Carpet, Tile, Vinyl and Wood

Carpet, Tile, Vinyl and Wood

As property managers, we spend more real cash on flooring that just about any other item.  Excluding roofs, windows and boilers, flooring is often the one line item expenditure that pops on the annual profit/loss. Some property managers are flooring experts.  Most of us muddle forward executing a well-rounded flooring strategy that needs work.   

With flooring, there is always the necessary balance between initial costs and longevity.  Frankly, as you know, its sometimes a crap shoot based on how hard people live in a unit.  But irrespective of the covering we are generally choosing from four options: Carpet, wood, tile or vinyl.  Excluding seasonal and tropical adjustments most people have a preference for carpet.  Preference or not, let's look at some alternative flooring types.

Which flooring is best?  Part of the answer depends on use, weather and location.   Consider for this writing we are discussing garden apartments interiors with normal turnover.    

Carpet.  Ye old standby.  Always there, always versatile.  Tremendous selection and quality choices.  A must-use material on second and third floor living area interiors (living rooms in particular).   

Now that carpet pad is approaching the same price point as carpet, consider using eight pound (8 lb) pad.  It add longevity, bounce and is easier for installers to work (they love it compared to 6 lb).

Wood.  There is wood (actual wood from trees machined into wood flooring) and there is  "wood finish" tile.  Which are you looking for; wood or wood finish? Wonderful to have in the leasing showroom and high traffic common areas that have daily attention. 

Tile. I am a big fan of tile.  Heavily used in the south based on warm year-round temperatures. Longevity is the real selling point.  Don’t get fancy with it as we want this type of installed flooring to "fit" ten and fifteen years out. 

Vinyl.  Laminates have their place. When installed right with the correct under-layment, it is long-lasting and easy to replace when necessary.  Good for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and entryways.  

Brick. Yes, I said brick.  It may just fit in certain circumstances so consider this as just one more potential material.  It's more likely that  a "brick finish" will be the end result over concrete (see concrete below).

Concrete.  In some common areas can be suitable depending on climate. There are numerous methods for making plain concrete into good looking, livable space.

We devoted little space to carpet in the post even though it is the main-stay staple product. That's because it is so well known.  Our focus in this writing is to get you thinking about costs effective alternatives that add variety, longevity and differentiation to your multifamily assets.

About This Blog
Multifamily Insight is dedicated to assisting current and future multifamily property owners, operators and investors in executing specific tasks that allow multifamily assets to operate at their highest level of efficiency. We discuss real world issues in multifamily property management and acquisitions. This blog is intended to be informational only and does not provide legal, financial or accounting advice. Seek professional counsel.  For more information, visit:

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