (maybe you are selling soon), then investing in new flooring is a great idea.
Purchasing new flooring is a worthy investment. First, it will help attract more tenant leads. You should advertise new flooring in your online rental listing and show off your new flooring at your rental property showings. With more tenant leads, you decrease your chances of a rental vacancy.
You can also raise your rent price to reflect the updated value of your unit.
#9 You Currently Have Carpet
Carpet is the least durable flooring option, especially for a rental property. Color and texture on a carpet begins to fade around 4–5 years. Manufacturers of low-end carpets claim a 5-year useful life. And manufacturers of high-end carpets claim a 10-year useful life.
Carpet will begin to tear or bubble in areas with high foot traffic, and along walls, corners, and doors. Tears and bubbles in the carpet create a tripping hazard.
Of all flooring types, carpet is the easiest to stain. It’s a thick-woven fabric, and like any fabric, it stretches and tears over time. In other words, it’s not built to last.
Common Landlord Questions
Below, we answer common landlord questions about replacing flooring.
What type of flooring should I replace my floors with?
Choosing flooring for a rental property is different than choosing flooring for an owner-occupied property. In our article, how to choose flooring for your rental property, we break down the flooring options based on what is affordable, low maintenance, maintainable, durable, aesthetically pleasing, easy to install, and safe.
For your rental property, we recommend vinyl tile, laminate, linoleum, or hardwoods floors, depending on if you have a high-end rental and how often you plan to replace your flooring.
Are landlords ever required to change flooring?
Landlords are required to keep the property safe and habitable. You must replace the flooring if it poses a health risk or safety hazard. For instance, if there are nails sticking up in the floor, if the carpet is moldy, if the floor is creating a tripping hazard, then you’ll need new flooring. Some states have laws about how frequently carpets need to be replaced, since carpet poses the most serious health risk if there’s mold.
Do tenants care about new floors?
Yes, tenants want aesthetically pleasing and safe flooring. For this reason, new flooring can help you rent your unit faster and justify a higher rent price.
Can you replace floors while tenants live there or do you have to wait until a vacancy?
This depends on what type of flooring you are installing. Floors that are quick to install include engineered hardwood, carpet, vinyl, laminate, and linoleum. If installation is fast, the tenant can be there, but in general, we recommend replacing the floors during tenant-turnover if possible. This ensures you are not disturbing your tenants. You can also use that time to raise your rent price.
If it’s time to replace your flooring, we recommend Empire Today. We’ve researched several flooring providers and determined that Empire Today is the best. They offer high-quality flooring and they can replace your flooring in as little as two days with next-day installation. Minimizing installation time will help you avoid downtime between tenants so you avoid a vacancy.
Originally published at Rentalutions.