Best floor coverings for bathrooms, kitchens and hallways?

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The subject of the best floor coverings is a popular debate amongst landlords. Regular readers of my blogs will know that I’m a big fan of a certain type of carpet and underlay in lounges and bedrooms. Feedback has taught me that my tenants prefer it as it’s warmer under foot. I have found the perfect combination to be a good quality underlay and felt backed bleach cleanable polypropylene carpets. I even use it now in my own house.

However, kitchens, bathrooms and hallways do tend to get dirty and wet a lot more often. I have used wood, tile and vinyl and they all have their advantages.

Tile is harder wearing but it’s more expensive, cold under foot without underfloor heating and the grout is not easy to clean. Accessing under floor plumbing is also a challenge in tiled areas and one cracked tile can be expensive to fix.

Vinyl is far cheaper, warmer but wears quicker and can easily be marked or ripped by some types of shoes.

Carpet in wet areas is much warmer under foot but can get smelly if it gets too wet.

Wood floors are expensive, can often warp when they get wet and are still cold under foot. On the other hand, they are far more hard wearing than carpets and vinyl.

In my own house I have a very hard wearing wood effect rubber tiles in the hallway. They are too expensive for rental property though, althought having just written that I’m wondering whether the alternatives have been a false economy for all these years. In my downstairs WC I have tiles and in bathrooms I have a mix of vinyl and carpet. My bathroom has carpet because I trust myself not to splash all the water out of the bath and I don’t like the cold feet effects of the alternatives.

The bottom line is that after 23 years of being a landlord, the jury is still out for me in terms of what are the best floor coverings in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways of rental properties. What do you think is best and why?


Mark Alexander
Mark and his family have been investing in property since 1989, initially in the Norwich area but more recently across the length and breadth of England. Mark created Property118.com as a social network for landlords with a vision of becoming the UK’s largest online property investor directory.
Mark’s experiences and strategies as a landlord are shared here

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Comments

  • For a small entry hallway/lobby I like a door mat that covers the
    complete floor, you can get Coir Floor Matting on the role – they are often
    used in office buildings.  (About £25 per
    m^2.)

     

    I used the ScrewFix AC5 (Commercial) grade laminate in a kitchen, when
    I tested it in a sink of water it coped, but only time will tell how well it
    works.  (Ask me in 10 years’ time!)   I also sealed all the joints with a
    waterproof laminate joint sealant that unlike glue can be undone.  However I don’t know if laminate is worth the
    cost and fitting time.

     

    At university they used some sort of Commercial  grade Vinyl in the bars that would stand up
    to everything, even after a few years of student usages (in those days people
    were allowed to smoke in bars) it still looked as good as new.   I recalled it was not cheap and don’t know
    the details of its spec.


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  • I’d be interested to find out what that commercial grade vinyl is called, who supplies it and how much it costs. Please let me know if you find out.


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  • I am with Ian on the coir matting.
    I assume that you are using cushionfloor type vinyl which is warm but very liable to tear. We were once allowed to use an office on an RAF base where the flooring was actual linoleum – over 40 years old. It had been professionally waxed every year and stood up to construction traffic with no trouble.
    My preference for bathrooms and kitchens is wooden flooring with glued joints and then waxed for better watertightness. It may not be warm under bare feet but it is not particularly cold (like tiles). If the tenant wants carpet they can put a rug down and if it starts to rot – well it isn’t my rug!


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