When considering the best floor finish for a rental property, whether it’s student accommodation or the more ‘high end’ of the market, there are various options available, depending on your budget.
Having said that, it’s an easy process to ascertain the most cost-effective floor cover material by applying a few simple questions;
- What is my budget?
- How long do I want the floor cover to last?
- Do I want to attract tenants or just rent my property to anyone?
- Will the floor require maintaining during or after the tenancy ends?
What about my budget?
Obviously budget is a vital part of any refurb or interior design for a rental property but choosing the cheapest product to cover the largest open area of your property is most definitely not the most cost-effective way of going about it.
Further to that point, carpet can stain easily and laminate can be damaged easily, especially when they’re both lived upon by people who don’t actually own them. If this happens during a tenancy agreement, when your tenant moves out, it will mean replacing the whole area before you can even market the property to someone else. This will delay any new tenant of yours from moving in, which will result in you losing income for as long as that delay lasts.
Oak flooring however, if stained or damaged by a tenant, can usually be sanded down and ‘repaired’ to look as good as new, during or after any tenancy period.
An oiled or waxoiled finish is the most simple to maintain because unlike a lacquered or varnished floor finish, it can be ‘patch-repaired’, thus facilitating fast and easy maintenance.
How long do I want the floor cover to last?
This may depend on the type of property and the type of tenant you are hoping to secure as your paying customer but surely the answer should be “as long as possible”, so that you aren’t continually replacing floor coverings every time a tenant leaves?
Budget however plays a part again but please consider the following;
- 10 years rental with 5 different tenants
- Laminate flooring replaced 3 times at a cost of £800 per time (including fitting) = £2,400
- A good quality oak flooring will last 20 years plus, and will cost you as little as £1,500
- Your savings over 10 years = £900
- Savings over 20 years = £1,800
And the oak flooring will look much better too, whilst making your property more attractive and marketable to potential clients.
Probably the best type of oak flooring to use is engineered oak because not only can it be installed more quickly and easily than solid oak in most situations, it provides better stability than solid oak and even scratches and dents can be repaired, as long as the oak wear layer is thick enough. Anything less than 4mm should be avoided for this kind of installation situation because of the wear and tear the floor will receive. Yes you can buy engineered oak flooring that has a 2mm or 3mm wear layer of oak as its surface but why would you do that when it’s only a £1.00 or two cheaper than 4mm, and the 4mm will last 33% or even 100% longer?
Do I want to attract tenants or just rent my property to anyone?
According to estate agents, installing oak flooring within any property can increase rental and sales value, whilst improving the overall attraction for any viewer.
This being the case, even though the initial cost may be more, surely it makes sense to install oak flooring instead of laminate, or even carpet?
If by installing oak flooring you can increase your residual rental income month on month, your extra costs would soon be recovered and your monthly profit increased thereafter.
Not only that but it’s very likely you will attract a more discerning tenant, who appreciates your rental property more and will care for it as if it’s their own, thus reducing your costs when the tenancy ends.
Will the floor require maintaining during or after the tenancy ends?
Maintaining carpets or laminate is virtually impossible because of the nature of the product. If either is damaged or stained badly enough, replacement is your only option.
Oak flooring however, can be either patch-repaired or fully refinished to bring it back to pristine condition and looking good enough to impress the most challenging viewer. An oiled or waxoiled finish can even be changed in colour very easily by simply applying another coat of the same oil in the colour of your choice (there are over 25 different Waxoil colours currently available).
But it’s not just the cleaning and maintenance of the floor surface that’s important. If you install carpets, how often will your tenant vacuum them? Some say that to keep a carpet free from dust mites and other such nasty little creatures, it should be vacuumed 3 times per week.
Others say that even the most powerful vacuum cleaner is useless against these mites and ticks because they’re so small and live too deep down in the carpet, feeding on synthetic dirt and mildew. Prevention is far better than cure in these situations, so don’t provide such a welcoming living environment for these parasites in the first instance; by installing oak flooring instead of carpet.
The simple and undeniable information above proves that if your budget is sufficient, then oak flooring is the most cost-effective flooring product to choose for every rental property.
Most industry experts would advise the installation of engineered oak flooring instead of solid, providing that it has an oak wear layer of at least 4mm thickness.
Not only does it look good, but it’s also the easiest to maintain, attracts better clients, generates higher rent, and is the easiest to keep clean and healthy.
With these clear advantages over the other floor coverings available, even if your budget first appears not to stretch far enough, the indications are that if you install anything else it will end up costing you a lot more in the future.
Article Courtesy of: Will Morris, founder of Oak Floors Online LTD a UK based stockist and supplier of high quality solid and engineered oak flooring. Will has over 35yrs of industry expertise and passionately advocates delivering consumers with accurate, transparent information on oak flooring.