I always get questions about the flooring products we use on Income Property and the best flooring options to put into rental suites. In the list of top 5 things that renters, or buyers for that matter, are always looking for, new floors is always up there. Wood floors are non-allergenic, more hardwearing and much easier to keep clean than carpets - especially if you've got tenants coming in and out every year. Here are three options for flooring and the low-down on each:
When we talk about hardwood floors, we are referring to a plank that's been cut from the tree as a solid piece of wood. The width can vary from 2 ¼" up to 12" and the thickness can be anywhere from 7/16" to ¾". Hardwood floors are nailed down into place over a wood subfloor. It will react to changes in humidity and needs to be laid with expansion and contraction in mind. Because of how it reacts to moisture, it should only be used in above grade installations, so it's not the best option for basements. It can be sanded down and refinished a number of times until the nail heads are showing and can come prefinished or unfinished when installed.
Engineered hardwood starts with a piece of hardwood veneer that is glued onto a number of wood plies in the opposite grain to add strength and stability. You can get engineered hardwood in all sizes and wood types and it looks exactly the same as traditional hardwood but has some additional benefits. It can be installed as a floating floor over existing flooring (including concrete) or be glued or nailed down. Because of the cross-graining effect of the different layers, it won't react negatively to humidity and have issues with expansion and contraction. It is extremely durable and can still be refinished a number of times. It's also easier to install and to replace a single plank if necessary.
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product fused together with lamination process. There is actually a high quality photograph of wood placed under a clear protective layer, over a layer of fibreboard and a melamine bottom. The top layer of laminate is extremely durable and stain-resistant. It is a much more affordable product and can still provide a great look. They are easy to clean and because they aren't affected by humidity they can be used in basements with excellent results. Installation is also straightforward as they come with a tongue and groove or "click" system that homeowners can install themselves.