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Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #1 
OK, folks, I'm on to bigger and better things   As I just posted, I'm in the process of beautifying my basement apartment for a new tenant and I have received conflicting information about the "best" carpeting to use for a rental unit.

I went carpet shopping with an acquaintance whose husband is a contractor and she strongly advised me to get commercial grade carpeting with a very low and tight pile, such as a berber, and to use viscose or some other polyester material.  Then, when  the carpet installer came out to measure, he told me the type of carpet I am now replacing is actually far better than any commercial carpet because a nylon material with a plush pile would both clean and wear beautifully.  When I told him my existing carpet was 8 years old, he was impressed with the minimal wear that was evident only in the major traffic areas and that if it weren't for the many large and bad stains, I might be able to get by with just a professional steam cleaning instead of replacing. 

In his opinion, the berber-type carpet will never clean as well as a plush pile because the machine can't get down into the pile to do the job right.  I intend to go back to the carpet store and speak with the salesperson again--it's possible she didn't want to contradict the woman I was with because that woman does a lot of business with that store.  Of course it is equally possible the installer's opinion wasn't necessarily the best way to go either.  Maybe it's simply a matter of opinion but I want to do my best to make an informed choice on such an expensive item.

So, now I'm not sure which direction to go and thought I'd put it out to the best resource I know--you all.  Any carpet experiences you want to share are welcome.


Posts: 102
Reply with quote  #2 
I have the berber kind of carpeting in most of my rentals that have carpeting.  It's okay, but I agree that, especially if you allow pets, it is harder to clean and get pet odors and such out as easily as regular carpeting. I do have some commercial grade carpeting in a common area of a rental of mine, and it is no easier/better to clean than the thicker berber carpeting.

Now if I have to buy carpeting, I just go with whatever is neutral and inexpensive.  Usually just the 'regular' basic carpeting.  I'm kind of to the point where if any of my rentals has any carpeting at all, I might not accept pets anymore.  Seems like it's impossible to get it clean after pets have been in there, and the cost of replacement is so expensive...I notice that tenants seem to prefer the berber style over the regular style, though.  It does handle regular wear and tear well, and if it were a pet-free rental I'd consider seems, from my own personal experience, carpets never last long in my rentals, so I hate to get any kind of upgraded carpeting in there because I feel like it's just going to get ruined quickly anyway.

Posts: 3,755
Reply with quote  #3 
I go with Berber too.  Low and tight, not a plush which shows all the furniture depressions.  You can never get those to come back up.  Everything stains, no mater what the manufacturer claims.  At least that's what I have found.  Even if it is guaranteed against food and pet stains, the tenant will stain it with mud, oil, markers, or colored candle wax.

I always go with a multicolored carpet.  Something fairly neutral, but with other colors mixed in.  Never too light though.  Go look at the carpet store and you will see what I mean.  This hides stains much better than a single color carpet.  They aren't as noticeable if the cleaner can't remove them completely.  And the specks of color in the carpet help to "match" with all the tenant's furniture colors.  (No more complaints that "the carpet will clash with my furniture".)

My carpet comes from a carpet warehouse.  I buy it at $11.99 a sq. yd. (includes new pad) and have it installed for $3.75 a yard from a guy I use exclusively to install and repair for me.  If the carpet place installs it, it costs about $18 a yard, so I save over $2 a yard having my guy do it.  Good quality carpet that would cost me much more to buy elsewhere.  And I always tell them I'm a LL and a board member of the local association.  (Can't hurt to troll for discounts too!) 

I've priced cheaper carpet at places like Rite Rug, but it is cheaper - you can push your finger between the fibers down to the backing.  (The weight is lower.)  I don't like that carpet.  Check also the pad that comes with it.  A lot of places want to give you that cheap 4 lb. pad, and charge you more for the better pad.  I like the thicker pad - which makes the carpet feel much more plush under foot.  My carpet warehouse always gives me standard 8 lb pad. 

Another carpet trick is to charge you for every tack strip and door transition strip that they install.  Replace any missing tack strips yourself and have the door strips there and pre-cut for them to avoid these extra charges.  If you need the carpet seamed together from room to room, try to do it in the doorway.  (Carpet layers hate to seam in the doorways since it is harder to do there.  But when the carpet pulls there eventually or starts to come unseamed, you can simply put a door transition strip over the line and get a longer use out of the carpet.

One last carpet tip.  Save all the scraps from the installation and any left over pad.  (You paid for it, you keep it.)  There always seems to be more pad than what I ordered- there seems to always be more pad left over.  After a few carpet jobs, you can actually buy only the carpet (no pad)  & negotiate a lower price for this, and use the left over rolls of pad from other installations.  The carpet scraps are for repairs later.  If a tenant burns a hole in the carpet with an iron or cigarette, or puts a stain in the middle of an otherwise good carpet, I just have the carpet guy come back and piece in that area.  If he's good, you can't even tell where it was.  You charge the tenant's deposit for 100% of the repair, rather than a depreciated cost of replacement.  This saves you from having to replace an otherwise good carpet.  Just roll up the scraps, put them in a large trash bag, and store them out of the way in the attic or other dry storage space.  I've even just rolled them carpet side in, and tied up the roll and put them in the top of a closet.  Inform the tenant that this is your storage area and they may not remove or dispose of your items there or you will charge them for these.  (Put it in your lease and on the condition sheet.)  I always try to have one place in a rental building that I can store materials specific to that building (a closet, an attic, a small room in the basement).  Lock this area if you can

Posts: 123
Reply with quote  #4 
I would re-think carpeting in a basement apartment. Most basements at one time or another will have moisture/water issues. I would go with Acid stained concrete, Tile, Epoxy flooring and the tenant can supply area rugs. The landlord can also supply area rugs but that is more $ for the Landlord. There is a epoxy flooring that is gorgeous out called Liquid Dazzle. Good looking easy to apply, wears much better and longer than carpet.

Long Beach CA Landlord
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