Property Management Blog

What is the best carpet for a rental property?

Steve Schultz - Thursday, February 20, 2014
Property Management Blog

This is a question I am often asked.  In order to make a decision, there are several different carpet piles, fibers and prices to consider.  Let’s begin by considering the biggest mistake landlords make.

The most common mistake I see landlords make is that they install the cheapest carpet they can buy.  Although this may seem like a practical and logical approach on the surface, it is typically not the best option in the long run.  Keep in mind, you want the most cost effective, not the cheapest.  This was a distinction my professors used to stress when I was in college in my engineering courses.  Cheapest and most cost effective are not equivalent terms. 

Let me explain.  Let’s say one carpet for a house costs $5,000 whereas another carpet costs $6,000.  We can agree that the $5,000 carpet is the cheaper carpet.  But now let’s consider how long each will last.  Just for sake of the example, let’s assume the $5,000 carpet will last for 5 years, whereas the $6,000 carpet will last for 10 years.  So the cheap carpet costs $1,000 per year and the more expensive carpet costs $600 per year.  So wouldn’t you agree that the more expensive carpet is also the most cost effective carpet?  This is what I’m talking about.  So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the other considerations.

Next, let’s consider carpet types, specifically a “cut pile” carpet versus a “loop pile” carpet.  A cut pile carpet is defined by the tuft of yarn that stands up vertically.  Whereas a loop pile is just as it sounds, a standing loop of yarn.  Although loop pile carpet can wear very well, the problem arises when something snags the carpet.  Once the carpet is snagged, if the carpet is pulled on instead of cut, a whole line of carpet can be pulled out of the matting, leaving a bare spot in the carpet.  This is why for rentals I prefer a cut pile.

Next, let’s consider the various fibers.  Although there are many fibers that range from nylon to olefin, I prefer nylon for rental properties.  It is very durable and resilient and tends to clean up well in between tenancies.  Sometimes, the same stain on an olefin carpet, for example, may be permanent.  However, that same stain may be able to be removed from a nylon carpet.  

Finally, let’s consider a color that makes sense.  I prefer something that is neutral and in a dark tan or light brown.  Another option is what I call the “speckled” carpet.  It may be a combination of dark tan with black spots throughout.  Whatever color is ultimately chosen, I like it to be something that is not going to show dirt easily.  

All things considered, my recommendation is a cut pile, nylon carpet that is of a neutral color, typically a dark tan with “speckling.” 

If you decide to follow my recommendation on what type of carpet t use, you need to understand that it will not be the cheapest carpet, but in my opinion will be the most cost effective carpet long-term.